Rocket Mass Heater part 3
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Rocket Mass Heaters
A rocket mass heater is a clean burning, high performance burner usually put together using a majority of recycled and/or natural materials, such as cob. Owners claim an 80-90% reduction in wood usage compared to heating the same space with a metal wood stove.
As opposed to the masonry heater which requires some advanced masonry skills, the rocket mass heater can be built by any enthusiast with basic masonry and engineering abilities. The only problem with this project is difficulty in getting a building permit, because basically not many officials know what a rocket heater is
The rocket mass heater works on similar properties as a masonry heater. A fast, high heat and oxygen-fed fire burn up the volatile gases and particulates, leaving very little pollution, and turn almost all the fuel into energy. A bit of smoke is released during the first minutes of a fire, until the temperature in the chamber is hot enough to burn the combustion gases as well as the wood. The major difference between a masonry heater and a rocket, is that the rocket stove has an insulated J- or L- shaped combustion chamber that forces the fire to burn horizontally. The fire then hits a 90 degree angle at the end of the chamber which causes a strong turbulence to rise up the insulated heat riser, creating a strong draft that feeds the intensity of the fire. The heat riser sits inside a barrel or larger secondary chamber which extends a couple of inches above the inner riser, the hot rising gases hit the top of the secondary chamber, give off some of their heat and then fall down the larger chamber's sides. The exhaust is then directed through flue piping, usually set within a bench, which will absorb the last vestiges of heat. Today's rocket heaters often employ cob, but there is no reason why you can't build a masonry bench of brick, stone or tile. The final flue gas that escapes the exit is basically water vapor. As hydrogen during combustion turns into water vapour.