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1982 - Volume #6, Issue #1, Page #01
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The Tire Stove

Burning old rubber tires for fuel without spewing dirty black smoke and toxic elements into the atmosphere is a problem many inventors have tried to solve. Jim and Denny Feneis, of St. Cloud, Minn., say they've got the problem licked with their first-of-its-kind tire stove. It burns clean --- no black smoke and odorless in turning old car, truck and tractor tires into "free" heat.
"There is tremendous btu value in old tires," says Jim Feneis, who runs a paint, tire and fuel service center in partnership ,with his father, Dennis.
"Until now, there's been no good way to get rid of old tires and, through the years, we've accumulated thousands of them here at our place of business. Millions more are stacked up in piles and dumpsites across the country. We think we've hit on an idea that can be used to turn this vast, untapped source of energy into free fuel for heating homes, businesses, barns, drying crops and a lot more."
For the past two winters, Jim and Denny Feneis have used their tire stove, fueled with old tires taken from their mountain of worthless tires, to heat their large paint shop in which they paint reconditioned industrial equipment. "We figure the tire stove cut our fuel bill 83%," says Jim, noting that "our 2,500 sq. ft. paint shop is an especially expensive building to heat because the air must be continually exchanged to exhaust toxic paint fumes. Without the tire stove, and the free heat it provides, we'd have to shut down our painting operation in winter. Heating that shop is like trying to heat your house when it's below zero, the wind is blowing and you've got all the windows open. Oil and gas have become too expensive to make it feasible to heat the large paint shop during the winter. Thanks to our tire stove, we've been able to keep it open, and have reduced our heating bill to virtually nothing in the process."
The original Feneis tire stove was 5 ft. square by 4 ft. high. Its firebox, made of 1/4 by 1/2 in. plate steel, held six tires.
A newer, improved model is twice as large and burns 10 to 12 car or truck tires at once. Here, according to Jim, is how it works:
"We throw the tires as is' into the firebox and start them burning with kindling or whatever is at hand. Then, we close the door and limit the amount of oxygen so the tires will smolder, creating thick, black smoke inside the firebox. We actually burn the smoke given off by the smoldering tires.
"The smoke rises out of the firebox to the upper corner of the furnace where it filters through holes into the combustion chamber. A conventional oil furnace injector shoots a continuous oil flame into the chamber, igniting the smoke. (Natural gas would work just as well to ignite the smoke.) The burning smoke flows upward into an 80-ft. long series of 8-in. heat exchanger pipes that wind back and forth in front of the ventilators, bringing in cold air from the outside. The air is warmed as it passes between the pipes which, often are red hot and directed into the paint shop. Warm air fouled by paint fumes is exhausted at the other end of the building.
"If you hold a match in the smoke of a cigarette, the smoke will burn up and disappear. That's essentially what this furnace does to black tire smoke. The smoke burns up in the heat exchanger pipes, which are made from old ammonia cylinders. They're similar to a set of acetylene gas cylinders (8 in. in dia.) and are made from heavy steel that can withstand the heat of the burning tire smoke," Jim explains.
He and his father installed their tire stove in a small brick addition to the paint shop in such a way that it can be stoked from the outside. One tire heats their shop for about an hour so they stoke the stove morning and night with a full load of 10 to 12 tires. Jim notes that what little smoke comes out of the stack is as clear as that given off by a highly efficient wood burner.
Local fire officials have inspected the Feneis tire stove and apparently feel that it is completely safe as long as one load of "rubber tire fuel" is allowed to burn down most of the way before another load is


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1982 - Volume #6, Issue #1