Indoor wood burners vs. OWBs- facts needed

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Indoor wood burners vs. OWBs- facts needed

Postby Lisa Cummings » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:51 am

I spoke at length with our township supervisor about an ordinance to prohibit new OWBs from going up on properties smaller than 3 acres (to at least keep NEW ones from going up in a neighborhood here). He said that it discriminates against OWB owners and that indoor wood burners emit just as much smoke. Do we have recent data that compares numbers in a chart form between uncertified OWBs, EPA certified OWBs and indoor wood burners? I have the bubble chart which is great visually but is there a chart with actual particulate emissions numbers? He said that the "fear" is that if we pass an ordinance about OWBs, that the next will be indoor ones. I could use temperature comparisons (OWBs burn at a lower temp making for a more "smoldering" effect than indoor ones, etc.) if they are available. He told me my problem is with the "smoke", not the OWB. I have yet to see an indoor wood burner what throws the volume of smoke my neighbor's OWB spews out. How about the new EPA certified models? I pass 2 new units everyday and they seem to smoke almost as much. Please help
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OWB facts ? Whatever they are!

Postby pm2.5mary » Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:59 pm

Yes, the problem is wood smoke. People are being driven from their homes due to new wood stoves as well as OWBs. Indoor stoves should be next if public health was important, and the supervisor knows it!

That said, I will give you the email privately of Curt Freedman, Engineer. Let us see what he has for us.

pm10
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
Find more at http://burningissues.org
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Indoor wood boiler thoughts

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:05 pm

Have experience with an IWB, IWF or large old stove and an old fireplace in a tight house. All are bad. Maine went after OWB's but not IWB's. Reason: IWB's cannot be seen and determined from stoves. OWB's are easy to spot and hence prosecute. An argument could also be made that rain and snow helped contribute to smoldering and the cold hindered combustion but mainly it was the enforcement cost issue that officials were worried about. Everybody has a stove or fireplace it seems so officials are worried about enforcement costs. With $270,000 court settlements, their fears are real. Even $5,000 court fees scare them. They reason that people will want to sue people and not the cities with access to better lawyers and deeper pockets. They know they are right, so they never get sued. It is cheaper to move and they are brazen enough to tell their inspectors to try and get complainers to move like a sheriff running an outlaw out of town. Get rid of the complainers is oftentimes their solution. And it works. A doctor said my city ran an asthmatic out of town when she complained about dust from a salt pile. When it works repeatedly they get feedback to do it more. They pass all kinds of laws to protect the state really and then never enforce the law. They point to the law and say they did what they had to, to protect the public and it appears so on paper but in reality it is a bad world. Jesus said there is no one good, not one, except for God and the sons of God perhaps.

Also, the new pellet boilers and school boilers are indoor wood boilers. The government will not sue itself or do anything to hinder school boilers. 10 % of Vermonts schools are heated with indoor wood boilers.

I believe I experienced an IWB and the pollution was incredible but it was invisible pm2.5 and invisible toxic gases. The neighbor denies it but would not let anyone in to check it.

Towns are not educated and the bldg inspectors do not have the monitors to enforce nuisances and cost concious managers will not let bldg inspectors enforce the law. They have 'discretionary powers to not enforce to save money'. I am trying to get the state to require enforcement of a new state building code and get state woodburning laws. So far I got the new building code and the mandatory enforcement but no specific woodburning laws yet. But a governors task force on wood energy recommends state nuisance laws and these are usually in building codes. Hopefully, the state will not fear the enforcement costs if they are to be born by the local governments.

Wood chip school boilers are not checked by the DEP's and the engineers loosely follow national NSPS standards but they have not been reviewed for ages as they should be by law. They have not changed with the ambient air standards. Blame Bush or the people who elected him. Republicans think the old conservative ways were good. Smokestacks provided jobs and now smokestacks are in China where there is no environmental law. The only way out of this continuing mess is to work hard at making a better world and graduating to a higher heaven it seems to me. The christians all used to believe in reincarnation and said that if you did nothing to deserve a better world you would be forced to reincarnate back here. John was Elijah and all of that. Experiencing the fire and smoke of a hell on Earth is a motivating factor for me.

there is another court however that I am considering using. That is the court of the newspapers. I've been on tv with an Am Lung Dir. and the DEP and Boilermakers would not show for a debate with us. I am practicing my arguments on the forum. Then I write letters to the Governor. They do not know if I am bluffing or not about getting a pro bono lawyer to sue for enforcement of the nuisance laws with a class action suit. I am trying but have not gotten one yet. But I can truthfully say that the Environmental Defense Fund is pledging support and the Am. Lung Association is pledging support and coming to my defense in Gov. meetings, so they are giving me more respect tan usual and acceeding to some of my requests for reform. I am trying to use all the mind power that God gave me on this. I am like a mother bear protecting her cub.
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Postby woodburner » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:57 am

