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What is the best brand of solid fuel for a boat stove?

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On 25/11/2017 at 17:04, rasputin said:

I recon burning coal generates at least 5 times more Ash than wood 

Coal, or processed solid fuel bound with cement?

We burn steam coal in our stove, and the main boiler, very little ash at all.

 

Daniel

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I've used Excel for almost 6 years now. Tried a few alternatives, but nothing compares IMHO and in my circumstances.

 

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10 hours ago, Richard10002 said:

I've used Excel for almost 6 years now. Tried a few alternatives, but nothing compares IMHO and in my circumstances.

 

Well, if it had always been like the current bag I'm using, I'd absolutely agree!  This stuff is easyish I to light, burns nicely with good heat, it stayed in overnight very well indeed and there's little ash and no clinker build up so far either. Usage rate seems OK, but it's a bit early to be definitive 'til we've burned a few bags. It was the noxious fumes that put me off Excel, but this batch doesn't have that issue at all. I'm hoping there's been a formula change rather than a batch issue, 'cos this goes straight to the top of my list!

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I have long wondered (and even more so on reading this thread) what it actually means when it says 'Excel', 'Homefire', 'Supatherm' or whatever on the bag. Does it mean that each is made by an individual company and distributed? Or perhaps made to a recipe by a number of companies?

Even allowing for different stoves, locations and users there does seem to be a lot of variation in the characteristics of a specific 'brand'.

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On 06/12/2017 at 23:33, DHutch said:

Coal, or processed solid fuel bound with cement?

We burn steam coal in our stove, and the main boiler, very little ash at all.

 

Daniel

Which solid fuel is bound with cement? This appears to be a popular urban myth and I don't seem to be able to find any evidence of it.

Keith

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On 12/8/2017 at 17:05, Steilsteven said:

Which solid fuel is bound with cement? This appears to be a popular urban myth and I don't seem to be able to find any evidence of it.

I will be honest I cannot name name, and have had very little to do with processed coal as we do not often use on the boat or on my fire at home, so I could be pedaling a myth.

However when I have used processed coals I have found they tend to produce a lot of ash, and the ash they do produce tends to stay in the shape of the coal more rather than fall through the grate as I would expect. Obviously both wood and household bituminous coal makes ash, but certainly the steam coal is much lower ash from what I have seen than others. Maybe they are just lower grade coal to start with. The specs of the coal we use are reproduced at the below page, mail order from Andy Homes 'the coalman' detail ash as 5-8% which appears to be born out in real life.

http://www.ntet.co.uk/news/detail/ffos-y-fran-welsh-dry-steam-coal

http://www.the-coalman.co.uk/products/special-offers/welsh-dry-steam-coal
http://www.the-coalman.co.uk/products/steam-coals/welsh-dry-steam-coal-large-cobles

Daniel

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On 12/8/2017 at 17:05, Steilsteven said:

Which solid fuel is bound with cement? This appears to be a popular urban myth and I don't seem to be able to find any evidence of it.

Keith

I'm pretty sure Taybrite is, or with something similar, Excel also seemed to go this way about 3 years ago.

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According to this site the binding agent is molasses. Yespecially,  it surprised me too.

https://www.coals2u.co.uk/basic-coal-questions

What is manufactured coal?

The raw coal materials are often blended together to make a better performing fuel. Through carefully adding the right amount of each material we can create coals that burn longer, produce less smoke, less CO2 emissions and give off an attractive flame. For instance, a manufactured coal such as Homefire would contain anthracite to make it smokeless and house coal to make it easier to light. This is all bound together using an agent such as molasses – which is a renewable energy source.

At CPL we produce a number of manufactured fuels which combine different high quality characteristics to make your favourite coals.

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On 12/7/2017 at 01:07, Richard10002 said:

I've used Excel for almost 6 years now. Tried a few alternatives, but nothing compares IMHO and in my circumstances.

 

I've recently started stocking Oxbow Newheat (from the same manufacturers of Excel) and I've had lots of good feedback about it with many die hard Excel users now swapping over to the new stuff. It's slightly cheaper too which always goes down well with customers :)

  • Greenie 1

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I find this thread interesting! On Copperkins which had a Morso, we used Excel and found it really good so when we bought Kelpie which has a much smaller fire (can't remember the name at the moment but it doesn't have a separate bottom door and the top and bottom adjustments are pretty small)  we bought Excel. It took me ages to find out how to get the fire to light and how to keep it in overnight, both things I had no problem with with the Morso and when we did get the fire really going, it did't throw out much heat. Thinking was that the fire had to be exchanged for a Morso! However, we bought Supertherm and at last, the fire worked well and things were much better! The fire got a reprieve. Streethay where we moor although they stock Roach products didn't have Supertherm so we got another Roach product (can't remember the name but it was the one along side Supertherm on the bag). Back to square one! Fortunately, we had some Supertherm left which we used to light the fire  and then used along with the other stuff but the fire didn't throw out as much heat as pure Supertherm did.  We suggested to Streethay that they stock Supertherm but we haven't been back to the boat since so don't know if they do or not. I think it is a case of finding which fuel works with which stove. 

haggis

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1 hour ago, Liam said:

I've recently started stocking Oxbow Newheat (from the same manufacturers of Excel) and I've had lots of good feedback about it with many die hard Excel users now swapping over to the new stuff. It's slightly cheaper too which always goes down well with customers :)

We bought a couple of bags of Oxbow Red, which is their non-smokeless brand, from NB Alton when we were on the Macc and it's brilliant. I've just found the remains of it at the bottom of the coal bunker and the lack of ash and length of burn are both really good. I wish I could find somewhere around Braunston to buy it, we're using cosy-coke from Fred Tarry at the moment and judging from the volume and colour of the ash, it's about 50% brick-dust.

