1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Grass Pellets on CL. Gasification video too.

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by imacman, Jan 14, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
    Finally got home and checked things. Here is what stinks is that it got a little to warm here today and stove had to be turned down to idle and auto 2. Not the best scenario for testing new stuff. I would like to run at auto3 or above. I have burned about a bag and a half. Stove is still half full. Briefly ran on 4 this morning before I went to work and temps were nearly170* which is OK. Really wish it had stayed cold. No problems burning these in my stove. Ash is more than average, I agree with macmans observations. Almost to the point it is much more ash. I would like to shut down, clean and weigh the ash but frankly I don't have a scale or a mason jar, my vac would have to be cleaned , the stove has to be off for at least 2 hours to cool. I can't do that tonight. Jay, I have no idea how you did all you did. We are some pain in the tookus. Ash is a very light gray. I took a few more pics of the ash and will try to post. Looks very much like the pics macman took. Overall I believe I will be buying some more and do more observations. I like them.

    Schoondog

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
    Jay just saw your post. The 4% wood is actually golden rod. When you look at the rolls of hay (I believe it is timothy hay) the stuff you are getting and the stuff I just burned, there is golden rod mixed in the round bale. I thought I would see sawdust or wood chips being blended in to the compressor/ pellet maker, but no. Some of his fields have golden rod in them and when he harvests it is mixed in. Some of the fields are just grass and those bales make the grass only pellet. DJ says the golden rod burns hotter than the grass. Talked to local pellet shop proprietor today and he burns DJ pellets in his Quad AE multifuel and has for year and half. Says all is well. They burn great.

    Schoondog
  3. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
    Here are a few pics.

    Schoondog

    Attached Files:

  4. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Schoon,

    My stove is pretty simple to clean, I don't use the vac for sampling. I am just using brushes to sweep all the ash in to the ash pan. Then I screen out the unburnt stuff and put it in a jar(Looks like I need a BIG jar for these). Not really all that bad. I can do it in my sleep now.

    I think I finally get the mix now, Thanks for the explaining. Mike in Norfork called it just plain hay. I may like the fact that the goldenrod burns hotter. But I though goldenrod was a weed not wood. We be burning weed man!

    I wounder if DJ has ever tried growing switchgrass? Switch grass has more BTU's than a standard field grass. Due to the natural oils in the switchgrass. It also has less ash content. Or maybe a local farmer has some and we can get DJ to pelletize some for use to sample. Benski is hopefully getting some soon. He may give us a report on them.

    I tried the Phoenix pellets made by Energex. But there not 100% switchgrass. They have a high bark content wood fiber added to the mix. From what I understand Energex is tinkering with there switchgrass pellets and may someday have them more available. Checking my notes from last year they did burn pretty darn hot. I think they were at the 3% ash level. Had a PFI label on the bag.

    DJ is saying that these are closer to 4% ash level. Not sure how he tested orif he had them tested. But 4% is a lot of ash. The majority of the pellet I tested are closer to .5%. So if these are at the 4% mark that would be more like 8 times more ash than we see with pellets. Lots more cleaning. The ash vac is gonna get a workout.

    Because of the warmer weather. I still have 3/4 of a bag left on the NEWP's. Looks like it will be more like tomorrow before I can try the grass pellets. can't wait until there finish!

    Edit: I forgot to ask, You guys seeing any pebbles or stones in the burnpot?
  5. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Oh WOW man....that is like FAR OUT man!

    OOOOPS....was just thinking back to Cheech & Chong in "Up in Smoke"....LOL

    Anyway, Jay, here's a pic of my ash pan last night at about 11 PM. That is 3 bags burned. It's kinda weird because it IS like tiny pebbles (but I haven't seen anything that looks like stones), and these are a big contrast to the VERY fine grey ash in the firebox.

    I'm burning the last bag (2nd bag of 100% grass) right now, but the stove is on a low heat setting (3-4), so it will be a while before these are all burned. I still have not cleaned the burnpot/firebox since I started these on Sat. night, and the stove is burning the same since I figured out the right settings.

    Attached Files:

  6. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    I still can't believe how light colored the ash is.

    Anyway, Getting ready to do my evauluation of these pellets. I crunched the data on my other test's to get the overall avarage of the pellets I burnt so far. I had a little time while on my morning break to do this.

    Average temp was 238ºF

    Average ash was 0.54%

    I would be totally happy if the heat was close to 238ºF for me. And if the ash comes in under the 8 x .54%=4.3%(which is what DJ said the amout basically would be). I would be tickled pink if the ash came in much lower.

    jay

    Edit I also found some more switchgrass pellets. I will be picking them up tonight!
  7. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    I'm burning grass, I'm burning grass! Yahoo.

