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Pony Poo as Biofuel  RSS feed

 
Chris Bond
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After looking at a RMH I realised that where I wanted to bulid it might cause problems with the neighbours - namely that the wooden fence between us would likely go up in smoke! So looking at how to make the most of a more conventional stove at a much reduced cost. I have access to a livery yard that has about 50 horses and obviously a lot of waste that they have to pay to dispose of. I can use some on the garden, but was thinking that it is basically just recycled grass so should burn if dried. Does anyone have any experience of using what gets mucked out of stables for fuel? My thought would be to dampen it, compress it into 'logs' and leave it to dry before burning. Thoughts?
 
Stevie Sun
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Years ago my housemate did his masters dissertation about different fuels available to pre industrial blacksmiths. He used pony poo as part of his experiments. It didnt really work as a blacksmith's fuel but cant remember why. Im not at home at the moment but I will try and remember to ask him.

I suspect it would work well enough in a domestic setting with some experimentation and tweaking of set up though.
 
Rebecca Norman
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All of India and neighboring countries consider cow dung to be obvious normal fuel. I'm sure Google images will give pics, but the most common way is to shape it into round cakes of about one dropping size, slap it on a wall and let it dry. These often need to be broken into smaller chunks during use. Two surprizing things are a) cow dung is so hard that it can be difficult to break if it didn't crack while drying, and b) the smoke smells good when burning, a bit like apple wood. In Nepal I saw people drying cow dung better: They shaped it into narrow lengths about a foot or 18" long and maybe 2 or 3" square, much easier to use, and it looked like some people were mixing other dry fuel in such as straw, rice husks or sawdust, that would be inconvenient to burn otherwise.

I don't think horse dung has that stickiness turning into dry strength like cow dung, but you should try! For fuel, you want it to dry as quickly as possible and not start composting.

First step is not to call it poo.
 
Bill Erickson
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Pony Poo - aka Horse Apples. I've never tried to use them as a deliberate source for fuel, but when dried, they do burn quite well. They are not similar to cow dung at all in consistency and instead pretty much start out in "cubed up" form. Even when dried, they are fairly easy to break up - actually pretty fragile in that regard, wet or dry. Compressing it might add some structural strength to it - I'd be interested to see your results.

Chris, I have a question about your reason for going this route - why do you believe that the neighbor's fence would go up in smoke if you put the exhaust for an RMH there? A properly setup RMH should have an exhaust temp that could lead to drying, but not incineration. At least that is what all my research has led me to believe - especially with the videos that show folks putting their faces into the exhaust without ill effect.

Here's the one I'm thinking about:

 
Chris Bond
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Bill Erickson wrote:.

Chris, I have a question about your reason for going this route - why do you believe that the neighbor's fence would go up in smoke if you put the exhaust for an RMH there? A properly setup RMH should have an exhaust temp that could lead to drying, but not incineration. At least that is what all my research has led me to believe - especially with the videos that show folks putting their faces into the exhaust without ill effect.


Bill - it isn't the exhaust that will be next to the fence, it is the oildrum, having now seen the temperatures this will get to if the system is working well having it next to a wooden fence maybe isn't that bright!
 
Bill Erickson
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Chris Bond wrote:
Bill Erickson wrote:.

Chris, I have a question about your reason for going this route - why do you believe that the neighbor's fence would go up in smoke if you put the exhaust for an RMH there? A properly setup RMH should have an exhaust temp that could lead to drying, but not incineration. At least that is what all my research has led me to believe - especially with the videos that show folks putting their faces into the exhaust without ill effect.


Bill - it isn't the exhaust that will be next to the fence, it is the oildrum, having now seen the temperatures this will get to if the system is working well having it next to a wooden fence maybe isn't that bright!


So you are just building an experimental unit outdoors? Or is this for doing an outdoor bench? The barrel will get hot, but unless the wood is directly touching it, it won't cause combustion to start on the fence. A foot to 18 inches (30-50 cm) is all the gap you'd need to prevent that, or put a bit of rock wall there. When I was a youngster, we made a barrier with slate and cement on a 4 foot by 4 foot bit of plywood and that did a dandy job of preventing our wood paneled walls from drying out and burning. My Pop made a monster wood stove that ate armloads of split wood at a time and that thing would heat our whole 1500 square foot (140 m2) house. That would allow you to build your RMH and make the fence a bit prettier as well.

Honestly, I'm still not sure what the purpose of the RMH or woodstove is going to be there.
 
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