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what fuel other than wood?  RSS feed

 
hayley sheppard
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Good day forum
what is the most cost-effective source / material that can be used for burning in stoves/heaters where there is a scarcity of wood in mountainous regions to  be used mainly for heat and not cooking purposes... these stoves / heaters will be burning right through the day.

 
Travis Johnson
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Probably coal.

You can input your costs for each source in this comparison and calculate what is the least expensive.

Heating Source Comparison


 
David Livingston
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Unfortunately Coal is not renewable ..well not in my lifetime anyway . Also Coal  can be prohibitively expensive  depending on the quality of your transport links .
Other suggestions biomass waste - straw and stuff if produced locally , dried cattle dung .
Also have you thought about insulating your house to the max ! This can often be more cost effective than buying a new heating system or it could save you buying fuel and effectively pay for its self very quickly .

What type of property do you have ?
Have you thought of building a rocket mass heater ? These can be built quite cheaply and are much more efficient than ordinary wood fires ?
 
David Livingston
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Travis
There is a bit of an issue for me in your link . Its the standard industry figures for energy efficiency based on combustion . I find these misleading as they do not indicate how much heat is actually made available for heating the home . They only indicate the efficiency of burning not how much heat is lost up the chimney in the waste gases . This is why rocket mass heater and Masonry stoves are potentially more efficient as they both collect and utilise a higher % of the heat produced .
For example a regular wood or coal burning stove is said to be between 70 and 90% efficient at BURNING  coal or wood but if you loose most of that heat up the chimney whats the point ?
Check out this thread for more info  https://permies.com/t/57365/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Builder-Guide we even have a whole forum on the topic https://permies.com/f/260/rocket-mass-heaters

David
 
Linda Secker
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bricks made of waste paper - if you can get geared up for making a lot in one go .... and if you have somewhere to dry them... and can get hold of a lot of paper. You can also add chopped straw, sticks and sawdust into the mix.

I made a quite a few the year we got our woodburner, but I don't have the somewhere to dry them - they take a LONG time to dry out - so sacked it off as a poor use of my time. We burn scrap wood, so although we run low from time to time it is always available.

Also, get (or make) as efficient a stove as possible and as David said above - insulate to the max

 
hayley sheppard
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thank you all.

let me be a little more specific.

this is a solution i am trying to find for very poor people living in very mountainous terrein in a country in Africa.
they mainly have donkeys as their work animal and not many cattle. the dung is seen to be necessary for the earth / soil so seen not to be an option to burn this and there would not be enough.

i would need to come up with a product to import together with a heater structure, keeping the heat inside the huts. it is extremely cold with no electricity as an option.

the wood is scarce as they have used this over years to cook with. the heat is required all day.
there are no production sites. it is a case of finding a solution and raising the funds to deliver.

may i ask how does vermiculite work? due to the light weight and high burning temperatures i thought it would be a good option as it is transportable by the donkeys to the villages ?

please note i am by far not an expert in this field and am a management consultant trying to find a solution to a long term problem. your help is appreciated with enormous gratitude.

thank you
 
Burra Maluca
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I would certainly recommend learning more about rocket mass heaters - here's a link rocket mass heaters in a nutshell.

They are designed to not only burn hotter and faster and cleaner, extracting more heat from what fuel you have, but also to catch the heat that would otherwise escape up the chimney and store it in a large mass so that the heat that is normally lost is given off gradually during the day.  Most people can get 24 hours of heat from just a short burn of one or two hours. 
 
David Livingston
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The joy of rocket mass heaters is that you can make them yourselves out of simple often locally available materials such as clay   and as a result they co cost very little . What is the geology of the area you are talking about ? 
Vermiculite is a good insulator but its awkward to handle and costs  ; Is thatch a possibility as these folks could maybe grow it themselves ; Also Straw Bale housing has good properties for insulation  .
Looking at just heating may not be the issue it really may be a whole housing issue .

David
 
David Livingston
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I have an idea that would solve both your waste issues and heating issues .
The good news is that it will be very cheap and the bad news that intitially it will take a lots of hard work and propably 5 to ten years to impliment .  I suspect these folks are used to hard work .
My suggestion is to grow willow .
Willow comes in many different types so I am sure there is a type or even types that will be suitable . It can grow upto 5m per year under a coppice rotation system either via  a pollarding regime https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding ; or by stooling  http://www.coppice.co.uk/woodland-types/willow/willow-cultivation/ . It is very easy to propagate and loves marginal humid soil like bogs  and will survive flooding.

Uses

1 Firewood
Its great in a rocket mass heater cut small one winter dry over summer use next winter
2 Forage
Donkeys goats sheep and even cattle will eat it given the chance . in drought could be useful for farmers
3 Sewage
As part of a system along with reeds and rushes could be used to treat water http://www.wikiwater.fr/a25-treatment-by-willow-plantation.html
4 Handy Crafts
Traditionally used along with rushes to make furniture, baskets, fish traps, bee hives etc Winter work on the Farm in Europe it could be in effect a small winter cash crop for the farmers .
5 Construction material and Fence Posts
Not the best wood for these tasks but since its free ................... Also  for Wattle and Daub construction . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattle_and_daub

plus bonus you can make cricket bats from it

Once you have established the willow wood it will provide these products for ever at no extra cost just harvest once every year or two , think of it like a pension plan

Also other plants are possibilities -bamboo , Hazel , Acacia , etc
 
Travis Johnson
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Well scrap what I said about coal considering your situation. In this case I completely agree with David Livingston, willow would be a long term friend of that area.

Me and willow not so much. When I did wrong I had to go out to our willow tree and pick out a switch for my own backside. And if it was too thick, my Dad would pick it out. Slender and pliable meant I got good grades and did not get into a lot of trouble!
 
David Livingston
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Sounds like you are in good company Travis
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bitter_Withy


David
 
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