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MAL

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Wood fired steam generator
« on: January 06, 2018, 02:13:13 PM »
I found an interesting video on youtube

This guy is using a wood fired boiler to create steam to spin a pelton wheel.  I looks like it could be good option for off grid electricity.  It has probably been done before, but I would like to hear your thoughts on the concept.

(((WARNING)))

He takes a break in the middle of the video to play guitar in his underwear. 




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTjikSKJUH0

JW

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 03:12:36 PM »
After watching this video 3 times I find it very cool. Just for the record I burn corn or wood pellets but prefer corn kernels.

I can see that as being a life long project. Really impressed.

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 05:17:49 PM »
Hi JW,  I don't know much about steam production, But this looks relatively simple.  A wood stove with a boiler on top, and Pelton wheel connected to a generator...no  new technology at all.  I can see issues with controlling the RPM of the generator, but there should be ways to get around that problem.

Did you build your boiler from scratch?  Hey...I am starting to get an Idea...Can you hook up a Pelton wheel to your boiler and let me know how it works?  s:-)  With 800psi you could power half of the neighborhood.

JW

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 05:54:10 PM »
Hey MAL what your looking at is very advanced, the expander is very durable (he calls it a turbine) lubrication is minable from the way its construction. And heat loss is minimal.

Also of note is that he is using a steam ejector instead of a feed pump.

Its not a Pendleton wheel it is positive displacement expander. to make this durable like he has is the key to the system. It doesn't need hi pressure source because it has good surface area.

I would love to see this in person because the expander is what could be made universal, low oil consumption is a bonus. Im sure there's a lot of R&D  behind it. That turbine could be made but there's a lot of trial and error behind it. And you would have to copy his design using the experience behind it.

My work with steam is a different class of system.   

JW

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 06:07:16 PM »
I just remember what that's called "rotatory vane expander"

george65

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 06:21:12 PM »
Drugs, Just say NO!

I can't figure out if the guy is a genius or just another stoner but I have to lean to the latter.
There is ONE thing I absoloutley know about steam and that's it's not something you want to arse around with unless you know very well what you are doing and do not take any shortcuts with it.  This guy talks about 150 PSI like it's 12V. I'm no safety sissy but there is a difference between something that wouldn't get approval and a self made death trap that's just waiting to get you. 

While I can see the commendable engineering in what has been done here, I'm stuck on the fact of so much impracticality, cost and effort for so little return.  That whole setup to get 400W to charge some batteries and heat the space, whatever it is, goes more to making something work because you want to say you do it rather than a practical and workable setup.  As for having to throttle the other generator by hand to regulate the output.... Yeah. I'm sue he could put some sort of controller on it but doubly sure he never actually will.

As for the off grid manufacturing using dead trees, I have deep reservations about how much would get manufactured in a day or a week and also how many dead trees the guy thinks there are as any part of the mix for " getting off fossil Fuels". I'd like to see his steam powered chainsaw and how it cuts the " dead trees" .

Overall, I don't see anything brilliant here. There are some fantastic Vids of an old original steam powered saw mill a guy has on YT.  They have a boiler that runs an engine to power the mill and also a steam turbine which provides all the power. It's over 100 years old so this guy getting excited about and pushing 100+ yo technology and proposing everyone should take a giant step backwards. I just don't see as all that impressive.

He's only copying whats been done a long time ago.  I also find it hypocritical as so much of the green washed hype and mindset is that his burning " Dead wood" has much the same effect as the devils fossil fuels he's supposedly trying to get away from.

Guy would be doing a LOT better in pretty much every aspect just to go buy a few solar panels and build a half decent turbine if he has any wind.  He has the batteries already, he only needs to charge them and even a Kw of panels would give him a lot more power than he's getting now.  Keep the fire for heating but the panels would be infinitely safer, no work, no time wasted building, firing up or maintaining and probably a lot cheaper than what he has put into this setup.
He's obviously not too far from civilisation so the other alternative for good power would be a Veg fueled Diesel generator. Even 1 Drum of veg a month would provide a LOT of power and at the rate he's getting it now, would obviously last a very long time.

OK, now I have been the bitch, maybe someone could point out to me the upsides of this I'm missing.
I'm sure there has to be some but I'm just caught up on the impracticality of it all. 

