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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kermit, 21 Feb 2020.
Widely reported this morning.
You can still get a nice flame on a open fire with smokeless bricketts, they last a heck of a lot longer than house coal as well.
Across the country, this would have a much bigger effect than a few houses with coal heating (the houses are unlikely to burn in the summer, either).
The thing is that...
1. Houses heated with wet wood/coal produce a lot of particulate pollution at the point of use - the very worst kind, remember the smogs? While it's an evocative childhood smell it sets my asthma off far worse than a Euro V/VI diesel car does.
2. There is, and has been for 20+ years, a viable alternative to wood and coal burning in urban areas (where the effect is worst) - gas/oil central heating and electric heaters, proven by the fact that near enough every home now has one of the two and almost none have a coal fire with back boiler any more - wood/coal burners are simply for the enjoyment of one in most cases. There is not presently a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine due to the high cost of electric cars until they filter through the second hand market and the lack of charging infrastructure. This will be resolved over the coming years up to the ban on sale in 2030-whatever-it-was.
I'm actually surprised it's stopped short of an outright ban on open fires in homes in urban areas, to be honest, because there really is no need at all to heat a home in that way in an urban area with a gas supply. Probably because a big house with an Aga and a wood burner is a Tory thing. They've only really started to come back over the last 5-10 years other than in rural areas where they aren't really a problem.
It isn't about carbon (wood is carbon neutral provided you plant enough trees, in a form at least), it's about particulates in built up areas.
Very much that but not just the Tories. I bet a large number of members and activists of all three parties have wood burners, aspire to have one, or their parents have one.
And as those who aren’t in those categories probably don’t care about the issue (even if they should due to breathing the pollution) a ban would lose way more votes than it would gain.
This is a pretty sensible step that will have a big effect. Anecdotally I believe a lot of owners don’t use them as much as they thought they would, so making it even more of a pain, and more expensive will significantly reduce use without so much fuss.
None of you has spotted the real problem - domestic coal is use is far greater than heritage railway consumption, so if allowed to continue to burn it supply will almost certainly be at a far higher price.
I just thank the Lord that all of that biomass that I see on trains being transported to power stations has been so well seasoned.
I've been on a tour at Drax (fascinating and well worth doing) and they do dry it themselves to some extent as well as treat the "exhaust" in a way a domestic wood burner doesn't. But that aside, you're ignoring the important fact that this issue is about particulate pollution at the point of use in towns and cities. The issue is much reduced at power stations in the middle of nowhere.
abd power stations have varying styles of scrubbers in their chimneys, houses simply have a chimney
As a lay person, could you tell me what particulate sizes you are actually talking about because micron scale particulates are a different kettle of fish to nanoscale particulates.
I have no idea, but neither is desirable.
All I can say is that , we have a well appreciated wood burning stove , which is fuelled by waste wood / tree cuttings and clean debris. Never buy a scrap.
Seasoned in a wood pile for at least 18 months , and then brought in to dry out alongside said stove for at least a day. Burns very cleanly.
On the basis , when fired up say at 7 pm - we shut the gas central heating down (as the house is warm enough) , I would call it a sustainable and efficient heat source. Any odd nails / screws go in the recycling and the clean wood ash goes on the garden or into the compost heap.
Considering that the number of 4x4 has increased dramatically - perhaps the caring Government ought to consider other targets.
BBC News report:
Oh dear -this is going to knock the sales of "Good Housekeeping" and "Country Living" no end - not to mention glamping and Yurt sites , - and put even more pressure on comfortable and cosy pubs which have open fires and great food and beer combined as an USP. ...
Aha, but as Mr Toad has helpfully pointed out above, the regulations appear to apply only to domestic, rather than commercial, use. So pubs, museums and heritage railway waiting rooms will be in the clear?
No, it's not, because you will still be able to buy kiln dried or seasoned wood!
How about those who still rely on fires for heating? It was only two years ago that my parents moved out of a house where the heating consisted of two terrible storage heaters (only making any appreciable difference for about an hour in the morning), a bathroom towel rail, and a tiny open fireplace.
Firewood they would obtain from thinning out the trees in their garden, getting permission from farmers to take fallen wood, and making themselves known to those around. They would have still struggled without coal though; that was by far the longest lasting and most efficient heat source.
There are certainly going to be many more people, mostly in rural areas, who have similar arrangements. Is anyone considering those? Or is it just a case of them having to find the money from somewhere or freeze? They didn't use the fire and wear a coat to bed out of choice, it was all they had.
Without wishing to go off thread, car emissions are not really that straight forward, my diesel 1.7 Kia Sportage, which many would sniff at as a polluter, has a CO2 output figure of 135g/km while my previous friendly small petrol Nissan Micra 1.2 had a figure of 159g/km, either way I think my car is probably far friendlier than a neighbour who will use anything in his wood burner, even if its covered in paint or creosote
The rules as proposed don't ban someone from burning scraps of wood they found, or from having a fire. All that's happening is domestic users won't be able to buy coal or undried wood to burn. Other fuels which burn more cleanly will still be available, and there's not much that could be done to stop someone actually burning coal or damp wood they already have, or indeed find or are given by a farmer. How do modern briquettes compare with traditional coal when it comes to energy output?
