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Light from fire

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Ehouse, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Does anyone know of attempts to enhance the light output of a wood fire? Since the stove is operating during the season of reduced sunlight, it would be useful to increase the ambjant glow. I'm thinking small off grid cabin.

    Ehouse

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Interesting concept. Beyond keeping the front glass clean, I don't know there is a lot a person could do, though. With a clean glass, there is definitely enough light in the room to see an walk around with. Probably could do some reading as well. Maybe a mirror to direct some light to a darker corner of the room. The downside is the fire is usually a very 'dancing' light...flickering and pulsing from the motion of the flames. Plus, the 'high efficiency / clean burning' flames everyone is seeking are generally more of a translucent / floating flame as opposed to the bold yellow/orange flames which put out a lot more light. You could tweak the air settings to get bright yellow flames, but then you're burning wood pretty inefficiently. You'd be much better off with a candle or an oil lamp...or really, in today's age, a solar charged LED lamp. The LED would get you a steady, crisp, white light perfect for reading...but what kind of ambiance is that!?!?
  3. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if you could make a stove pipe that would fluoresce at high temp?

    Ehouse
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Nothing I can think of right off hand. At least nothing at any reasonable temperature and/or with any chemicals you'd want burning on the stove pipe. In this instance, heat is a relatively low grade energy, it is hard to directly 'upgrade' that to a higher energy like light.

    About the closest you could come would be to use thermoelectric modules to generate electricity and run some LEDs or charge a battery for later use. The downside is the TEMs have a pretty narrow temp band where they run optimally and they have a max temp as well, so you'd have to be careful with placement.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We discussed thermoelectric power a while ago. This is how the EcoFan is powered. I'd consider connecting some LED lighting to a peltier thermocouple for cogeneration. The trick is to have a good heat sink system to dissipate the heat rapidly. Lower power units are inexpensive and can be found on eBay or Amazon for DIY. Or you can buy higher power units from this source.

    http://www.tegpower.com/products.html
    DIY example:
    http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2012...ectric-peltier-energy-generator/#.UEzm_Jsamf4
  6. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Corey, you mentioned low and high grade energy. Is "cold light" such as that from a firefly or kids glow toy at the same energy grade as other forms?
  7. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

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    I saw a stove in a guys house that was raised up almost chest level. I asked him why and he said because he liked the light it put off at the level.
  8. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Well, 'cold light' is something different yet...a bit outside our simple discussion. In that case, you are taking chemical energy and converting directly to light. But is has to be two very special chemicals and just the right circumstances. The point I was trying to make...converting light to heat is pretty easy...a simple solar collector or black cloth can do that. Converting heat to light is a bit harder. Sort of like making heat is easy, just build a fire...making 'cold' needs some type of refrigeration system.
  9. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Hmm. What about using heat to induce light, say in some sort of Phase change material? The TEM Idea sounds good but I'd like to go directly from heat to light with no conversions in between. What I'm visualizing so far is a stove hung from the ceiling by it's stove pipe or on a pedestal with a band of glass around the upper corner/edge; ample cove molding around the wall ceiling joint with a reflective and/or emmitting surface. What else?

    Ehouse
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Seems like a ceramic glass door on the stove has already accomplished this. Fire = light.
  11. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    I am kind of wondering how a fiber optic feed from a fire would work to remote locations. On boilers with flame scanners they use a lense or plate glass to isolate them and a small purge airflow to keep them clean. It seems like it would be plausible.
  12. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    The challenge is focusing a significant fraction of the firelight onto a fiber....you would need a fiber bundle, or something like a tube skylight to transmit it.

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