How to burn coal rice in pellet stoves?

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monteville

Member
Nov 23, 2019
121
Dallas
Years after multiple coal-fired electricity plants close, coal is reborn in Appalachia as an affordable home heating fuel.

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Anthracite coal rice is a clean burning fuel with higher HHV than wood pellets, and it burns hotter.

Coal rice is in irregular shape and similar size with wood pellets.

What should be done before burning coal rice in pellet stoves? If we halve the auger speed, can we reduce the heat stress on the pellet stove components?
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,496
Northern NH
Sorry, there are many things wrong with your statements. Coal is going to "eat" a typical pellet stove from the inside out due to sulfur content. Its a dirtier emissions due to Sulfur content (Usually 0.5% by weight is sulfur and that goes right up the stack. A warranty will be null and void if its used unless the stove is specifically rated for coal (good luck on that).

if you want to do a science experiment have at it as long as its your stove.
 

Pete Zahria

Minister of Fire
Jan 6, 2014
1,195
New Hampster
mcmanusfuels.com
The ash alone would be a ridiculous comparison...
The ash pan on a Harman coal stoker
is at least twice the size of a P68.
And you would have to empty that every couple of days.
Not to mention that the coal is a lot harder.
So what your Harman might just chew up a long pellet,
I larger sized piece of rice coal could stall your auger..


Dan
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Bad enough running corn with it's Nitric acid residue that requires careful and regular maintenance. I have to carefully clean mine and end of season switch to 100% pellets at least a week or 2 before shutting it down and performing season maintenance on it to mitigate the nitric acid residue and vapors condensed in the HX and venting.

Rice coal will not work (at least not very long) in ANY pellet or multifuel unit, not even one that will run corn like mine will. You'll quickly destroy the burn pot from the excessive heat and most likely warp the heat exchanger as it's not built to withstand the inherent heat of combusting coal.

If you want to run coal, I suggest you purchase a unit that will, like a Keystoker or a Harman designed for coal. Not only are they constructed differently but the venting is also very different. Pellet Vent won't work with a coal stove.

I've kicked around a coal unit for years but one, the cost of one and two, the venting requirements as well as fuel availability here has eliminated that as viable for me.

If you want to experiment, have at it be be apprised, your multifuel stove won't last very long.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
It always amazes me when people come up with ideas like this one. Think I said to you before (on the leaf thread, do a first article test on YOUR own stove and report back. Postulation should be left to politicians.

End of story for me.
 

Bill A

Member
Oct 4, 2018
28
Highland lakes NJ
If you want to burn rice coal, you should look for a coal stoker stove.
The coal is mined in Pa so here in the northeast the stoves are readily available.
Harman, Keystoker, Alaska, are some of the more popular units.
I have burned rice coal for years, first in a Harman Magnum stoker stove, then in a VF3000 boiler.
Lots of heat in coal, the stove can cook you out of the room on high, but also quite a bit of ash as well.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Pie in the sky and not apple either..... More like burnt cherry.
 
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Threerun

Burning Hunk
Jan 8, 2011
224
Montana
I seriously doubt any pellet stove is manufactured to handle the heat output rice coal can produce. It burn HOT, white hot in many cases.

I had a neighbor back in WV with a Harmon rice coal burner in his basement and you literally could not be within 10 ft of the unit for more than 5 minutes without sweating and panting.
 
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thecoalman

Member
Jul 18, 2008
37
Coal Country
coalpail.com
Years after multiple coal-fired electricity plants close, coal is reborn in Appalachia as an affordable home heating fuel.

Anthracite coal rice.....

There is no reborn here. Coal production peaked in Pennsylvania around 1920 at about 200 million tons, equally split between anthracite production in the Northeast and soft coal production in the west. That record production wasn't eclipsed until the mid 90's by Wyoming. PA still produces about 40 million tons per year. Between coal, oil and now natural gas PA has ceertainly lived up to the moniker The Keystone State. :)


The anthracite production heated homes and buildings in many parts of the country including large cities. Anthracite production declined after the twenties up until the 80's where it leveled off around 5 million tons per year, it's a small fraction of total US production. The primary market for anthracite has always been heating, industrial processes and other things like water filtration <gasp>. As far as water filtration goes it's used as replacement for sand filters. Sand is rounded, anthracite coal has odd fractures so it's more effective and lasts longer.

The cost of anthracite has always made it prohibitive for power production accept for special circumstances. There was at least one plant I was aware of using it for power generation but they were utilizing coal that did not have a large market elsewhere because it was sized too small. It's since been converted to gas, even those smaller sizes have pretty good market value now. There is also co-generation plants, they are specifically designed to burn culm which is the waste product of mined and processed coal. Those older banks have a lot of coal in them especially the older they are where smaller sizes like rice were considered garbage and discarded with the rock. It's cheaper to mine fresh coal that to process it into marketable product which is why it's only used in co-generation plants.

