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Charcoal as Fuel  RSS feed

 
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I'm in the process of planning out my homestead I hope to start on soon. I plan to build a 12 X 20 tiny house and heat it was a rocket mass heater batch box style. However, I am out in the desert and the biggest tree I have on my property is only about as big around as a drinking straw. Would charcoal work as a fuel for the rocket heater? Reason I ask is because quite often through the summer see plain charcoal on sale two bags for the price of one and if I have to by fuel for the heater I can buy a few bags at a time when ever I see it on sale somewhere.
 
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Steven:  Welcome to permies !  You could use charcoal as a supplement to a wood fire if.. you have to. Seems too expensive for a permies person. Also most charcoal has binders in it that really aren't good for you.  Hardwood chunk charcoal is the better choice. An even better choice is, on your trips to town locate throw away wood pallets .  They are everywhere , usually free. Also watch where they do have trees in town and when one gets cut down ask for some wood.. they can only say no once. Landscapers also are a source of free wood. County road crew may also have free wood. Broken branches from trees , dry pine cones, any small wood dry or green  (it will dry in the desert) ... even... dried dung would burn (lets hope you don't need that) Pallets are by far the best choice for you. Look around behind stores . Ask i'm sure you can find some . If necessary take a pickup to the nearest bigger town and fill it with pallets.   Good Luck keep us posted!      EDIT)  A suggestion, a tiny house really does not need a batch box. A   J tube is more than enough and much easier to build . Check out Matt Walkers plans for an all brick , barrel less J tube build  ... it could be just rite for your situation.
 
Steven Councell
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I'm just brain storming at the moment. My place that I hope to build on soon is out in the desert about twenty miles or so north of Fort Hancock, Tx. One idea that has been dancing in my head for years, but I have never acted on. I want to build a small machine along the same line as the old fashioned stationary square hay baler where a person could feed small sticks/twigs, paper, straw or what have you into it and compress it into a block about four or so inches square and however long and use that as fuel for the fire. My late uncle told me about how when he was in Germany right after WW2 the Germans would use super compressed straw to heat their homes, so there is some way of doing it. Like I said, I'm brain storming at the moment.
 
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