Cost Comparisons

Cost Comparisons

PostBy: Al F On: Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:38 pm

Hi folks, first of all I am new here so forgive me if this has been covered somewhere. I have done some reading tonite (just found this website today) and appreciate all the info given and shared.

Because I just built myself two greenhouses i am of course interested in heating costs because I would rather run them all winter and not just say from March thru May ( i am in southern New Hampshire). Yesterday I cam across an article in a local newspaper that discussed anthacite coal and all its benefits and cost of course was one of them. I am now getting to my question...the article mentioned that per million btu's the anthracite was in the neighborhood of 5 dollars and that home heating oil costs about 22 dollars per million. On the surface my math says that coal is better than 25 cents on the dollar....so today I took a trip to the local dealer for keystoker and he and then my research this evening points to a savings that is closer to 40-50% coal versus oil. I agree that this is still a big savings, but perhaps someone can clear this up for me.

The local Keystoker dealer said i should expect to pay 250-300 per ton (40 pound Blaschak bags) and my local heating oil supplier started the winter at 2.49 a gallon and now is at 3 dollars.

My thought was to start w one greenhouse (2100 sq feet, double wall plastic with peak of 12 feet) and get a Koker 160k btu, see how that works and maybe repeat in teh second greenhouse and then do a Keystoker for my home..perhaps a dual with oil for our hot water based system and also home hot water..

Anythoughts at all on what I laid out is most appreciated, especially the cost issue which is puzzling me......and also should i use the air in the greenhouse for intake or shoudl i take air in from outside and heat that and deliver to the greenhouse? Another factor is blowers....and their ability to deliever to the 70x 30 foot greenhouse spacing...

Thanks again

Al
Al F
 

Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: Dallas On: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:05 am

How creative do you want to be?

You may want to add "compost heating" to your scheme.

http://www.agrilab.org/sitemap.html
Dallas
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Modified Russo C-35
Other Heating: Oil Hot Air
Stove/Furnace Make: Russo
Stove/Furnace Model: Modified C-35

Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: Matthaus On: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:07 am

The 4:1 ratio for cost of coal Vs Fuel oil is most likely based on bulk coal purchased at the breaker ($120 to $150 a ton). You are a considerable distance form the source, so cost of shipping plus cost of bagging equals double the price or more. :)

It is still cheaper than fuel oil so the best bet is to find some local folks who want to share a Tri-Axle load or a dump trailer load and you can probably get the price under $200 a ton for bulk. Then from there you will need to get it into a bin at your site and enjoy the savings. :idea: :D

Besides paying those prices for Blashak strip mined coal does not compare to the deep mined coal you can get for the price I mentioned above. As you read more on this forum will see what I am talking about. With respect to your question regarding outside air or re-circulating air, you will use less coal to re-circulate rather than heat outside cold air. If you need fresh air you can install an air to air heat exchanger. You could install duct work to evenly spread the heat, the Koker 160 can handle that amount of duct IMO.

Best of luck with your learning process as you determine and meet your requirements for this project. :)
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite


Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:09 am

There's a cost comparison sheet here: http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls

If you don't have Excel download and install Open Office to view it.

--------------------------------------

First of all I would suggest NOT purchasing bagged coal for such an operation, presumably you are going to go through about 15 ton a year for the greenhouse. I had a customer with similar sized greenhouse and that was about what he was burning. I'm guessing at the dimensions for the greenhouse. If you know the figures on the amount of oil or gas it would require to heat such a building you reverse calcualate for coal. You can purchase here locally for about $110 - $130 ton in bulk and then have it shipped, I'd suggest simply buying it by the tri-axle load. Or if you have a large enough truck get it yourself, be well worth the trip if you have a large dump.

In his case he had a crushed rock floor and a hot water boiler. He ran pex tubing through the floor.

He told me he couldn't possibly afford it without the coal, you of course are going to be paying more than him because of shipping charges.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: e.alleg On: Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:18 am

I would run a hot water boiler and run radiant pipes under the benches, or even 2" steel pipes will radiate enough heat to accomplish your goal. You can run a pipe into your house as well and heat that with the same boiler if it's within a couple hundred feet or so. it will keep the plants warm and it's much more efficient than a furnace. A boiler will keep both greenhouses above freezing for very little coal. I've seen a lot of greenhouses with boilers but I haven't seen any successful ones with forced air heat. With hydronics you can plumb each section separately so you don't waste heat on an empty bench. To figure out how much coal you need, add up how much fuel oil you used last year, multiply that by it's btu content to get a yearly BTU usage number and divide by 25,000,000 and that is how many tons you should need. I'm in a similar situation as you as far as distance to the source is concerned, all delivery costs included I'm about $8 per million btu's, much better than anything else out there today.
e.alleg
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: Al F On: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:40 am

Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas, this gives me a ton to think about. Today I went over to the greenhouse w the biggest oil/air furnace...it has a two gallon per hour rate, but it can go up to 2.75per hour and the btu capacity is 308,000. My second greenhouse is firing at 1-1.5 per hour heating oil and i cannot find a plate to state the btu's but i have to assume it is 150-200 based on size.
Al F
 

Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: Al F On: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:12 pm

i should add that two weeks ago i decided to run one greehouse at 56-58 degrees...as a test for the upcoming spring...i am averaging 11 gallons of oil per day....the two week period has averaged night temps of15-24 degrees and daytime temps of 25-38

I plan on runningthem temps at 65-75 in the future
Al F
 

Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: WIcoal On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:18 am

Matthaus wrote:The 4:1 ratio for cost of coal Vs Fuel oil is most likely based on bulk coal purchased at the breaker ($120 to $150 a ton). You are a considerable distance form the source, so cost of shipping plus cost of bagging equals double the price or more. :)

Besides paying those prices for Blashak strip mined coal does not compare to the deep mined coal you can get for the price I mentioned above.


Are all the breakers located only in PA?

Please explain the comparison of strip mined coal vs deep mined coal. What brands are deep mined?
WIcoal
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Lamppa Kuuma wood furnace
Stove/Furnace Model: Rika Austroflamm pellet stove

Re: Cost Comparisons

PostBy: Matthaus On: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:57 am

WIcoal wrote: Are all the breakers located only in PA?


First let me say I am no expert, as far as I know the only Anthracite coal breakers are in PA. But that doesn't mean that someone in your area doesn't have a bulk coal stock pile.
WIcoal wrote:Please explain the comparison of strip mined coal vs deep mined coal. What brands are deep mined?


Strip Mining of Anthracite coal uses a process which picks up more rock and shale, even after the best of cleaning operations the coal contains more "bone" and "shale" which most simply means more ash and unburnt matter in your ash pan.

If you want to buy bulk for up your way you can find a local dealer that has the good stuff or arrange to transport it from the breaker to you directly in large enough quantities to make it worth your while. Getting a few people to go in together can work as long as you have a way to store and distribute it in your area.
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel, natural gas
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite