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Heat'rs brand Densified energy logs

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by JAred, Jan 26, 2006.

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  1. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    I just picked some up at the Home desperate and thought I'd give'm a shot. Has anyone had experience with these? Their 100 percent wood so no wax or oils..... I visited their website and found out they make pellets as well. WWW.forestenergy.com I only put one in the fire and it has yet to take off..I'll keep an eye on it to make sure this thing is not going to melt a hole in my stove.

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    There is a lot of BTU' stored in those types a log, presto log is lengetics brand, and eureka has one too. They are hard to start and work best on a established fire. I think there great. They burn slow and hot. You can try breaking of some "disk's" and using that as kindling.
    Ryan
  3. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    wow, This thing is taking off! it's uncoiling like one of the firecracker snakes and burning like crazy.
  4. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    How much do they cost?
    We use to buy them 10 for a buck, they were 6 x 12 .
    they burned pertty dirty as I recall. Are they still made that size?
  5. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    these are about 4'' round and 18'' long made entirely of wood they were 4 bucks for 30 pounds
  6. damien

    damien Woodlove

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    What I do is I buy a case of them and cut them up into small chunks, about the size of 2x2 square, set it in the stove, light it ,stack wood all around it and in about fifteen minuites the wood takes off. They also work great to pre-heat youre flue so you get a good draft. That is, when you light a small chunk, not the whole thing.
  7. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    All they are is one big ole pellet. Very little if any binders.
  8. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    Any thoughts on the economical standpoint of such an item? If I could buy a pallet or two of these cheap enough they would be nice to have during the burning season. If their the same as their pellets they contain about 8ooo btu's a pound.
  9. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    I sell the 8lb energy log from Idaho. This log has 68,000 btu's per 8lb log. I get them to burn 10-12 hours easy. I have been selling firewood in the Seattle area for 29 years now. Every time a customer tries these they do not go back to firewood. We sell a pallet of 240 logs for 225.00 picked up. They run 295.00 delivered with a discount on multiple pallets. A picture can be seen at www.nwfuel.com.

    Thomas
  10. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    Do you know if these are available on the east coast?
    Boston, New York , Buffalo, Conn.
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

  12. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    lengetics makes a log like that, contact a true value hardware store. Ask them to special order them for you. They are distrubited through a company called tru-serv wich services all true value hardware's. That would be the best bet if no hearth shops carry them for you.
  13. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    Someone else asked about the economics of these logs, which is a very good question.

    Using the numbers above, you are paying about $18 per million BTUs delivered for compressed logs.

    Pellets work out to about $11.50 per million BTUs back when they were $150/ton; at $250/ton, they're up to about $19 per million BTUs, so these logs are quite competitive to pellets these days.

    However, if you compare to cordwood, assuming mixed hardwood has about 22 million BTUs/cord (varies by at least +/- 10%) at a price of $150/cord delivered (going rate in hudson valley) then you are only paying about $7 per million BTUs.

    I realize the above options are more convenient for some people and both involve less labor than burning cordwood. I don't intend to start a flame war with this analysis. However, they should not be considered economical compared to conventional woodburning, and are more or less on par with the cost of heating oil at about $2.10/gallon - less work than any of the options. Natural gas is also in the same ballpark.

    If you don't already have oil or gas heat installed, or you have other reasons to burn like zone heating, ambiance, or political reasons, then those logs could be right for you. But if you are evaluating against cordwood or oil, economics alone don't justify it, as much as you may hear otherwise.

    And to be fair, if I do the analysis on my cordwood burning, even at a cost less than half of oil, it will take at least 3 years to just pay back the cost of the class A chimney and stove. Point is that saving money is harder than some would have you believe, but most of us have other reasons for burning. Me, I think it's the right way to fight the war on terror - don't send your money to the middle east - conserve energy/gasoline and diversify fuel sources. I only wish our administration had the same vision. I also enjoy the ambiance of the fire, and the backup heat source has already bailed me out once during a long power failure. But I have no delusions about the fact that it will take 3-4 years of hard work just to break even, and after that, I might make a few bucks an hour tops for my efforts :)

    -Colin
  14. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Good analysis Colin.

    I know that these type logs are not available as far as I could find in the Hudson Valley (Pok area) Only thing I found was the cardboard based logs at the BORG. They're really expensive. 150/cord is about what I found also, but send me an email if your interested in a much cheaper option for cord wood that I found. No tree cutting, just gathering, splitting and stacking.

    My sister who lives near Seattle does use the giant pellet logs and buys them by the pallet. Uses something like 3 pallets a year, but they don't get the kind of cold we do here. The good part is that they are a whole lot less work than cord wood, even if it's delivered split.

