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I hat this @#$% EKO

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by deerefanatic, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Donl

    Donl Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
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    Loc:
    Ontario

    I have found storage to make a huge difference in overall system performance. It seems to provide a "FLY WHEEL" effect.

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  2. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    The island of Rhum Boogie
    Great idea.
  3. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

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    Jan 22, 2008
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    Loc:
    Orange County NY
    It took me several days to have the time to read through all of this, so - another late comer.

    I have a few things to add.

    I assume your shop is for the farm, and as mentioned above, may be an insurance isssue especially if machinery, or vehicles are in there. While the heat would be welcome, the lacl of insurance in the event of a claim kind of offsets this benefit.

    Several have sugested methods for drying your wood. One of the things we make our living at is structural drying. Evaporate the moisture with air movement over the wood, then dehumidify the air. If you simply bring wood into your shop, and raise the humidity in the air, the drying will stop. But if you can continually remove humidity with mechanical dehumidification, you can accomplish what a years worth of outside seasoning does in a few days. I have the ability to stack 1 1/2 cords inside, and running one of my commercial dehumidifiers for 3 days, I can drop the m.c. 5-8 %. My dehu is 2-3 times larger than what you would buy at sears, and I split my wood small (4") to get better drying. We often set up " drying chambers " with plastic sheeting and then concentrate on controlling humidity. Wet will always go to dry, just create the dry. A greenhouse is hot, but also usually humid, so not good enough for what we're trying to accomplish. My mosture meters only go to 30%, in the industry, we consider 30% to be saturated, usually a log even one that's been dead 2 years will peg the meter. You and I both know how well this wood burns in the Eko
    I have creosote in the upper chamber and around the door, but my tubes are clean, I made a cleaning tool with a fender washer and threaded rod, but only used it once last year, now I just use a brush on a long handle that is normally used for cleaning oil boilers.
    I'm still tinkering ( only my second year with the eko) but drying the wood has given me much better results.
    Best of luck to you,
    Chris
  4. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Mar 25, 2008
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    Loc:
    Palmer, MA
    Just kinda curious so i am 'bumping' this. How is the system working these days?
  5. Hankovitch

    Hankovitch Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    38
    Loc:
    SW Wisconsin
    Dry vs wet wood...........
    Now something additional on burning wet wood.
    I posted this about a year ago on another thread, thought it would fit well here…
    When purchasing wood for burning you need not ask if it is dry (the seller will always tell you it is dry!). Just look at the ends of the wood pieces where the chain saw cut through the tree. If you see what appear to be a number of slits, cracks or gaps where the wood fibers have separated, then it is at least somewhat dry. If the wood appears to be tight (no slits, gaps or cracks), then the wood is NOT dry, and you will use a lot of energy just to drive off the water before you can burn the wood.
    Late this Spring or early Summer cut some wood of your own, split it, weigh it immediately, and record the weight on the ends of several pieces. Dry it for a while - 1 week, 3 weeks, 2 months, 4 months - and record the weight of the pieces through the Summer. It will be an interesting and revealing experiment. Let’s look at a cord of wood (4’x4’x8’= 1 cord).
    Let us assume the cord of wood you purchased is wet enough that it still has 400 pounds of water in it. (probably a VERY conservative number for an entire cord of freshly cut wood. Freshly cut wood can contain a LOT of water, and seasoned or dry wood will typically still contain 15-20% water).
    See the link http://www.i4at.org/surv/woodburn.htm
    (Note: this link has information confirming that burning wet wood can be a cause of creosote buildup in chimneys)
    Thought I would try a fun calculation here to determine how much energy you will use just to drive off the water, and thereafter allow the wood to burn..
    To heat water requires 1 BTU per degree per pound of water. Thus to heat one pound of water in the wood from 32 degrees F to 212 degrees F (to the temperature where the water can begin to boil away) will require 180 BTU per pound of water.
    This means that you will use 72,000 BTU for the 400 pounds of water in the wood just to get the water to 212 degrees F.
    But the water is still there, as a liquid - it is just a liquid at 212 degrees F!..........so read on…......
    To convert 1 pound of liquid water at 212 degrees F to one pound of steam at 212 degrees F (where it will then have all ‘boiled away’) will require 970.4 BTU per pound of water.......Really.
    For the 400 pounds of water, you will need to use another 388,000 BTU to complete driving off the water.
    Or, starting at 32 degrees F, for a cord of wood which still has 400 pounds of water in it, you will utilize 72,000 BTU + 388,000 BTU = 460,000 BTU jsut to drive off the water…..now you can use the BTUs in the wood to heat your home. This is 460,000 BTU which is NOT available to heat your home!............this is why it is best to burn DRY wood.