As far using it in pellet stove, please be sure to start the video recording right after the obligatory "Here, hold my beer". Grates, beds and pots used to burn coal are always going to be heavy cast. Anything designed to burn coal will be built like the proverbial brick shithouse and will last indefinitely. I just recently sold a 280K BTU Van Wert boiler that was originally installed in 1976 for about $2K and they removed it. If it were new proabaly be in the $16K range on a pallet. Total weight was 1500 pounds but you were able to split the stoker mechanism from the boiler section. It's heating some bar in NY state now.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,496
Northern NH
I worked at pulp and papermill that had a water filter plant that was installed in the late eighteen hundreds that is still used in 2021. When we had to rebuild it, 25 years ago it has not been rebuilt for decades. The river that we used for a water supply had a lot of dissolved color mostly from tannins in the water. The plant took out the solids from the water but did not do much for the color. We cleaned out the basins with a vacuum truck and rebuilt them one year to the original design that used crushed anthracite coal. It made a big difference in color removal for a couple of years. Our system had a complex system of support gravel and filter blocks but new designs are a lot simpler. The pulp mill is long gone but the papermill is still running getting water from the filter plant but it has not been rebuilt for at least 20 years. I think the filter plant is living on borrowed time.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
I'll stick with my corn.....lol

I think the OP likes to fantasize about irrelevant things. He went from roasting leaves to coal, what's next? Dried cow pies?
 
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thecoalman

Member
Jul 18, 2008
37
Coal Country
coalpail.com
Not sure about other coal units but you can burn corn or wood pellets in EFM coal boiler. If I recall correctly the manufacturer recommends a 50/50 mix with the coal but I also recall one of their reps mentioning some farmers using straight corn. That has an augered underfed pot design so realistically it could probably burn anything that will go through the auger without damaging it. The only real issue would be is making sure it wasn't burning back into the auger and pipe which would damage it. There is an adjustment for the feed rate. Whether it is going to efficiently burn corn or wood pellets I don't know. Be sitting down if you go to price one. They are expensie but even if you are young man it's once in a lifetime purchase.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Don't matter to me, I'm all good with what I have and my corn is basically free anyway.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,791
South Puget Sound, WA
I'd be concerned about the flue system handling the coal gas fumes. It's more corrosive.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Have to say, the only time to roast tires is at night so no one can see the smoke. They can however, smell the stink. Don't ask how I know, I just do..... :)

We have a cement plant nearby and they take all worn out tires. They feed them into their cement kilns when they make cement. Something about the steel cords melting and mixing with the limestone. All I know is there is no smell and no smoke. I've watched them dissappear down the chute before. Guess the rubber adds to the fire heat too. They take everything from farm tractor tires to car tires. No rims though, have to be dismounted.

That would be something, if you could turn old tires into fuel pellets but it's probably like burning oilseed (soybeans). I mix in a little with the corn, but not too much because they burn very hot. I imagine that burning oilseed would be like burning coal, lots of heat per unit used.
 

thecoalman

Member
Jul 18, 2008
37
Coal Country
coalpail.com
I'd be concerned about the flue system handling the coal gas fumes. It's more corrosive.

The standard install for coal is single walled galvanized flue pipe. You can get five to ten years out them. The larger issue is shutdown for the season, once the moisture gets to it that's a big problem. You can wash with baking soda and water solution to neutralize the acids. We had same pipe for 30 years but it was heavier gauge and that boiler was never shut down. They were only replaced becsue the house caught fire and had to be demolsihed, boiler was moved to new location beforehand. Current set is not as good as quality, they have more than ten years on them and they are holding up pretty well.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,496
Northern NH
Shredded tires (AKA Tire Derived Fuel - TDF) are used in a lot of kilns. I did a little work on a big trash burner plant that burnt whole tires. They were loaded into a vertical column like a roll of lifesavers standing on end. There was a slot in the wall of the boiler with a flap on it. Every so many minutes, the flap would open and a tire got kicked in from the bottom of the stack and then the flap closed. They were equipped to handle the steel cords which can be problem. Burning tires in a hot boiler with standard emissions controls is fairly clean. When burnt in a lime kiln the lime absorbs the SO2 that the tires put out.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
If I remember correctly, the steel cords in the tires melted as they 'cooked' inside the Kiln. All pretty interesting and the one I saw went the same way, tire in the chute, into the kiln, one at a time.