    They also burn REALLY clean. She does not have a lined chimney, just a pipe up into the chimney, and there has never been any creosote removed during a chimney cleaning.
  15. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    You must not be too far from me - we are between Millbrook and Standfordville. We have about 19 acres that is completely wooded, so we've been cutting our own wood so far - until I get lazy, I think we'll keep doing that. However, friends of ours who live in East Fishkill just got a Woodstock Fireview and they're buying wood - that's where I heard the price info. Please let me know what you found and I'll pass it along to them!

    Thanks,
    Colin
  16. NWfuel

    NWfuel Minister of Fire

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    Whoa, 22 million btu per cord. What is the moisture content in your wood? I don't know if this matters but the 8lb energy log has 5% moisture. The air mixture has to be turned way down to prevent overheating the stove.

    Now when I put 24lbs (3logs) in my stove I will heat a 900 sq.ft. room to 75 degrees for 12-14 hours.
    Will your wood heat a same size room that long with same amount of fuel? or does the fact that firewood has a higher moisture content affect the burn time and heat output.
    Don't forget the fact that a pallet takes up 1/3 the room a cord of wood does, and 99% less emmisions also.
    Thomas
  17. Runs With Scissors

    Runs With Scissors New Member

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    "and 99% less emmisions also."



    HUH :roll:



    At any rate between my property (3 acres), picking up after the township after storms, helping out neighbors after storms or who have pesky tree problems, Im paying about $3.95 per mil/btu.
    .
    .
    .
    Cant beat that with a stick...........cause I burnt it allready.
  18. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Hi folks,
    I've been PMing with Thomas from BioPellet, and he was having some trouble with posting to the forum...So he asked for some help...Here is the post he wanted added:


    Guys, your book analysis aside, the empirical truth of the matter is that the amount of lost energy from burning typical inconsistent poorly seasoned wood (in the form of smoke up the chimney) results in a much better showing from the densified logs. My testing this last season showed that I could get more than 2x longer burns from the same weight of BioBricks(tm) as compared with readily available cordwood. Based on this empirical data my ton of BioBricks selling for $225 is the same as at least 1.5 cords of wood.

    It is true that if you know what you are doing and you can find properly seasoned wood (moisture content less than 15%) then the cost advantage moves back closer to the side of cordwood - but good-luck finding such stuff on a large volume basis.

    The moral is that just the book-keeping of energy does not capture the economics. One must also factor in the effects of moisture and size inconsistency on how much of the energy is actually transfered into the house, and how much is lost up the stack. BTW, when I say moisture here I am not talking about the energy it takes to boil off the water but rather the effect the presence of water has on smoldering and incomplete combustion.

    Please check out burn plots on my website http://www.BioPellet.net

    BR Thomas

    Also,

    Colin, Your analysis does not take into account the loss of
    > energy (in the form of smoke) do to burning typical (20% moisture)
    > cordwood. I am not talking about the use of some of the energy
    > in the wood to boil off the chemical and free moisture. I am
    > talking about the efficiency loss due to smoldering wood which can
    > not reach combustion temperatures due to water and inconsistent
    > size. This results in wasted energy (in the form of smoke) It is
    > because of this that I empirically get 2x or longer burn times
    > from burning my BioBricks(TM) compared to an equal weight of
    > typical cordwood. This emperical result means that one pallet of
    > my BioBricks selling for $225 offers the same heating as more than
    > a cord and a half of typical cordwood.
    > Have a look at some of my test data at www.BioPellet.net
    >
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What is the emissions difference between the pellet logs and real wood? I've read that the pellet logs burn way cleaner, very little ash and emissions relative to wood. Is this true? If so, that might also balance the equation.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    To be reasonably fair you'll need to include the cost of trucking, insurance, saws, maintenance, splitting, stacking etc. and labor. Free wood is never really free. Inexpensive, yes, but not free.
  21. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    Having found this post again, I will followup - some of the statements above are misleading in my opinion so I feel the need to address them. Specifically, the fact that 37 lbs of cordwood has a shorter burntime than 37 lbs of biobricks as shown in on the website only tells part of the story - you really need to integrate the total heat delivered with each load and normalize that output against cost of the fuel with clear assumptions on the relative cost of each fuel to make a fair economically driven argument.