MP.

 

 

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Maybe give Oxbow Excel a try then, MP - I didn't like it in the past but I'm dead chuffed with the latest iteration. Bought 3 bags on Monday last, started using it Tuesday morning and just cleared my ash can today after burning almost all 2 of bags. Just opened the third tonight, so about 3 days per bag.

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11 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

Maybe give Oxbow Excel a try then, MP - I didn't like it in the past but I'm dead chuffed with the latest iteration. Bought 3 bags on Monday last, started using it Tuesday morning and just cleared my ash can today after burning almost all 2 of bags. Just opened the third tonight, so about 3 days per bag.

Is it steam coal then?  :giggles:

  • Greenie 1

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On 11/12/2017 at 12:49, matty40s said:

I'm pretty sure Taybrite is, or with something similar, Excel also seemed to go this way about 3 years ago.

I can’t find any site anywhere which suggests this to be true of any manufactured smokeless fuel. 

This Government analysis also makes no mention of it:

 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/545579/Material_comparators_for_fuels_-_coal.pdf

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On 11/25/2017 at 13:16, mrsmelly said:

We have tried em all over many winters and they seem to change from year to year. I think phurnacite is usualy the best but excel of late has been fine. I buy whatever the coal boats have to help keep them in business. HOWEVER there is no coal boat here so on advice from a fellow boater last week I started using Wickes Brazier obviously a car is needed to fetch it. It is excellent stuff stays in forever plenty of heat and average ash. There are several positives with it one major one for me is it comes in 10 kg bags so is light enough for the wife to carry :) also the bags are very very clean and its actualy quite cheap works out at 12 squids ish for 30 kg so cheaper than most.

 

On 12/4/2017 at 11:01, Dave_P said:

Then I tried 1 small 10kg bag of 'Brazier' bought from Home Bargains. It was suprisingly good and cheap. Similar burning characteristics to supertherm but less ash and cheaper. If I didn't have to transport it myself, I'd consider using it regulary. A good back up when the coal boat isn't due for a while. 8/10.

The "Brazier" fuel that is now the one Wickes offer on their "3 for the price of 2" deal is indeed not at all bad, though perhaps not as good as some they have previously supplied on the same deal.

We do find it convenient having the 10Kg bags, particularly as one fills our big coal bucket more or less to capacity from near empty.

As Mr Smelly says, 30Kg for £12 is pretty good for the quality and convenience (equivalent to £8 for 20Kg or £10 for 25Kg, if comparing to bigger bags).

I must admit I prefer to support the coal boats, but we are not currently on board enough to have much hope of coinciding with them passing.

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I have been burning  heatwave, a cheap smokeless coal in 25kg bags last winter for £8.50 a bag. Didn't stay in as well as other fuels but worth it on price! May still be available locally, I'll have to check.

This year burning any smokeless. currently like Oxbow red at £10.50 for 25kg. Also now trying homefire ovoids for £12 for 25kg from my coal merchant.    I find all ashy. Only just started using homefire so well see. Oxbow red so far seems to slumber all day for 12+ hours without a refill while out last week while at work.

James:cheers:

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18 minutes ago, canals are us? said:

I have been burning  heatwave, a cheap smokeless coal in 25kg bags last winter for £8.50 a bag. Didn't stay in as well as other fuels but worth it on price! May still be available locally, I'll have to check.

This year burning any smokeless. currently like Oxbow red at £10.50 for 25kg. Also now trying homefire ovoids for £12 for 25kg from my coal merchant.    I find all ashy. Only just started using homefire so well see. Oxbow red so far seems to slumber all day for 12+ hours without a refill while out last week while at work.

James:cheers:

Where did you buy the Oxbow Red from?

 

Cheers,

MP.

 

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1 hour ago, MoominPapa said:

Where did you buy the Oxbow Red from?

 

Cheers,

MP.

 

Shobnall Marina. On the T&M. Burton On Trent. Staffordshire.

http://www.jannel.co.uk/Contact.htm They have an offer on it, buy 5 bags for £50 I think it was.

James:cheers:

Edited by canals are us?

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1 hour ago, MoominPapa said:

Where did you buy the Oxbow Red from?

 

Cheers,

MP.

 

I believe Oxbow Red is, if not the same, then near identical to Winterblaze although I think the marina you're currently in doesn't sell it. You could try the local coal boats maybe? I know KG Smiths supply it.

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