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Soybean Bales Heat Farm Shop
Thanks to his new bale-burning stove, Willie Albrecht’s 130 by 50-ft. farm shop has been shirtsleeve comfortable this winter. Plus he doesn’t have to worry about expensive propane bills because he burns something he has plenty of – soybean residue. Last fall, he baled residue on 150 of his 800 acres of soybean fields and got about 400, 4 by 5-ft. round bales.
  They burn well – about 1 1/4 bales per day average – in the outdoor stove Albrecht designed. He hired a fabrication shop to roll an 8-ft. dia. steel barrel and cut out other parts with a CNC plasma cutter. Albrecht and his family welded everything together themselves.
  Cold water comes in from the back and goes through 12 pipes in metal heat shields in the 6-in. space between the burn chamber and the exterior aluminum sheeting. The water goes through a flexible hose to the front of the door (to keep it from warping), back into the stove through 24 3/4-in. schedule 80 pipes that are loosely secured on angle iron and hangars to the top radius of the stove so that they can contract and expand.
  He installed the pipes, the firebricks and other parts so that they can easily be replaced.
  “I borrowed ideas from my dad and brother’s outdoor and indoor woodstoves,” Albrecht says. “Outdoor stoves go down in efficiency after the first year. I put the pipes in so we can clean them out or replace them if they rust out.”
  The grate is made out of pieces of bucket cutting edge that can also be replaced. An electric motor runs the 4-in. auger at the bottom of the stove that moves the ashes out through the ash door.
  The system holds 175 gal. of water circulated by a 1/3 hp water pump that moves 50 gpm. Albrecht uses a 50/50 water/antifreeze mix to keep the corrosion down and in case the power goes out.
  The water goes through 250 ft. of line to the shop, which has in-floor heating in a new addition and a radiator and fan in the original 50 by 50-ft. shop. The new stove and total setup cost less than $14,000 and uses about 8 amps ($70) of electricity/month.
  “The stove is overkill for our use. We could add more buildings and a house,” Albrecht says. “This would be ideal for dairies to heat buildings and water efficiently.”
  Too much soybean trash has been a problem. Baling the majority of it leaves some residue for the soil and makes planting and cultivation easier. Though he’s sold some bales for a windbreak, there isn’t a market for baled soybean residue in the area, he says.
  So far, Albrecht has been pleased with how well it works for fuel. The soybean bales have a pleasant smell and produce very little smoke. His stove also burns other cheap and free fuel sources such as cornstalk bales, wood and old pallets.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Willie Albrecht, R381 East Townline Rd., Athens, Wis. 54411 (ph 715 297-2323).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2