If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Wood Burners

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by D6332found, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    115
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Dinting
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Hi this question is from someone who understands the Firebox litte. But American 'old timers' were often woodburners.
    Wood biomass is of course carbon neutral, and if grown correctly eco fantastic. It would also be a lot cheaper than coal imports, and most lines have a good lineside supply!
    Would it be possible to convert smaller engines to burn wood?
    Or do us green folk need to find some old timers lingering in Mexico!
     
  2. Chuffington

    Chuffington New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2018
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    44
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I don't think shipping wood pulp from half way across the world is eco friendly, by the statements from Canada all that is happening is the smaller trees that would have been left to grow are being chopped up and turned into pellets, and no trees are being replaced leaving the soil to be washed away.
    I am probably wrong but I think wood burning/oil firing the fire box needs different staying arrangements?
    I take anything with a pinch of salt if it says eco, the carbon footprint for electric cars/wind farms/solar farms is far higher than anyone is told.
     
  3. Cambrian55

    Cambrian55 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Messages:
    513
    Likes Received:
    237
    Occupation:
    Engineer.
    Location:
    Deganwy mainly.
    Wood Biomass carbon neutral, really? If grown correctly eco fantastic, again really?
    As for most lines have good lineside supply, again, really, and how long would that last?
    Then you need to remember that to burn cleanly and efficiently wood needs to be dried to a moisture content of around 5%. Air drying takes at least 18 months, so needs a pretty large well ventilated but sheltered storage area, and then the calorific value of wood means that you have to burn a lot more to get the same heating. In all not very practicable.
     
    MarkinDurham and blink bonny like this.
  4. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    115
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Dinting
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Ok Chuggington. If we make our biomass, not the Canadian stuff.
    You have to remember the oil barons are filling the world with disinformation on this, because they'd rather we didnt notice oceans are 30% more acidic and the North Pole is 5 degree warmer. I am trying to think of a future as coal trains may get banned by the next generation.
     
  5. mdewell

    mdewell Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    542
    Likes Received:
    708
    Occupation:
    UK & Ireland Heritage Railways Webmaster
    Location:
    Essex
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    In the (very) early days of Epping Ongar Railway, we had a 5ft gauge Finish 2-8-0 wood burner on a (very) short demonstration line and it used to get through quite a bit of wood just running the occasional few yards light engine. No idea how much it would require to do any real work but quite a lot I should think!

    (What also made us smile is that the owner had a business supplying worktops and fire resistant doors etc. I can confirm that they weren't fire resistant for long as the off cuts with which he supplied the loco burned very nicely thank you. ;):D)
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.
  6. THE MELTER

    THE MELTER New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    51
    Occupation:
    ENGINEER
    Location:
    BLACK COUNTRY
    Propane..that's the answer
    with a bit of old tyre now and again for some smoke as required.

    the melter
     
  7. Chuffington

    Chuffington New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2018
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    44
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I do not agree with the current situation, but the amount of so called eco products/consumables that I have been asked to use & test, I find to be far worse on the environment than anything we are currently using.
    We have been causing this situation since our existence on this planet it will take just as long to turn things around the increasing world population is only going to make things worse there is only one answer!
     
    Bluenosejohn and jnc like this.
  8. 6024KEI

    6024KEI Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    464
    Location:
    Bath
    Wood is technically renewable but unless burned carefully is not clean. In fact one of the biggest global air pollutants is wood smoke from cooking fires in developing locations.

    Having said that as someone who has used and investigated various novel forms of camping wood burning stove that are able to burn in a very clean way, it would be an interesting design experiment to see whether some of these techniques could be applied to a firebox attached to a boiler. (I'm thinking for example of rocket style stoves - which to be fair are probably rather similar to a drafted boiler fire box - and also the sort of Top Lit Updraft systems whereby it is the gas liberated from the wood which is burned rather than the traditional form)
     
  9. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    115
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Dinting
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Says online the coal bills for the larger preserved lines exceeds £300000 a year.
    We have to think of our younger family members and this could be a positive change.
    There is a lot of work reinventing such as bamboo pellets or charcoal for the modern world.
    The new wooden age is upon us according to new scientist, and China and its new role may save us from our own stupidity
    Of course, it could have to be a home grown product on poorer land, like forestry. Remember making turps is expensive, but efficient burning of that turps rich wood must be a good idea..
    Engineers have always been quick to embrace change, and this could solve a lot of issues.
    And, all future hlf funding is going to be eco friendly. Like a new firebox that burns none fossil fuels?
    Interesting on the Finnish contraption. Sounds similar to the turf burner,materials just thermally less efficient than coal.
     
