Wood Brick Fuel

BA8w7 Posted By BA8w7, Jan 12, 2009 at 3:43 PM

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  1. BA8w7

    BA8w7
    New Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    5
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    Loc:
    SE PA
    Has anyone used this stuff? I called a local distributor this morning and they said its clean and user friendly,but @ $275 not so sure it is economical. Avg $ for cord wood in my area is $175-200. If it burns as long as hot as I am reading it will,maybe it might be worth a try. I am sure the burn times are just like the times from my stove manufacturer,not an exact science.

    Here is the info I found on the net.

    Wood Bricks, A Firewood Alternative

    Learn more about our environmentally and financially friendly wood brick fuels at AES Heathplace Stoveshop.

    One ton is equivalent of one cord of firewood. The firebricks are denser and uses only a 4'x4'x3' space as compared to a 4'x4'x8' cord of firewood. The bricks can be stored indoors. There are no bugs or mess.

    Made from recycled wood waste. It's 100% wood with no additional binders or accelerants. Consistent heat from every piece utilizing kiln dried material. Burns hotter, cleaner, and longer than the equivalent amount of cordwood.

    You'll enjoy affordable warmth of a wood stove or fireplace with longer burn times, less stirring, and less ash!

    www.woodbrickfuel.com
    Wood Bricks Burn
    Hotter, Longer, and Cleaner!!!!

    With this new fuel alternative many benefits can be achieved that can not be by burning firewood. Wood Bricks are produced by introducing dry wood waste particles to extreme compression forces. The natural lignin chemicals of the wood acts as the binding agent, producing a wood product denser than typical wood.



    Low Creosote

    Low Smoke

    No Bugs

    No Bark

    Very Little Ash

    Half the Space of Cordwood

    Quickly Ignites

    Environmentally Friendly

    Safer than Burning Firewood

    No Additives


    Thanks
    Mike
     
  2. CaddyUser

    CaddyUser
    Member

    Nov 28, 2008
    110
    4
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I use them in combination with cord wood. Yes, they are typically more expensive than cordwood (about $270 per skid here), but they do work well.

    The major learning curve is how many bricks to use at a time, and the placing, or packing of them in the firebox. Given the dryness of the bricks, if you expose too much surface, you will produce more heat, and potentially get into an overfire situation. It takes a little experimentation to get things right, but they work well for us.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Jags

    Jags
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    Aug 2, 2006
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    Do you have a question on them, or just making an advertisement for them?
     
  4. BA8w7

    BA8w7
    New Member

    Nov 22, 2008
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    Jags,

    Not advertising, Just looking for opinions from people who have tried them.
    Are they worth the money and do they work as advertised.

    $275 seems like a lot of money
     
  5. Jags

    Jags
    Moderate Moderator
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    Aug 2, 2006
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    When you start getting to that kinda money for alternative fuel, you start heading into the same range as burning oil/propane. I would really evaluate the cost comparison before jumping on $275 cord wood (equivalent). Depending on your home fuel source and costs, it may not make any sense to go this route if savings is your primary intent.
     
  6. BA8w7

    BA8w7
    New Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    5
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    Loc:
    SE PA
    Yeah you're right about the money, that is a big factor but not the only. Cordwood is around $200 right now and who knows at this point in the season if it is really seasoned or not.
    I guess this is the price I pay as a newbie and not planning properly. lesson learned. next year however I will be in great shape,my back yard is full of wood it is just freshly split(over the summer) but not ready to burn.
    Maybe with some scrounged wood and a pallet of these things I can get through the season like Caddyuser does. Either way I am going to pay somehow.
     
  7. SaratogaJJ

    SaratogaJJ
    New Member

    Oct 31, 2008
    53
    0
    Loc:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    I have been using them this winter - we installed a wood-burning insert last spring, so this is not only my first heating season burning wood, but also my first season using the bricks. So, this winter has been a bit of a long-term science project, with a not-inconsiderable amount of trial-and-error.

