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Old 02-19-2009, 03:52 AM   #1
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Thinking about differet galley fuels I was just wondering what the fuel consumption is for various fuel types...

Propane I'm well aquanted with... on a 7 week passage from Tortola to Sweden last year I and my single crewman used just over two gallons of propane... and that was cooking bread daily and lots of coffee and tea, and beans and rice... so I know that propane is fairly economical for a small crew.... but what are the fuel consumption rates for alcohol stoves? keroseen? diesel? solid fuel?....

what about in the winter when you are running a heater of some type on the same fuel source?

looking forward to some good anecdotes,

J
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Old 02-19-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
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crewman used just over two gallons of propane...
Do we have typo here ? Kgs ?? lbs ??
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:26 PM   #3
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The exact values will vary depending on the quality of the fuel and in some cases the pressure. Evenso, this should provide the info you are looking for in terms of thermal units. Overall, propane is a good choice for ease of use, heat generation for cooking and storage energy density. It does however come with some safety issues being heavier than air.

Propane

1 gallon = 91,500 BTU

1 cubic foot = 2,500 BTU

1 pound = 21,500 BTU

4.24 lbs = 1 gallon

36.39 cubic feet = 1 gallon

Natural Gas

1 cubic foot = 1,050 BTU

Gasoline

1 pound = 19,000 BTU

1 gallon = 125,000 BTU

1 gallon = 6.1 lbs

Oils

1 gallon kerosene = 135,000 BTU

1 gallon #2 oil = 138,500 BTU

1 gallon diesel = 139,200 BTU

1 gallon #6 oil = 153,200 BTU

Other Fuels

1 lb hydrogen = 51,892 BTU with steam as product

1 lb coal (anthracite) = 12,700 BTU

1 lb coal (subituminous) = 8,800 BTU

1 lb coal (bituminous) = 11,500 BTU

1 lb pine wood bark = 9,200 BTU

1 lb hardwood bark = 8,400 BTU

1 lb wood = 7,870 BTU

1 lb dung = 7,500 BTU

1 lb waste paper = 6,500 BTU

1 lb sawdust/shavings = 3,850 BTU

1 kWH electricity = 3,413 BTU

1 therm any fuel = 100,000 BTU
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:30 PM   #4
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Over the past few months, Lori & I have found that the best addition to the boat has been our pressure cooker. If you want to substantially reduce your use of cooking fuel...there is no better device.

I must warn you though, it takes some practice! We almost gave up after producing many overcooked meals of mush.
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Old 02-19-2009, 07:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the conversions, Ken

Don't forget alcohol which can be used in either pressurized stoves or non pressure stoves on a boat. The non pressure variety, of course, safer. Energy content is between 11,000 btu/lb and 14,500 btu/lb depending upon type of alcohol used.

It seems that Atavist used very little fuel on the passage described! When I do conversions to wood (what we happen to be heating and cooking with at the moment)...that would only be a bit over 20 lbs of wood. Of course, when cooking with wood, only about 10% of the heat generated is making it to the goal of cooking--the rest is heating the cabin and going up the stack!

Don't have any good winter stories (on the boat in the water) for ya other than to say that right now we burn through one#4 Duluth pack of Sapele hardwood off-cuts every 2 days and we keep the solid fuel stove going for about 10 hours/day (cooking in the evening and heating all night, making tea in the am). That's about 40-lbs of wood each load.

We're sitting in a boatyard, out of the water, heating about 2500 cubic feet of space... ambient night temps of 40's usually, sometimes low 30's and day temps of low 50's through high 60's. The boat gets aired out every afternoon that its not raining (all hatches open) but we're keeping a toasty 70F to 75F most of the time. We keep a huge stockpot (4 gallon size) of water simmering on the stove top to keep our wood boat from being too dry with all the heat the stove generates. It evaporates about 1.5 gallons/10 hour period. We also use this hot water to add to our solar shower for having hot showers onboard.

Far and away, diesel cooker/heater or propane would be higher energy content for the space and weight onboard than our wood stove. But, since our wood pile is sitting outside the boat and literally "free" scraps for us...we'll do this for a while. Once re-launched, while still in So-Cal we'll put a diesel insert in the firebox and use our non-pressure Trangia stove-top inserts for stovetop cooking.

Don't forget that you can cleverly use a solar oven on deck for cooking! That takes no fuel--just the warming rays of the sun.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:13 AM   #6
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Yeah we did actually use very little fuel ... it was strange... sitting in the Marina we went through the same canister of fuel in about a week... amazingly though 3 weeks later when we arrived in Horta it was still reading full so we just let it go... When we arrived in Brixham 2 weeks later she was still over half, we spent a week there waiting for our sister ship to get a new forestay (which blew as we entered the channel during an unexpected squall [6 knots under bare poles ]) and then pushed on to Grebstadt... our first tank finally ran out just before we reached the Skagerak.

Thanks for the info Ken... very helpfull.

And to you also Brenda, I burn wood in my house but it's a biggish house and wood is our only heat source so we go through tons (literally)... as you may guess I was curious about this largely because of Shearwater... but sounds like burning wood for heat and cooking is pretty impractical at sea.... now anthracite coal... that may have a bit of promise if one could find it.
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:53 AM   #7
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now anthracite coal... that may have a bit of promise if one could find it.
You can find it in 30 lb to 50 lb bags and its reasonably priced. You can buy it per ton at an even more reasonable price but...hard to consider storing that onboard. The shipmate stove on our boat (and likely the one on the boat you're checking out) are "solid fuel stoves" that were designed first for burning coal and second for burning wood. The pea coal size is too small, the shaker grate is made for something closer to acorn/walnut sized coal. This is also the size sold for blacksmithing and that's how I found it wasn't too expensive and still available.