    First, as background to some other posters, the wood moisture question is addressed in detail here: http://www.sankey.ws/wetwood.html

    And another good link: http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/for/for35/for35.htm

    You will see here that even after accounting for 20% moisture content (equilibrium condition for ~85 % relative humidity... pretty extreme test case) that you are still comfortably at 22 million BTUs per cord of net available heat after driving off moisture. It's actually quite easy to get seasoned wood - just stack it and season it! Even in 70% humidity, you will eventually settle down to 15% moisture.

    For the sake of argument, let's make it really conservative and assume you have some low grade hardwood in there and you're impatient and never let is season past 20% and call it 20 million BTUs/cord. (In reality, a smart woodburner will do better than this)

    At $150/cord delivered, this puts you at 133,333 BTUs per dollar for cordwood.

    Now go back to the example we were given, which was a pallet of energy logs with 68,000 BTUs per log, at a price of $1.23 per log delivered. This puts you at only 55,284 BTUs per dollar for energy logs. I would be interested in the same data for your specific logs to compare.

    Now the argument made above is that you lose lots of energy to smoke. This is of course the argument for both catalytic stoves, as well as EPA certified secondary burn. But keep in mind that these are designed to burn wood, and wood inherently has moisture in it. Therefore, it is not valid to handwave an argument that says bone dry biobricks are a miracle compared to wood - only that they have an incremental efficiency benefit. Let's be generous and say that our EPA catalytic stove only gets 70% efficiency but that using bio-bricks, we somehow achieved 100% efficiency. Keep in mind this is impossible due to heat loss up the chimney... but we'll use it as a theoretical exercise to prove it still doesn't tip the balance.

    Overestimating the worst case, I'll derate my cordwood calculation by 30% penalty for lost efficiency. I'm still at 93,333 BTUs per dollar - way more for the money, even after making assumptions that are grossly overestimating the impact of residual moisture in cordwood.

    Now don't get me wrong - I'm not against the idea of someone using these compressed logs - in many cases it may make a lot of sense. It clearly offers convenience advantages for those that may have stoves with short burn times. I can also buy that there may be a particle advantage with some stoves. Most importantly, for homeowners looking at supplemental heating options, these may be a wise choice in that you can choose between the convenience of a pellet-like product and the associated higher prices of a manufactured fuel, versus a lower cost cordwood option when you want to put in the extra work associated with managing cordwood. I would in fact recommend these bricks any day over pellets due to the ambiance of a wood fire and the flexibility to use low-cost cordwood in a single appliance.

    I simply take issue with some of the statements made above that make very strong claims that in my opinion don't have enough compelling data to pass peer review - the logs analyzed in this thread are approximately twice as expensive per available unit of energy as cordwood. There are so many better arguments for these product that I would not focus on these dubious economic claims with the current data available.

    Plain and simple, very few alternative heating options really end up saving money - even the cheap monetary cost of cordwood is made up for by high labor output. But there are many other reasons why there is a great market for woodburning products, including biobricks.

    -Colin
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks Colin. Excellent discussion. I also am trying to get away from the hyperbole. 99% reduction in emissions, really? However, considering that wood here costs $200/cord or more (saw madrona for 245 yesterday) and consdering we have lower btu/lb wood, (figure soft maple, alder, fir), the comparison between wood and bricks does get closer.
  23. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    Yes, I agree completely - I think the key is to put forth objective numbers where people can plug in realistic values and costs that apply to their particular situation to help make more informed economic decisions, assuming they are weighing that as a factor. Hopefully we'll get some clear numbers on the bio bricks, along with improved data to refine these calculations and perhaps add this to some of the existing online fuel cost calculators.

    For my case, I know I make at most $5/hr cutting wood in terms of what I save, but I enjoy it, it's cheaper than the gym, and I feel good not sending money to the middle east!

    -Colin
  24. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Oak is from 25 -30 million BTU per cord...good stuff. If moisture content is 25% , then you have to deduct 20% appox as compared to 5% logs or pellet - That makes over 20 million BTU even when corrected for moisture.

    In terms of emissions, pressed logs might be a lot better than smouldered green wood, but it would be virtually impossible for them to be much more efficient than seasoned wood burned correctly in a modern stove. This is because many modern stoves burn with 95-98% combustion efficiency and as you can imagine it's hard to improve on this.

    Yes, the east is blessed with some good stuff - hickory, locust, oak, oak and more oak! It is natural that much of the rest of the country only makes comparisons to pine and simiar lower BTU wood, because that is what is most abundant in the west.
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think most folks would be wise to compare the energy logs to Pellets instead of to regular wood. This takes a lot of the questions out of the equation. The, use the calculator at:
    http://hearth.com/fuelcalc/findoil.html

    and plug the numbers into Pellet box.
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