JW

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2018, 06:45:23 PM »
I think its a good co-gen system. Ive seen others try to make a steam plant and have made stuff that doesn't work let alone produce 400watts.

hiker

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2018, 06:48:09 PM »
Cool...do it yourself er ...nice vid...made it from scratch ..!
WILD in ALASKA

george65

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2018, 07:21:24 PM »
I think its a good co-gen system. Ive seen others try to make a steam plant and have made stuff that doesn't work let alone produce 400watts.

Yep, there is that in it!

Lots of Vids of converted 4 stroke engines that look like they barely self sustain let alone produce any usable power.
It's always struck me as Ironic that one of the simplest engines ever, the external combustion engine seems to be in such short supply and few people make them beyond model scale. For the few that do and offere them for sale, they are frighteningly expensive.

I always say that the ultimate engines for my collection would be the oldest, a steamer, and the most advanced, a gas turbine.

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 07:42:56 PM »
Jw...I just read through your thread about what you are doing with steam...and you are calling his work very advanced??

I watched several of his videos to see if I could get an Idea what he was doing.  That machine that he called the energy bootlegger was used in the back of his truck when he was trying to make wood gas...and he did get the truck to go down the road a little ways.   He showed a sketch of the bootlegger ...it has a couple of steel containers in the hood above the wood stove (one of which presumably has water in it), a water heater pressure relief valve, a ball valve for throttle control connected to what he called a combination of a Pelton wheel(which is a turbine) and a Tesla turbine .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelton_wheel  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_turbine

I think it is more of a Pelton wheel myself.  Every thing he is doing can be found on youtube...and he is not the only one experimenting with blowing steam on a Pelton wheel instead of water.

You can buy a Pelton wheel, hook it up to a garden hose, attach a generator and make electricity.

JW

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 08:11:53 PM »
Quote from: MAL
I just read through your thread about what you are doing with steam...and you are calling his work very advanced??

Steam engines are an art, steam punk, burning man and a few others. Im not sure where this guy is on the list...

Quote from: MAL
You can buy a Pelton wheel, hook it up to a garden hose, attach a generator and make electricity.

I guess an independent situation that may be a bit difficult.


MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 08:13:30 PM »
Hi George,

400 watts is a pretty good proof of concept, and remember he is only operating on 150 psi with what ever electric motors he had lying around.

Imagine if that was fired with some sort of rocket stove.  Turn up the pressure and put a good generator on the shaft.  I think it would beat just about any home made wind turbine.  (Assume good construction technique)

I think you could get the rpms up so high that you would have to gear it down for an axle machine.

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 09:01:38 PM »
I just remember what that's called "rotatory vane expander"

He did call the second motor a vane motor and he compared it to a pneumatic tool motors.  The Pelton was his main generator.

george65

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2018, 11:58:11 PM »

I wonder how something like a large Turbo Charger, or even half of one would go with low pressure steam and how much power you could extract from it?  A very decent amount I'd say.

Not talking car turbo, I'm talking the one I have up the back I can barely lift and has a 4" intake on the thing.  Came off a train or or ship or something BIG. Even the exhaust stage of a big turbo would be fine, You only need to create shaft power but if you had the compressor section as well, you could force feed your fire and make for some real  steam generation. Probably only need to restrict the compressor side to an inch inlet which would make for plenty of air but not take all the shaft power away.

I Imagine running a big turbo would probably only require 10-20 PSI pressure at the turbine inlet but it would be at significant Volume. If one used the air output to feed something like one of my oil burners and had a suitable  boiler capeable of handling the 200KW+ output, surely the power would be a lot more than 400W.  I have mucked around with forced air wood fires and they are nothing to be sneezed at either. It's all about the oxygen and getting a hot fire going.

With a turbo you have to gear the output down a lot but that shouldn't be a problem at all. Would be all speed with little torque initially so light belts could be used in the first section(s) then heavier as the torque went up and the speed came down.

To me this would be a LOT easier to do, a lot more practical and with less risk as well.  Could be easy automated as well.  Couple of stages on the fuel feed with pressure sensors. As the pressure goes down, the fuel ramps up, when the pressure is there fuel goes into idle and pressure valves dumps any excess pressure.  Tank of fuel and away you go.

