The ZeroFossilFuel Rocket Stove Heater

Theory of operation and assembly details.

©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited.

info1rocketstoves. /ood places to start are http011%%%. 'n the strictest sense" it is #enerally a %ood fired heater %ith an internal flue or riser" covered by a barrel of some sort %ith a lon# e&haust pipe that runs throu#h a cob 4mi&ture of clay and stra%5 thermal mass %hich acts as a heat battery" #ivin# off stored heat in bet%een burns usually bet%een evenin#s and mornin#s %hen family are asleep and you don(t %ant to be burnin# %ood then any%ay. . That is as it should be because" if no one tried anythin# ne%" development %ould cease and there %ould never be any pro#ress.F document are fairly hi#h resolution so they can be -oomed in to see finer details.com1rocket2stove2mass2heater. 8ariations on the desi#n include the 9+ocket Rocket: 4'(m not terribly impressed %ith these5 and mini Rocket Stoves intended for cookin#. 6ey features that truly define a Rocket Stove are0 • • • • • 8ertical %ood inlet to a small firebo&" Hori-ontal burn chamber" 'nsulated internal flue or riser" 7 drum or barrel over the riser for #ases to cool and #ive off heat" 7n e&haust at the bottom that often e&tends throu#h a cob bench to slo%ly store . The avera#e %ood stove sends =0> or more of the heat created by the fire up the chimney flue and out" #ivin# off only left over radiant and convection heat transferred to the body of the stove and into the room.richsoil. 'f you(ve #ot an idea that you think %ill improve on my desi#n" build it) 'f it %orks" please share it) *hat ' %ill do here as best ' can is take you throu#h the steps ' %ent throu#h to determine all of the critical dimensions for buildin# your o%n stove based on the ra% materials you may have found or bou#ht.$et me start this document by sayin# that" if you intend to replicate my Rocket Stove" it is hi#hly unlikely that any t%o replications %ill be e&actly alike. 7 Rocket Stove" by contrast" is able to scaven#e almost all of that previously %asted e&haust heat %ithout buildup of creosote or other deposits. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. 6ey benefits of a Rocket Stove over traditional %ood stoves are0 • • • 7s little as 1 0 the consumption rate for the same effective heatin# to your livin# space" 8irtually no smoke or carbon mono&ide byproducts" 3ust carbon dio&ide and steam" 8ery little ash buildup %ith easy clean2out.ernieanderica.3sp and http011%%%.ouTube and the %eb" and numerous variations on the basic desi#n. ' encoura#e you to do some research. <kay" kiddin# aside" any %ood stove needs to create a draft to pull air into the firebo& for the %ood to burn. How does it work? 8ery %ell" thank you. So what is a Rocket Stove Mass Heater? There is a %ealth of information re#ardin# Rocket Stoves all over . The photos in this +. ' %ill not discuss either of these here in any detail because neither of them conform very %ell to the ori#inal concept despite that they %ere named Rockets. release heat. Here(s ho%.