So are we talking particulates or carbon.
Your car outputs 135g/km of CO2. It is 'old' carbon - carbon that was locked in the ground. Your net carbon output is 135g/km
Your neighbour uses wood which was in the biosphere. Their net carbon output is 0 or close to 0.
You are NOT far friendlier, particularly since you are probably also burning old carbon in the form of gas to get the heat that your neighbour does.
The link below shows historic CO2 levels. Do you notice how they increase exponentially at the time of the industrial revolution ? That is because we started taking 'old' carbon from under the ground and started depositing it in the biosphere where we live. A wood burner takes carbon already in the biosphere to generate heat.
Living out in the country, My heating is coal/Anthracite beads, No mains gas and I rather not have a large gas tank (Bomb) anywhere near my home. I seen what a gas explosion can do to a home. Futhermore unless you own the tank, you are limited to which ever gas company that owns it for resupply. The same with oil heating, with the added problem that theif from oil tanks is common in the country.
Depends on the make of the briquette, Some of the cheaper brands are mostly dust which give out low heat, produce a lot of ash and don't last as long as house coal. The best is Phurnacite which contains 8% Pitch, 25 % Bituminous coal, 45% Steam coal, 22%, Dry Steam Coal. If you can get your hands on some Anthracite, it is the best of all, it may have difficulty in igniting, Yet once going, It delivers high energy per its weight and burns cleanly with little soot, making it ideal for heating. Anthracite is a natual smokeless coal, so is a authorised fuel in terms of the Clean Air Act 1993 meaning that it can be used within a designated Smoke Control Area such as the central London boroughs
Most places don't store it correctly, All to often it is stored in the open air with no cover. Hence the need to carry a moisture meter when buying. When buying by the 1 ton bag, one trick used by some dealers is to fill most of the bag with wetter wood with a top covering of dry seasoned wood. Being in the middle of the Fens, this wood has to come some distance,
I have a wood burning stove, which is my main heat source. I buy locally produced logs and consider this a reasonably green heating source.
The new regulations wont affect me. I never buy house coal, which is unsuitable for most stoves, including mine.
I keep half a ton of anthracite in reserve in case logs are in short supply. I prefer not to burn anthracite normally on account of the carbon emissions. I am about to buy another half a ton of anthracite, so as to add to reserves for any emergency that results in fuel shortages. Anthracite is naturally smokeless and will still be permitted, it is not ideal for an open fire.
Wet wood may still lawfully be sold, but only in bulk quantities of two cubic meters or more. This is reasonable for those who wish to buy freshly cut trees and dry the wood themselves. I recently purchased a large supply of freshly cut small oak logs, these need drying for a couple of years before use. A local farmer recently cut down two large oaks for valuable building timber. I have all the small or odd shaped pieces.
I store my logs in a roofed enclosure that is open at the sides.
Much like us with storing wood for at least a year in a ventilated , but roofed log shelter. Amazing what you can pick up - even buddleiah burns really well when properly dried off. Oak flooring off cuts are superb. Got some from a local builder recently.
Anthracite is a superb fuel , it is also very low in arsenic and so on , which is why it was the prefered fuel for malting and general food production users in the days when these things happened. Trouble is , despite copious amounts available in Wales , very little (if any) is now mined.
I think Eire is banning peat on open fires ,almost akin to German brown coal - very smoky and does give off a very distinctive (sweet) smell.
Round my way we have acres of wood with (mostly) public access, much of it (mis)managed by St Aubyn Estates. Over the decades, particularly since the Big Storm of January 1971(?). hundreds, if not thousands, of trees have come down, almost none in a managed way until three or four years ago, and tens of thousands of branches too. There is no attempt to stop anyone removing what they want from the woods, which is probably mostly to the public good, and at least three people I know are totally dependent for their heating needs on what they can scavenge. I seriously doubt this can be 'policed' and I don't think it should be anyway.
How much of that wood is "wet" as opposed to seasoned which will still be legal?
Prepare to see the price of "seasoned" wood skyrocket then, I haven't had a stove in a house since I was a child and it is one of the best heating sources you can get, so much warmer & cosier than gas or electric. My only worry is that they are banning the use of coal, what will be targeted next, steam railway's?
Although the current round of legislation does not affect them, perhaps steam railways will be forced to use smokeless fuel at sometime in the future. I can see that going down well with some puffernuts!
I confess I don't really know the difference, coming from an all-electric household. Facetiously, we've had so much rain that everything is dripping, but I know that's not a serious reply.
The prohibition is on SELLING wet wood, except in bulk for the customer to dry. Nothing prevents the DIY gathering of firewood, some of which will be wet. MOST gathered wood tends to be fairly dry as it is often from trees or branches that have dead for some time. However nothing prevents the DIY gathering of wood from a tree or branch that was living until a storm brought it down the night before.
The more experienced user will either reject wet wood, or store it for at least a year.
I have no doubt that some people will be determined to burn house coal and will find loopholes in the rules intended to prohibit sales of same.
The situation is somewhat comparable to the ban on manufacture or import of certain types of incandescent light bulb. Various loopholes exist and are exploited by a minority of people. Nevertheless, major supermarkets HAVE largely stopped selling the affected lamp types, and MOST customers are now using more efficient types.