The heat released from wood is actually stored solar energy--released
from its bounds when consumed in a stove. Our country has vast resources
of wood. Properly managed, our forests could provide large fuel wood
supplies forever. In addition, the new EPA approved stoves burn wood
cleaner and more efficiently than ever before. As older stoves are
replaced with newer ones, wood smoke pollution is being greatly reduced.
Most wood contains the same amount of BTU's per pound. However, since
wood is sold by size (cord) and not weight, dense wood such as oak and
hickory will provide more heat for the same size pile.
Pellets are made from clean wood waste material (saw dust and chips)
and are therefore a recycled material. In addition, wood is a renewable
fuel (it continues to grow!). One possible downfall of pellets is the
energy required to transport them over long distances, so hopefully Forfuel.com
can help you find a closer source. As more and more pellet plants open,
this problem should take care of itself. Most pellet stoves burn quite
cleanly--so very little pollution is released from these stoves.
Stove corn should be at 15% or less moisture content. Grain storage
elevators blend dry corn and wet corn to get an average of 15%. This
that one time you will get less than 15% and sometimes it could be 18-20%
moisture. Ideally, 11-12% moisture corn is the best and it will give
you app. 7,500 BTU’s per pound . Corn hybrids that are high in
sugar will give you higher btu’s. Stay away from wax content corn
and do not burn treated seed corn.
Properly dried corn contains up to 8500 btu per lb. Unlike pellets, corn
is not sold completely dry and so yields an average input of 6500-7500
btu per lb. due to moisture content - this is 10-20% less than the same
weight of wood pellets.
Hard Coal - Anthracite
Coal can be a viable option for those folks who live within a few hours
drive of Pennsylvania’s Anthracite (hard coal) mines. This hard
coal is packed with an enormous amount of energy. Coal stoves usually
can burn longer on each fuel load than wood stoves and they provide a
more even and controllable heat. Coal is also “American Made.”
Pennsylvania Anthracite coal is very clean burning and produces no visible
smoke or creosote. However, the mining of coal can produce some negative
effects on the environment.
Coal is most efficient when burned in freestanding stoves. Some stoves
are “dual-fuel” and capable of burning both wood and coal.
Coal fires are difficult to start, but once alight a fire can last for
weeks or even months. For this reason, coal is best suited to those who
use their stoves on a full-time basis.
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