Tin snips.. Aven still" the combustion is complete and that(s %hat counts. ' cannot stress this point enou#h.uh) <kay" kiddin# aside a#ain" the first thin# you(ll need is the tools 4or at least access to them5 and skills to use them. This is %hy it is so critical that the internal riser 4and even the hori-ontal burn tube5 be as insulated as you can practically make it.. Here is %here the Rocket truly differs. • All of the draft necessary to make a well designed Rocket Stove function properly is created inside the internal riser. 7sk yourself 9Ho% bi# of a livin# space do ' need to heatE: 'n my case it %as 3ust a 2F0 sC2ft %ell insulated %orkshop %ith about 2 G0 cu2ft of air space. . So" ' scaled do%n the overall si-e accordin#ly from typical %hole house heaters that use !0 or GG #allon drums. From the moment the #ases e&it the top of the riser and do%n the sides of the barrel they be#in to cool. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. . Bine is !0:. • Step 1. <nce they start up%ard in the riser the process becomes self sustainin#. So where do I start? 7t the be#innin#" of course. The draft created by the riser behind the coolin# #ases should be so stron# that" not only does it pull in fresh air behind it" it also pushes e&haust #ases out ahead of it %ithout the need for any additional draft created by a typical chimney flue. They include0 • • • • • • • Bi# %elder 4flu& core is fine or #as if you can afford it5 Sheet metal bendin# brake. De&t consideration is overall si-e.*hen a fire is started in the firebo& of a Rocket Stove" all it should take is a puff of breath or t%o do%n over the firebo& to #et the hot #ases to start travelin# throu#h the short hori-ontal burn tube and up the internal riser. 7n#le #rinder %ith #rindin# %heel and cuttin# disks.ry%all sCuare. Smoke and odor are byproducts of incomplete combustion. +ARFA@T) So. ind your own perfect !arrel" drum or tank. ?y so doin# it0 • • @reates a super stron# draft in a very small space and +rovides the environment for secondary burn of any unburned #ases Some say it creates a plasma burn but that(s 3ust not possible at the temperatures %e(re dealin# %ith here. 2: bubble level Sharp indelible marker. 7 %ell desi#ned Rocket Stove produces virtually no smoke or odor at all" has very lo% flue temps #oin# outside and e&chan#es most of its heat into the livin# space. . *hile scaven#in# throu#h a couple of scrapyards ' stumbled across a discarded H #allon air compressor tank.

By first concept for the riser %as to use a F: & 2F: #alvani-ed vent pipe as the inside %all of the riser %ith a K: & 2F: #alvani-ed vent pipe for the outside %all and : of fiber#lass insulation in bet%een. This %ould leave a #ap all the %ay around bet%een 2.This compressor tank for me %as the ideal choice. Therefore" ' e&trapolated that mine should be about F:. Dot only %as it the ri#ht appro&imate si-e" it %as ru##ed havin# 1=: thick side%alls. @onfident that ' could make it %ork ' for#ed ahead despite the naysayers. To do so ' %anted a cross2sectional area as close to a F: round pipe as ' could #et %hich is 2.G: & !. ?ricks arran#ed to #et !. ' settled on =: because it %as convenient and readily available. . <ther possibilities include discarded electric hot %ater tanks" artesian %ell %ater stora#e tanks" slim propane cylinders" stacked and %elded 20lb propane tanks" etc. They %ere0 • • • Amission of poisonous #ases from the -inc #alvani-in# burnin# off" Short life span from rapid rottin# under the e&treme heat" Beltin# of the fiber#lass %ool. @ollectively this is kno%n as the J2Tube. $etermine the internal si%es of your riser" !urn tunnel and feed tu!e. By tank measured 2: diameter and about !H: lon#. ' kne% that ' %as #oin# to use some sort of firebrick for the firebo& and hori-ontal burn tube. 'n all honesty even 0: %ould fit and : #ap #oin# around %ould be plenty for the e&haust #ases to e&it freely. Several people e&pressed %hat ' later decided %ere valid concerns over this choice ' had made. ?e ima#inative. ' had read about others %ho had tried makin# F: systems %ith mi&ed results. 7 typical !0 #allon drum heater uses a K: inside diameter riser.G: respectively.G: sCuare tube ended up bein# 2.2G sC2in.G: 2 .GK sC2in. @lose enou#h for #overnment %ork. • Step #. Then ' asked myself 9Self" %hat diameter riser could my tank supportE: *ith a basic understandin# of cross2sectional areas reCuired to make this stove ' fi#ured anythin# from H: 2 I: diameter %ould be #ood. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. 7 typical GG #allon drum heater desi#n uses a =: inside diameter riser. The final dra%in# illustrated belo% sho%s e&actly ho% ' arran#ed my bricks to achieve this openin# si-e. *ith the su##estions from others and kno%in# that many Rocket Stove builders use firebrick for their risers too" ' decided to %ork throu#h the desi#n usin# firebrick as a liner and retain the #alvani-ed pipe outer %all.