    I use Envi-blocks. The distributor from whom I purchased them has a sliding scale of pricing, so if you pay for them between April 1 and May 31, you get a fairly decent discount. I bought two pallets (which is roughly two tons), at 315 individual blocks per pallet. Including the delivery charge, the total cost came to just under $500.

    They claim that a pallet is roughly equivalent to a cord of hardwood. I can't address that claim, because I have neither empirical evidence nor past experience to guide me, since this is my first winter burning wood. However, I will say that I expect that 630 individual bricks will get me through the heating season - I may fall just a little bit short, or I may have 30 or 40 bricks left at the end of the season, but I know I won't end up with either a huge surplus nor will I get to March 1 and scratching my head trying to figure out where I can get wood to burn.

    On the plus side:

    These things are a dream to stack and store. No bugs, no dirt, they stack into a big neat cube...it's really about as hassle-free as you can get. The bricks do 'shed' a little bit when you move them, but it's basically small flakes of sawdust. No big deal, really.

    They burn very clean, and leave comparatively very little ash once they have completely burned.

    They burn for a long time. I can stack four of them in a cube configuration over a bed of hot coals (the bottom two E-W, and the top two N-S), and with the air intake nearly closed up, I can get a nice burn for at least 7+ hours (sometimes even 8), and have enough hot remnants left to get a new fire going in the morning.

    On the minus side:

    Admittedly, I'm still learning, but they are a bit difficult to get a fire going from a cold start using just the bricks. Even a half of a Super Cedar struggles to get these things going. However, if you get a fire going with two splits of seasoned cordwood, and get a nice bed of hot coals going, the bricks will light off in no time flat. I do find that half of a Super Cedar and a lot of newspaper seems to work relatively well.

    They don't burn as hot as cordwood. Well, let me qualify that. With the air intake closed down most of the way, a load of 4 bricks will burn at a somewhat lower themperature than a load of well-seasoned cordwood. But they will burn longer, too.

    As a previous poster mentioned, placing and spacing of the bricks is kind of critical to the performance. If you arrange four of them in a cube as I described above, they'll burn a little cooler, but potentially for a very long time. If you just kind of put them in the firebox haphazardly, they'll burn pretty hot, but there's no way you're going to get a 7-hour burn out of them. Maybe 4-5 at best.

    Bottom line, they are really convenient, compared to stacking and storing and seasoning cordwood. You will, though, pay a premium for that convenience. When going for an overnight burn, these will burn a bit cooler than seasoned cordwood, but you'll get a longer burn time out of them, so the total amount of energy released is probably going to be roughly comparable. I have found that they work best as part of a diversity of fuel - meaning, keep some seasoned cordwood around. Start the fire with that and get a bed of coals, and then use the bricks. Stack them nice and tight against each other, and you'll get a nice long burn time. Of course, if you're the type who is always feeding the stove and never let the fire go out, then you'll need less cordwood.
     
  8. Duetech

    Duetech
    Minister of Fire

    Sep 15, 2008
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    Loc:
    S/W MI
    BA8w7,
    Since their advertising price is rated per ton compared to fire wood and a cord copy and paste the chimney sweep link to your browser. The comparisons are skewed. White oak can weigh 2 tons per full cord, that would be almost $540 a cord for oak in comparison, and very few woods even enter the ton/cord scenario. Pine which has some of the greatest btu content per pound
    also requires nearly a 2-1 ratio compared to oak or Osage orange which has almost twice the btu content per bulk cord as pine. $270 per cord for pine IS high priced. Check the link!

    http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm
     
  9. Slow1

    Slow1
    Minister of Fire

    Nov 26, 2008
    2,671
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    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    I have been experimenting with both bio-bricks and Envi-blocks. Search on these terms and you are bound to find my other comments on them. Bottom line in my opinion so far is that they are decent products and do seem to have their place. However, they are clearly premium products in terms of cost. I'm finding that they do indeed seem to burn at about the same rate as cord wood for me, that is if my estimates of my cord wood burn rate is accurate, which may be in question since I have not been able to go out and re-measure my piles in quite a while, but I expect to find myself within +/- 10%.