I remember looking some years ago at electric superchargers. just to move the amount of air required for decent boost on a medium size engine took 3-5 HP so a big turbo would be easily capeable of supplying that plus less than 1PSI or air to the fire.  If one were using solid fuel you could setup an eductor arrangement where the discharge gas from the turbo went into the flue from the fire to create a draft  like a steam Loco employs.
If one could get 5 HP out of the turbine, that would be an easy 2.5 KW.

Regulation could also be done steam train style with a flyweight govenor or something like a reverse blow off valve that opened when pressure was low and closed as it came up. Add some weight to the output shaft to give better reactive power capacity and a decent AVR on the gen head and this would be a very practical setup that produced useful and stable power.

No Doubt a commercially produced Turbo is going to be a heck of a lot more efficient than some holy grail of the Tesla  fanatics and their bladeless turbines.

XeonPony

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 07:10:37 AM »
well in a year or so sure I can tell you how well the exhaust side of a turbo will do, as I been thinking and plotting, since I burn allot of my waste (Mostly cardboard and paper, along with lawn junk) I been considering a low pressure high volume boiler system with condensing cycle (This is where I'll recover waste heat in the house)

Steam is certainly a very good idea if you burn wood any ways, I want to squeeze as much energy per unit mass burned as possible.
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

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MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2018, 03:43:28 PM »
Hi George,

You may be on to something with the turbo...I don't know, but the turbo is designed to operate on exhaust gasses...the Pelton is designed to be powered by liquid.  Steam is somewhere in between the two. 

I would question using forced air.  Forced air will increase the amount of fuel consumed.  But if you can find the right balance and capture all/most of the heat it should work.   A well built rocket stove can generate significant heat with minimal fuel consumed.

One thing to think about is that a turbo is designed to compress air.  A Pelton wheel is designed to run a generator...I am not sure which one is harder to do, but it would be interesting to find out.

 This guy looks like he has a decent Tesla setup. It would be interesting to see how much fuel and water he is consuming https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR50ZbKisek&feature=youtu.be

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2018, 09:47:12 PM »
I just happened to find the video of the "energy bootlegger" while it was under construction. 

It looks like the "burning man" construction technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEmg90fin_Q&t=246s

george65

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2018, 01:35:07 AM »

I'm all for a bit of independence and self sufficiency but when the guy starts going on about being slaves and held to randsome by big oil  and all the rest of the crap, he loses me.  :-[ 

I watched a few more of his vids and he's doing NOTHING I haven't seen a load of people do before.... or have played with myself.  He goes on about making a bit of wood gas put's him on the same footing as Einstein. It's all old tech people have done  and got away from.
My grandfather had a cartage company during the war and ran his 4 trucks on charcoal.  Did a 200 Mile each way run over one of the biggest mountain ranges in the country every day.  People do it now and go on like they have discovered cold Fusion.

As for tesla turbines, they seem to attract every nutter with a chip on their shoulder to prove they work out there.

I have been watching the guy in the first replys Vids for some years now. he seems to take a fairly scientific approach and has tested and moved on from many different designs of steam engine. As he puts it, development of his knowledge and experience. Can't fault that.
I notice he has moved on from the tesla ( and a few others) to a bladed turbine now.  Looks like the torque converter out of a car modified to me with all the vanes in it.  he claims his latest setup to be capable of 10KW. That's real good power.

I love his boiler. Burns whole pallets and tyres with no smoke. This is a man that understands Combustion, primary and secondary and how to make them work.  I'm sure he gets the same thing when talking about burning tyres as I get talking about oil. People assume, even though they can see different, there are going to be palls of black smoke filling the skys and blocking out sunlight.  If the air fuel mix is right and correctly distributed, you can burn anything cleanly.
Some people want to stick to ignorant pre conceived ideas no matter what you prove to them however.

As far as the turbo and steam go, real steam is a pure gas and is invisible till it cools right down. The steam in clouds is either cooled or correctly, water vapor.  It a turbo was fed with proper super heated steam, I don't think it would know the difference between that and exhaust gas.  I think feeding proper steam that had been through a super heater would be important though as water droplets impinging on a turbine wheel can cause cavitation and erode the blades.



