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M.E. - Color of Green Contractor Magazine Article

Steve Ebels_3
Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
Your statement is true:

"Most homes in Germany, I was told, have at least one solid fuel appliance, yet you don't see a haze or have the odor I'd associate with wood burners in the USA."

1.Most of the wood burning appliances there are nearly as clean burning as a gas or oil boiler.

2. The population is well educated on the nuances of burning solid fuel. No idiots trying to combust unseasoned wood.

Kob, Viessmann, Froeling......they all make me just quiver and start frothing at the mouth. Makes me sick that I can't get my hands on something like that to sell here.


  • Tim_34
    Tim_34 Member Posts: 56
    One Outdoor Wood Boiler = 8,000 Natural Gas Furnaces


    Thanks for bringing up the subject of outdoor wood boilers. If anyone thinks that burning wood is carbon neutral they should try living next door to an outdoor wood boiler.

    Here's a quote from the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency:

    "Tests done by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air
    Use Management (NESCAUM) found that the average
    fine particle emissions (a particularly harmful pollutant)
    from one OWB are equivalent to the emissions from 22
    EPA certified wood stoves, 205 oil furnaces, or as many
    as 8,000 natural gas furnaces.

    One OWB can emit as much fine particle matter as four
    heavy duty diesel trucks on a grams per hour basis. The
    smallest OWB has the potential to emit almost one and
    one-half tons of particulate matter every year. Although
    older style indoor wood stoves emit more than new
    certified stoves, they are still several times less polluting OWBs."

    In Washington State it is illegal to install many standard outdoor wood boilers. My state, Oregon, is looking to enact laws similar to those in Washington. I can't wait.

    Against my better judgment we are installing an outdoor wood boiler that a client insisted on using for his new home. I was unable to talk him out of it and I feel sorry for his neighbors and his family. Nothing like having 4 semi's parked in front of your house 24 hours a day.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    Just a matter of time.....

    before OWB's in their traditional form are banned entirely. Lot's of companies trying to develop new models that will run in gasification mode but the very nature of the beast plus terrible wood burning habits of many homeowners do not bode well for their success.

    The OWB industry is in a way their own worst enemy because many of the companies have made wild eyed claims about being able to burn green wood, junk, pieces of tire, construction debris........you name it. Central boiler is claiming efficiency of 98% for their new "gasification" outdoor heater. Riiiiiight! (visions of pigs flying here)

    My worry is that I see some jurisdictions imposing standards and practices that are nearly impossible to meet under any circumstances with any type of wood burner. No wonder the big European producers of wood burning products are dragging their feet about bringing their fine equipment to the US market. Why are we here in the U.S.A. always so re-active instead of pro-active when it comes to energy matters?
  • Tim_34
    Tim_34 Member Posts: 56
    There are better ways to burn wood


    I think you are on the east coast. Do you ever see people installing masonry heaters in their homes? If a person wants to burn wood I can't see why they don't do it this way. They are clean, efficient and nice to look at. This simple PDF offers a good overview:


    One other benefit is that they mimic the radiant heat effects of a well designed radiant floor heating system resulting in absolutely even temperatures from floor to ceiling.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Hi ya Paul...

    Long time no see :-)

    Thanks for the kudos. I did (not by choice) install one of the older smokies. I talked to the owner a few years later, and he said it got so bad he quit using it. Too many complaints from neighbors.

    The new gasiizers burn extremely clean.

    Lots of videos of them on the web if anyone is interested.

    I'm seriously considering one for my mountain home. What with all the dead pines from the pine beetle, I figure I might as well utilize a natural resource.

    See you at the REX this year?

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Tim_34
    Tim_34 Member Posts: 56
    Long time

    Yes, it's been a while.

    I should have planned to go to REX this year since it's close to where I grew up and I could have combined the trip with a family visit. Too many projects going on in mid August for me to get away this year.

    Regarding the burning of wood- I am all for using wood as a heat source...but the important thing is how you burn the wood. The Fred Flinstone technology of your standard OWB is definitely not the way to go. Let us know how your mountain home heater turns out.

    Sure got a kick out of these super hero depictions of all you guys. By any chance do you have a cameo in the new Batman movie?
  • I'm thinking Hollywood Yates does...

    He's the one with the wings :-)

  • As the director

    of the Harry Potter movies, I'm booked solid(G)! (Don't I wish that was me.)

    I have been thinking about the wood boilers quite a bit. When I first started in business, I had a friend who sold those huge chunks of steel and I'd do the installations. But, my back was much stronger and my mind was weaker those days(g).

    A local supplier is bringing on a line of wood boilers and I've been waiting to get a look-see before offering them as an option. When at ISH in Germany, I made it a point to visit the solid fuel floor to visit with and drool over the wood-burning stoves and boilers. Lots to see & unless the dealers/mfgrs were BSing me, the emissions from their code-compliant wood-burners gave off the same (or less) pollutants as did natural decomposition of wood lying on a forest floor. Most homes in Germany, I was told, have at least one solid fuel appliance, yet you don't see a haze or have the odor I'd associate with wood burners in the USA.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    I agree Paul

    OWB's are probably the worst way to burn wood.

    Masonry heaters and fireplaces operate on the fast, hot burn, then store and release the heat principle. It works very well and is a time proven concept. The Garn hydronic wood heater works the same way only with water.
  • conversation with a mutual friend today

    Your name came up too. I've been given permission to share the content regarding solid fuel boilers:

    Low emissions and high efficiency are the key to success in the coming years. NESCAUM (www.nescaum.org) petitioned the EPA to enact some standards to deal with the ever growing problem of wood-smoke. The rulings are as follows:

    .60 lbs/mmbtu output (in effect now in many States)

    .32 lbs/mmbtu output by Marh 2010

    The Northeast States as well as Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio & Minnesota have adopted these guidelines. Pennsylvania is letting the local townships and boroughs handle it on their own at this point.

    Check out the EPA website on wood boilers; www.epa.gov/woodheaters.

    You’ll see that there is only a handful of manufacturers legal, including us, at this point.

    True gasification boiler such as us (Econoburn), Tarm (Denmark), and EKO (Poland), are a completely different breed than the traditional Outdoor Wood Boilers (OWB’s) that have been in use in the U.S. for the past 30 years.

    Think of a gasification boiler like a mod-con boiler. Counter-flow combustion with low mass water jacket. A gasification boiler is meant to run hot and hard without dampering down like the OWB’s. This is where the OWB’s lose their efficiency and create the thick smoke that hovers in the valleys.

    Some of the big OWB manufacturers were able to successfully cheat the testing by adding a gas valve to their new boiler to act as an afterburner to scrub the emissions. This will come back to bite them as no one in their right mind is actually going to hook gas or LP to the boiler. It would defeat the purpose.

    Another great place to check out more info on gasification boilers is www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums . Go to the boiler room. This place is like the Heatinghelp.com of the solid-fuel community. Hot Rod and Steve Ebels often lend their expertise in this forum as well. Hot Rod has an EKO (Polish Gasifier) and knows the workings of this technology very well.

This discussion has been closed.