Homemade Coal

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CuttingEdge
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Location: Maine

Homemade Coal

Post by CuttingEdge » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:42 pm

As you guys know, I have been clearing forest into farmland here at a slow, but steady pace. I have been employing the skidder and bulldozer in that endeavor, but there is a lot of left over wood. Logs that do not make the grade for the commercial sawmills, tops, limbs and of course those species of wood that just have no market anymore.

Well it will probably surprise people, but although I have quite a few acres, and cut hundreds of cords of wood per year, I actually burn coal. I like it. I love the heat, love the convenience, love not having to worry about the house burning down from a chimney fire...but I do not have a coal mine; anthracite or bituminous...no surprise since I live in Maine.

So I was thinking...a dangerous proposition for sure; what if I gathered up the waste wood I have kicking around, put it into a pile, covered it with dirt from my bulldozer, and made charcoal just like they did back in the old days? From what I can gather, every ten cords of wood would equal to about 4 tons of charcoal; about what it would take to heat my home per year. Maybe I could sell the rest as charcoal for others, or as biochar?
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

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pop pop
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Re: Homemade Coal

Post by pop pop » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:48 am

:shock: out here in the southwest we make charcoal out of hardwood using barrels and tight fitting lids,
and keep the wood clean for cooking purposes.(mesquite grilled roadrunners taste pretty good) :lol:
heating is not a big concern around here.
i dont think you can achieve the same results with your plan.
even at that your going to have dirt in it :( .
better off to just bury it and be done.
or put it in a big pile and let some wildlife live in it.
or put it in a pile for awhile then bring in a pelletizer rig.
all the extra work still yields the same result. :wink:
440icd/602,,, 440icd/831/ripper, misc. 440 parts

dtoots1
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Re: Homemade Coal

Post by dtoots1 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:26 am

ok i will bite......just what makes all this wood turn into charcoal if you have it inside tight fitting drums??? are you putting the drums in a fire???
same question when buried???

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Stan Disbrow
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Re: Homemade Coal

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:00 am

Hi,

Wood breaks down into charcoal when heated without air. Hence the sealed drum. Lets no air in, but has a vent to let released vapors out.

If you condense the vapors out of the vent, you get creosote. Run the creosote in a still, and one of the products is methanol.

Anyway, the idea here is to get the part of the wood needed to burn slowly for a long time without the creosote winding up coating the inside of the chimney.

Stan
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