XeonPony

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 09:42:44 AM »
A turbo has an exhaust side turbine (Expanded) that directly drives the compressor! Some use a bearing others use an oil film bushing that relies on laminar flow.

So a turbo should do nicely on super heated steam at 15psi at high volume, then need to gear it down for the generator head.

Look up turbo jet engines, people been making them for ages, they just don't put out much for thrust to weight ratio but they are neat!
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 11:50:32 AM »
Hi Xeonpony,   

Out of curiosity I am wondering if high volume low pressure super heated steam will require more fuel?

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2018, 03:01:39 PM »
Hi George,

I think your being a little hard on the Wisco Kid...Yeah...this is all old technology...Yeah...he learned it all from Youtube, but  I think he felt like Einstein when his truck started up and went down the road. The point of this thread is not about the guy who made the video or the quality of his work or even the out put of his machine.  It is about the concept of wood fired steam electrical production.  It seems like you  think it would be a good idea while you continue to "through cold water on it" :) 

You keep calling it a bladeless Tesla, but I think it has blades like a Pelton Wheel.  I think the only thing that it has in common with a Tesla Turbine is the the use of steam.

I would like to talk about design a little more with people that are smarter than me...that shouldn't be too hard...I'm not that smart. To me this appears to be a much more desirable option than wind or solar.  I would like to do Hydro, but the current is slow here and when I need the power the most, there's ice on the river.

My first thoughts on the design would be to use 3 rocket stoves parallel with an automatic feeding system on each for temperature control and leaving my options open for forced air injection.  I don't know anything about super heating, but it could be an option.  Boiler design would be a challenge so maybe find something available on the market, or I could contact the Wisco Kid. In my uninformed opinion high pressure would use less fuel?  I am thinking about using wood chips from a local tree service.  The turbine choice will take some research as well as the generator.  One other thing That I am thinking about is the use of wood gas production to boost the heat in the combustion chamber...not sure on that, but it sounds good.

 The goal is to create more RPM and HP than is needed so It can be geared down and have plenty of power to make my generator options easier.


JW

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2018, 03:20:46 PM »
Quote from: MAL
I think your being a little hard on the Wisco Kid...Yeah...this is all old technology.

Im talking about the guy in the first post...

He has got the dam thing built into his house.

I would like to see an illustration of the the Pelton  wheel. but any talk about a tesla turbine is going no where.

joestue

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2018, 03:43:27 PM »
Hi Xeonpony,   

Out of curiosity I am wondering if high volume low pressure super heated steam will require more fuel?

read up on the "carnot efficiency"

as for steam, open loop steam locomotives were something like 3% efficient.

2260 joules of energy to evaporate 1 gram of water.. another 50 joules to increase the pressure a bit. that 50 joules is all you get out in the turbine.

so more pressure, higher temperature, feed water heating with condensed steam, etc, all these things are essentially necessary unless you're the last person on earth and you've got to keep the jungle cleared.

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2018, 03:53:13 PM »
Quote from: MAL
I think your being a little hard on the Wisco Kid...Yeah...this is all old technology.


I was talking to George So I am confused

Im talking about the guy in the first post...

You were the first one to post in this thread after I posted the link to youtube, so I am even more confused

He has got the dam thing built into his house

The Wisco kid is what the guy in the youtube video calls himself.  His "Energy Bootlegger" is in his energy shack near his house...what are you talking about???

I would like to see an illustration of the the Pelton  wheel. but any talk about a tesla turbine is going no where.

Yes, I would like to see an illustration of his Pelton wheel also.  I suspect that he bought it on Ebay, but I don't know.  He calls it combination of a Pelton Wheel and a Tesla Turbine.  You will have to contact him for the details.  I don't think a Tesla turbine has as much torque as a Pelton, but I just learned what a Tesla turbine was a couple of days ago.  So please don't bite my head off because somebody mentioned the name Tesla.

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2018, 04:22:20 PM »
Hi Xeonpony,   

Out of curiosity I am wondering if high volume low pressure super heated steam will require more fuel?

read up on the "carnot efficiency"

as for steam, open loop steam locomotives were something like 3% efficient.

