Mixing Pellets and corn?

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STANG302

Member
Nov 10, 2009
70
Osceola, WI
Has any one tried running a mix of wood pellets and corn? Wondering if the combo can be burnt well in stoves setup for pellets only?

Seeing the price of pellets climb year over year is getting annoying. And now that corn prices seem to have dropped back off a bit.
 

rona

Minister of Fire
Apr 2, 2008
1,030
southwestern Minn
Depending on your stove some pellet stoves will burn a blend. I like using a blend as it brings out the positives of both fuels and very few bad points. Locally corn is 3.23 for a bushel or 56 lbs. Pellets jumped to 5.99 a sack for Indeck pellets. Corn is a main crop where we live and cheap corn was how I got started with this hobby. It does seem ironic that the year corn drops is when Harman quit producing the PC45 multi fuel stove.
Tell us what type and model stove you have and chances are someone has the same stove and maybe does burn a blend.
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,407
Kentucky
Hello Rona! Hope all is well. I am making it a point today to stop by my local corn guy and see what he has. The little bit of 50 / 50 mix burning I did last season I liked. With the price of corn now I like it more. LOL!

I am also going to stop in and visit a friend right around the way and say hi. He hangs out in the Wood Shed Forum here and burns wood but is a local here in N. KY. He has a great stash of wood and it's funny I knew right where he lived as he explained it. I'd always think about and eyeball his wood stacks as I drove past.
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
I never burned corn but I have heard that due to the sugars in corn it can cause lot of Sticky residue in the stove?
or is that and old Wives tale?
 

chrisasst

Minister of Fire
Aug 13, 2008
1,289
cortland ny
Can a EF2 or englander pdvc burn a mix with pellet piping?
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Need to keep the stove temps a bit higher so trying to use a stove in a cold garage can pose a problem. Corn has a higher ignition temp close to 200 degrees more than pellets so trying to light straight corn is challenging. You will see the stoves that burn corn usually have a deeper pot or in Harman's PC45 case a reflector plate. Whits with a fairly shallow burn tray suck at burning corn. I would not attempt to burn corn in a major amount in pellet only venting as the exhaust is a lot more acidic.
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,407
Kentucky
My small amount of experience burning 50 / 50 I did see a bit of a sticky residue but really nothing that bothered me or let me say it did not really create any cleaning nor maintenance issues. The guy I bought my used PC45 from heated only with 100% corn every year. He also never really cleaned the 45 but ran it until parts quit and then just replaced what was not working or needed to be cleaned. I also believe he paid a local shop to do these "repairs" which is why it was listed on Craigslist. His loss, my gain.

When I did my thorough clean and tear down it was caked up with a lot of sticky mess but only after years of neglect IMO. So to answer your question I do not feel the little bit of "sticky" residue is really an issue at all for burning corn and the benefit of cheaper fuel at all. Another plus is it can seal the parts from any surface rust to a degree. Again just an observation and my opinion.

As to various stoves burning a mix I am sure they would if it feeds properly. Pellets and corn both obviously burn but I think the main hurdle is the feed systems, burn pots being able to handle a mix etc. All Harmans will do a 50 / 50 mix as will many other units and brands of multi fuel burners. Actually, I believe my P68 could possibly burn 100% corn once the fire was already there and on a stove temp or constant burn setting but it is not recommended for one reason or another and limited to a 50 / 50 mix from the factory for a reason. What those reasons are I am not sure but they are there. Same as proper oils and fuels in cars today. I'm sure they would run on others but how long? Or with what consequences. Specifications are put in place for a reason.

Someone may just need to try it with other pellet only stoves and see. Sounds like a shop project to me and definitely noy a main stove heating source. Maybe some have tried it. If it was my project I'd likely start with a 10% mix and see what happens with the proper feed etc. Now I am not saying just do it in your only heat providing stove or the new one but it can be done. Question is: what simple modifications if any are needed to get good results???? There are factors involved and some stoves may not do it at all. As for the pipe Sidecar has used regular pellet vent for years without issue from corn but he thoroughly cleans his at the end of each season too. I'm sure there are others burning some corn without multi fuel pipe also. getting them to admit it here is another thing.

Here's one for ya. When I was working on the PC45 in the garage last winter I just used a hole saw and sent a section of pipe right thru my old wooden garage door, No thimble. Nothing. Yeah, Shame on me. I did have a fire extinguisher right there and a 5 gallon bucket of water. Plus I knew I was replacing the doors with new ones anyway. Not to code by any means for testing purposes and I'm sure the insurance co would have had an issue but it worked temporarily without issue. Would I do that for a permanent install? No way! What I am getting at is everyone has to cover their liability and safety and some things are excessive to a degree but with good reason. Your life have a price tag?

Sadly it does in the court of law and that's just the way it is. Common Sense people but a little on the fly engineering is fun too as long as no one gets hurt or bites the dust. So in closing stick to what your manual says your stove can do unless you can prove otherwise safely.

