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Burning Pellets in a Rocket Mass Heater

 
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Here's the final (maybe) video on my pellet/wood fire breathing monster. There's no doubt that I went a little above and beyond on attempting to extract as much heat as possible out of this thing.

RMH on Steroids

 
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great job, looks like you are getting it figured out. I have some similar ideas about robbing some of the radiant heat from my barrel like you did with an enclosure.
 
Rob Torcellini
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Inside the belly of the beast (rocket mass heater). The brick and mortar walls are in excellent condition (right), but as expected the stove pipe for the heat riser can’t handle the blast from the fire (center). The rock wool insulation is holding well and is still soft but holding its shape and is now basically acting as the wall of the heat riser in some areas. The floor of the burn tunnel (bottom) is also good with very little ash build up – except for a few pellets that I pushed in when sticking my arm in with the camera!
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burn tunnel
 
Rob Torcellini
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I know it’s hard to tell from this photo, but the final design for my pellet burner ran so hot today that it melted one of the baffles that is used for air flow. That’s not a light bulb shining, it’s the glow from the flame. It’s so intense that I can only work near it for a couple of seconds. There will be some good details to share in the next video! Happy New Year everyone!!!

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Rob Torcellini
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Forget everything I’ve shown with my past pellet feeder design - Hidden behind this glowing red cover is a new design that blows the old designs away! I’ve DOUBLED the rate that I’m burning pellets and it consumes around 12 pounds per hour. Including heating the building, I’m also heating the fish water at around 34,000 BTU/hour. With the old design after a few hours the ash would clog the grate…this one is SELF CLEANING. It can run 24/7 with only having to empty the ash bin. And remember, no power required. There is no doubt, this the final design!

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new design
 
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congrats Rob, that's some serious power, would love to see a revised cutaway diagram if you're willing to share
are you aware of Peter Berg's work on the other board regarding the "P channel"?
-seems like you might have come upon it by trial and error
Andor
 
Rob Torcellini
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I'll post a video of the design in the near future. I'm not familiar with Peter Berg work. Do you have a link to it?
 
Andor Horvath
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Rob et al,
regarding the P-channel
the following link will get you to the middle of one of the stickey threads on donkey's board.
Peter (and others) have been very generous in their sharing of experiments,
tons of content, tons of innovation and actual testing/results
http://donkey32.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=experiment&action=display&thread=355&page=4

Andor
 
Rob Torcellini
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looks like there's some good stuff in there. I wish I could find the time to pick through it all.
 
John Master
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I couldn't decifer what consisted of a p-channel, Saw lots of experimental tunnel layouts but couldnt figure out what they are calling a p-channel. I welded in one of his trip wire concepts while I was playing around, took a few minutes, couldn't hurt.
 
Andor Horvath
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Hi again,
yes, they are long threads....worth every hour (!) to follow and understand them
basically: the p-channel lets air in either at the feed on a J tube system, or on the horizontal batch systems, right before the riser
I tired to point you towards where they "named" the part, and verified it's size and function
The "trip wire" is related, but different; another way of disrupting laminar flow without too much friction

Andor
 
John Master
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Got it, it's that fresh air intake path right at the top front of the tunnel. Thinking I will try to incorporate that idea as well, Still up in the air as to how my feeder is going to work to get the chips to burn, I'll be taking a lot of robs ideas and having to get creative as well. Chips don't roll and drop as easily as pellets. Need to get a small batch of really good chips to see how they burn.
 
Andor Horvath
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John,

pellets are great to play with, chips problematic due to size/shape/% h2o....but it seems you've gort the idea.

[I'd like to talk to you off list....about combustion and also alt. vehicles and the resources/contacts I have here in milwaukee. scroll down to see my latest offering under links...]

Glad you're playing with different feeds and fuels...important work

Again, thanks to rob and others for sharing their work, another thread to look for on Donkey"s site is the Riley/Clary thread, another long one, but again, length describes the arduous "process of discovery" -can share a link if you can't find it, at a more decent hour...
 
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Im drooling in anticipation of your video and diagram, Rob! Awesome work my friend
 
Rob Torcellini
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New pellet feeder design for the rocket mass heater. It was quite exciting getting some of the close up footage...It was so hot, I would have to get my gloves wet and could only hold the camera for a few seconds.


 
Martin Seidel
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Great work, Rob! Every update makes me want to mimic your ideas. Keep it up, you are an inspiration!
 
Rob Torcellini
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No surprise - the heat riser in the rocket mass heater failed. I was hoping to get an entire season out of it but burning the pellets was too much for it. This picture shows that there isn’t a single piece of steel liner in the center and just the rock wool insulation is remaining. At the base, most of the rock wool melted. BTW melting point of rock wool is over 2000F

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inside the heat riser
 
Andor Horvath
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Rob,
might be time to try out those high tech liners I pointed you towards...cheaper than you would think...
 
Rob Torcellini
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Little update video about the inside of my heater.
 
