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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines

Burning Straw

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Old 07-12-2019, 01:20:00 PM
JKelsh325 JKelsh325 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Westlake, Ohio
Posts: 15
Default Burning Straw

Has anybody on here burned straw during a show or own an engine that is fitted to burn straw? Most manufacturers offered different equipment to help aide with the process (different firebox doors, different firebox design, brick arch etc) After watching this video ( of a 25 Huber thresh while burning straw I am curious what all problems one would encounter and how different it would be to fire in terms of fuel consumption.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:58:19 PM
Gary Jones Gary Jones is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Faribault, Minnesota, USA
Posts: 91
Default Re: Burning Straw


I have fired with straw many times at shows. Send me a PM and we can see what you have for a set up.


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Old 07-12-2019, 08:57:42 PM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Mason, Tennessee USA
Posts: 6,573
Default Re: Burning Straw

It'd be interesting to see that Huber being fired on straw.....I've got a 22 HP Huber and it's about a PITA to fire on either coal or wood!

Bill Stahl fires his 22 HP Gaar-Scott engine on straw while threshing at Rushville, IN.

Mike M
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Old 07-21-2019, 10:33:25 PM
George White's Avatar
George White George White is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bowman, North Dakota, USA
Posts: 568
Default Re: Burning Straw

I helped years ago when I was quite young. It was a 26 Advance tandem compound with a water arch in the firebox. I own the engine currently but the status of the boiler is not good. Rising costs and lack of full funding have prevented me from reboilering as of yet but hope to be able to some day before my clock is up. If I remember it’s not necessarily hard work but rather steady work. Also believe tubes can plug up. Ours had 2 1/2 or 3” flues so that should help.
Nick Werth
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:18:05 AM
casertractor casertractor is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,165
Default Re: Burning Straw
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Old 07-22-2019, 03:28:52 PM
casertractor casertractor is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Milton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,165
Default Re: Burning Straw

This might be a silly question but did they burn hay in these engines years ago aswell as the straw? and do you try burning hay in your engines at shows?.Does hay burn good as straw does in these engines?
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Old 07-24-2019, 09:31:32 PM
SteamMedic SteamMedic is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 47
Default Re: Burning Straw

George do you have any pictures of the water arch? Itís not something Iíve heard of before and canít find anything with a quick google
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Old 07-28-2019, 09:23:32 PM
Pete Deets Pete Deets is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Evansville, WI. USA
Posts: 1,500
Default Re: Burning Straw

I helped on the Buffalo-Pitts at Rollag the last few years it was there and burning straw is not terribly hard work, just constant. The grate bar arrangement in that firebox looked somewhat like a large leaf rake with the tines turned up and very wide spacing. That straw chute had 2 doors side by side so you'd try to fire one and then the other but you had to keep an eye at the bottom of the door. When you saw the light of the fire at the bottom of the door you knew it was time for another stuff. If you didn't wait for that you stood a good chance of overfiring and snuffing out part if not all of the fire. We would try to take a fork full about the size of a basketball on each firing.

The straw fire is a very quick and short teeter-totter between too much and too little fuel. If you wait a minute too long your fire could be out because it burned everything. If you feed 30 seconds too early you'll easily make the fire too thick and air can't get through it and once again it goes out.

Another item peculiar to straw is the honeycomb clinker. This is a clinker that forms on the tubesheet from the particulates in the combustion gasses and can constrict or block the tubes.

As far as fuel consumption I can only offer a comparison of the heat values of different fuels. While looking for the numbers I found there was a noticeable variation from one site to the next so I'll try to present some median numbers:

For the same number of BTU's
17 1/2 pounds of wood - a pretty good armload
12 pounds of good soft coal - a good scoop full
7.2 pounds of #2 fuel oil - 1 gallon
20 pounds of wheat straw - half a small bale
16 pounds of flax straw - nearly half a small bale

Hopefully this will give you a sense of the scale of the volume of straw that has to be handled to do the same amount of work as with other fuels.

As far as burning hay, I've never heard of it being done but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. I've always thought hay was too valuable as animal fodder to be burned.....................PD
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