AuthorTopic: Coal !  (Read 1751 times)

Offline BC2K

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Coal !
« on: July 16, 2013, 05:19:22 AM »
Any way you look at it, coal built the nation and might still save it in the future...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/LHI5VHBwIfI&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/LHI5VHBwIfI&fs=1</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/0tJVJf4vAtk&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/0tJVJf4vAtk&fs=1</a>

Q: Dufus - "Where's the computer in this thing?"
A: Engineer "Up here" pointing at his head

...shows you how old I am, my neighbor was an old steam engineer and took me on some runs back in 1956-57.
I was bout as old as the kid in the video below...



We had a small 5 hp steam engine here on the 'stead back in 1979... - had an old vertical fire-tube boiler to power it. The wood-fired boiler came out of an old laundry that wanted to get rid of the relic.

The neighbors and I got it all hooked up and stuffed it full of wood and lit it off... an hour later (and lots more wood) it started coming up to 10# guage steam, and we needed about 40# to turn the engine - that took another 15 minutes (and lots more wood).  She started cranking and the pressure climbed near 60# (with lots more wood).

Then it happened - one of the rusty fire-tubes gave way and the pressurized water hit the firebox... Steam, smoke and ash rocketed skywards with a most horrible hiss and we scattered in all directions like a buncha rats with beer cans in our hands.   It was hilarious to watch !  ;D

*Sigh - the engine was donated to a museum and the boiler is still sitting on the edge of the woods, a silent reminder of bygone days...  :-\

LESSON: It takes a surprising amount of wood (and work) to get the needed steam energy it takes to convert to mechanical power.

This one runs on wood too (25hp, horizontal boiler):

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/slCDujMREss&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/slCDujMREss&fs=1</a>

« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 05:28:15 AM by BC2K »
You can't prepare for a crisis when you are in the middle of it.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Coal !
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 05:38:25 AM »
In my generator research, I ran across this little clip of a steam-powered generator being run off a wood-fired boiler. Those people at otherpower are a good resource. I have ordered a lot of stuff recently from them, and they are dependable. They are the ones with all the little hardware goodies to build small gennys from PMA alternators.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/xksDjfLbcQ0&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/xksDjfLbcQ0&fs=1</a>
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 05:40:48 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline BC2K

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Re: Coal !
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 05:54:29 AM »
How many KWH from a cord of wood ?

I never got to the point where I could generate and measure...

I just know it took a helluva lot of wood (and work) just to get the steam engine to crank.

Very convenient just to crank the diesel or start with a key...

... I don't like gasoline - was in a boat explosion once years ago that burned it to the water line.
-bobbed around in the ocean for an hour before rescue -- switched everything on the 'stead to diesel after that...
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 05:56:51 AM by BC2K »
You can't prepare for a crisis when you are in the middle of it.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Coal !
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 06:26:11 AM »
I mostly try to stay with diesel power equipment too, both for the reason you mentioned and just because I think American made diesel tractors made between 1950 and 1975 or so are superior in durability to anything else. I am not as good with diesel mechanics as I'd like to be, because I grew up tinkering with gas engines. I have learned to bleed the fuel systems. Easy for them to get dry, because I don't use them enough. Maybe I'll eventually learn the mysteries of the injector pumps.

I never blew up a boat, but did once get hypothermia bobbing in cold water. Lucky to be alive from that one, and lucky my five and three year old daughters, who were with us, didn't perish. They got rescued pretty quick, but me and my buddy stayed onboard while we were towed in, to keep our flooded Flying Scot from turtling. We made it but it's the coldest I've ever been. Learned a lesson that night.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 07:53:43 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Coal !
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 06:57:15 AM »
How many kW from a cord of wood?

Good question. Answer: More than I thought.

The following is called the Smithers method for estimating the number of cords of wood to heat a house. A standard cord is a well stacked pile of wood 128 cubic feet in volume, a pile 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet. Most people have some way to arrive at the amount of conventional fuel it takes to heat the house for an average year.

The Smithers method assumes the following equivalents to one cord of average dry hardwood* (W):
150 gallon No. 2 fuel oil
230 gallon LP gas
21,000 cubic feet natural gas
6,158 kwh electricity

With these figures in mind you can see the savings of burning wood.


http://enoslandscape.com/wood-oil.php
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Coal !
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 07:06:30 AM »
And a ton of coal is equivalent to 1.4 cords of hardwood. At least according to this source.

http://www.hrt.msu.edu/energy/pdf/coal%20heat.pdf
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Coal !
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 07:43:51 AM »
Similarly, a big round bale of hay has as much energy as a barrel of oil



or so I was told by a guy who invented a machine that pelletized grass for pellet-burning stoves.

Of course that is an extremely rough estimate as round bales can be 4 to 5 feet in diameter and 4 to 6 feet long, so a 5x6 bale can weigh as much as 3 4x4 bales ("Bale Weight: How Important Is It?").

The neat part was that I figured out that if I saved all grass clippings, I could get enough pellets to heat my house for the winter from my 1/3 acre lot... it would just take about 3 hours to process with his ~$150,000 machine  :-\  :'(
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline Eddie

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Re: Coal !
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 07:55:47 AM »
it would just take about 3 hours to process with his ~$150,000 machine  :-\  :'(

Ah, technology. therein lies the rub. EROEI is a bitch. I often say that prepping is the easiest thing in the world..if you have an unlimited supply of money.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 07:58:10 AM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

 

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