  10. Davo

    Davo Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Messages:
    1,123
    Likes Received:
    259
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    W yorkshire 56f
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    We burned wooden window frames that were removed by our local council fitting double glazing in our council houses on my estate. My dad had a stove for burning coal or coke on normally and we benefited by it having a back boiler to heat our hot water supply rather than using our immersion heater. My dad got loads of old window frames given to saw up into blocks and we used those to burn on our stove and with wood burning hotter than coal or coke our water used to get hot in no time. Eventually the council put us gas central heating in so the stove was pulled out, but with burning wood on it which we shouldn't have, the back boiler had a hairline crack on it after looking at it luckily we didn't have a flood through it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2019
  11. Cambrian55

    Cambrian55 Member Friend

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Messages:
    513
    Likes Received:
    237
    Occupation:
    Engineer.
    Location:
    Deganwy mainly.
    We don't have the forest area available for growing the quantities of wood required for Biomass, and people handily forget that it takes 20 years to grow trees to an economic size.
    Oh yes and this figure of oceans 30% more acidic, a number plucked out of the air??? And really 30% means little because if you start with a very low acidity, then 30% is also very low so as to be insignificant.


    Not sure how you come to the conclusion that wood burns hotter that coal or coke, as wood is less dense than coal you have to burn nearly twice as much to get the same amount of heat.
    I also doubt that burning wood would have had a detrimental effect on the back boiler, I've had a boiler leak in a fire then never burned anything other than coal.
     
  12. D6332found

    D6332found New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    115
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Dinting
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Bit of thread drift. It is about wood burning and its potential, not talk to climate change deniers who haven't been to a glacier to see it melting.
    Petrol cars are going fast- by 2023,Coal is going by 2025 and we need to safeguard the future of Heritage as it could get swept away in the panic.I know we aren't going to solve Global Warming here but every little bit helps. We need to really engage with younger folk to get them interested, and what better way?
     
  13. Romsey

    Romsey Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2007
    Messages:
    2,256
    Likes Received:
    725
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired SPM
    Location:
    Close to Spike Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I understand that in domestic use, burning pine or leylandii wood is discouraged as it can cause chimney fires due to the deposits of resin mixed with carbon.

    The Benguela Railway in Angola used to use wood burning Garratts. (Not little locos either, about the size of a Rhodesian 16th or a South African GEA.) The Benguela Railway harvested its own forests to provide enough eucalyptus wood for fuel. ( About 80% of their Garratt fleet were wood burners, the rest burnt imported heavy fuel oil.) The wood burning locos had to be refuelled frequently, perhaps every 20 or 30 miles.

    The only other main line railway that I know used wood fuel was Finnish Railways. Certainly on railtours in the 1980's they burnt birch wood "for appearances" when at a station, but fired with coal if they were undertaking a longer run or hill climbing.

    Cheers, Neil
     
  14. garth manor

    garth manor Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    215
    There were Finnish wood burners running into the 60s, a treat to see, they burnt birch cords, mainly trip working, regular resupply was easy, moisture content should be beneath 20% not as low as 5%, bio mass is a completely different fuel of course.
     
  15. philw2

    philw2 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2011
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    86
    Don't forget the calorific value of wood is far less than coal. For the same heat output a much larger firebox (and huge tender) would be required, otherwise ex-coal burning locos could only pull a fraction of their normal load, probably over a shorter distance..

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
     
  16. jnc

    jnc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    1,253
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Western Atlantic
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    A high percentage of the glaciers which are receding have been receding for centuries. You could look it up.

    'Climate science' - the progressive equivalent of 'creation science' - a pseudo-science which appeals to the followers' ideological prejudices.

    Now, perhaps we could drop that topic, and focus on trains?

    Noel
     
  17. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,814
    Likes Received:
    10,648
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    No. That is all.
     
  18. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    495
    Gender:
    Male
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I keep wondering where the electricity is going to be generated to operate all these electric cars. Coal plants are being rapidly phsed out. Nuclear plants are mostly nearing the end of their life and there are too few new ones to replace hose that are closing. The proportion of wind and solar generation is still relatively small and neither can guarantee 24/365 availability of power. I think wood pellet generation is not nearly as environmentally friendly as it is presented. What I would hate to see is another mess like the promotion of diesel cars without properly understanding the problems. What is needed is a full independent environmental examination of all the possible technologies to identy the least damaging. We must do this before we find ourselves up to our necks in exhausted lithium batteries. We must also do something about the elephant in the room.
     
  19. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    3,071
    Likes Received:
    2,677
    Occupation:
    Once computers, now part time writer I suppose.
    Location:
    SE England
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    With the green lobby still driving the agenda I'd say that another mess is inevitable.
     
    Bluenosejohn likes this.
  20. Eightpot

    Eightpot Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Messages:
    6,706
    Likes Received:
    1,276
    Location:
    Aylesbury
    Some years back we had the HS2 Roadshow have an event in Aylesbury. To one of those involved with it I put the question that with power stations being shut and no replacements in prospect, where were they going to get the necessary electric power from? Answer - "Not our problem."
     

Share This Page