Our boat originally had a coal hopper that stored 500 lbs of coal. Because it was above the waterline, we've decided not to use that space for storage of something so heavy as coal, though! I've got the spot slated for extra clothing and blankets, now.

Unfortunately, when "you run the numbers" (gosh, that's sounding like Kai Ryssdal on NPR Marketplace....I've been listening to to much business news!) you'll find that a diesel insert in a solid fuel stove is truly the most "bang for the buck" of both cost and weight

In the meanwhile, we keep burning our hardwood off cuts and being thankful that we've got them
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:03 AM   #8
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Do we have typo here ? Kgs ?? lbs ??
No apologies for asking the same question again :- Is propane ever specified as being so many gallons - most suppliers sell it by nett weight - in kilograms or pounds. The containers will also

show the nett and gross weights.
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:44 PM   #9
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No apologies for asking the same question again :- Is propane ever specified as being so many gallons - most suppliers sell it by nett weight - in kilograms or pounds. The containers will also

show the nett and gross weights.
As you may already know, here in the USA, we frequently trade in our 20 lb aka "5 gallon" (which is actually a 4.7 gallon tank) propane tanks for another already filled tank. Usually this can be accomplished at the local hardware store. So, many people do talk about propane in terms of gallons rather than weight. But, since this is confusing, I copied the following from wikipedia to clarify the relationships between weight, liquid volume, btu's, etc:

The fluid level in a propane tank can be measured with an internal magnetic "float". An external gauge can then sense the location of the float within the tank. This magnetic float-gauge system cannot accurately measure the total propane amount, since the gaseous portion of the propane within the tank is neglected from measurement.

The most accurate way to measure the propane left in a propane tank is to weigh it. Stamped into the side of the tank should be the letters TW followed by a number. This number is the weight in pounds of tank when empty, or its tare weight. A typical 5 gallon propane tank may have a tare weight of 17.2 pounds. If this tank were weighed at 24.2 lbs, it follows that there are 7 pounds of propane stored in the tank (24.2 lbs - 17.2 lbs = 7 lbs).

Each gallon of liquid propane weighs 4.23 lbs, meaning the tank in this example contains 1.66 gallons of propane (7 ÷ 4.23 ≈ 1.66).

A gallon of propane contains 91,690 BTUs. Multiplying this number by the number of gallons in the tank results in 152,205 BTUs of thermal energy (1.66 × 91,690 = 152,205).

The running time of a particular appliance can then be calculated if the BTU consumption of the appliance is known. This number, given in BTUs per hour, can usually be found on the appliance or from the manufacturer. Continuing this example, an appliance that consumes 12,000 BTUs per hour would provide 12.68 hours of operation (152,205 ÷ 12,000 ≈ 12.68).

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Old 02-21-2009, 01:44 PM   #10
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I currently ship 2 kinds of fuel aboard Tadpole ..... Diesel for the engine & Propane for cooking & cabin heating ... I hope to reduce down to just one fuel ... Diesel

My intention is to install cooking & heating fired by Diesel .... one option is a WALLAS cooker with a blower lid ...

http://www.wallas.fi/default.asp?id=3lderyg295y
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Old 02-21-2009, 07:16 PM   #11
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I currently ship 2 kinds of fuel aboard Tadpole ..... Diesel for the engine & Propane for cooking & cabin heating ... I hope to reduce down to just one fuel ... Diesel

My intention is to install cooking & heating fired by Diesel .... one option is a WALLAS cooker with a blower lid ...

http://www.wallas.fi/default.asp?id=3lderyg295y
I am much more familiar with the Dickinson Marine stoves and heaters. The Newport saloon cabin wall heater is available in diesel version (and solid fuel version) and I know many, many people who have the popular Pacific galley stove. One fellow I know has a Pacific in the forward part of his trawler simply for heating--not cooking. The Dickinson website:

http://www.dickinsonmarine.com/

The important thing about keeping the diesel smell and soot out of the boat is to have a vented appliance (needs a chimney) with a modern burner. And, further to keep the burner in excellent working order.

Realistically, one must make arrangements for "hot weather" cooking when a diesel would simply heat up the boat too much. A good arrangement is something with non pressure use of alcohol like a custom set-up with Trangia drop-in burners or simply a Origo single or double burner stove that you can sit on top of the diesel stove.

If you're into traditional looking stoves, the Navigator Stove Works is putting forth their first diesel-fired saloon stove very soon. They typically do solid-fuel stoves but have many customers interested in diesel heating stoves. Further, they do a very pretty line of the deck irons and chimney caps needed for vented stoves. See link below:

http://www.marinestove.com/index.htm

I love the clean burn of propane, but know of too many stories of propane leaks with disastrous results. I have an acquaintance who spent 18 months getting skin grafts and recovering from the burns he received when a pin-hole leak (propane line rubbed against a bulkhead for many years before the leak happened) of propane filled his bilge, causing an explosion when he lit his stove for some cooking. This fellow was meticulous about his boat and its maintenance so I can't think that I would have found the chafe-spot before disaster when he did not. (And, yes, he had all the required shut-off valves and then some--but once he turned on the fuel for the stove, boom...)

I'm fully aware that most cruising vessels go along quite happily with propane, but I'll stay away from it.
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