The difference is that outdoor wood boilers are thermostatically controlled. When the thermostat is calling for heat, the boiler blows forced air across the fire to get it burning as hot as possible. When the thermostat is satisfied it chokes the air supply to the fire down, which can make it smoky. With an indoor wood stove there is either an automatic damper in the stove, or a manual damper in the stove pipe. With an auto damper it will keep the draft right so that the fire is continually burning hot, which is ideal. With a manual damper it is up to the user to adjust the damper to allow proper flow. Close it slightly for a longer burn with less heat, or open it up a bit for a good hot fire. The main difference is that the indoor burners are using natural draft to keep the fire going, while the outdoor boiler is blowing air across it with a fan. The advantage to the outdoor model for a user is that they can fill it up and let the thermostat take care of the draft, while not overheating and wasting fuel when the thermostat is satisfied.
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:39 pm

The disadvantage for the non-user is that they can't enjoy their home or land as they'd like to... they are at the unfortunate mercy of the selfish OWB owner...
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Postby woodburner » Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:51 am

Lisa that's a pretty overreaching statement. I live next to two OWBs and never notice the scent or sight of smoke from either of them. They are located about 75 and 125 yards away from my 1 acre property line. They aren't for everywhere, but most of them are set up in rural areas.
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:26 am

You'd have to agree, however, that for those who own and operate these units in a negligent way (use wet, unprotected wood; put in daily trash;etc), there ought to at least be some protection for a non-using neighbor such as myself and children. Some people, like yourself, obviously, aren't affected by smoke. People like me, who are, should be able to look to our constitution and get relief (section 27, PA state constitution... "all residents are guaranteed clean air, pure water..."). You may operate your unit correctly. You may be replacing all the trees you've used up to make this a truly "renewable" fuel source. That's great. But why should we have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in court costs and collect hundreds of signatures of township residents who worry about the health effects and property devaluation when these locomotives are placed too close to property lines?? Why should neighboring motion-activated outdoor spotlights go on and off for hours due to the heavy volume of smoke pouring from an OWB next door? Why should I be asked to tolerate my kid's bedding smelling like soot? Why should you or anyone else say it's ok for me to have to use my inhaler INSIDE my house simply because my neighbor' OWB is smoldering (as usual) and the wind is coming from the west?? What do you suggest? Sit back and let the home and land that my husband and I worked so hard to buy and build on become uninhabitable?? My neighbor's unit is junk. My concerns are real. The facts on particulates from wood smoke are out there. Our road often disappears under the shroud of smoke. Ten months out of every year belong to my neighbor, not to us. He dictates when I'm free to open my windows. I'm tired of the fight, woodburner. If you feel this is an acceptable way for me to live my life, then by all means, enjoy throwin' on another log just for me and my three kids and all the other people who suffer every day at the hands of people like my neighbor who do their very best to make sure their unit spews as much toxins into the air we breathe as possible. These people exist, woodburner. They may be foreign to your personal experience but they're alive and well from coast to coast.
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Thank you for speaking up Lisa!

Postby pm2.5mary » Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:47 pm

If an OWB or any other device for solid fuel, uses clean dry wood and burns it 'perfectly' you still get wood smoke. The worst of this soot is the invisible pm2.5 and smaller. You can't see it or clean it up and it can kill.

Wood burner, can you still smell? I suspect that like smokers people around wood smoke can't smell it any longer. As for it not bothering you, it doesn't seem to bother wood burners. Any ideas on why that is the case? Smokers are less bothered by their smoke also. What is up with that?

Add to the list against OWBs and wood stoves of any age the cost per pound of wood burned to everyone else. Jane Hall, University of California at Fullerton reported that for the SF bay area every pound of wood burned cost society (the 90% who never burn) $2.

Our medical insurance companies are floundering... they, and increasing the patients (victims of wood smoke) carry the brunt of the medical cost of wood smoke. Wood burners need to keep their smoke at home and contained. Then the rest of society would get on with living, not being sick all the time.

Under legal on BurningIssues.org please see a new case where the Health Department in Canada ordered a cease and desist (http://burningissues.org/car-www/legal/index.html) for a wood burning device. This makes a lot of sense.

Armidale, Australia had a great article yesterday of government sponsored help to insulate houses. That is smart money.
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
Find more at http://burningissues.org
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No smell

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:17 pm

No smell? Older men that are sexually active usually have lower zinc levels and this causes poor smelling ability. That is why women smell better.