Startin# %ith the firebo& feed tube a#ainst the tank outer %all or very close" ' made sure the burn tunnel %as lon# enou#h to center the riser in the tank. By riser is about F& the len#th of the burn tunnel or the feed tube" each measured at the shortest dimension. +ictures are %orth a thousand %ords here. Bine is !.2GH 4 . & distance to the top of the barrel. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. .GK sC2in. . Bine is !.2G: 7rea at the top of the riser should be bet%een .G& to 2& the area of the riser itself. Bore is better here. 7rea of the e&haust port should not be L area of the riser.G: & !. There is one very special rabbit cut ' had to make for everythin# to fit to#ether precisely as seen to the ri#ht and in the dra%in# belo%. <nce the #ases spill over the top" the cross2sectional area #oin# do%n is the 2: tank minus the =: riser outer %all. ! sC2in minus G0 sC2in M K! sC2in. So" startin# %ith my riser of !.. <ther ratios that should be observed are0 • Riser hei#ht should not be L !& the hei#ht of the firebo& tube" 2& the len#th of the hori-ontal burn tunnel" or & the hori-ontal burn tunnel plus the feed tube.Averythin# else about the internal dimensions is all about ratios and cross2sectional areas.ou may or may not be so lucky dependin# on %hat si-e tank you end up %ith. Bine of F: round or 2. Just be a%are that more heat %ill radiate from the side %ith the #reatest #ap bet%een the riser outer %all and tank inside %all. The lo%er portion of my J2tube %as first si-ed up by stackin# fire bricks in different confi#urations on my bench top until ' %as happy %ith the ratios. 'n a nutshell" the cross2sectional area that the hot #ases must pass throu#h should be the same or increase sli#htly at every point alon# the path %ith the e&ception of the area bet%een the riser and inner tank %all %hich is often much #reater. <nce ' kne% the outside dimensions of my bricks ' added 1=: all around and used that as the inside dimensions for the brick enclosure.G:0 • • • • Hori-ontal burn tube area should be L or M the riser. By bricks are all assembled free floatin# inside a %elded heavy sheet metal enclosure that is open at the top at both ends.G* & !. The point is be a%are of placement for all components %ithin the tank as you e&periment %ith brick layout..!HG sC2in5 Firebo& openin# also should be L or M riser but not L than the burn tube. The dimensions for me seemed to 3ust fall into place by themselves.G: & !. 't(s not a terrible thin# to place the riser off center in the tank if you must. Bine is !. The area at the top of the riser is calculated by the circumference of the '. Then the final e&it out the e&haust port at the bottom.G: & F & 2: or 2= sC2in" a hair over 2& the riser area.

This inherently reduces the tendency for #ases to escape %here they ou#ht not. The ne&t step %as to cut my tank. . To keep them ali#ned %hile the furnace cement almost fully cured ' simply strapped them usin# rubber bands and maskin# tape around a uniform F&F piece of lumber 4%hich actually measures !. ' kne% ' needed t%o thin#s • • That the top of the burn tunnel cover be perfectly flush %ith the top lip of the lo%er section and That ' %anted 2: spacin# bet%een the top of my brick riser to the top inside of the tank. 7 bubble level %as used to ensure the tank %as plumb before %eldin# the ne% base into place. Dotice in the dra%in# belo% that the middle #roup 425 is a mirror of 4 "!5. The openin# for the metal firebo& enclosure needed to be a close fit at K . This %as done so that brick seams crisscross each other %hen stacked instead of ali#ned parallel.By brick riser is three #roups of F firebricks locked into place %ith a small bead of furnace cement alon# all inside ed#es of each #roup formed %here they overlap. 1=: so ' cut it K: & K:" #round it slo%ly to fit" then tack %elded it in ! spots on each side and t%ice across the bottom to secure it into place. The ori#inal platform for the compressor that %as %elded to the side of the tank %as cut off and reused as the base to hold it vertical. 7ll ' did %as assemble all the bricks to my lo%er brick carrier" stack the three riser sections" measure from the top ed#e of the riser to the top of the top burn tunnel metal cover" add 2: and %ith a dry%all sCuare mark that point on the side of the tank every couple of inches from the top. They simply sit atop each other. The three #roups are not cemented to each other. That ended up bein# e&actly 0: from the bottom.G: & !. $ike%ise" a bubble level %as used to ensure the bo& %as level so the riser %ould stand strai#ht in the center of the tank before %eldin# it into place. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited.G:5 then tapped them out" set the bricks upri#ht and allo%ed the furnace cement to finish curin# overni#ht.

