A First Assessment
Wood Based Solid Fuels
I have recently been trying out some alternatives to coals and peat in my stove and closed fireplace. In the photograph above you can see three types of compressed wood fuels that I have tried.
The smaller and darker top two pieces are highly compressed and heat treated wood briquettes. I find that these burn well, smell great and give out a good deal of heat. They burn without disintegrating or turning into a soft mass, and you can get heat over a reasonably extended time. I like this type of "cooked" dark, and almost burned type of briquette.
The bottom row shows two similar types of compressed wood logs, also called eco-logs, or briquettes. The round type tends to swell and expand some more than the square type does. Both of these types I find not as satisfactory as the highly cpmpresses dark type for the following reasons.
(1) They swell up and extend up to more than twice the initial length when placed on the fire. They can thus fall out of the grate, or in a stove, can push over to come into contact with the glass.
(2) They go into a soft sawdust type loose mass and thus create poor burning conditions.
(3) They burn away much too quickly, I guess because the mass is so loose, and thus have no hope of long burning i.e over night.
I will definitely not be buying any more of either of these pale and loose textured wood fuels.