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Old 01-13-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
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Rocket stove

Wondering if anyone has ever tried to build a rocket stove on a school bus?
Being they are able to easily carry loads, it would seem these could be a great alternative for heat.
In case you may not know what a rocket stove is----->
http://www.richsoil.com/rocket-stove-mass-heater.jsp
I bet it could be adapted for mobile use using many scrounged free or almost free materials.
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........
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Old 01-13-2013, 02:05 PM   #2
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Re: Rocket stove

Hmmm. is right, that looks interesting.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:49 PM   #3
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Re: Rocket stove

It will heat the entire house or that part where you sit...? pretty amazing he only uses 1/16 the amount of wood he used to use!
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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Re: Rocket stove

That's cool but what are you going to use as a thermal mass that won't weight 10,000 pounds?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:14 PM   #5
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Re: Rocket stove

I am very interested in this topic as well. I take it no one on this site has ever tried it? My wife and I manage an RV park and a customer told me about these this year. We live in a VERY cold place in the winters and our wood/coal stove leaves a bit to be desired. We recently purchased a new bus and are highly considering putting one of these in one of them, but are a little skeptical on if it will work or not. seems great, but i wouldnt want to be short on heat in the middle of the night where we live. the other issue is the weight. We bought the second bus with the intention of using it to travel while living in the other full time or at least during the winters, so the bus we put the rocket stove in will not be driven much, if at all. There are also some pretty small and light versions of rocket stoves out there as well, i think its a very customizable. i mean, my wood stove probably weighs 400+ lbs, plus the stone it sits on. I think a smaller rocket stove, made with a 30 gallon drum, maybe some asbestos insulated stove pipe surrounded by fire brick and sand, encased by a wood frame, just to keep it simple, might work in a bus. I need to do more research on the relationship between the drum size/exhaust length/exhaust pipe diameter, but i think it could be done. with the amount of wood we have used this winter we would really like to use something a little more efficient if possible.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:30 PM   #6
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Re: Rocket stove

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlhollowx13
I think a smaller rocket stove, made with a 30 gallon drum, maybe some asbestos insulated stove pipe surrounded by fire brick and sand, encased by a wood frame, just to keep it simple, might work in a bus...
I would not use asbestos. Just me maybe but....

I think there should be a "lighter" something you could use as thermal mass. There is a Rocket Stove Mass heater on Instructables that uses lightweight vermiculite.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:02 PM   #7
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Re: Rocket stove

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlhollowx13
I think a smaller rocket stove, made with a 30 gallon drum, maybe some asbestos insulated stove pipe surrounded by fire brick and sand, encased by a wood frame, just to keep it simple, might work in a bus...
I would not use asbestos. Just me maybe but....

I think there should be a "lighter" something you could use as thermal mass. There is a Rocket Stove Mass heater on Instructables that uses lightweight vermiculite.
Sorry, i meant metalbestos, like the insulated wood stove pipe. might be expensive, but seems fairly lightweight and definitely well insulated. probably need some other sort of insulator around that as well though, all surrounded by some kind of wooden box maybe.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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Re: Rocket stove

Quote:
Originally Posted by red_zone
I registered because I was browsing through and the rocket stove designs caught my eye... and I had some ideas to share.

The beauty of the rocket stove is that it's a totally passive heating system, but such a radiant system requires a large thermal mass to heat up, long runs of exhaust pipe for the exhaust/combustion products/smoke to transfer all of its' heat.

So, to scale down to bus-sized there may have to be two things that need to be cut - mass, especially, and exhaust duct length.
Now, the ones I've seen in all the videos have used vermiculite, clay, lots of brick, etc. Vermiculite is highly insulative, has high heat capacity, and is very light.
What you really need to store all that heat is water. Water has the highest heat capacity of any readily available material, and is the best heat storage available. This is why trombe walls in solar buildings are filled with water. Efficiently transferring the heat from the air to the water is the challenge. Luckily, this has been done; your engine does it in reverse with the radiator.