    Well I'm finally with you boys. Not bad at all flame wise. Still waiting for the stove to come up to temp. My 2 bags were also loaded with fines. The weight was all over. 41 lbs in one bag and 29 in the other. So I only have 70 to go with on the grass/wood mix. Pellet length is from 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches long.

    My mode is in pellet and I am at feed 3 trim 3 and air is 14 on the magnahelic guage. I will adjust from here. To clean or richen the burn. These were the settings that worked good for the switchgrass I burned last year.

    Temp average was 220ºF(I got it to 228ºF but the burn was a bit rich.) 240ºF with feed increased.

    Final stove setting for decent burn Feed 3 trim 3 mag setting 12.5.

    Ash volume 2 1/3 mason jars

    ash weight 34.24 ounces.

    ash percentage 3.1%

    Weight burned was 70 LBS. total.

    Some pict's for you.

    So far so good.
    jay

    Attached Files:

  8. imacman

    imacman Guest

    OK Jay, looking forward to your opinion of them. Burn that grass!!!

    BTW, since I'm not familiar with the stove controls on an Enviro stove, do those settings you mentioned have an increase in air compared to pellets? After I got done tweaking, I realized that all i really did compared to the wood pellets was increase the burn air from 2 to 6 (out of 9).

    Gave good heat, so if I get any more of them, only thing I'm going to do is lower the pellet feed one notch.....seems like i went through those 4 bags pretty fast, (but I don't know what they weighed either).
  9. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    The feed and trim are the same as pellets I have burned in the other test's. But I went to 14 on the mag gauge from 12.5. I basically just bumped up the air on the damper. Looks like they burn a bit faster than switchgrass. So I may drop it to 13.5 or lower(close the damper) on the magnahelic gauge.

    I will post the temps shortly. I just want to make sure I got the burn right and the stove is to full temp. I will take an average just like the other pellet tests. So we can see how close they are to an average pellet. More for my benefit.
  10. joefraser

    joefraser New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Messages:
    87
    Loc:
    Somersworth,NH
  11. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
    Nice Jay!! As much as I would like to have the time and gather some data that would be useful to everyone and save you from more work, I think the only way to get reliable data on the grass is to have you do the testing. I think I am going to get enough grass to run at a reasonable rate for a week and see if I can get a Sunday to Sunday before doing a good clean. Then I will have a good idea of how different the grass pellet is from wood pellets. So I am now awaiting Jtakemans blessing of the pellet! Let the testing begin !!

    Schoondog
  12. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Just something I forgot to include in my post above, is the issue of the amount of ash with these pellets......the 4% figure has to be pretty close, if not higher. When my stove finally ran out tonight, and I spent a LONG time cleaning it....that ash was EVERYWHERE and it was THICK! The ash pan was full, and I had to empty my little 2.5 gal. vacuum after I was done too.

    I also noticed that the glass was sooted over pretty good, and some of it wouldn't clean off with just wet paper towel....I had to revert to using some ash to get it clean. Not a big deal, just an observation.

    I guess for me, right now I'd have to decide if the lower price is worth all the ash issues. I can envision doing full cleanings of the stove, blowers, ash traps, etc, etc (like I'd do after a ton of wood pellets) after 10-15 bags, at most.
  13. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
    I agree wholeheartedly. The downside of this pellet is the ash. Thats why I would like to get enough to see if I can run for a week. If I can't get a week run time I would have to think about using this pellet.

    Schoondog
  14. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    My issue so far is the low temp average 220ºF. I would need more to keep warm in the real cold weather. But they will be good for the shoulders. Doing the pellet test's have spoiled me and some of the heat numbers I have seen. Still to soon to make the call. I need to see the ash volume and weight. Just wished they had more heat!

    Edit: I had this evening to really play with the burn and feed on these. I got the temp to 240ºF and the burn where I like it. I went to feed 3 trim 5(more fuel) and draft set with magnahelic to 13.5. That brings my feed from 3.81 lbs/hr. to 4.22 lbs/hr. I should have more than enough for the extreme cold. But its really using up the fuel quickly. My burnpot has more ash than I ever seen from any 2 bags of fuel(Including corn). But the house is nice and warm.

    I should finish them tonight and hopefully have a chance to weight the ash. I will have to go back to pellets for a bit. Going to meet schoondog tomorrow night for some more. But its back to pellet testing for now.

