Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peanut Oil in a Hawken Energy Outdoor Furnace?

We had a question here at Hawken Energy that none of us had ever heard before. This question was so unique that we wanted to share it here. It took some time but we found some answers.

A customer wondered if he could use peanut oil or some other low cost oil as a heat transfer fluid in his Hawken unit. We had no experience with such applications of oils but felt that ultimately it couldn’t work out. Here’s why: “oil is less dense than water, less thermal mass for the same volume. It is not as good a conductor of heat as water” (source). Water has the highest thermal mass of any readily available materials.

The use of oil in a Hawken Energy outdoor wood furnace would greatly reduce the efficiency of a furnace unit. Some resources indicate that the efficiency of oil would be 1/8th that of water, effectively reducing the 358,000 BTU heating capacity of an HE-2100 to just under 50,000 BTU.

We at Hawken Energy strive to create safe, warm environments for our customers. Indeed, our main goal is to provide cost effective heating solutions to American households. We want to encourage our creative customers and are willing to work with you if ever you have ideas or difficult installation challenges.

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