Improving the carbon footprint of your multifuel stove

Like most in my area, I have a multifuel stove as my primary heating source. I burn coal and wood, with coal as my primary heating fuel. There are some clear pangs of doubt though towards my use of coal. We've all been told how nasty it actually is, but it is a local product (from within our country) and not shipped/piped half way around the world. Should I be doing anything with my coal to reduce my carbon footprint?

I like the green building forum. There are a whole bunch of like minded individual's there, so I started the debate about the use of coal. My main debate points were: coal is sourced locally, I can see how much my I'm burning so I use very little, and I'm not a risk of another state/country turning off the supply for a bit of a larf.

There is a great summary of co2 production from each fuel type on the stoves online web site. It shows that a mix of wood/coal produces less co2 that gas, oil or in fact just about any other type of fuel. I wonder why our local housing association bans the use of wood fuel? No actually I don't wonder, I'm sure it's because they might need to sweep the chimneys twice per year.

So the easiest mix for our multifuel stoves is to use a wood/coal mix, but the most environmentally friendly (well at least the one producing the least amount of 'new' CO2) is wood and wood chip products. I'm testing out some nice looking heat logs from Agrol. They are just big compressed sawdust blocks that seem to burn for several hours and give reasonable heat. The ones I have are not made locally, so there is a trade off, but they are made as a by product of the significant Scandinavian wood industry. I'll let you know how I get on with them.

In summary, to reduce your CO2 in your multifuel stove, the quickest and most effective option is to stop burning coal and burn only wood products. This can be expensive compared to coal, so worst case split the fuel mix to 50/50 coal and wood and ensure that your coal comes from this country and has not travelled half way around the world.

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Improving the carbon footprint of your multifuel stove by Adrian Hollister is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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