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Our RMH: my gateway to Permaculture  RSS feed

 
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Hello everyone.
After a beautiful personal RMH travel since Oktober last year, I created a little write up for my blog, that I want to share here.
Please enjoy.



Mid December 2016 our miniature 12,5cm / 4.9inch CSA (cross sectional area) rocket mass heater got finally finished and we could switch off the stinking gas heater, that was bridging us through November, waiting for our RMH construction to begin. It must be said, that this is our first experience with heating with wood, as we come from a life with central (gas) heating including a digital appliance on the wall to input the desired temperature. Yet, ever since the RMH is completed, our dragon is the only heat source in the house, except a radiator for the bathroom. It gets fired roughly twice a day (morning / night) and keeps us warm even through the exceptional days around freezing temperature, that we had in our usually mild mediterranean, warm temperate climate.

Our RMH is a very small model with a CSA at the lowest end of the scale and also a battery (mass bench) at the lower end with only about 0,5m3 of volume. The sizes derive from an existing chimney flue of our rented house (CSA limitation), and the size of the corner of the living room that could be furnished with the heavy thermal bench.

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Here you see the built in the first air tight drafting test, loaded with bricks as well as under construction images of the bench, being filled with field stones and thermal cob and the adjustment of the sloping of the bench channels.
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Having read "The rocket mass heater Builder’s Guide" by Erica & Ernie Wisner after getting aware of the RMHs through my initial Permaculture researches, the development and building of our RMH became something like my gateway to Permaculture. It was the first real Permaculture project I became engaged in and it proofed to be extremely simple, magorly genius and purely satisfactory in its outcome. So, empowerded by this experience I felt confident to engage in more permaculture projects and put a lot of trust into Permaculture design techniques, that bring easy to apply, ancient knowlege into nowadays problems solution finding.

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Photo after the RMH’s first burn at final state: The white upper part of the heat riser indicates a very hot burn. This is a sign, that high temperatures are achieved and a thorougly combustion of the fuel is supposable. The black lower part shows the soot, that condenses on the cold surfaces of the RMH’s innards at the beginning of the burn.
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Fuel math and facts as conclusion:

Having counted the buckets of fuel that we burned in our RHM from December till now, I can well estimate that for a whole, future heating season (November trough March) we will need about 3,5 m³ of fuel. In american cords this will be about one cord of wood. Of course this number resembles a highly subjective value, as every person has a different sensation of heat, every RMH has different potentials (remember ours is a mini RMH, with a mini battery and therefore short piping, loosing substantially more heat through the exit cimney pipe than other RMHs), and every house is different in size and themal properties, so are the climatic factors in different locations. Yet, now being surroundet by many people, heating with wood we had many smiling people sitting on our heater, confirming the unbelievable little amount of wood the heater uses and definitely wanting to construct one themselves.

    - From December 13th to today, March 5th, all ashes from all burned wood fill one of the 13 liter metal buckets seen in the top image.
    - Wood, that would keep us warm for 10 hours would fire a conventional wood stove of a friend for 2 hours.
DSC_1375_edit.jpg
[Thumbnail for DSC_1375_edit.jpg]
our mediterranean mini RMH
 
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Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
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HI Moritz,

Great to see the inner workings of your rocket! It was our rocket that got me into Permaculture too. And now we're both on Geoff's PDC!

Lesley
 
Moritz Reichartz
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lesley verbrugge wrote:HI Moritz,

Great to see the inner workings of your rocket! It was our rocket that got me into Permaculture too. And now we're both on Geoff's PDC!

Lesley



Hello classmate!
The gateway side of the RMH wasn't clear to me until I started writing about it. I remember your beautiful dragon. Is it to be seen here on permies as well?
 
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Location: Southern alps, on the French side of the french /italian border 5000ft high Southern alpine climate.
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Hi Moritz.

Well, you say that you loose too much heat in the chimney.

A trick that i've learnt with one of my first Rockets.  I had  the same vertical pipe going to the wall. And at some point, i replaced this partly with a 35kg gas bottle. The bottle Being fatter, the gases slow down in it,. This giving you more exchange time and surface, to extract the heat.  35kg bottles cost nothing to scavenge here.  May be a trick to try.  And if it works,  may be cob this, for a little more flywheel effect.
 
Moritz Reichartz
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Satamax Antone wrote:Hi Moritz.

Well, you say that you loose too much heat in the chimney.

A trick that i've learnt with one of my first Rockets.  I had  the same vertical pipe going to the wall. And at some point, i replaced this partly with a 35kg gas bottle. The bottle Being fatter, the gases slow down in it,. This giving you more exchange time and surface, to extract the heat.  35kg bottles cost nothing to scavenge here.  May be a trick to try.  And if it works,  may be cob this, for a little more flywheel effect.



Good one Satamax.
So far our RMH works fine for us, and I stop firing, once I feel the exhaust gets too hot. Basically I read that hot exhaust as "battery full" so roughly after 1.5 - 2 hours I stop dropping fuel into the feed tube.
I will keep your clever trick in mind though.

All the best.
Moritz
 
Barry's not gonna like this. Barry's not gonna like this one bit. What is Barry's deal with tiny ads?
Rocket oven documentary pre-sale now available
https://permies.com/t/90306/Rocket-oven-documentary-pre-sale
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