    Pros: Very steady burn, quite predictable, generally cleaner mess (sawdust vacuums easily, no bugs to chase), easy to pack more in the stove (i.e. more energy dense), VERY clean burn once going - no smoke.
    Cons: Harder to get burning nice (if they smoulder on start, they STINK), more expensive, must be kept dry, new learning curve for some (more energy dense - can over fire stacked too loose)

    Another interesting thing that I noticed this weekend when I was doing some experimenting is this: Although I get a very steady surface temp in the low 500's with the sawdust products, the flue stays lower (which seems like a good thing efficiency wise), with wood I may run on average a lower surface temp, but clearly higher flue temp. Now, the effective heat thrown into my house seems to be higher with wood. I don't have enough measurements yet to say this is a clear conclusion, but I'm getting to feel somewhat suspicious that this may be the case based on a few observations. My theory at this point is that the 3-4 feet of single wall flue in the house is giving a good amount of surface area to heat the air and thus adds a lot to the heating capacity of the stove setup. What I have observed is that the immediate area simply heats up faster and stays warmer with wood fires. As stated, the sample size is too small to really draw a solid conclusion.

    So.. take it for what it is worth - these are premium products, they are nice and have their place. When oil was at $4.50 and headed up they made sense to me, now with oil at $2.10 I don't have an economic argument to burn them (or even to buy cord wood at $300/cord!). Of course there are many other reasons to burn in the stove besides the economic ones, but that's another topic.
     
  10. SteveT

    SteveT
    Feeling the Heat

    May 21, 2008
    335
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    Loc:
    West of Boston
    The last few posts sum things up nicely. Here is a bit more on the financials...

    All of the bio products (bricks or pellets) are around 17 million Btu/ton. So at $275 per ton you are paying just over $21.00 per million Btu's.

    Cordwood will vary from about 16 million Btu/cord (pine) to 24 million Btu/cord (oak) to 28 million Btu/cord (hickory).

    Assuming your available cordwood is oak @ $200/cord, the cost is about $11.00 per million Btu's.

    So if you can find a supplier who will deliver a full cord of seasoned wood (and that's a BIG IF) there is no financial sense in using any Bio product. But the other characteristics (handling/storage/low ash etc.) still make them a decent, but expensive, choice.
     
  11. SteveT

    SteveT
    Feeling the Heat

    May 21, 2008
    335
    0
    Loc:
    West of Boston
    EDIT -- THE COST PER MILLION BTU FOR BOTH THE BIO PRODUCT AND THE IS FACTORED FOR "TYPICAL" STOVE EFFICIENCY OF 76%
     
  12. DAKSY

    DAKSY
    Patriot Guard Rider Moderator
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    Dec 2, 2008
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    Before I'd invest in a ton or a cord or whatever lot size they sell these bricks for, I'd contact my stove manufacturer to make sure they're an approved fuel...Jotul, for one, does NOT approve Bio Bricks, because they have done any controlled independent testing with them...
    You'd hate to void a warranty on a stove that cost you a couple of thousand $$$, because you wanna be "Evironmentally Friendly..."
     
  13. DAKSY

    DAKSY
    Patriot Guard Rider Moderator
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    Dec 2, 2008
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    Duh!
    Make that Jotul HASN'T done any testing...
    Sure wish I could type!
     
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider
    Mod Emeritus

    Nov 20, 2006
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    Loc:
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    Do a search on "Bio Bricks" there have been several threads on them and similar products...

    Bottom line, as stated, expensive, but burn fairly well when used correctly. CAN OVER FIRE YOUR STOVE if used improperly. MUST be kept DRY - if they get wet they "explode" back into messy pile of the sawdust they were made from.

    Gooserider
     
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