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Catalytic Converter For Wood Stoves
Just-introduced woodburning stoves from Franklin Cast Products have a combustion efficiency up to 90%, rivaling that of gas furnaces and about double the performance of conventional fireplaces, according to the manufacturer. Franklin officials claim their new stoves, compared to conventional stoves, can recover 50% more heat from the same wood, or burn one-third less wood for equal heat output.
The key to this high efficiency is a first of its kind catalytic converter made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, N.Y. The converter is a ceramic honeycomb that's 5.66 in. in dia. and 3 in. thick. Smoke from the burning wood passes through 16 square holes per square inch in the combustor to a special after-burner chamber before passing up the chimney. The converter makes the stove burn hotter, thus burning up more creosote.
A special catalyst on the ceramic combustor alters the smoke, causing it to burn at about 500?F (typical wood burning temperature) rather than 1100-1300?F normally required for combustion of smoke. This recovers more heat from the fuel, removes harmful air pollutants from the smoke and greatly reduces creosote accumulation in the chimney, thereby reducing possible chimney fires. (Most chimney fires are caused by improper stove operation or installation not by the stove itself, say Franklin representatives.)
Actually, the catalytic converter functions in much the same manner as a catalytic converter on a car by helping remove air pollutants, in this case from stove exhaust. However, experts stress that a catalytic converter from a car cannot be used on a stove.
Both Corning and Franklin spokesmen warn that burning improper fuels can damage or "kill" the catalyst, thus rendering it useless and a replacement will likely cost $75-$100. But, it's so new no one knows how long they will last with proper care. Extended tests are underway.
For more information on the new converter-equipped stoves, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Franklin Cast Products, Warwick, R.I. 02886 (ph 401 739-9300).

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #2