You’ve heard the stories from centenarians of living through the depression and other tough economies. Many of those stories revolve around saving money on food and getting by on cheap fuel to heat their homes. So many people tell stories about chopping wood and throwing corn cobs in their stoves to keep warm. With corn fields plentiful and corn cobs considered useless, why don’t flex fuel stoves burn corn cobs?
If you spend a little time on the Internet looking for information about this subject and search for articles about burning corn, you’ll no doubt find a common question about burning corn cobs. Why is it recommended you burn shelled corn (or other approved fuels) in your flex fuel stove, and why wouldn’t you burn corn cobs?
Here’s the Answer
Corn/flex-fuel appliances today are designed to burn shelled corn instead of corn cobs. Farmers are harvesting their corn now with combines, shelling the corn right away, and chopping up the cobs to be returned to the earth. This is factored into the design. I know this, because I designed and built the first certified corn burning appliance in the industry.
Corn cobs carry a high level of starch in them which does not convert easily over to BTU’s. The shelled corn carries a level of starch and sugar which converts easier into usable heat units. The technology for using corn cobs is so much different from using shelled corn, that appliances can not easily adapt between the two.
Video Help on Choosing Your Corn and Other Flex Fuels