Automated fuel and ash handling

Automated fuel and ash handling

PostBy: stockingfull On: Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:57 am

While we have all this talent here, the first issue, for me at least, is automated fuel and ash handling. I know that's not technically a furnace- or boiler-design issue but it sure is the divide between getting these things to work well and having them be commercially successful.

So, you mfr reps, what have you to say on this issue?

(If you're paying attention, that is.)
Last edited by stockingfull on Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

PostBy: Richard S. On: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:38 am

This was slpit off from this thread: http://nepacrossroads.com/viewtopic.php?t=1775

Stockingfull, please don't hijack thread. Sounds bad I know but that's what it's referred too. Anyhow if you have a question different than the topic at hand start a new thread. Understandably some overlap but that wasn't even close. :P
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

PostBy: Eric On: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:51 pm

Automatically feeding your boiler is an appealing option for a lot of people. Typically, as a boiler manufacturer, we like to stay out of providing feed systems (which typically require custom desigin) and supporting them out in the field. Instead, it works better for us (and you) if you look into buying directly from a local farm supplier. This way, you avoid the expense of a middle man (we just buy from our local farm supplier) and you get local support if you ever have any maitenance issues.

That said, you're probably wondering what to ask for when you do talk to that local farm supplier. We recommend a 6" tube standard grain auger with screw type flighting. Don't go with the open core flighting as it allows the coal to fall back down the middle of the auger. Also, depending on how large your coal bin is, you may want to get another larger piece of tubing to run the auger through so that the weight of the coal doesn't crush the auger. In our setup here, we are using an old farm silo as a coal bin (it holds upwards of 50 tons), so we definately needed something to keep the full weight of the coal off of the auger iself.

To control your auger, you have two options. You could activate it by hand as needed, saving yourself the work of shoveling the coal up to the hopper or you could use some sort of a sensor to automatically activate the auger when the hopper gets low. If you choose the second route, you are looking for something typically labeled as a "hopper level control". It should be available from any feed handling company (hopefully from that same local farm supplier).

With an autofeed system, you might also want to consider a way of controlling the coal dust that will come from the coal falling out of the auger. On our machines, we sell a special hopper cover that has a hole in the top to attach your auger and a hinge in the middle to still allow you access to the hopper.

If the do-it-yourself route is not for you and you'd prefer the convenience of a ready-made system, we do provide custom automatic feed systems containing all the components I just mentioned.

Automated ash handling is a bit more novel of an idea than automated fuel loading. We do have some customers who use an auger in a manner similar to above to carry the ash away from their boiler. You would need some sort of funnel to channel the ash from the boiler into the auger. Once again, you can hand activate the auger on an as-needed basis or use some sort of electronic sensor to activate it automatically. One soultion to ash removal that is both simple and elegant (in our opinion) is to raise your boiler up on blocks or on a concrete platform to allow you to get a skid-loader bucket underneath the boiler to scoop out the ash. This is the method that we use here to remove ash in our setup. It works particularly well in a new construction where you can "sculpt" a concrete base for the boiler and build a small access door for the skid-loader, giving you a very professional looking setup.
Eric
 

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PostBy: stockingfull On: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:47 pm

Thanks for your response, Eric.

Ash... is a pain in the ash. Maybe even more than feeding fuel, my unscientific survey analysis leads me to believe that it's the bugaboo of coal heating.

I'll see what I can find out about the auger types you mention and report back on this thread.

Anybody else with ideas, by all means chime in.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

ash removal

PostBy: pret On: Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:12 pm

I am beginning a new construction and have been actively attempting to come up with a solution to ash removal. Currently, I've built a vacuum driven by an old washer motor. The motor is separate from a blower housing and the blower housing is entirely plastic. I've ordered a S-130 with the electronic controller and thermocouple sensor. I'm hoping that the ash bucket will only contain ash and I'll be able to suck it all up. I'm planning on using the vac outside and blow the ash into an old sawdust bag from a table saw. Does this seem ridiculous?

I've enjoyed building it immensely and hope it works. I don't know how much suction I have... about as much as a household vacuum cleaner I suspect. I know I don't have as much suction as a shop vac... but with this configuration, the motor is separate from the vacuum... via a drive pully and belt, and should be safe from the ash. I plan on using a 2" pvc pipe to suck it out... not sure how much suction I need to traverse the ash about twenty feet horizontally and 9' vertically. Anybody know the math?

ANY thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!
pret
 

PostBy: Matthaus On: Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:24 pm

Hi pret, do you have any pictures? I am getting ready to try something similar for my boiler in the basement. I was thinking of using the auger I have to remove the ash and use the vacuum to remove any dust.

I have a V shaped trough with the auger in the bottom, this will connect to another auger that dumps the ashes topside. The trough will be enclosed with a vacuum connected to it, so when the auger runs the vacuum will run. Not too far on the final design, just visualizing solutions using what I have on hand.
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Re: Automated fuel and ash handling

PostBy: pret On: Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:40 am

I don't have any pictures at the moment... I like your idea - auger and vac combo... might be the way to go. The bin I'm planning to build will have a dummy floor in it, so I could blow the ash into one of the compartments under the dummy floor and then shovel it out at my convenience... I could also have the vac hooked up to a timer that would suck whatever is within reach. I won't be able to work on these things till the Spring. The vac is built and operational... but the house we're planning to build at this point... is still a plan :sick:

When you put together you ash removal system... please post some pics - be great to see your ideas at work.

take care...
pret
 

Re:

PostBy: Yanche On: Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:18 am

Matthaus wrote:I have a V shaped trough with the auger in the bottom, this will connect to another auger that dumps the ashes topside. The trough will be enclosed with a vacuum connected to it, so when the auger runs the vacuum will run. Not too far on the final design, just visualizing solutions using what I have on hand.
When the vacuum turns on how to you prevent a reversal of air in your coal firebed? I don't know what size vacuum you are thinking about but a central vacuum dust wood chip cyclone type vacuum would easily do so. Perhaps the second auger is the only one with a vacuum. My woodworking shop vacuum will easily convey coal ashes and even coal.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Automated fuel and ash handling

PostBy: Matthaus On: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:18 pm

Yanche I was thinking of a door that would separate the trough from the boiler base when the cycle started for ash removal. Your idea of a sawdust vac is a great one, they have them at Harbor Freight for $96. I could have the auger dump the ashes into a smallbox and then retrofit a 55 gallon drum topside with the vac and suck the ashes out of the basement. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm now I have to reconsider my ideas! :lol:
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

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