I think a small rocket stove (the 30 gal drum suggestion?) with a soapstone firebox and a radiator with a pump to circulate water into a thermal storage tank would be the best option for a skoolie. Drain your thermal mass if you're traveling for better fuel efficiency and hill climbing... if you know you're going to camp near a water source. Soapstone has the best heat capacity of most natural stone materials, equal with fire brick, and can be salvaged from broken counter tops - ask for scraps from your local custom kitchen store. This way you have 50-70lb of firebox, insulated with vermiculite for slow heat release. Water tank could be any shape - put it under your bench or under the bus (heavily insulated and with another pump for under floor heat? That'd be neat, and a way to control the heat release back into the bus. Downside? 2 pumps.)

I'd worry about over-heating more in a bus than a house, you can't move but so far away from the stove. If you drain your water and cannot refill, at least the firebox should hold at least as much heat as a cast iron woodstove.
Thanks for that input. I am seriously considering this in our 'house' bus and using our current wood stove in our traveling bus, but making it so the wood stove is removable from the side door when we arent using it/if we are traveling in the summer when it isnt needed and space and weight is more necessary (our stove is small enough to my wife and I and 1 other person can load and unload it in the bus fairly easily). We are currently looking for some land to move onto, and when this occurs our 'house' bus will probably NEVER move again, so weight wont necessarily be an issue anymore (although I would like to make it manageable so that it would be feasible in a traveling bus as well). the setup you describe sounds good, but having 2 pumps kinda kills it for me. We want to and do run on solar, and if possible have no pumps at all (we will probably need at least one for normal running water though). as far as being too hot, this could be a concern for certain regions, but where we live it is one of the coldest places in the continental US, our cast iron wood stove left a little to be desired this past winter and as much heat that is lost in these buses it may not be a bad thing to have a little more heat than needed, after all, a bus has plenty of windows to open.

for us, this past winter was VERY cold, especially at night, even with the fire cranked and we had to get up 3 to 5 times a night to keep the fire going and keep the bus warm enough. on top of it, we went through way too much wood to keep such a small space warm.

My question is this: would pumps REALLY be necessary? I mean, you can use the hot water to really pump itself if it is in a complete circuit where it will lose heat in one spot and gain it in the other, right? thus continually flowing the water and transferring the heat wherever you want it to go. also, how much water would be necessary to make this efficient? any schematics of this setup in a house type setting? maybe it would be best to put the thermal water storage up high, so that the hot water is forced up into it, then from there it can be gravity fed to a hot water tap or back into the heating system? using water was not something I had considered, so this is a new idea for me to explore.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:06 AM   #9
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Re: Rocket stove

5 gallon bucket rocket stove

Link is just to get you thinking.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:56 AM   #10
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Re: Rocket stove

Hello now that summer has come talking heaters sounds moot. When we were on our coast to coast adventure we ran into the same problems getting up many times to load stove and buying wood cost a ton of cash. So looked into those pellet stoves too expensive. After trying to solve the heat troubles got a simple solution. Imagine gold creek montanna 19 below trying go stay warm with a potbelly stove, one of us had to stay awake to feed the stove we took turns. Burned two ricks a day... nightmare. So we survived that, went and got a 100 dollar box stove kit at tractor supply. Took that to a welder had it made airtight to control burn rate. Got a 4x8foot sheet of one inch wire horse fence piece. Made a cage around the stove, leaving cooktop open. Then filled the cage with river rocks as a heatsink. A small 12v fan to circulate heat, works like a charm. The rock heats up retains it when fire dies down and we can get a full nites sleep. The beauty is when we moved take out the rocks reduce weight n roll. Plenty of free rocks to be found if you need them. Cheap solutions are the skoolie way hope this helps
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:04 PM   #11
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Re: Rocket stove

Do you have a picture of that setup?

Sounds interesting
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:02 PM   #12
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Re: Rocket stove

Well no we actually settled down in oklahoma. It gets cold here but not bad. Took out the woodstove cage, for passive solar heat. Not as much wood cutting and the bus doesn't move anymore.
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Old 10-10-2014, 09:16 AM   #13
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Re: Rocket stove

old thread, but what about using water as the thermal mass? There will need to be assurances that it doesn't get hot enough to boil, but it's easy to add and remove. Since it's non-potable it could just be muddy water pumped from a river, ditch, etc..
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:40 AM   #14
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Re: Rocket stove

Rocket stoves get SUPER hot, hot enough to flash steam any water if you get it too close to the fire. If you put it back in the not-so-hot part, then it will work.