    Hankovitch in SW Wisconsin
  6. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Twenty million btu per eighty-five cubic foot cord is a reasonable estimate of the available heat in twenty percent moisture wood. If it only costs me two and a half percent to burn green wood instead of dry, why all the excitement?

    --ewd
  7. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
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    Loc:
    Orange County NY
    Why all the hoopla? Because to try and dry wood in the boiler, and gassify at the same time drives boiler efficiency way down. IMO if you could spend those few btus drying the wood before it gets into the boiler, and keep your boiler efficiency up, it's the next best thing to letting mother nature dry the wood.
  8. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    20million btu's is only good for some types of wood but the issue here is that you cannot heat the water and your home at the same time especially in a boiler that was not designed to operate
    above 20%mc. For instance my EKO40 was in an unheated building and functioned well at and above freezing with per required seasoned wood. However boositng the dew point to 60 and dumping the mean temp to -20f and there was a sudden change in functionality. Putting -20f wood into the upper chamber dropped the temp of the boiler in several ways. First is of course the cold wood second was the "per required seasoned wood" was now a mass of surfaces for condensation of the moisture in the heated air entering the upperchamber. All those cold surfaces dripping moisture actually nixed the gasification and nearly put the fire out. Next the secondary air entering the mix became below par because the refractory had been cooled. Now suddenly you are blowing cold air into the boiler sedcondary chamber and the boiler is losing heat rapidly (you can actually have a small fire that eats wood but does not put out enough heat to warm the boiler up). The heat load has to be shut off, the wood has to be removed and the fire rebuilt and the wood has to be added slowly enough that it can heat up and add to the heat rather than deplete it. The whole time you are heating wood to burn you are robbing heat time from the heat load. When the condensation rolls around in the burn chamber of a gasifier it continues to condense to the coolest surface and not actually evaporate. In a gasifier you could theoretically double the earlier mentioned btu's needed to dry the wood to the proper mc and then expend more btu's to get the boiler up to operating temps. Couple all this with the inability to put the whole cord of wood into the boiler at the same time and you extend the period of time the heat load is deprived of being satisfied. In an OWB or gasifier there is an "X" amount of wood/coals that need to be burning in order for the boiler to function as designed. In a nut :ahhh: shell wet wood reduces the thermal capacity rating of the boiler and in a gasser you are drawing in moisture form outside air to compound the problem.
  9. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    3,008
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    Well put Cave.

    Adding frozen fuel compounds the problems inherent with green wood. My son in law experienced that in a big way during his first EconoBurn winter. It difficult to realize and put a handle on how much poorly prepared wood actually costs you until you try to use it in a boiler that for all practical purposes should be adequate to do the job but won't. Once he got his hands on some seasoned wood and kept his outbuilding a little warmer the difference was hard to believe unless you saw it with your own eyes.
    The reason most people don't have a grasp of what green wood costs them is that they are using a grossly inefficient or oversized boiler in the first place.
  10. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Lothian, MD
    I just moved 2 firebox loads of wood in next to my boiler (6x12 insulated room) from the storage room (10x12 with a tarp door)! I'll get some more in tomorrow.

    http://www.tpub.com/content/construction/14279/css/14279_189.htm

    A key RULE to remember is that .5 Btu of heat is required to raise 1 pound of ice 1oF when the temperature is below 32°F; and .5 Btu of heat is required to raise 1 pound of steam 1°F above the temperature of 212°F.

