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Coal in your wood pellet stove?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by talibozek, Nov 4, 2008.

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  1. talibozek

    talibozek New Member

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    Hello,

    Does anyone have any experience in running rice coal in your wood pellet stove?

    I picked up a couple bags of rice coal. It's around the same size as wood pellets. (and half the price per BTU as wood pellets)
    I fed in a mixture of 25% coal to 75% wood pellets.
    The stove is a St. Croix from 1997.
    Ran through nice, but burned very hot. I think it tripped an overtemp switch as the auger stopped feeding. I was running at the lowest setting.
    Also the smell of paint fumes filled the basement and set the smoke alarm off.

    So, besides melting down the stove and getting paint fume poisoning, what other dangers are there?
    I've read that coal gives off CO if not burned properly...I have a CO detector nearby, registered nothing.

    If I increased the speed of the circulation fan, would this bring the core temp down enough?


    thanks,
    -Timmy

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  2. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

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    Wow this sounds safe! Is there anywhere in the owners manual that says this is a good idea?
  3. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Cease and Desist - but I guess it takes all kinds to make the world go round!
  4. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    any danger besides melting down the stove destroying my house and killing my family? And you still want to do this??
  5. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Coal burns hotter and I think gives off some pretty nasty gasses...I could be wrong but I was told that it is bad (acidic) on the chimney pipe and the stoves were not designed for that type of heat.
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking I would chaulk up this experiment to a really bad idea done in a fleeting moment.

    I would not recommend using any fuel in any heating appliance that isn't specifically listed, designed or tested to use that fuel (i.e. would you put gasoline in an oil boiler just because that fuel would fit into the oil tank or pump some hydrogen gas in the propane tank on the BBQ.)

    If the manufacturer specifically allows coal to be used it would be one thing . . . but I suspect that this wood pellet stove is designed just for one thing -- wood pellets.

    One possible issue is that I have read that coal tends to run quite hot -- much hotter than those wood pellets.

    "So besides melting down the stove and getting paint fume poisoning, what other dangers are there?
    I've read that coal gives off CO if not burned properly...I have a CO detector nearby, registered nothing."

    Well let's see . . . other dangers associated with burning one type of fuel in equipment designed for another type of fuel . . . well there's always a destroyed stove (to me saving a few dollars isn't worth the cost to replace a thousand dollar plus stove), structure fire (again the cost to replace my home and belongings wouldn't be worth saving a few bucks) and of course the possibility of injury or death to myself or family (kind of a big one here.)

    As for CO . . . CO can be produced anytime anything burns . . . especially with incomplete combustion. The CO detector most likely did not activate because the CO produced from the burn was pumped out the exhaust.

    So in summation . . . I would think that is a very, very, very bad idea . . . but if you insist on continuing to proceed with this experiment please have a fire extinguisher nearby, move your family out to a local hotel and put your fire department on speed dial.
  7. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    What has this world come to :(
  8. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Then design a coal stove with an auger edison
  9. talibozek

    talibozek New Member

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    Wow, I did say coal and not nuclear fuel rods, right?

    Thanks for all of the warnings. Fire extinguisher is next to stove. Stove is on a large hearth.
    ...and I don't let experiments run when not home.
    I've also been using anthracite ("clean burn") coal...stay away from bituminous or soft coal.
    This can't be any more dangerous than processing biodiesel in the basement.


    Berraco, I mixed the coal and pellets in a separate container then dumped them into the empty hopper....so on average, yes 25/75, but I'm sure it varied.
    Yes, the auger did start working again after it cooled down. I used an infrared thermometer through the glass. It was probably measuring the temperature of the glass, which was around 450 when it stopped feeding. Went down to around 300 and started feeding again.

    I don't know if 100% coal would work well...from what I read coal needs to have a thick bed to maintain combustion. I think it would have the potential to melt through the sheet metal of the burn pot...or at least deform it. Maybe build a thicker burn pot.

    I think it's time to hook up the PID controller and thermocouple to the auger motor to control the heat better.
    Need to find a way to extract the heat more efficiently. Maybe some copper coils and a water loop.

    Though, maybe a 100% coal burn with the windows open would burn off the remaining paint ;)
  10. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    Hey Pook, how did your testing go with coal?
  11. Latent

    Latent Member

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    I was a coal burner before wood pellets. One thing about coal is that coal generates acid from the by-products of combustion. The acid will work in a negitive way towards the life of the stove and flue pipe.
  12. Mr_Pither

    Mr_Pither New Member

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    "Wow, I did say coal and not nuclear fuel rods, right? "

    LOL
  13. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

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    Hey Timmy,

    a couple of questions and them you get my thought for the day.

    First, what is rice coal, I never heard of it before this post.
    2. where could i get some & what is the smallest size(how big a bag do they insist I buy) they sell?

    Thought of the day!

    If a 25% rice coal, 75 % wood pellet mix is too hot, how about a 15% rice coal & 85% wood pellet mix instead.

    The lesser amount of rice coal should tend to minimize the overheating according to the mix ratio. Maybe 10 % rice coal & 90 % pellets would work out better.

    You should be able to find a ratio that will give you more heat without tripping the overheat limit switch.

    As a last resort, you might be able to put a high temp limit switch in that runs at a hotter temp
    but this would require the utmost caution and proper testing by you to insure that it will not run so hot as to damage the stove & bear in mind that while it may run cool enough (relitavly speaking) not to damage the stove on high air circulate, it could well overheat on low air circulation speed & THAT THE heat developed will also vary with combustion air motor rpm
    cold air intake setting and auger feed setting, SO THAT a series of tests by you would be required to insure safe opperation.

    The people here at hearth.com have to say every thing is dangerious & should not be done
    in case an inebration expert requests advice.

    Inebreation expert = the type of" Human??" that

    pees in public, falling down drunk--- I don't give a crap about anything-- once I have a drink in me, & I can beat the crap out of anyone who disagrees with me-- type.
    I know people like that & they are a danger to themselves & others, big time!

    I hope they all meet police officers that have just had a really bad day .

    To say i don't think much of them is a seriously polite understatement & there just is not enough 4 letter words to berate these drunken loosers with.
    But let me not get started, so enough said.

    I you decide to experiment you will need to employ the utmost caution & check ever thing 3 times , just to make sure you are / (your stove is)--safe.
  14. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    Too simple, DO NOT DO THIS. You can not control the feed mix, only the supply. You can not control the exhaust gases and the temps. There is no stove out there that is certified to burn pellets and coal, PERIOD. You are risking your and your family's lives, your home and all your property.

    It's like adding jet fuel to your kero-heater. It will go out of control.
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess if the purpose is to destroy the thin metal in your pellet stove, this could be the way to do it. Coal produces sulfur - and many acidic condensates.

    If you want to burn coal, get a coal stove or coal stoker. Yes, they may have some similarities to a pellet stove (feed of a stoker), but are designed with much heavier and different metals so as to stand up to the acids of coal...and the heat produced in the firebox (coal can melt iron, wood cannot).

    In summary, just don't do it. If you are really the modern Da Vinci or a rocket scientist, there are many horizons to cross which will make you and the human race much better than this.

    However, if you insist, try dried horse poop instead. At least that is not likely to melt the stove.
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