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Portable Rocket Space Heater

 
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I just listened to the Allerton Abbey ATI podcast and they're wishing they had a way to provide heat for an experiment.  I'm wondering if there would be a way to make a rocket heater (likely no mass?) that you can have on a trailer or sled and just move to the place where you need heat.  Set it up outside and run some lines into the building to make heat.  

I'm assuming the lines would have to be filled with something that can handle 0F temperatures when not in use and be decent at transferring heat at rocket temps.  I'm picturing a vented/open 20 gallon tank of magic juice on a rocket heater.  A little pump shoots the juice down flexible lines into the workshop, shed or house that needs heat.  In the building is a radiator and fan to blow the heat into the space.  In a crazy world a TEG (thermo electric generator) could provide the power for the pump and fan.

Brilliant or silly?
 
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Mike,
What you describe is essentially what I’m designing for my bus heater and a portable hot tub. Am still playing around with various burner designs.
I’m 3/4 done with a stove build but it turned out non portable as I experimented with some refractory mixes. It weighs about 200 lbs and is in a barrel so much too big. But it’s a good start to test my first rocket stove pellet burner.
What burn chamber, burn tube,...stove designs are you considering?
 
Mike Haasl
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Hey Jeremy!  This isn't actually for me, but I guess it could be...  But my main thought was that it could be neat for the lab or base camp.  Or applicable to anyone who wanted to have a portable heater for their homestead without using propane.

For the rocket, I was assuming a J tube of a rather standard and boring design.  The main complexity (I think) would be collecting the heat in a fluid, transferring that fluid into the building and dumping that heat in the building.  All while avoiding a boom-squish situation.

I'm picturing a 20 gallon tank of some type of oil that is heated by the stove.  Open to atmosphere unless it's thermal expansion is truly compatible with a closed system.  Use some insulated flex lines of some sort to pump the hot liquid to and and cool liquid from the structure.  

In a way it would be like an outside wood boiler only non-polluting, cheap, diy, portable and awesome.

By "portable" I mainly mean that it could be moved.  200 lbs, 2,000 lbs, no biggie as long as it's on wheels.  The more compact the better for storage and maneuvering.  

Hmm, if you had a mass in the building with quick connect hoses, you could pump that heat into the mass.  Now I'm just getting silly...
 
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Hey Mike;
Maybe your not that silly. If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen.
Hydrolic oil can be heated to 500 F . A modified small block Chevrolet oil pump can be run from a cordless drill and can pump out a 55 gal barrel in moments.
A radiator / fan  and insulated lines and you got some portable heat!

The real question is ... How much heat ? Is it worth it ?  How far can you move that oil (fluid) , How much wood and how long does it take to heat that oil (fluid) and what will it take to keep it hot while circulating.
Only trial and error will answer those questions.

As much as I love RMH's.  I have to think that a 5 gallon propane bottle with a ceramic heater might be faster , ultimately cheaper  and provide more instant usable heat.

Please prove me wrong!  
At one time I had thoughts of heating a concrete slab with this idea.  I gave it up as plans changed in that build but I've always wondered how well it would work.
 
Mike Haasl
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Is hydrolic oil anything like hydraulic fluid?  Do you happen to know what happens if it gets over 500F?
 
thomas rubino
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Hi Mike;
If I had spelled it correctly... hydraulic oil and hydraulic fluid are the same thing.  Above 450-500 F  Actually depends on the viscosity. But  that is the flash point where vapors could  ignite.

 
Mike Haasl
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Sweet, that's a pretty high flash point.  I think it's ready to go.  Now we just need someone to build it
 
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How were you thinking the oil would be heated? Directly over the riser in a container ? Or piping around the barrel ?  Maybe sunk in the mass just after the transition area?
The instructions for the S.B. oil pump are here on Permies somewhere .We would have to look around.
 
Mike Haasl
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I was imagining something like the rocket water heater for the showers at base camp.  I've never see the guts of it but I think it's just a tank horizontally just above the rocket exit so the heat wraps around the drum.  I'm sure there are better ways but I'm not sure what would be the best combination of simple construction and optimal heat transfer.  If the tank is big enough or the heat exchange in the building is robust enough, it should be damn near impossible to get it over 450F.

I think heating a liquid in a pipe with extreme heat is asking for trouble.  I'd much rather rely on gallons of liquid to absorb the heat so that one hot spot doesn't cause a location in the pipe to flash.
 
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Mike Haasl wrote:I just listened to the Allerton Abbey ATI podcast and they're wishing they had a way to provide heat for an experiment.  I'm wondering if there would be a way to make a rocket heater (likely no mass?) that you can have on a trailer or sled and just move to the place where you need heat.  Set it up outside and run some lines into the building to make heat.  

I'm assuming the lines would have to be filled with something that can handle 0F temperatures when not in use and be decent at transferring heat at rocket temps.  I'm picturing a vented/open 20 gallon tank of magic juice on a rocket heater.  A little pump shoots the juice down flexible lines into the workshop, shed or house that needs heat.  In the building is a radiator and fan to blow the heat into the space.  In a crazy world a TEG (thermo electric generator) could provide the power for the pump and fan.

Brilliant or silly?

 
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