That may also account for the fact that most woodburning is done by men. Football games have the worst woodsmoke associated with them in my neighborhood. Woodburner sounds like a dealer or manufacturer so maybe he has selected relatively good OWB's like the GARN or maybe he knows how to operate them better, but most OWB's are causing huge problems for neighbors and the people burning do not get it . I give woodburner credit for listening on this website. Wish others would do the same. I still think all woodburning is bad because the best still pollute 4 times as much as an oil burner and just ambient air pollution is enough to cause asthma and heart attacks before adding wood pm.
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Pass Legislation v. OWBs

Postby woodgasstandards » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:10 am

Please visit my website http://woodgasification.spaces.live.com where I list all the States in the U.S. and Cities, Towns and Villages in Wisconsin which have passed state laws or municipal ordinances against Outdoor Wood Boilers. Outdoor Wood Boilers smolder and produce much more smoke than fireplaces. Industrial Wood Gasification if implemented, would be regulated by industrial emission standards such as those for coal, natural gas, etc... Residential wood burning is not governed by these sorts of emission standards and should be. Outright bans of Outdoor Wood Boilers on a piecemeal basis could be replaced by Statewide bans such as that in Washington State or by a Federal Ban if the right people take action, such as the EPA listening to NESCAUM, legislation by Henry Waxman in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, administrative rules promulgated by President Barack Obama in 2009, and people in towns banding together to get statewide bans passed.
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Wood Gasification Boilers

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:22 am

Sounds like a sales pitch. Many boilers are claiming that they gasify first before burning therefor the units are like clean burning gas stoves. Problem: all fires create gas and the gas burns. Even the dirtiest choked off fireplace creates gas. That is why there is a flame. The flame comes from gasses burning. You must look at pm created in the nearby air. What is the pm concentration in mcg/cubic meter? in the air nearby?

Industrial standards are voluntary per EPA conversations untill you get to 10 mmbtu/hour where modelling for pm conc has to be done. Most wood boilers and chip boilers for schools claim they meet NSPS standards but these are not standards per EPA conversations. They have not been revised in decades despite changes in the ambient air standards. States are quoting them in OWB bills because industry is telling people they are government standards but this is misinformation. The units themselves are absurd. They are in lbs/mmbtu. This means there is no limit for an infinite sized boiler. Absurd. Convert that to gms/hr for a chip boiler for a school and you could see 500 gms/hr like I saw when asked to look into one of these. This is equal to 5 house sized outdoor wood boilers that generated an OWB bill in Maine and some other states. This kind of pollution can cause heart attacks and asthma attacks and yes, even 1/5 of that can kill, in a calm wind inversion per DR. Brown, phd, in a report on OWB's.

The Env. Def. Fund recognizes the NSPS standards problems and is starting to work to change them with discussions and possible legal action if it is needed in the future. Yeah, EDF.

True gasification such as pyrolysis usually requires a large size for economies of scale and would require emissions control but would result in gas that could be injected into gas pipelines or oil. The Germans did this with coal and wood in one of the world wars. We could conceptually do this and one company in Maine is struggling to do pilot studies for creating oil from wood. I believe the company is Red Shield, Inc. and Maine is trying to help with a $500,000 grant. Yeah Red Shield and Maine.
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Postby turning_blue » Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:50 pm

Ernest, What's this wood gasification mean?
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Wood gasification

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:25 pm

These gasifiers sound like small pyrolysis plants that cook wood in an oxygen starved vessel to create gas. In Germany, as I understand it, they built coal and wood gasification plants that produced a gas similar to natural gas. Here, they are doing something very different. They are describing production of simple easy to burn gases of hydrogen and carbon monoxide combined. This is not like the outdoor wood boilers that claim they are producing gas and burning it.

There is potential to produce cleaner burning plants here but they may try to sneak under the 10 mmbtu/hr size that requires modelling of the pm concentration. They could be very polluting as a result because there is a problem with most medium sized burning technology that only does what it has to to reduce emissions and there is little or no state regulation. It is all very complicated. It is not the small fireplace or stove or house sized OWB that this web site usually deals with. These are rare. Stoves are common but add up to a large amount in a city compareable to a large coal power plant. Leave this to the engineers and state regulators, unless you live next to one. They describe the pollution as similar to a diesel engine output albeit big ones. They can still produce a lot of pm and bother people like a bus or train. But gas is 1000 times cleaner than wood potentially.
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Postby turning_blue » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:08 pm

Thanks!
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Wood gasification

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:50 am

The key to these gasification plants seems to be the venturi scrubbers. With it, they claim to produce emissions like a gas fired plant which is very clean. Without it, the plants produce emissions like a diesel train. So, the logical thing to do would be to require MACT or maximum achievable control technology and require the venturi scrubber. Without a law like this, human nature or something will result in the plants being built as cheaply as possible and pollution as usual.
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