Beach Coal

General topics about using bituminous coal for residential and commercial heating. Pros, cons, and where to get it.
HOMERAKGUY
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Location: Homer, Alaska USA 99603

Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 4:58 am

Is anyone familiar with the use of coal that floats up on beaches????? Many folks here in Homer, AK pick up coal on the beach that floats up at each tide change. I began burning it in my wood stove last winter and have not had any trouble so far. I'm concerned about corrosion from burning coal with salt residue. Should the coal be rinsed or soaked in clean water to remove salt residue prior to burning? I want to build an outside coal bin and wonder if I should provide for a method of rinsing. Could be a major design consideration in winter if I have to wash coal in below freezing temperatures!!!!!

Thanks to all for the great info I've found on this site so far...........


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coalstoves
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 5:07 am

Its probably some sort of sewage, turds if you will

HOMERAKGUY
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 5:16 am

is that why it smells like it does????????

bksaun
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 8:27 am

If you see corn in it, it's a sure sign! :shock: :pottytrain5: :lol:

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LsFarm
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 9:09 am

If when you break a chunk apart and it's shiny inside, its coal, not a 'floater' :lol:

I'm pretty sure this is spilled coal from ships. Probably Bituminous coal.

Does it burn with a lot of black sooty smoke?? Probably the most important thing is keeping enough air to the coal. If the coal is tossed on top of a wood fire, it will be sitting on top of the wood ash, this will block air to the coal and cause partial burning.

So if your stove has a grate, keep the grate open so air can get to the coal.

Greg L.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

HOMERAKGUY
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 12:36 pm

I throw back the soft ones, especially if there's corn mixed in. The spilled coal is possible yet there was a coal mining operation here back in the day which had the first railroad built in Alaska. The end of Homer Spit is called "Coal Point" so I believe there are submerged coal deposits in this area. This coal seems to burn pretty cleanly once the draft is strong and the fire gets hot. It does create lots of ash in the fire box.

HOMERAKGUY
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Location: Homer, Alaska USA 99603

Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 5:39 pm

Is anyone familiar with the use of coal that floats up on beaches????? Many folks here in Homer, AK pick up coal on the beach that floats up at each tide change. I began burning it in my wood stove last winter and have not had any trouble so far. I'm concerned about corrosion from burning coal with salt residue. Should the coal be rinsed or soaked in clean water to remove salt residue prior to burning? I want to build an outside coal bin and wonder if I should provide for a method of rinsing. Could be a major design consideration in winter if I have to wash coal in below freezing temperatures!!!!!

Thanks to all for the great info I've found on this site so far...........

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LsFarm
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 7:17 pm

Hi HomerAK, I don't believe you have anything to be concerned about from the salt water. Most coal absorbs very little water, around 2-5% I think.

The coal does contain a lot of sulphur, this is what smells when it burns. The sulphur combined with water can make sulphuric acid, and this will corrode regular steel over time.

I'd be most concerned at the end of the season, when you have burnt your last load of coal, or wood, clean the inside of your stove and wash it down with a solution of baking soda and water. This will neutralize the sulphuric acid. Then wipe down the inside with oil or a rust preventative spray oil

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?


HOMERAKGUY
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 8:18 pm

Greg,
Thanks for the tip. The salt and sand is on the surface of the coal since it is wet from seawater, it seems to have very low moisture content once the outside is dry. It is very hard, black and shiny when split apart with a laminated type structure. I have had no prior experience with coal and after reading several posts here have a better idea of what coal is all about. This stuff has no trace of yellow and no rocks. The size of pieces ranges from tiny to chunks that are too large and heavy to pick up. I usually just grab pieces large enough to make it worth the effort to bend over for them, from about the size of a hamburger to pieces around 2'x10"x10" that weigh about 100 pounds. I use a long wood chisel to split the larger ones which come apart in layers. I can drive my old Subaru on the beach and often right up to the larger pieces or I search around the rocks near the surf at low tide. Gotta keep track of the tide since it can vary by more than 20 feet here and leave a beach maybe a half mile out from high tide mark, makes it easy to get stranded from dry ground if you let the rising tide sneak in behind you. I can usually pick up a couple hundred pounds within an hour and toss them into a couple of big plastic totes in my Subaru (the ultimate vehicle here, there's probably as many Subaru's as all other vehicles combined in this town). I'm using a small Osburn wood stove lined with fire brick that works well with the coal. It burns cleanly with no odor inside the house unless I open the door too fast or tend the fire when it's not hot enough to draft well. So far I've had no clinkers, soft pieces nor ones that stick together. My biggest problem is the dust that blows all over when I clean the ash. I have to let the firebox go cold and shovel it out through the door which creates nasty black dust on everything in the house (wife just loves it). Since the fire box is small I have to shovel it out about once a week or more frequently if we have a cold spell. The smoke coming out the chimney is minimal but does have an unpleasant odor outside only if the conditions cause the gases to fall to nose level. I don't know what burned coal should smell like so I can only compare it to my neighbor who has more smoke and odor coming from his chimney so I assume my stove is burning more thoroughly than his. The ash residue is a gray/black color about as fine as talcum powder. It works well on the snow on my gravel driveway as long as you don't get it on your shoes when it's wet and track it into the house.
Being a tight wad, I'm impressed that I can pick up free heat and comb the beach at the same time. There seems to an endless supply that washes in every tide and scores of Homeroids out there picking it up.
I hope the info I've tried to convey sheds some light as to what kind of coal this is and what the particular composition may be. Thanks again for the helpful info.

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Duengeon master
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 8:26 pm

bksaun wrote:If you see corn in it, it's a sure sign! :shock: :pottytrain5: :lol:
Do any of them look like Hillary? :pottytrain3: :badairday:

drujinin
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 8:39 pm

HomerAKGuy,
Does it actually float or just wash up on the beach due to tides and current?
Just curious,
drujinin

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coal berner
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Post Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 10:44 pm

Hello HOMERAKGUY do a Google search on coal in ALASKA there are few good info sites about what type of coal is in your state there is ANTHRACITE but not much but alot of Bituminous and sub Bituminous Lignite I would think there might had been a few ships go down over the years and the coal is washing up I know there was 1 or 2 big coal mines up there and they used RailRoad to ship for Export now all you need is a good coal stove and you will have all of the free heat you will need maybe you could start a coal stove / bag coal business you might strike it rich :lol: take care and good luck and remember if you do strike it rich it was my idea :o just send me my monthly check see ya :)
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

mwcougar
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Post Tue. Sep. 18, 2007 12:21 am

after watching the History channel modern marvels on coal for the 5th time... they say in scotland the locals used to go down ond fetch coal from the beach that washed up everyday. underwater coal seam...so my bet is you are right ... that somewhere close by there is a coal seam under the water that the tide and waves are breaking up. hey free coal !!!
center of Bradford county pa

drujinin
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Post Tue. Sep. 18, 2007 9:42 am

Somebody will buy that beach and put all the scrounging to an end. Sometimes I wish I could dig it out of my backyard!

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Charlie Z
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Post Tue. Sep. 18, 2007 8:59 pm

Oil turns to a coal-like 'rock' after it's been in the ocean awhile, too.
"There's a time for thinking, and a time for action. And this, gentlemen, is no time for thinking!" - John Candy, "Canadian Bacon"


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