One of the biggest all-purpose outside wood burners on the market is the just-introduced self-feeding "Super Furnace" from United Farm Tools, Fitzgerald, Ga.
The first prototype of the king-sized furnace was used continuously last fall to provide heat to tobacco curing "barns" near Fitzgerald. It's designed to provide up to 1,000,000 btu's per hour to buildings or dryers located as much as 1,000 ft. away. What's more, the big furnace automatically feeds itself with logs up to 4 ft. long and 12 in. in diameter, and is entirely thermostatically controlled.
Developed by Ron Paulk and Harry Lott of UFT's Paulk division, the unit was designed not only for Georgia's tobacco operations but also for everything from corn drying to home heating to livestock barns. UFT plans to market the furnace through its dealers across the U.S.
The furnace consists of a firebox completely immersed in 3,000 gal. of water. The airtight firebox is force-fed by a small fan through a submersed air vent. Temperature of the water in the boiler is controlled by the rate of burn in the firebox. Paulk says water temperature is maintained at 200 degrees. The water runs out to radiating units in the barns or dryers being supplied with heat and returns at about 160 degrees, depending on the distance traveled and the number of radiators being used.
Wood is fed automatically into the firebox by an ingenious automatic feeding conveyor that can be loaded with a continuous supply of wood. Because wood burns at different rates and is irregular in size, Paulk says they designed scale-controlled grates for the firebox. As wood burns down and the load on the grates lightens, it automatically triggers the feeder to drop more wood. The rate of burn of the fire is controlled with oxygen to maintain the required temperature of water.