BTU in ?

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by lazy-s-chickens, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. lazy-s-chickens

    lazy-s-chickens Dan The Man

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    Over in the homesteading forum they are talking about what everybody burns for heat, wood, coal, corn.... Is there a chart that compares btu's in diffferent materials to be able to see an apples to apples comparison on what it is realy saving (or not saving). I burn wood with propane back up, but at what point is it costing me more to try and be frugal? I don't mean this to say Ha! you are not doing it the cheapest but to help everbody make an informed descision.

    Thanks
     
  2. idahodave

    idahodave Well-Known Member

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  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This comes from a corn stove manufaturer, so take with a grain of salt:

    Corn can produce 9000 to 10,000 btu's per pound that equals 560,000 btu's per bushel of corn.
    One bushel of corn = 5.5 gal of LP gas
    One bushel of corn = 3.6 gal of fuel oil
    One bushel of corn = 146 KWH of electricity
    One bushel of corn = 5.40 ccf of natural gas

    http://www.year-a-round.com/fact_sheet.html

    --->Paul
     
  4. mdharris68

    mdharris68 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a great link to btu content of various fuels.

    www.mainepublicservice.com/customer/Fuel and Energy.pdf

    If you figure the cost per unit of fuel (wood, propane, nat gas, fuel oil, etc.) in your area, and also figure the cost to produce a certain number of btu's, say 1 million, you get a good comparison of cost per fuels. Don't forget all of the various charges that are attatched to your bill like delivery charge, meter reading charge, etc. Another variable involved in the figuring is the efficiency of the heating equiptment. Gets very complicated.

    I did the figures last year when the price of natural gas was going through the roof, and I came to the conclusion that it would take 85 cent/gallon propane to beat the 13.50 per thousand cubic feet natural gas that I was using. Electric would also have to drop in our area at least 4 cents per kilowatt hour to make it feasable.
     
  5. mbeaser

    mbeaser Active Member

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  6. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

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    This is really paramount to this discussion. An outdoor wood burner w/water jacket tied into a properly built radiant heating system is going to supply heat infinitely more efficiently than a wood burning fireplace - with the additional benefit of supplying hot water. The potential BTUs of any fuel source is perhaps a start if you are building a total system from scratch; but the appliance, it's efficiency at converting fuel to heat, and the total system for delivering that heat to the living space, cost of the various fuel sources locally, as well as the payback on the dollars invested all have to be considered to arrive at a practical decision.
     
  7. lazy-s-chickens

    lazy-s-chickens Dan The Man

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    Bill,
    you are absolutly right about the efficiency at converting fuel to heat, and that is one thing I do not believe alot of people factor in. I always thought that the indoor wood burners were more eficient than the outdoor ones. I know alot of people that burn junk wood in their outside boilers and that does not help the efficiency any. I am a indoor wood burner guy, and get most of my wood by scavaging or from clearing of lots when I build a house, so wood makes sense for me but may not make sense for someone that has to buy it for $120 a cord. This is why I wanted to bring up this topic and make sure people are making informed decisions on thier fuel of choice.
    thanks all
     
  8. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Ive found that Btu's per lb are nearly the same in everything
     
  9. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I guess that would depend upon how you define "nearly".
     
  10. gccrook

    gccrook Well-Known Member

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    Or how you weigh your electricity. :)
     
  11. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    To make 1,000,000 Btu, you would need to burn:

    83 pounds of coal, or

    10 gallons of propane, or

    8 gallons of gasoline, or

    7 gallons of 2 oil, or

    6 gallons of #1 oil, or

    285 pounds of wood.
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't want to question you, but:

    In my tractors, #2 fuel burns a lot cooler & gives me more hp than #1.

    Seems odd the raw btu numbers would be the way you have them.

    --->Paul
     
  13. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Ooops my bad.

    I failed to show where I got those numbers.

    mdharris68; posted this link:

    www.mainepublicservice.com/customer/Fuel and Energy.pdf

    and I was looking it over and found those numbers.

    I can not say whether they are correct or not, but that the above link says so.

    :)
     
  14. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks. On that page, I see they also support my experience:

    Fuel Oil:
    1 Gal of #1 Kerosene 135,000 Btu’s
    1 Gal of #2 Fuel Oil 138,000 Btu’s
    1 Gal of #4 Fuel Oil 145,000 Btu’s
    1 Gal of #6 Fuel Oil 150,000 Btu’s

    Where #2 contains more energy per gal than #1. There must be quite a difference in weight per gal to support both?

    The more a fuel is refined, the lighter it becomes, and the less BTU per gal it has. More refining does cost more in energy used to do the refining as well.

    Interesting to see how raw data can be used to say different things. :) :)

    Thanks,
    --->Paul
     
  15. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

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    I had to spend some time on this recently for more "traditional" fuels (liquid propane gas (what an oxymoron, eh? lol), natural gas, heating oil/fuel, etc.). I dug a bit and found what I needed but it wasn't on just one site...