Burn Culm in a Hand-Fired Stove?

Burn culm in a hand-fired stove?

PostBy: LDPosse On: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:56 pm

Up at Swatara State Park, near the eastern end, is the remnants of an old culm dump. One day, I stopped at the one clearing while on a motorcycle ride for a quick break. I just about set my kickstand on a piece of culm, when I noticed there were the imprints of plants on the surface. I took a few handfuls of these home, and picked them apart, finding a number of very well preserved fossilized plant leaves and flowers.

I was back up there recently, to grab a few more pieces to pick through for fossils. Once I picked through the culm, I threw all the remnants without fossils into the 'ole DS machine. It was probably about enough coal/culm to fill a large coffee can.

I was suprised to see this stuff does indeed burn, it appears to burn down to almost an orange-ish color ash, with sections of white mixed in.

Has anyone ever tried burning a stove full of culm? I was thinking of getting a couple 5 gallon buckets of culm to pick through for fossils, then burning all of the non-fossil containing pieces in the stove, but I didn't know if culm would have enough BTU's to sustain a fire in a hand-fired, natural draft stove.
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Kozy King 100

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Re: Burn culm in a hand-fired stove?

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:15 pm

I guess you're just talking about waste anthracite?
freetown fred
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut

Re: Burn culm in a hand-fired stove?

PostBy: LDPosse On: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:38 pm

freetown fred wrote:I guess you're just talking about waste anthracite?

Yep, that's it. I've heard it called a number of different names, but culm seems to be the local name of choice.

I attached a map of where this stuff is coming from. The area in RED is where I found the fossils. The section in BLUE has much more waste coal, but I haven't found any fossils in that area.
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Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Kozy King 100

Re: Burn culm in a hand-fired stove?

PostBy: lsayre On: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:42 pm

I believe I read somewhere where culm anthracite has only on average about half of the BTU's of typical anthracite. If that's on average, then on an energy basis it can probably range from worthless to decent or fall anywhere in-between. It likely has loads of rocks, mud, and possibly other contaminants in it. Probably lots of fines also.
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
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Re: Burn culm in a hand-fired stove?

PostBy: blrman07 On: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:19 am

Most commercial culm piles are made up of waste from the breaker/colliery that used to operate there. Many culm piles contain small usable chunks of coal that was considered as useless in the not too distant past such as anthracite rice and barley. Now there is a great market for those sizes but back in the day it was considered a waste by product. There is a HUGE culm bank where the Glenn Burn colliery used to sit in Shamokin Pa. It took over 100 years to make that mountain of culm. I believe Waste Management bought it and they are taking dump truck load at a time to a huge specially designed culm burning boiler that generates electricity for the grid. As long as you don't try and depend on it as your sole source of coal you should be able to burn enough to supplement your usage. Since you already found out it burns, keep experimenting and let us know.

I have included a link to a radio script for the culm fire that burned in Excelsior Pa just a couple of years back. The braniacs forgot basic science and dumped tons of leaves and yard waste on top of an old culm pile and then were surprised when it combusted. The owner tried to say it was people riding 4 wheelers playing with flares that started it. As the kids say.....PALEEEESE they can and do self combust and if they will do that on their own, you should be able to put it in a hand fed with a hot fire.


PS. It may be prudent to see who owns the culm pile. Don't want to get charged with theft..... :mad:
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