Friday, September 21, 2012

Wood Briquettes and Eco Logs


The Hermanson Rock-hard Ecolog

An 8" test piece of the new similar shaped Eco Log

Looking at Wood Briquettes 
and Eco logs

As winter approaches, I thought it a good time to take a first look at some heating fuels. Recently I came upon yet another type of wood briquette, or eco log if you like, that looked a bit like the Hermanson briquette that I wrote about last March. I got a bit excited, hoping that maybe we would be able to avail of this type of quality briquette at last in Ireland.

Thing about the Hermanson log is this; it is a fused and rock hard log - so hard you could barely hammer a nail into one. The advantage of this is it will burn slowly and evenly and will not expand in the fire. It wont break and shatter if you drop one.

The moment I opened the pack of these new logs, I knew they were not what I had hoped. But let me go on and follow through the full story.

I knew that these new logs were a Hammer Mill type of log because they broke very easily into clear sections. Additionally, a lot of sawdust bits fell from the logs, showing the material was quite loose and certainly NOT fused together.

You can see in the above enlargement the sectioning, I have outlined it in blue. This sectioning is caused when a hammer mill adds a dose of wood chips and then belts them down. Then the next dose is added and so on. This type of log will break very easily. 

Another way of telling a Hammer Mill log is there is a sort of dimpled shape on the ends. whereas if you look at the photo of the Hermanson log, you will see that there is not this patterning on the ends.


The only way to properly access a wood briquette or eco log is to burn it and observe what happens - so we start above with the 8" piece you see in the first photo above.

40 minutes or so into the burn and you can clearly see that it has expanded to a little over 10". That is a bit of an improvement on some of the previous logs I tested.

1 Hour and 40 Minutes and the 8" piece has expanded a little more to just over 11" and that is where the expansion stayed. 

2 hours into the burn and the piece is still burning but there is not a lot left in it.

So while these new wood briquettes / logs are an improvement on the previous samples I have tested, they certainly are far from what I am looking for, and a mile off the Hermanson type fused and rock-hard eco log.


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