Monday, February 13, 2012

Review Smokeless Coals Calco Hi-Lite Cosyglo


Price v/s Quality
Smokeless Coals
Please NOTE I have an
Addendum on CALCO-MIX  
Recently Sept - Dec 2015 Calco-Mix has, in some instances,
been found to have a high level of stones in it.

With the heavy Irish government double taxation on heating oil bringing the price to €900 per 1000L fill, coal has emerged as an economic alternative for domestic heating.

Yea -Yea - I know a sustainable energy blog promoting coal!! With fuel poverty soaring towards 50% in Ireland, I have had a complete change of mind and heart. I now am inclined to say let the fat cats, the rich, and the grossly overpaid Irish parliament - complete with their over-the-top expense drawings -  worry about the carbon credits. When many in the country either cut their food or cut their heat to survive.

If you should find yourself in the position where it is a question of either EAT or HEAT, I would bet most of you would not give a fig what form of fuel provided you with heat, once you could afford it.

I am 100% coal this winter.

I have to date this winter not used one drop of heating oil in my home. Why would I? I don't like being ripped off. Instead, I have used almost 100% smokeless coals in my experimental fireplace which has a Firebird back boiler and a firefront door fitted.

This post is an attempt at reviewing the results of the different coals I have tried. Essentially I have used three types of smokeless coal:

1. Calco Smokeless Coal.

 Calco Smokeless PetCoke and Union Nugget mix
The Lignite briquittes are not in fact Unio - see below

I have written about Calco smokeless mix a couple of times before. There is some controversy out there regarding the use of Calco. Some stove manufacturers will not guarantee their appliances if Calco is burned, as they claim it will damage grates and baffles. I have used Calco in my firefront fireplace consistently for nearly four months, so far there is no detectable damage whatsoever.  I am very happy with several facets of Calco:

The pros;
(a) Calco gives excellent heat output.
(b) It has very low ash compared to other coals.
(c) It can easily burn over-night for up to nine hours.
(d) It is tops in respect of value for money.

The cons;
(a) It can burn too hot if you do not control the burn rate.
(b) It smells worse than other coals.

The lignite nuggets are not Union, they are nuggets from Rheinbraun. This is the 2'' lignite briquette of REKORD produced by Vattenfall Europe Mining. They are clearly and easly to detect by its size (2'' REKORD instead of 3.5'' Union) and the letter L, standing for Lusatian REKORD briquettes. (Thank you Alexander Spaak of Vattenfall Mining for the heads-up)

2. Hi-Lite or "Glovoids" "EcoBrite" nuggets.

"Hi-Lite", "EcoBrite" or "GloVoids" formed nuggets

I have long maintained that Cosyglo Gems is one of the best quality smokeless coals to use in a stove or fireplace. Price is the problem. My local dealer Econ Fuels in Tralee introduced me to Hi-lite ovals, also known as "Glovoids", and as far as I know these ovals are from Arigna Mines and most probably the original name is EcoBrites from Arigna Mines. Hi-Lite, or EcoBrite has a very similar burn characteristic to CosyGlo and I would consider it as good. It is some 15+% cheaper than CosyGlo.

3. CosyGlo made by Arigna Mines.

Sold by BNM Cosyglo on the left, Glovoid or EcoBright on the right

CosyGlo is a very good quality smokeless coal and burns very well indeed in stoves without undue danger of overheating. What I have against CosyGlo is the price. The price tends to be bumped up because of the way it is sold. Bord na Mona (BnM) only sell it direct to customers at the top price. The bellmen, or door to door fuel salesmen, that BnM wholesale to, tend to add on a good whack to the price - in some cases asking as much as €20 for a 40Kg bag.

The end result is a that good coal becomes too expensive!! This does not serve the public well, and especially the 30+% of the Irish public who find themselves in fuel poverty. BnM IMHO need a better business strategy, given they are a semi-state body supposed to be serving the public.


All the prices are general small quantity including delivery prices, and are correct at 13th February 2012.  For ease of comparison I have quoted for a 40Kg size bag. The high-lite smokeless ovoids actually come in either 25Kg or 50Kg bags. The prices of Calco and Hi-Lite are based on my local dealers Econ Fuels price which, for reasonable quantities, and in the local area, includes delivery.  The price of CosyGlo varies but €18 is about average. In most cases, ton or 1000Kg lots are a bit cheaper, and there are some special offers to be had occasionally.

Calco Mix is €14 a 40Kg bag
Hi-Lite Glovoids is €15.98 for the equivalent 40Kg
CosyGlo is €18 a 40Kg bag


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