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what does everyone think about replacing pellets with pine cones, in the same feeder system? just a thought.... I'm thinking of growing pine for nuts in the future, and I'm bound to have s mountain of pine cone. Ive heard about people using them for fuel before, maybe they could be a worthwhile free, sustainable and byproduct based fuel that'll be interchangeable with pellets in this system?
 
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Aww, Rob... sorry to see your fantastic pellet incinerator (temporarily) out of commission I'm sure your new heat riser will be the bomb-diggity.

I'm just about finished with my fireplace-mass system and I will have to say that your constant design improvement perseverance attitude has kept me inspired throughout my own trial-and-error process.

Keep up the good work!

Flame on, brother, flame on...
 
Rob Torcellini
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Hi everyone....I've been quietly busy working over here on a new enhancement for my rocket mass heater. One of my goals is to come up with a way to heat the greenhouse with bio-waste, mainly wood chips, without the need and expense of making actual pellets. This is the first step towards that goal....



 
Rob Torcellini
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It's been nearly a year since I've done any updates for our heater. I've done some fine tuning this winter and really have it running great! Almost too hot now..

 
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Rob T.-
Thanks for the update. I have seen all your videos on the rocket heater as well as some of your others. I am ready to try a pellet grate myself as I just talked my step-brother (who is a stainless fabricator) into making me one. But it will be a week or so before he can get to it.
With the wider gaps in the grate don't you see more unburned pellets falling into the ash pit? Do they burn up OK there? How long have you had a continuous burn without problems clogging up anywhere?
I noticed you commented on ZeroFossilFuels (my original design inspiration for a rocket heater) latest youtube vid on his rocket heater grate/basket.
Do you think the simple stainless wire "basket" would last in the short run?
 
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I love your videos!
That auger chip cutting is a great idea, it looked as though it was making smaller chips pretty slow though. How long does it take to get say a 5gal bucket of the finer cut chips?

 
Rob Torcellini
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John Adamz wrote:Rob T.-
Thanks for the update. I have seen all your videos on the rocket heater as well as some of your others. I am ready to try a pellet grate myself as I just talked my step-brother (who is a stainless fabricator) into making me one. But it will be a week or so before he can get to it.
With the wider gaps in the grate don't you see more unburned pellets falling into the ash pit? Do they burn up OK there? How long have you had a continuous burn without problems clogging up anywhere?
I noticed you commented on ZeroFossilFuels (my original design inspiration for a rocket heater) latest youtube vid on his rocket heater grate/basket.
Do you think the simple stainless wire "basket" would last in the short run?



I do get a few more unburned pellets falling through, but they just burn up in the ash pan. I did a basket design last year like ZeroFossilFuels and it does work well. But I found that the wire burns out fairly quickly and as it does, the gaps get wider and more pellets fall through. It's the main reason why I used the grate instead because the slats seem to last a bit longer. I think part of my issue is my heater is larger than his and burns at a higher temperature. His is still new so we'll see how long it lasts.
 
Rob Torcellini
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Den Stou wrote:I love your videos!
That auger chip cutting is a great idea, it looked as though it was making smaller chips pretty slow though. How long does it take to get say a 5gal bucket of the finer cut chips?



It probably takes a few hours to make a 5 gallon bucket full. For now, I've abandoned the auger project and am working on a new heater design that can burn full sized chips.
 
Rob Torcellini
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We're nearing the end of the heating season and I had to rebuild the heat riser. The stainless steel made it through about 1000 hours before it just fell apart.

 
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Location: Between Lincoln and Omaha ,Nebraska
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I have a question , how hot are your Exhaust temps ?? I.e. hot much of the heat are you capturing Vs. how much loss goes out the chimney .
The reason i ask is i was thinking of building a gravity feed pellet stove/RMH to put in the basement in the other half of my building (i love the idea of a pellet stove that needs no electricity to run)
 
Rob Torcellini
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Randy Voss wrote:I have a question , how hot are your Exhaust temps ?? I.e. hot much of the heat are you capturing Vs. how much loss goes out the chimney .
The reason i ask is i was thinking of building a gravity feed pellet stove/RMH to put in the basement in the other half of my building (i love the idea of a pellet stove that needs no electricity to run)



It's around 125-150F, depending on how long I've been running it for.
 
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Love your stuff! Here is a simple pellet burn solution. It is a grate which puts the pellets in a vertices feed and keeps ash from getting into the manifold.

Mikael
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MChannel
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Mchannel out of burn tunnel
 
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transportation fungi tiny house
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awesome stuff. good work
 
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hey has anyone thought of cutting grates the same size as in the video for the self feeding pellets to slide across and burn on, out of slices of ceramic tile you may have laying around. the thin strips may not be affected by heat shock and should be plenty thin and sturdy enough to hold the pellets in place with a higher operating temp with out sagging and breaking down? just though i would throw and idea out there. if i were to build a pellet system i would make my slats out of ceramic.
 
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