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Canadian Farm Testing New Residue Burner
Straw, corn stover, sawdust, wood chips and other crop residues can be converted to heat for crop drying or space heating with burners available from Biomass Combustion Ltd., Canning, N.S.
These burners, said to be the first of their kind to be commercially available in North America, were developed by a German manufacturer and the Agricultural Engineering Institute Weihenstephan at Munich, West Germany.
While the combustion systems are standard, fuel supply systems and heat exchangers are engineered to suit the specific requirements according to fuel use, amount of heat required, and heat utilization. Straw and corn stover may be in square or large, round bales or stacks. A mechanized fuel rack and automatic stoker can provide continuous feeding of some models. Others are loaded through a hatch on top with large round bales via an air lock using an electric hoist.
At Lyndhurst Farms Ltd., Canning, N.S., a top loaded burner having a capacity of 4 million BTU's per hour was installed in 1978. For the past two seasons, it has been the sole heat source for drying approximately 80,000 bu. of corn, and 70,000 bu. of wheat and other small grains.
In winter, the unit is used to heat a 240-sow farrow to finish operation, and the herdsman's residence. Burning 3 or 4 large, round bales of straw in 3 to 4 hours provides enough heat to warm the hog buildings and home for 24 hrs. Heated- water is stored in a used 14,000 gal. insulated tank, and is then pumped through the
heating systems as needed. Heated air and the exhaust gases are used to dry grain.
Lyndhurst's records show that approximately 0.4 lbs. was burned for each lb. of water removed, when drying corn or grain.
Straw contains approximately 6,100 BTU/lb.; corn stover about 7,750 BTU/lb. Sawdust contains roughly-8,550 BTU/lb. c mpared to 20,000 BTU/lb., or 140,000 BTU per gallon for No. 2 fuel oil.
At Lyndhurst Farms, baled straw which was left uncovered outside had absorbed enough moisture by January to make burning difficult and inefficient. Consequently, inside or tarp covered storage is recommended for residue to be used as fuel. Also, because straw or stover is usually too high in moisture content to burn when harvesting starts, the farm's manager suggests storing enough bales from the previous crop inside so that drying can be started as soon as harvest begins. Straw can be stockpiled as fuel for the corn; corn stover stockpiled for drying small grains, etc. The point is, maximum heat recovery is obtained when moisture content of residues used for fuel is lowest.
Because of the bulky size of the burners, and accompanying shipping problems, Biomass Combustion Ltd. is seeking fabricators/distributors for the system in other parts of Canada and the United States.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Biomass Combustion Ltd., Canning, N. S. BOP 1HO, Canada (ph 902 582-3345).

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1980 - Volume #4, Issue #2