Dotice ho% %ell centered the riser is inside the diameter of the tank. The intent %as to make the bricks entirely serviceable. *ith the top half assembled it 3ust brushes up a#ainst the front feed tube brick.'n this photo '(ve tack %elded the fire brick carria#e into the sCuare openin# cut into the lo%er tank half. The top half of the tank %as set into place" then the $2brackets %ere %elded. To the ri#ht you also see ' tack %elded more !1F: an#le iron to make a flan#e that the burn tunnel end cap bolts to. Here '(ve cut the F: openin# for the lo%er e&haust port" added 2 supports to the brick carrier corners and F $2 brackets made from small pieces of !1F: an#le iron. 7lso notin# that the burn tunnel top cover plate is as flush to the top ed#e of the lo%er tank half as ' could #et it. This helped %ith positionin# and ensured they %ere vertical so that the top half %ould slide freely off the lo%er threaded rod studs. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. The fiber#lass rope %ill be #lued all the %ay around to seal the top half %hen assembled. They %ere drilled first and preassembled to their upper mates %ith threaded rod. .

Fiber#lass is stuffed do%n bet%een the brick and pipe %ith a thin piece of %ood trim" 2: ruler" %hat ever you have on hand. *ith the first riser stack on top of the lo%er section" ' slid the =: riser outer %all pipe over it" marked the locations %here the brick carrier corners touched and notched it %ith tin snips to #et past the corners and sit flush atop the brick enclosure. The pipe %as inserted into the cut openin# first. Aven if the metal softens a little" '(m not %orried it %ill sa#. This portion of the stove is the hottest and the riser stack is Cuite heavy. 7 line %as marked around the pipe to follo% the curvature of the tank %all. . 'f ' %as to do it a#ain '(d make the top rim of the bo& flush %ith the burn tunnel cover so ' %ouldn(t have to notch the =: pipe at all. +refab units %ere not deep enou#h to accommodate the curvature of the tank. 'f ' %as to do it a#ain '(d probably make the brick carrier bo& entirely from 1=: thick plate steel %elded all the %ay alon# the seams" ad3ustin# the si-e and placement of my sCuare openin# on the lo%er tank half accordin#ly. Here(s a look do%n inside the =: #alvani-ed vent pipe at the st #roup of F riser bricks. 'nternal #roups are stacked one at a time. The bricks do not cave in because of the lip created by the furnace cement. Then slits %ere cut every 12: or so all the %ay around up to the line creatin# tabs. Hi#her sections are simply held to#ether by #ravity" friction and fiber#lass" centered by the =: #alvani-ed vent pipe a#ainst the corners of the bricks. The t%o braces for the brick carrier bo& ' felt %ere necessary due to the rather thin material ' used to make it. 7#ain" your construction may vary. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited.Here is a closeup of the e&haust port starter pipe ' made from a dryer vent adapter pipe. <nce inserted a#ain the tabs are bent over to hold in place and cemented %ith furnace cement.

7t the left is the completed riser %ith all three sections. ' later #lued it to the bottom half %hich %orked out much better.G: into an overlappin# sCuare" then scre%ed throu#h the =: vent pipe to hold it in place like a halo. @orner to corner is 3ust under 2:. And now the fun part. This is a closeup of the fiber#lass rope sho%n #lued to the top tank half. ' later chan#ed this desi#n because the rope kept #ettin# hun# up on and ripped off by the threaded rods %hen ' lifted the top half off for service. This keeps the riser centered should the tank be tipped. . The metal strap at the top is bent rou#hly I0N every =. 7t the ri#ht is the same vie% %ith the top half of the tank assembled. &ime to fire it up' ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. Dotice that the brick a#ainst the tank is raised sli#htlyE 't(s because a bevel has not yet been made to allo% clearance for the fiber#lass rope that seals the t%o tank halves.

. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited.(AH)))))''' irst test fire was a total success' Time to position it inside and finali-e the installation.

Here '(ve laid out the location for my Rocket Stove %ith concrete brick pavers.G: off the floor to allo% cool air from the floor to enter behind the boards throu#h convection releasin# even more of the captured radiant heat into the room. The %all corner is protected by t%o sheets of !( & G( cement board" secured to the %alls %ith nails throu#h !1=: thick %ood trim standoffs to insulate them from the %alls. Some%here alon# the line throu#h this ne&t series of photos ' spent several days strippin#" #rindin# and %ire brushin# the heavy red po%der coat paint off the top half of the tank and resprayed %ith hi#h temp flat black. By flue pipe thimble is made from t%o plain F: vent pipe %all plates and a section of K: vent pipe cut 2: lon#er than the %all thickness includin# the dry%all and outside sidin#. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. . The outside plate %as scre%ed to the sidin# first" then a 2F: hori-ontal section passed throu#h and : thickness of fiber#lass stuffed in to create dead air space and seal out drafts. To determine the hei#ht of the flue pipe throu#h hole ' assembled a standard len#th F=: section of vent pipe to the T at the back of the stove then the I0N an#le at the top and let it rest a#ainst the %all. The three left hand scre%s all catch the stud and the others use dry%all mollys. The actual location is a bit left of %here you see it here because a stud %as available to scre% my thimble plate to. The inside plate #ets slipped over the vent pipe and scre%ed to the dry%all. $ike the tank e&haust starter pipe" slits are cut to create tabs all the %ay around" fanned out to hold in place on both sides. They are also . The bench ultimately #ets moved further left to a safer distance from the stove.

'n an ill fated attempt to #reatly e&tend burn times bet%een feedin#s ' made up this %ire loop frame from a piece of !1F: flat bar and some coat han#er %ire %elded to the bar. The photo sho%s only a 2F: vertical piece but that %as later made lon#er to elevate the rain cap 3ust above the roof peak. . ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited... That %ay condensation drains out" not in. 7lso note that ' took #reat care to ensure that all vent pipe seams %ere sealed %ith either aluminum vent pipe tape or furnace cement %here appropriate.The flue pipe is completed on the outside %ith one last I0N bend up%ard and another F=: vertical pipe %ith a rain cap. *ood stoves need air to burn. ' %as also still not happy at this point %ith ho% Cuickly ' %as able to %arm up the room. *ithout a %ay to drain them out they %ould literally flo% back into the inside vent pipe" pool in the bottom of the T and drain out onto the floor) To address this %hat ' did %as tilt the hori-ontal pipe do%n%ard sli#htly 4only 22! de#rees5 and drill a !1 K: drain hole in the bottom 3ust before the I0N elbo%. That air has to come from some%here. e&pensive" and because the Rocket Stove produces so much steam" condensation inside the pipe before the e&haust #ases #et out the top is a real problem. So. This %orked fine for precut lumber but not so %ell for irre#ular lumber and dead tree limbs. ?ecause this is not actual double %all insulated %ood stove flue pipe %hich is 8AR. 't is held stable %ith t%o straps scre%ed into the vent pipe and to the soffit fascia board. *ithout a controlled fresh air inlet the only other place it can come from is cracks around doors" %indo%s and outlets because of the ne#ative pressure it creates in the room. From there it cools do%n the livin# space first before it finds its %ay to the firebo&.