The problem is you would be spending a lot of energy getting that water from 33 degrees from the almost frozen creek up to comfortable living temps. Part of what makes a rocket stove efficient is that "flywheel" of mass already being warm. If you are parking for a month, it is worth the time/energy to bring the mass up to temp. For a weekend, probably not.

Another problem is rocket stoves need super-dry fuel to work well, they don't work well on freshly gathered wood. If you are homesteading in your skoolie, you can gather and dry wood. For a weekend on the road, again probably not.

Water holds about 5 times the heat per pound as clay or rock, you should be able to hold enough heat in a manageable amount of water to not need to dump and refill. A rocket powered hydronic system. With a two-way heat exchanger to get engine heat while running and pre-warm the engine while parked.
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Old 12-21-2014, 08:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r_w View Post
A rocket powered hydronic system. With a two-way heat exchanger to get engine heat while running and pre-warm the engine while parked.
I've actually been thinking something along these lines as well. This could be especially useful if you're doing a WVO conversion, or even just have a diesel in very cold temps. Lines could be routed to keep the tank warm as well as the block.

I'd insulate the floor as much as possible, use pex just before the actual flooring, probably notched into the last 1/2" of the subfloor supports. Floor heating works so well because heat rises, and it really provides that extra level of comfort when living in cold environments. Being able to walk around barefoot when its in the negatives outside is a great feeling.

In my situation, my aim is to design my build around flexibility. So my rocketstove would need to be removable. But my bus will have a ramp out the back so this won't be much of a problem, even if I put a good amount of cob around the stove.

Having a wood powered water heater would be really nice if I end up somewhere far from civilization for an extended period of time. Having a marine style diesel water heater would provide an even better level of flexibility, and could be ran through the same hydronic system when the stove wasn't in use. In the summer, you switch the floor heating off, so you can use the diesel water heater just for showers and dishes.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:30 PM   #16
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Hi all,

...just stumbled on this thread....

Another idea to think about is Waxes/Parafines.....

You can get them for a lot of different melting point temps....

The nice thing about these is, once temp gets to that point it will hold it for a LONG time!! It takes about 4x the energy to melt/freeze these parafines, than it takes for water.

Let's say you get a 50°C one - it will be solid until you it hits 50°. Then it will stay a looong time at 50, while it all melts. Then it will still take lots of energy to heat it further.

Fire goes out - wax starts to cool down. Wax hits50 and now will stay a long time at 50, until all is solid again.

I believe most parafines will be lighter than water and considering the thermal energy specs might make this interesting to put into a closed system.
You probably want a metal-tank, but you can incorporate that into the seating area.....

Sorry - no links. Not in need of any of this for the moment, but articles mentioned various sources available - I suggest you engage Uncle Google....

The articles I read where about turbocharging-inter-cooling for non-race applications - time-delayed heat soaking, max power-cold air preference, partial power-warm air preference, etc....

How ever this should work for a rocket stove just the same!!

Cheers,

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Old 01-02-2015, 10:37 PM   #17
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I like it. If you plan on continuing this research, do keep us posted!
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:50 PM   #18
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Hey Juzty,

....sorry, but I am afraid at things look right now - I am about 200 000 years away from needing a rocket-stove, let alone in a bus.

However, IF I get my bus underway - I'll keep you posted, IF parafine-heat-mass is considered!

Cheers,

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Old 01-02-2015, 10:56 PM   #19
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Interesting, could definitely be used in the subfloor to add thermal mass. The thing about my build is I'd like to stay away from adding as much permanent weight to the rig as possible. EVERYTHING that can be reasonably removed should be able to do so for flexibility reasons. This is why I want my thermal mass in the form of water, so I can leave it behind when I don't need it. Wax wouldn't be quite so easy, and its certainly not lightweight.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:50 PM   #20
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I like the idea of a wood stove but two things put me off. The first is the fire hazard and the second is the likelihood of unwanted insects coming in with the fuel
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