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Peat as fuel

 
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Hey everyone!
After a couple years bumping around Peru where heat is not needed, i have landed in Ireland.  Back to thinking about RMH as heat source.  Wood is scarce here, but peat is plentiful.  Any insights, or better yet, actual RMH/Rocket Stove users here in the Emerald Isle using Peat as fuel?

dave
 
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I remember the smell of burning peat on the beach at our bonfire made from peat near Glen Head. There is plenty of smoke from peat, so I would think it would work in a RMH just fine. You can always dry stack some bricks in a rocket pattern and test fire it and you should see if it will work, but I'm thinking it will work fine. I think I would go with a batch burn though, because you get those great coals from peat and they could build up and stay for quite some time; they could clog up the burn tunnel in a J tube or the feed tube in a L tube, maybe they won't but I think having chamber for them to sit in is good insurance.  I like to make my burn chambers bigger to accommodate ash and to keep the smoke in the chamber when I open the door. But I'm sure you can find something that will work well for you. Either way I hope you post pix of what you come up with.

Good luck,

Jason
 
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since peat is not renewable I would suggest its not such a viable alternative. Its also I would think harder to handle in the fire and a bit of a faff on . Unless you have your own bog and can dry your own and in that case you would be better off planting willow , as in irelands climate it grows like mad
 
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https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/peat-lands-and-greenhouse-gasses/

I need to research these heaters, though.  I know very little, honestly.
 
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David Livingston wrote:since peat is not renewable I would suggest its not such a viable alternative. Its also I would think harder to handle in the fire and a bit of a faff on . Unless you have your own bog and can dry your own and in that case you would be better off planting willow , as in irelands climate it grows like mad



I'm looking at a Northern community that has deforested their land. when people try reforestation, the young trees getting chopped down again for firewood. They sit on peat that is 50ft deep, and as nonrenewable as it is, it is practical stopgap until the young trees and woodlots can get established.

Right now they have to excavate it all out whenever they put in a building, and there are mountains of the stuff all over the landscape.

If anyone has tried burning peat in a RMH I'd love to know what the outcome was.
 
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Nick Kitchener wrote:

David Livingston wrote:since peat is not renewable I would suggest its not such a viable alternative. Its also I would think harder to handle in the fire and a bit of a faff on . Unless you have your own bog and can dry your own and in that case you would be better off planting willow , as in irelands climate it grows like mad



I'm looking at a Northern community that has deforested their land. when people try reforestation, the young trees getting chopped down again for firewood. They sit on peat that is 50ft deep, and as nonrenewable as it is, it is practical stopgap until the young trees and woodlots can get established.

Right now they have to excavate it all out whenever they put in a building, and there are mountains of the stuff all over the landscape.

If anyone has tried burning peat in a RMH I'd love to know what the outcome was.



I noticed that myself when I was in Ireland. They had a lot of subsidies to try and get people to grow trees, but goodness their trees were the size of matchsticks and people were out actively logging it. It was neat to see logging operations in Ireland, but man they never allowed what little trees they had to even grow.

The only downside to burning peat in a Rocket Mass heater I would think, would be the smell. The smell of burning peat permeates everything!
 
Nick Kitchener
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Well, I'll have to build one and see. Maybe with a bit of tweaking, we can develop a RMH suitable for stinky fuels. I'm sure if it can burn peat/muskeg cleanly it will burn animal dung cleanly too, and I know that's a big deal in the semi-arid regions.
 
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What about a large retort to contain the peat?

As I understand it, peat is several steps removed from low-grade coal (the brown stuff). I think a low-temperature burn would be pretty horrible for smell and efficiency both, but what would happen if it were pyrolised in such a manner, with the volatiles directed back down into the burn tunnel?

I don't know what we would be left with, but if it's anything, I bet it would make awesome biochar after inoculation. And in the mean time, clean, smell-free heat. You'd have to empty it, probably daily, but that's no different than some of the pyrolysing pellet stoves you see.

In this way, you'd get heat, you'd sequester the carbon, and you could perhaps ameliorate the growing conditions for the trees that are being planted.

-CK
 
Nick Kitchener
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Chris Kott wrote:What about a large retort to contain the peat?

As I understand it, peat is several steps removed from low-grade coal (the brown stuff). I think a low-temperature burn would be pretty horrible for smell and efficiency both, but what would happen if it were pyrolised in such a manner, with the volatiles directed back down into the burn tunnel?

I don't know what we would be left with, but if it's anything, I bet it would make awesome biochar after inoculation. And in the mean time, clean, smell-free heat. You'd have to empty it, probably daily, but that's no different than some of the pyrolysing pellet stoves you see.

In this way, you'd get heat, you'd sequester the carbon, and you could perhaps ameliorate the growing conditions for the trees that are being planted.

-CK



Actually, now that you mention it, a gassifier system might be more appropriate for this type of fuel. A gassifier mass heater where the fuel is heated, and the gasses are burned rather then the fuel directly.
 
So I left, I came home, and I ate some pie. And then I read this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
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