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Glencannon on Small wood fired steam generator

By: Glencannon [28] 4 Stars
Date: Monday, December 17, 2007
Time: 5:46:40 PM

It's not so much the boiler that is specialized to burn wood as the grate. Having said that, wood is a dirty fuel so the tubes have to be spaced fairly wide apart (if the boiler is water tube), or they must be a fairly large diameter, (if a fire tube boiler). The tubes will need to be cleaned regularly on the fire side in any case. You must also have a source of very pure water or a fairly extensive water treatment plant.

I'm sympathetic to anyone trying for self sufficiency but I don't really think a boiler plant is the way to go. If you live in a windy area then I would look at wind generators for electricity. If wind isn't reliable and you have a water source with the required drop you could look into a pelton wheel turbine generator. Both these options could be done a lot cheaper than a boiler plant. Solar power is also probably a cheaper option as well.

There are stirling engine plants available from Europe that can run on solar power or any other source of heat you can think of. Stirling engines use the heat directly and won't require the extensive infrastructure a boiler plant needs.

If you have a source of wood and a chipper you can build a digester that will convert the wood to natural gas and a fertilizer base for your garden. This would be a cleaner burning option no matter what prime mover you decide on.

A successful wood fired thermal plant is usually fairly large in order to allow the economics of scale to make the infrastructure less of a burden on the operation. Which is to say, there is a certain point below which the cost of the set-up just doesn't justify building it. You can't get your investment back again.

Sorry to be a wet blanket but ya can't fight physics.

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