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Crop Dryer Burns Shelled Corn
"We've got to solve our own energy problems in agriculture and every farmer in the U.S. has the tools at hand to do it," says Nebraska crop dryer manufacY hirer Bill Fritz who's telling farmers to "take that corn or other grain you're selling below cost and burn it."
Burn it?
You bet-- in a first-of-its kind crop drying furnace which Fritz, president of Middle State Manufaciuting, headquartered at Columbus, expects to have in production and ready for sale early this fall.
Convinced that corn and other grain can be used economically for crop drying, Fritz began experimenting with a corn-fired crop dryer early last fall:
"lf you burn itefficiently, corn has enough Ian's to compete favorably with propane at present Price levels," explains Fr tz, who adds that his prototype dryer has performed "with f lying colors. So faras we know, it's the only crop dryer designed specifically
to use corn or other grain as a fuel for drying. The revolutionary, Middle State corn-burning furnace is patterned after the company's new corn stalk burner which we told you about in FARM, SHOW earlier this year (Vol. 3, No. 1). Since last fall, a prototype furnace fueled with shelled corn has been under test at 'Middle State's manufacturing facility in St. Edward, Neb. Plant manager Bill Moron, who has been responsible for much of the new crop dryer's development,. told FARM SHOW that "corn burns with the intensity of propane and is an easy-to-handle fuel."
Here, according to Moron, is how the corn-fired dryer works:
Outside air is pulled down through the top of the furnace and mixed with the flame at the bottom of the burner. Heat is then drawn directly off the bottom and blown into the wet corn to be dried. Moron points out that temperature at the bottom of the burner is about 1,200? when in operation, enough to burn up any smoke or gases: "It burns hot and clean with no smoke or odor, thanks to the burner's design, which is completely different from anything else on the market."
Although the furnace was specifically designed for bottom unload, continuous flow bin dryers, it will readily adapt to any grain dryer or system, according to Moron. Corn is fed automatically into the furnace via a grain auger. "That way," explains Moron, "the furnace feeds itself and, along with thermostatic control of the burning chamber, is completely maintenance free. The furnace only has to hold enough grain to keep the fire burning, a feature which allows its size to be kept to a minimum."
The prototype furnace is about 3 ft. wide and 6 ft. long - about half the projected size for units to be produced commercially. It can be loaded either from the top or from the side, a feature that allows it to be fueled with crop residues, as well as with corn or other grain. Big bales of corn stalks, for example, can be loaded directly into the side, and corn or other grain into the top.
When fueled with corn, the corn is ignited with a small propane burner. Until the fire reaches operating temperature, heat is diverted outside the furnace. Once the fire is hot enough to burn without smoke or odor, a damper in the duct leading to the drying bin opens automatically. When it opens, cooler outside air is mixed with hot air for the correct drying temperature. Temperature of the drying air is thermostatically controlled.
"The method of burning is the same as on our big bale burner," explains Fritz. "Our goal is to develop the shape of the furnace so it will burn grain most efficiently. We will probably end up with two furnacesone for big bales of corn stalks or other residue, and one for grain."
Last winter during testing, Middle State heated its 12,000 sq. ft. building in St. Edward with corn. Moron says they burned about 1 bu. per hour at the coldest time of the year with heated air entering the heat exchanger inside the building at about 600?. They burned corn in both the prototype corn burning furnace and in the big bale burner, with good results in both units.
I ne company plans to build a corn-burning furnace to heat a new building at their main Columbus, Neb. manufacturing pl

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1979 - Volume #3, Issue #3