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smoke and kilns, and the epa regs

updated mon 30 jun 97


John Baymore on mon 30 jun 97

.......clip........ On another note, we can fire this big double Boury with
no visible smoke when we want to. (it goes too fast then for sure) (also,
no reds-you think
the EPA Big Brother has a thing against reds?) ......... zap............

Yup...... a well designed wood kiln can burn pretty clean.

My noborigama was also designed for low smoke. Those who have attended my
woodfiring workshops who have experience with other wood kilns are usually
amazed at the lack of smoke. It can be done.... even without an
afterburner system. With good fire management the kiln can burn clean and
be held back nicely...... inexperienced stoking will take it off like a
rocket ......g........ (can't use the greater than or less than sign).

Basically it comes down to air handling capacity (as do all combustion
system design's not the fuel,'s the AIR), and good
mixing of air into the fuel. And as Jack Troy so aptly mentioned, proper
stoking choices.

I plan to put an afterburner on it also by this fall, as the new EPA
regulations have just severely raised the stakes. We were all
non-compliant for particulates before.... now we are in absurd
non-compliance=21=21=21=21=21 The afterburner won't do much for the fly =
particulates, but it will cut out the visible smoke pretty much completely.
The visible smoke is what will get us nailed in the first place.

I think that all of us who wood fire should be addressing this issue. We
need to have a pretty low profile as to our obvious smoke. Not only from
an environmental stance (which is certainly highly appropriate), but if the
attention of the powers-that-be is drawn to the woodfiring potters in
America, then we ALL may share the fate of being shut down.

We have little in the way of a power base. Witness what is happening to
the NEA. Power companies (with large pockets and powerfull lawyers and
lobbies) will still be able to buy SO2 permits..... but the woodfire
potters will all be shut down. Homeowners may be able to save their
woodstoves or fireplaces..... there are a lot of homeowners who vote. But
potters are a tiny, teeny minority who do something that the common person
can't really understand very well anyway.

I would bet that all the particulate and smoke generated by all the
woodfirngs potters in the entire country in a whole year PALES in
comparison to the environmental damage done by a single large coal fired
power plant in a week or two.

........ clip......... Just wait till they shut down your bar-b-que due to
global warming. .......snip.......

It's not only your barbecue. Can the fireplace and the wood stove.
Campfires too? Forget pitfiring, sawdust fiting, sagger firing,
gas/oil/wood firing, pretty much everything. Electric firing may be the
only choice in the future.

And now as to the supposedly ----clean----- electric kiln...............

Take a look at the coal fired power plant stacks. Read about the TONS of
sulphur dioxide emitted. Look at the non-renewable resource being
consumed. Imagine the gazillions of tons of CO2 greenhouse gas emitted
per year. Even with the electrostatic precipitators, weight the
particulates that get through the system.

Now ..........................look at the efficiency of the conversion of
1000 BTU's of coal into steam. Then calculate the efficiency of the
conversion of that steam energy to the mechanical energy that turns the
turbine. Then take into account the efficiency of the conversion of the
mechanical energy to electrical energy in the windings of the generator.
Then take out the transmission losses through the miles and miles of power
distribution grid.

Very little of that original 1000 BTU's that you started with ever reaches
your kiln elements=21=21=21=21=21 Lots of energy is totally wasted.

This centralized distribution system is set up to benefit the big producer
of energy economically. It is not at all conserving of energy, and when
you take the losses of energy into account, it is probably BETTER
environmentally to burn the coal directly in your kiln (yes..... the
sulphur would have to be dealt with on the wares) with NO industrial
pollution control equipment, than it is to consume the HUGE extra amount of
energy just to fire your electric kiln. There is probably MORE pollution
produced at the generating site (in SO2 and CO2) than would be from your
=22dirty=22 little coal fired kiln, and far more non-renewable fuel is =

And as to nuclear............. well ...... how the hell are we going to get
rid of the wastes?????? Tell me that (not store them...... not encapsulate
them, ....... get RID of them), and I'll concede that nuclear electric
kilns might be the answer for the next generation of potters.

The electric kiln as a .....CLEAN..... way to fire is NIMBY at it's best.
It's only clean where the kiln is. The kiln's firebox and chimney is just
located a number of miles away.

......clip........ The President said today that he will seek the new
tougher air standards (that will shut down =2AALL=2A fuel kilns that fire in
reduction-not just wood or oil).

I am afraid now we are all in the same boat...... all us fuel firers.

This whole issue is sort of one of my hot buttons, as you might guess from
this message. Sorry folks, for the rant.



(Trying hard not to use the characters that come through as garbage codes.)