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Fill an IBC tote with dirt and a rocket stove..?

 
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Hey, y'all.

I would like to take an IBC tote, place a rocket stove in the center, and then fill the tote to the top with dirt serving as a thermal mass/heatsink.

I would like to then submerge it either partially or completely into my floor and use it as a central heating source.

I would also like to consider putting copper tubing circularly, somewhere between the edge of the tote and the rocket stove, and maybe circulate either air or water through it.

This would of course sit inside of the metal cage, and I would add any reinforcement that would be needed to keep its overall structure intact.

Can anybody tell me what they think of these concepts?

Caveats? Suggestions?

Thank you very much in advance.

- dlh
 
Rocket Scientist
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Dennis; Welcome to Permies!
Well it sounds like your trying to take a rocket stove and try to make it into a rocket mass heater?
They are two different stoves.
A rocket stove is for cooking or quick temporary  heat (ice fishing house)
A rocket mass heater uses the exhaust to heat a mass and share that heat all night.
With your idea you would be relying on radiant heat to try and heat your dirt. Most of your heat is going straight up the chimney.  I'm afraid it is not going to work very well.
While your stove is burning your house should be comfy... as soon as your fire goes out your stored heat will quickly go away.

The other reason it may not be such a good idea.You can not heat the earth... its just to big... even with a molten core!
A RMH mass needs to be inside your building and insulated from the ground and outside walls to perform as expected.

As far as copper pipes and water...  very very dangerous!  Water flashes to steam instantly... it expands... it has no where to go... so it explosively bursts thru the copper, spraying shards of metal and super heated steam into your home...   makes for a REALLY bad day.  
 
Dennis Hutchins
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Thank you for your response. I have a few clarifications and questions.

"Hi Dennis; Welcome to Permies!
Well it sounds like your trying to take a rocket stove and try to make it into a rocket mass heater?"

They are two different stoves.
A rocket stove is for cooking or quick temporary  heat (ice fishing house)

Yes, after posting this I realized I was in the wrong forum.

"A rocket mass heater uses the exhaust to heat a mass and share that heat all night."

Yes, the mass in this case being the dirt.

"With your idea you would be relying on radiant heat to try and heat your dirt."

That's right, I'm using the dirt as thermal mass just like you would do with cob.

"Most of your heat is going straight up the chimney."

How is this true if the entire combustion chamber is surrounded by dirt?

The dual chamber is supposed to superheat whatever sorrounds it, be it air or something more solud5 (like cobb or dirt(..

"I'm afraid it is not going to work very well.
While your stove is burning your house should be comfy... as soon as your fire goes out your stored heat will quickly go away."

Is there some reason the heat won't be stored in the dirt (like it would be with cob?)

"The other reason it may not be such a good idea.You can not heat the earth... its just to big... even with a molten core!"

This is structurally no different than any other rocket stove mass heater. It's merely using dirt instead of rocks or cobb.

"A RMH mass needs to be inside your building and insulated from the ground and outside walls to perform as expected."

This will be inside my building, in a subfloor. Also, it will be at the center of the space insulated from the ground and the outside walls.

"As far as copper pipes and water...  very very dangerous!  Water flashes to steam instantly... it expands... it has no where to go... so it explosively bursts thru the copper, spraying shards of metal and super heated steam into your home...   makes for a REALLY bad day."

Obviously the pipe will not be inside or touching the fire chamber, and it will be kept enough of a distance that the maximum temperature will not exceed 100° C. If copper is the issue, I will get steel or cast iron pipe.
 
pollinator
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Location: the mountains of western nc
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a lot depends on the kind of dirt! is it clayey enough to act something like cob? the less dense it is, the less it will act as ‘mass’.
 
gardener
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Dennis Hutchins wrote:Yes, after posting this I realized I was in the wrong forum.


No worries Dennis, we now gotcha in the RMH forum too!

Dennis Hutchins wrote:Yes, the mass in this case being the dirt......Is there some reason the heat won't be stored in the dirt (like it would be with cob?)


As Thomas pointed out, the Earth is not going to be your best way to capture that heat very efficiently.
Think "monolithic" which has little to no air gaps in it as being your best mass material. The more dense the better.
Well packed clay soil as Greg pointed out would work pretty good and even better if it had lots of rock in there with only the clay soil as a way to fill in all those air gaps like a mortar.
Insulation would be needed around your tote so that the heat doesn't continue to get sucked out of the mass into the surrounding cooler Earth.

In regards to heating water, it most certainly can be done (and has been by many people here) but also adds a whole other element to the system that you may not be ready for quite yet.
Have you built a rocket stove before? If not, it is highly suggested that you have some fun with building some dry stacked ones in your backyard and seeing how they operate.

Are you thinking of a J tube or batchbox? Will it be in the basement or on the main floor? What sort of way are you transferring the heat into the soil? With pipes or a bell?
Can you provide a sketch of your setup, size of home your thinking of heating... that would help out.





 
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