Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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A modern free-standing pellet coal stove

Build on the idea of the wood pellet stove, only using coal
  (+5, -3)
(+5, -3)
  [vote for,

I've cut 5 cords of wood a year on average to heat our home for the past 30 years. Yikes, is it that long! Recently, actually just before Y2K (at the worse possible time) I began research on wood pellet stoves. Neat little things. Don't need anything but a small pipe out the window. Can heat a home with one or 2 of em. They even run on corn. The usual resistance to the wood stove is the mess and the volume of wood. The pellet stove greatly reduces those concerns, but not completely. Why not make a modernized version that can really substitute as a primary heat source in homes. It would run on "marbles of coal" taking up signficantly less volume, and could run for a week at a time without filling. My wood stove has coal potential....but I have only used it during the most cold months...and it's a pain to get started. The modernized coal pellet stove would have a propane or gas starting system, to alleviate that concern. We have bazillion tons of available coal, and a source of clean safe heat, with woodstove charm, has to be sellable. I know of the systems that tie into standard heating systems, but that's a big installation....and I think this is fundamentally better. The bottom line is....use less oil for home heating.
Bob Wade, May 10 2002

coal vs. pellet http://hearth.com/questions/qa866.html
[phoenix, May 10 2002]


       I think I'm going to vote against this, if only for ecological reasons. For the record, i'm sure the idea in and of itself is sound.
yamahito, May 10 2002

       Pellet stoves I've seen and certainly felt the heat from do this, and do this well.
thumbwax, May 10 2002

       Yamahito...the coal would be a very clean burn compared to wood pellets...and possibly approaching natural gas if done correctly....and more efficient in the end than large mass burning plants which then have to convert the energy and distribute it.
Bob Wade, May 11 2002

       Forgot to mention....coal is available for sale already in the size required (Pea Coal)
Bob Wade, May 13 2002

       Baked, we have one at mom's farm...
futurebird, May 14 2002

       futurebird....coal that is.....not corn.
Bob Wade, May 15 2002

       Bob, my objection is not so much at the cleanliness of the fuel/waste products; it is that this relies on a fossil fuel; wood is a renewable resource. A far better fuel alternative would be ethane harvested by distilling sugar-cane products. If we have to be burning anything, better this than anything else I can think of. It's also very clean.
yamahito, May 15 2002

       this is a excellent idea. Coal is the most abundent form of fossil fuel and the usa contains mountains of it. I suspect it creates much less demand on imported fuel to mine and deliver then even wood or farm products. The idea of mutiple fuel possibilities is of particular intrest since it builds in adaptability to various issues that can temporarilly effect price and availability of assorted fuels. I would also question why cottonseed (whole) has not been promoted like corn. It should be as usable for heat and much more dificult to process to oil and feed products than corn. possibly cheaper as a byproduct of fiber industry. Personally i would think all wood should be diverted from landfills and burnoffs to be processed into either firewood or pellets. I would also wonder if some unused excess fibers such as corn stalks straw cotton plants cane straw etc could be pelletized for a bit weaker fuels. I am not at all impressed with using ethane/ethanol as a fuel due to production cost/btu returned. Ethanol is best suited to beverage or aftershave perfume use. I do not however agree with trying to build in the charm feature and prefer a strictly buisness aproach such as a warm air ducted or hot water boiler automated burner setup. You can buy automated anracite pea coal furnaces already by the way.
markappl, Dec 31 2004

       I guess you guys are just ignoring yamahito. Have you seen the pollution and land devastation caused by strip mining for coal? It's a respectable idea, that doesn't mean it's a sensible one...   

       Bob Wade, consider your cutting time well spent.
TimD, Jan 01 2005


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