I have been toying with this concept for about 3-5 years now, not having the chance yet to build it. But with all this info we all toss back and forth over the volleyball net of this forum, I continue to grow in my confidence that this is a great concept, naturally practical and efficient, and even work-saving. It is a concept worth all efforts put into it, as I think it is the best thing since the Ben Franklin stove.
First, where the wood comes into any burn chamber is really not too important. It could simply be a proper size and shape hole in the side. Anything further is improvement on a theme.
If designed so, that hole of whatever sort could/would also act as your intake of fresh air. There are various ways and mechanisms for tightening the tolerance and space around a log as it goes into the burn chamber.
- and along that like of thought, if you design cleaverly enough to produce an especially strong draft and intake, you could utilize that like the vacuum system on a car engine to do things.
The simplest of which, if nothing else, would be simply to suck up the debris that would inevitably collect under this feed system from the logs.
Brancjing up from that, there might be potential for central home vacuum - start the fire raging, vaccum the floors, the dirt is instantly removed and incinerated. - No bags or filters to change!
Onto my main intended point here -
In my own concept, one of the best utilizations for this would be if instead of the average wood pile, you have a large rack on which you put the logs.
There would of course be work in putting the logs anywhere anyway, but once on the rack, when you need the next log, all you have to do is turn a log to get it to roll off onto the feed and fgo back into the house!
So if it's horrid weather out, or its late at night, or you're busy with something else, or you're just being lazy, putting the next log on is quick and easy.
The design I am working on would actually be one, and inherent part of the structure itself. In constructing the home/building vent tubes are laid into the floors, walls and ceiling. It owuld be essentially air-tight.
Being a part of the fireplace/ventilation system, they could both warm and cool the structure whenever needed.
(Yes, there would be circulation/fresh air/etc.) This would all be done in a very rounded adobe/shotcrete type of construction. The right material for the vent tubes could mean that they could be used as framing superstructure, serving two purposes and saving materials/costs
The vent tubes in the ceiling take freash air and the the waste heat up there, and go back and open end at the far corners of the building, where it would naturally otherwise be the colder places.
Nearby, in other logical locations would be the vent tubes that go under the floor, taking the warmer air to warm the floor on the way to the burn chamber.
At the burn chamber, there would be 2 or three different kinds of tubing or channels around in circles both the base and the chimney of the burn chamber, the largest being for heating air, another for heating water, and possibly a third for something else. The air-tight system would use the draft up the chimney to work the system, and drawing in fresh air for circulation.
In this design, the various vent tubes could be switched, reverse the flow, individually regulated or closed by the most curious system you may have ever heard of, but one that would work like a charm!
I have redesigned this many times, and continually, and the funny thing is the question of how to implement such venting and regulation, and flow control, etc.... What hardware??? - NO hardware! lol...
Nomex and fiberglass Pillows ! These would not be exposed to fire ever, but considering the nature of this beast, would seem to make some sense.
In the construction of the building, quite rounded in various ways, very organic looking, the walls and/or ceiling might have ribs from the vent tubes and superstructure, and where the vent tubes meet would be a little hole, looking much like the hollow of a tree. There would be a pillow or two there, maybe attached with cords, that you could stuff into this spot or that spot to direct the flow of warm or cool air or shut it off to a particular spot.
Some few vent tubes could have a particular route for effect, like one dedicated to the bathroom, so that air from there would be taken directly out and not recirculated to any extent. - Like a 'fart' fan', lol... - but silent!
There could be a small vent tube, or system of tubes that could take fresh air from outside and instead bring it right to a particular spot, like above the bed.
If I can figure out the best, best, best way to make this, these vent tubes themselves could BE THE superstructure, overwhich abobe/shotcrete would be formed.
I have also accounted for and designed the system to work without any fire.
I have been studying the RMH and other types of rocket stoves/concepts. This whole concept I have just explained is very similar in function. You are maximizing draft, and utilizing it to do work, such as giving your fireplace its own bellows in effect, almost turning it into a blast furnace. I would simply suggest that tubes or channels or chambers around all burn chambers or hot hardware/areas to heat water and air, etc. and also using it to run a ventilation system for the whole structure would make the best and most use of that heat. You could also actually use that heat to COOL a building, if done right.
This log conveyor is the next logical step to the concept. I you use wood, you are going to have to move logs. But this saves cutting those logs into small chunks, which saves hours of labor, fuel and wear and tear on chainsaws and other tools, and if your are sick or thw eather is bad, getting more wood could literally take only seconds.
I can't remember if the other autors here have covered this, but I think the best place for most of this, especially the feed system itelf, should be outside the building.
You have a rack of logs, and a thing of wheels, rollers, or belt that is the feed stystem, the fireplace/etc. being on the other side of the wall, inside the building.
No firewood inside the home. No firewood associated debris, dirt, insects, etc. All that gets incinerated with the logs.
Also, where the feed system goes into the building, you could have a little door underneath, at ground level, where you could use a broom to sweep log debris into the burn chamber to use as kindling or just to get rid of it and put it to immediate use.
Also, personally, I am working on a system that would include the use of fryolator/deep fryer oil as a secondary, tertiary, or simultaneous fuel to accent the wood, and could also be used when needed as fire starter if you ever let the fire go out in the burn chamber. I am not persuing it with much gusto though, as most places do sell thier fryolator oil, whereas in the past many places actually had to pay to have it removed, and were glad to give it away.
I am also wondering that if you can make woodgrain alcohol with these same concepts, which would produce yet another resource or fuel back into the system.
- (No, that would not be the most efficient thing, but if you can find and use any waste heat to do it, then it would be beneficial and productive.
Ok, I wrote a small novel here.... Do I get a gold star??? lol...