    LATENT HEAT, or hidden heat, is the term used for the heat absorbed or given off by a substance while it is changing its physical state...To raise the temperature of 1 pound of ice from 0°F to 32°F, you must add 16 Btu. To change the pound of ice at 32°F to a pound of water at 32°F, you add 144 Btu (latent heat of fusion). There is no change in temperature while the ice is melting. After the ice is melted, however, the temperature of the water is raised when more heat is applied. When 180 Btu are added, the water boils. To change a pound of water at 212°F to a pound of steam at 212°F, you must add 970 Btu (latent heat of vaporization). After the water is converted to steam at 212°F, the application of additional heat causes a rise in the temperature of the steam.
  11. Sawyer

    Sawyer Minister of Fire

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    Below are figures I use to calculate my efficiency. I bring my firewood into the boiler room to acclimate before burning. These figures are based on Forest Product Laboratory. I have found other laboratory and university data to be very similar to FPL.

    Forest Product Laboratory

    8,660 BTU available in a # of wood @ 0% MC
    6,900 BTU available in a # of wood @ 20% MC
    6,020 BTU available in a # of wood @ 30% MC
    4,300 BTU available in a # of wood @ 50% MC (38% less than 20% MC)

    My average cord (Your mixture may vary from mine.) of hardwood dry (20% MC) is ~ 3300# (H Maple 3757# 20% ((2862# 0%-- 4,386# 65% Green)) S Maple 2924# 20% - Cherry 3120# 20% - Y Birch 3689# 20%)

    3300x6900 = 22,770,000 X .75 = 17,077,500 BTU in cord (128 cu/ft) of my average firewood mixture @ 75% Efficiency in my average 20%MC hardwood load.
  12. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    You GOT IT!!! Absolutely true. All of it.

    Things that make me go Hmmmmmmmmm........

    The urge to burn green wood
    Using non barrier pex
    Using a poor underground product.
    How my wife can need the bathroom for a full hour every morning in 2 minute intervals. In/Out, In/Out, In/Out............ :)

    Got a guy right now insisting that he should be able to burn green wood in a Garn he picked up used. (1987 model) Wonders why it is consuming so much fuel............ Some days.........
  13. Sawyer

    Sawyer Minister of Fire

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  14. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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  15. Rick Stanley

    Rick Stanley Feeling the Heat

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    Southern ME
    I got my Garn in 08 and got my wood in after it had dried outside for a year. I never got the Garn online till 09. So I started with, mostly red oak, that had been cut and split and stacked for two years, (one year in a building).
    This year I have wood seasoned barely one year, mixed oak(some kinda big), pin cherry, red maple(some punky and frozen), pitch pine(some pitchy) and a few sticks of poplar. I don't know about formula this or laboratory that, but.............
    I made use of what I had from cutting around the field edges and some deadfalls and blowdowns around the farm. Nothing wrong with that AND the stuff burns fine in the Garn. But it's obvious to me that if you got very slap happy about wood species, quality and good seasoning you could end up burning TWICE as much wood.
  16. Hunderliggur

    Hunderliggur Minister of Fire

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    Lothian, MD
    Danfoss valve: "The small hole is the same as in a car thermostat it allows the air to purge out of the valve and prevents an air lock." Whatever, it works for me!
  17. PV2U

    PV2U New Member

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    Loc:
    Richmond, VA
    Bravo! I'm a newbie to the word of Wood Gasification, but I learned so much from reading nearly every word of this exercise in troubleshooting. You guys are nothing short of an inspiration, the way you put your heads together to help out an obviously overwhelmed and highly frustrated individual.

    My appreciation to all that contributed to this thread (and thereby to my scant knowledge) - I learned a great many things; not the least of which being that this is an unusually grand group of fellows!

    Hats off!
    Paul

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