Meagan and I have purchased a bus to turn into our gypsy home, and we are searching for the best information on rocket stoves. We know there is loads of info out there and so here is our situation.
We have a 35 foot international school bus. We are making it as self sufficient and efficient as possible. We insulated the floor and walls with Low-E insulation, and now it is time to put in a heat source. We bought a small wood stove, it's cute and will look good once installed. But then we wondered about safety with how close it will be to our walls. We have done our research, and now are wondering about rocket stoves. Do you know of anyone who has built one in a retrofitted school bus or similar structure? Pictures or contacts?
how's this for an idea!. if you're looking for a heat source, why not consider a biomass gasification fuel system. the by-product of the combustion is to create the needed hydrogen and carbon dioxide is heat. besides the heat, a biomass gasification fuel system is multi-purpose. the syngas could fuel an electrical generator or fuel the engine.
it might even be possible to add a solar array on the bus. i understand they make roll on flexible solar arrays. get a DC battery bank and you're really doing awesome! it may not be necessary to put in a rocket stove, if you can just generate the electricity with solar that you would use for the existant electrical heater system. a bus must have a 27 foot roof! that's a lot of roof surface area for solar panels, and larger cargo (kayak!).
anyways, i'd love to hear more about your conversion.
posted 8 years ago
Thanks for the idea. I will look into the gasifier, I believe Meagan did see them a few months ago, but hey as the project moves forward old ideas become new gems.
We have been using as much re-purposed materials as possible to get this bus going, salvaging wood, tile, paneling etc. It's been a great project and keeps learning and re-inventing what is possible to live in and build.
I will post pics and more info soon.
Location: Ferndale, MI- Zone 5b
posted 8 years ago
what is your ultimate plan for the bus? will you tour the country? visit family? camp? will you own property as well or is this all you will have?
The only problem we ever came up against with the wood stove in the bus we used to have was that though the stove was bolted down... the flu needed to be taken down and replaced as we went. Learned the hard way that it wasn't the best design to going down the road when the pipe fell loose and the wind blew soot everywhere!
I've been lurking around but I had to make an account to reply to this. I have a skoolie that is nearing completion called The Albatross. It is 37' and we looked into putting in a woodstove or a rocket stove and there are a lot of issues to keep in mind.
A woodstove uses a huge quantity of oxygen, so you have to sacrifice some insulating properties in order to keep it going. We opted to insulate and seal all of our floors and walls with 2" foam insulation and caulking. We plan to be in some cold places and this makes sense, but now there's very little airflow.
With any fire there is also the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. In a house this risk is acceptable but in a bus, in such a small space, the risk is much higher. We only have 350 square feet and three kids and this is a concern for us.
A rocket stove is much more efficient than a woodstove in the amount of fuel it uses, but usually in a house for heating purposes you would want to build a rocket mass heater. Small rocket stoves were originally designed for cooking, and the rocket mass heater adapted that design in order to radiate heat. However, in a bus where space is at a premium, do you want to build a massive glob of mud or brick? Weight is also a factor. Our bus gets 5mpg and the heavier it is the worse that gets. Going uphill or down a mountain you really don't want any extra weight that you don't need.
After lots of deliberation, we opted for a propane furnace. It's safer to use, takes up very little space, and we can still boondock if we want to. When I build my cob or strawbale house then I'll build my rocket mass heater but for a bus it's better to go with propane.