2260 joules of energy to evaporate 1 gram of water.. another 50 joules to increase the pressure a bit. that 50 joules is all you get out in the turbine.

so more pressure, higher temperature, feed water heating with condensed steam, etc, all these things are essentially necessary unless you're the last person on earth and you've got to keep the jungle cleared.

Thanks Joestue for the response,  I started to read some of Carnot stuff but I was getting confusing so I figured it would be best to revisit it later.  I have never heard of a Joules of energy before so it doesn't help my small mind understand, and I have a difficult time understanding how many chunks of fire wood =3% efficiency is.  The comment about keeping the jungle cleared was a little more helpful.

George and Xeonpony are talking about low pressure and high volume steam...I am trying to understand the difference between that and high pressure lower volume.  It seams to me that it would take more fuel to make a higher volume of steam...but that is why I was asking.

I don't think anybody here is talking about an open system without a condensing system.

JW

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2018, 04:24:24 PM »
MAL would you please stop using double quotes, I cant understand what your saying. 

MAL

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2018, 04:39:26 PM »
No problem JW,  I just clicked the quote button, most forums that I am on don't do that.  I still don't understand the reason for your previous post, but some things may not need an explanation.

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2018, 04:48:42 PM »
Quote from: MAL
I still don't understand the reason for your previous post, but some things may not need an explanation.

please clarify for me.

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2018, 04:53:17 PM »
Mal use preview you can see what your quotes look like.

george65

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Re: Wood fired steam generator
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2018, 05:57:57 PM »
It seems like you  think it would be a good idea while you continue to "through cold water on it" :) 

I'm mainly throwing water on his approach. Despite his achievements, what he has is inefficen't, time consuming to run, has low output and is impractical in several area's.  To power ones house or workshop there are better ways like the guy in the other vids linked. He works on a much more useful setup  and has a target of 100Kwh a day. That's substantial and I think he has made the thing very practical and real world useful as well.


Quote
You keep calling it a bladeless Tesla, but I think it has blades like a Pelton Wheel. 

It was the stoner Hippy that said his turbine was a tesla. I don't really know or for that matter care what it is. When i hear that term to me it's the same as saying " free energy". Anything after i know is going to be a load of BS and turn off. The other guy tried a tesla but moved on and was objective about it unlike most of the other nutters that are convinced they are the cure for the worlds ills and have a chip on their shoulder to prove it.

I think steam is interesting but I also think that it's beyond the realm of  most to make practical for home power generation. That Don guy has been at it a long time and tested a lot of different engines and he will probably come up with something worth while. I get the idea that he wants to dispose of waste from his shop as well as make power and heat so is not spending time harvesting fuel.

JW's case is different again where he wants a certain type of power for a mobile application very different to running his house off.

A lot of this stuff is fun to talk about and play with but there is a point where you are doing it for the hell of doing it, not because it's the best thing to do.  I want to get the twin lister and 6 Kw genny I just bought and hook that up to supply power to the house. I can feed it off Veg oil and this will be infinitely easier to setup, cheaper to buy, far less time consuming to run, safer and just a better option for me. Still not cheaper than mains power but that's another issue.

For that Don Guy, I can well see using resources he has to utilise steam is a good thing for him.

I don't know running a superheater would take much more fuel, depends on how you went about it I spose.  I did some cracking / Pyrolising experiments cracking oil and found a superheat was the trick to good quality output.  All I did was run the output pipe back through the fire on it's way out so the thing ran red hot literally. Raising the temp of anything requires energy but it may also increase efficiency so cancel out.

Fuel consumption is why I would have any steamer oil fired. I know how much damn wood a home heater takes and the work in cutting and splitting it.  Mrs wants a wood fire heater here. I said only if she gets the wood because I'm not doing it and I'm not paying for it which is the most expensive form of heating of all.

For efficiency, lets say you had a pile of 100 pieces of wood all the same. Can be any size you imagine, they are just the same size.
3% efficiency would mean that 3 out of that pile of 100 actually did the work you wanted. That means in this case, drive the generator. you'd have mechanical and electrical losses from there so maybe 1 piece in 100 of those bits of wood actually gave you usable energy.
Compare that with a Diesel ( or petrol) engine where you have 100 bottles of fuel the same size.
 About 33 of those are going to give you usable energy as against 3 in the steamer which is much more efficient and a big reason steam went out of favour.