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What is a Corn Burning Furnace?

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  • Written By: KN
  • Edited By: R. Kayne
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2016
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In this age of increasing dependence upon foreign fuel sources, many Americans are looking for renewable fuel sources closer to home. Because the U.S. is one of the leading producers of corn, it's little wonder people have become interested in a specific type of heater known as a corn burning furnace.

A corn burning furnace uses shelled corn rather than natural gas, propane or electricity to generate heat for the home. In some regions of the country a corn burning furnace wouldn't be practical because there is no immediate fuel source, but throughout the Midwest corn is readily available and relatively inexpensive.

A bushel of shelled corn provides four times the heat generated by a single gallon (3.78 liters) of propane, or 352,800 British Thermal Units (BTUs) compared to 91,500 BTUs. In a price comparison, the corn burning heater fares very well. While a bushel of corn can range in price due to market fluctuations, for comparison purposes, let's assume the going rate is $2 (US dollars) per bushel, verses $1 per gallon of propane. Based on these numbers, you'd have to burn $1 worth of propane to 50 cents worth of corn, to generate the same amount of heat.

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Technological advances over the past decade have improved the efficiency of a corn burning furnace. Shelled corn is delivered from a local feed lot and stored in a metal storage bin to protect it against moisture and vermin. When the thermostat activates the furnace, the bin opens to pour corn into the fire pit, where a small fan provides air circulation for the burning of the corn. The heat generated is then sent through the house's heat exchange system in the same way that it would be circulated in a gas furnace system.

A corn burning furnace can generate enough energy to supply heat to an entire room or house. Although the unit is large and requires quite a bit of space, once installed it will provide years of service at substantial energy savings.

Many manufacturers offer the corn burning furnace in a variety of styles and sizes. A corn burning stove and oven is also available, as are fireplace inserts. Corn burned in the fireplace does not smell, unlike wood. Other products include corn burning space heaters, and hot water heaters.

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anon62725
Post 3

i have been burning ear corn in my wood furnace this winter along with wood. it makes a lot of heat. may seem silly but we have corn still standing and we just hand pick a pail a day.

anon6891
Post 2

I am interested in this article and am wondering if you live in an area that can grow corn stocks, is that usable corn for burning or are we talking about some specific kind of corn? please respond thank you.

- anonymous

mstary
Post 1

Concerning corn burning stoves/furnaces. I've heard that they burn very clean. I'd like to know how they are vented and more importantly; do they give off any harmful fumes? My wife has breathing problems already so I really need to understand the emissions and the emission controls. Thanks in advance for your responses. Mike

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