Mod *# + Radiator fins This is simply t%o =( pieces of aluminum roofin# drip ed#e cut into 22 sections 0.ou may have seen my mishap video.G: lon# each" corners #round out to allo% a lar#e stainless steel hose clamp to pass throu#h" sprayed flat black and clamped around the top of the tank. 't(s not pretty.. This one mod alone added almost H00 more sC2in of radiatin# surface area" droppin# flue temps at the %all about F0NF and makin# it difficult to #et the top of the tank any hotter than G00NF" %hereas ' %as #ettin# almost H00NF. 7ll ' had to do to relieve most of the ne#ative pressure created by the stove and brin# in fresh air %hen and %here ' %anted it %as to pop a !2 1F: hole into the floor %ith a hole sa%. 7ddin# the fresh air inlet %as a bi# boost for heatin# efficiency but ' still %anted more..Mod *1 + resh air inlet. *ithout a lot of do%n%ard air flo%" radiant heat and hot #ases in the firebo& are allo%ed to rise up%ard" #asify the sticks in the hopper and can actually start smokin# and burnin# into the room) . This also confines the inlet air over the firebo& %here it is immediately sucked do%n for combustion rather than circulatin# throu#h the room first. . Do% '(m happy %ith the efficiency. ' then ran a !: fle&ible aluminum vent pipe up to a shroud around the feed tube that doubled as a small %ood hopper. So. The inlet air should enter do%n and around the %ood in the feed tube" not from an inlet do%n lo% directly into the firebo& burn area. @ementin# the shroud to the top of the firebo& feed tube %as a mistake because ' still need it to be removable for cleanin# out ash. $uckily for me the shed is a raised structure. ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. ' believe this is a key point that many Rocket Stove builders miss.

?ased on rate of temperature rise and heat losses throu#h four e&terior %alls it is estimated that my stove is puttin# out bet%een !0"000 and !G"000 ?TO1hour. Still ahead ' definitely %ant to add a better ash collection and clean2out" and very possibly a %ood pellet hopper and feeder. . ©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. The buildin# and use of items described herein may constitute a violation of your local and1or state codes and re#ulations. ' can run the stove 22 ! days bet%een cleanin#s but" ideally" it should be cleaned every day. ' lift the air inlet shroud off" spin off the %in# nuts remove the metal plate and the front brick. For ri#ht no%" to clean out ash ' have reduced the number of scre%s on the front feed tube cover from H to !" tacked the heads from behind and put %in# nuts on the front.$aily operation 't takes about !0 minutes to #et my stove up to temperature. 7l%ays thinkin#. ' also find the sticks do not al%ays self feed but need a sli#ht nud#e every so often to #et them to drop do%n. ' 3ust don(t %ant to use an electric au#ur feeder because %hat happens if there(s no po%erE 7nd %ith #ravity feeders ' %orry about it burnin# back%ard into the hopper. Then ' reach in %ith a hoe ' made from a scrap piece of drip ed#e and the !1F: flat iron bar that ' took off the %ood hopper. The reader holds harmless ZeroFossilFuel and his family" friends" heirs" partners and assi#ns" and assumes all risk and liability for their use of this information. $oadin# the %ood is a bit of an art and takes a little practice. So far ' have not even had to do it once. From there it raises my 2 G0 cu2ft of shop space about G220NF1hour. The only ash that #ets any further than the burn tunnel itself is e&tremely minimal" super li#ht and fluffy. 7ll the best" Z 7nd of course the reCuisite disclaimers P The information contained herein is for informational use only. The main idea is to put enou#h %ood in the hopper to produce enou#h heat but not so much that you choke off air flo% and not so close to each other that flames can travel up%ard bet%een sticks. ' hope '(ve #ot you thinkin# too) ?etter yet" buildin#) +lease share this document freely %ith everyone you kno% and if you found it useful" please drop a fe% dollars in my tip 3ar at +ay+al. Baybe once a month '(ll lift off the upper tank half and suck out the remains. 't does this %ith a %ood consumption rate of only about H0 cu2in1hour. Baybe a sprin# loaded hand crank that can run several hours bet%een cranksE Still thinkin#. Thanks. Still thinkin# about that one.

©20 ! ZeroFossilFuel This document may be freely distributed" only free of char#e and unedited. .

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