As an example look at what some creative folks can and have accomplished bending some rules. Look on Youtube at these nuts bouncing up the side of sheer wall rock cliffs in these custom "rock crawlers." Do they sell them on car lots? Nope. But look at what can be done. You will also not see me doing that but I will and have jumped from planes and helos many times with proper equipment. Proper equipment still doesn't make that safe 100% but............ It's been done.
 

Arti

Feeling the Heat
Feb 14, 2014
386
South West Wisconsin
I mix 10 to 20 % pellets in the St Croix with a handful of oyster shells. It lights easier and the stove is easier to clean, the st croix is designed for corn. After a couple of years the stainless steel cap has pin holes in it so it is evidently corrosive. The corn needs to be dry what we burned last year was old corn in the 11% range and worked well.

In the Quadra fire we mixed up to 50% mix and it seemed to work fine the flame was a bit lower in the pot.
Love the smell of popcorn around the house and buying corn for $125 a ton makes it attractive, More work than buying a bag of pellets but saves some money.
You need to haul it as no one is really interested in delivering 100 bu of corn so you need to deal with transporting, cleaning , and storing the grain. A hundred bu of corn is about 2.5 to 3 ton.
 
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Gary Gileau

Member
Oct 15, 2012
161
Griswold CT
I have a US Stove Model 6041 which is a multi fuel stove. I have tried cherry pits (hated them), straight corn and a mix of corn and pellets. 50/50 corn\ pellets is my favorite. Too much corn and I get lots of clinkers but the mix seems to deliver the best heat with almost no clinkers. Either way, with $2.00 fuel it may be better to burn oil till the prices change.
 
Some of harmans models are now approved to burn a 50/50 mix. If download a new version of your owners manual it may in include an addendum with instructions on how to burn the 50/50 mix. I've been thinking of trying this myself, but it's going to depend on a buch of factors.
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Like how well you like being host to vermin and other creepy little critters?
 

Arti

Feeling the Heat
Feb 14, 2014
386
South West Wisconsin
Like how well you like being host to vermin and other creepy little critters?

Not really been a probem. 1 trap, a few dryer sheets and a few mothballs. trap didn't even go off last year.
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Not really been a problem. 1 trap, a few dryer sheets and a few mothballs. trap didn't even go off last year.
You didn't read my post in "outdoor storage" ?:) I just spit out 8 threw the mower this afternoon. The neighbor was taking the beans out around property today.
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,407
Kentucky
I remember a guy telling me about weavils? or some bug that he became over ran with. What is that? I'm sure the mice like those all you can eat buffets come January. Mean barn cats help there. Especially if you don't fill the food bowls completely.
 

STANG302

Member
Nov 10, 2009
70
Osceola, WI
Depending on your stove some pellet stoves will burn a blend. I like using a blend as it brings out the positives of both fuels and very few bad points. Locally corn is 3.23 for a bushel or 56 lbs. Pellets jumped to 5.99 a sack for Indeck pellets. Corn is a main crop where we live and cheap corn was how I got started with this hobby. It does seem ironic that the year corn drops is when Harman quit producing the PC45 multi fuel stove.
Tell us what type and model stove you have and chances are someone has the same stove and maybe does burn a blend.

I have a Quadra fire Sante Fe which will be moving upstairs this fall. And a Vogelzang VG5770 which i picked up dirt cheap to add a few more BTU's. I think the quad may not have an issue. The VG5770 may as the burn pot is not as efficient/effective as the quad. Which I've wanted to build my own burn pot for it.
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
The Santa Fe won't have an issue with burning corn as it has a deep cast iron pot. I tried one for a season as I got it from someone that went Geo. Burning corn will produce more ash volume as the kernels like to hold their shape and not crumble like pellets.
 

TonyVideo

Feeling the Heat
Feb 20, 2014
457
Rushville, IN
I think Harman recommends 15% moisture content or less for corn. The drier the better burn. It is hard to find it that low as when corn prices went up it was hard to find. Maybe better today. I should check again as I would like to try a 25% corn mixture if the price is right. Storage is critical. Pests or rodents is another level of frustration.
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Corn here to buy from elevator is around $3.60/bu in bulk. Long range outlook is that corn may stay close to the same price for fair period of time with moisture getting into major growing areas blah, blah.
I further cook corn into single digits
 

TonyVideo

Feeling the Heat
Feb 20, 2014
457
Rushville, IN
Around here elevator corn the moisture content is to high. There was a farmer about 20 miles away that dropped it down to 15 and then bagged it in 50 lbs bags. I should see if he still has that business. You had to buy a pallet at a time which would be fine with me.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,198
ohio
Corn has to be 15% or lower to store properly. I have been burning straight corn in my St. Criox for years now and have not had any problem w/ moisture. I leave the left over in the wagon undercover for the whole summer then finish burning in the fall. Usually has maybe 50# of moldy corn on the very bottom that needs trashed. Corn burns very clean in the right stove. I get a course black ash in the bottom of the stove and a grey, white and brown ash in the upper part of the stove.
 

3650

Minister of Fire
May 8, 2011
702
midwest
I used to experiment with what I could and couldn't burn in my Mt Vernon. Its pretty amazing what will actually burn. The biggest problem was residue left behind. I burned soy beans, almonds, dog food....50/50 corn pellets worked best.
 
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