    Edit: Finished! here is the pebbles and overall volume of ash. Ash weight is 34.24 ounces and the ash was at 3.1%!

    Attached Files:

  15. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
  16. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
    I just finished a good clean of my stove and am going to burn the 4 bags of grass/goldenrod and see what I get. Jtakeman I expected there would be more ash and your test certainly showed that. I'm going to see how things go with the next batch.
    Schoondog
  17. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
  18. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
  19. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    http://www.reap-canada.com/

    Another interesting read!

    I finally found the info on the switch grass ash content. Check attachment!

    I remember reading about a straw pellet that's ash was in the 2% range. I can't find it now. I also was reading somewhere about corn stalk pellets. I will keep looking.

    Attached Files:

  20. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Interesting how much better the switchgrass is after sitting fallow in the field over the winter....cuts the ash just about in half, and the heat went up a little.
  21. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    From what I have read, Its is left uncut until the spring. Lets the minerals leach back into the soil. The minerals are what cause the higher ash content.

    Boy its hard to beat good old fashioned wood! But corn seems the closest at 1.13% ash!

    Edit: Corn wood pellet mix info
    http://www.eaglebio-fuels.com/products.html

    agra pellet mix info
    http://www.sunriseagrafuels.com/sunriseagrafuels/myheadline.asp?S=149&P=17043&PubID=4543

    More reading!
    http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=1218

    More fuel info Rice hulls
    Bases: rice hull

    Specifications: Diameter: 6MM--8MM

    Length: 15MM--25MM

    Calorie: ≥3800KCAL/KG

    Moisture: ≤12%

    Ash≤1.1%

    Density≥1100KG/M3

    Attached Files:

  22. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Messages:
    435
    Loc:
    Eastern Ma
    the problem with switchgrass is the high silica content

    that's why the CL guy is selling pellets made from Timothy grass

    You know, the original wood pellets were used as 'horse bedding' (ie kitty litter for horses). Now we're use horse fodder to make pellets. What's up with this connection between pellet stoves and horses?
  23. schoondog

    schoondog Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    398
    Loc:
    dutchess county, n.y.
    Well..... I've got 3 bags into the hopper. Heat is OK. I would compare to a pennington. I know what many of you are going to say. But these are not magic pellets. Ash is ..... high. Not as bad as all grass, but high. I knew this. But the stove is burning them and I am heating the house on grass and goldenrod. This batch he made is high in goldenrod I believe. So far so good. i think I may be able to get to Sunday afternoon before cleaning the stove.
    We were hoping that these pellets would be good and we might have a great new resource for fuel. I am hoping right now that they will be a reasonable shoulder season pellet. If I can get 3 55 gal. drums full I may get a ton in the summer/fall. The burlap bags aren't the greatest. there are fines and the worst is the ash. I think right now the best plan for these pellets may be in commercial boilers and such. Perhaps stove makers will make new machines that will do a better job with the ash. On the good side is a new batch of heat can be made in 70-90 days. Not 20-100 years for a tree or 10-20,000,000 years for oil. I guess I can make some concessions for that. If I can get a week of burning I will get a ton for fall/spring /warmer weather duty and a ton of good hot stuff for real cold duty. Maybe some corn and then a few bags here and there for testing to keep things interesting should round out my heating season 3 ton needs. Just my thoughts.

    Schoondog
  24. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Schoon, if you get a week of straight burning without cleaning, you have a better stove than me. I made 4 days, and the ash in the firebox was up past the bottom of the glass about 1 1/2", and the ash pan was full. Yeah, I figured out how to burn them in my stove, but, man, what a mess to clean!!

    If DJ can get his price lower than wood pellets (and I don't mean just a couple of dollars), then I'd buy them and deal w/ the ash.
  25. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    My thoughts are about the same as macman's. Reduced price and I would deal with the ash amount. But if the cost is just slightly less than wood pellets? It's a no brainer for me. I will spend a bit extra for a much cleaner burn. But getting a lower cost may take a large mill with high volume process to get the price into a more affordable price range. Low volume producers may not be able to sell at what we would call a reasonable cost!

    With what I burned it would be a full ash pan in a week of burning grass. That would be well over a month of burning pellets. But we did gain another option just in case the wood pellet market hits the skids. Options are good. So is also corn for some of us(burns a bit cleaner too!). I will probably get some just to help DJ keep going.

    I do like the 90 yield factor, Same as corn. Produce the winter supply in one season. Not 40 so years to reproduce the the supply.

    jay
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page