Corn Cobs as Fuel

I wanted to know whether I could use the few pitiful dried corn stalks left over from my garden as a fire-starter. Poking around on the Internet, I stumbled across this blog post about burning corn cobs, which has a ton of fascinating historical information. My favorite part is the picture of a North Dakota housewife feeding corn cobs into her kitchen stove, with the baby in a high chair in the background, in 1940.

2 thoughts on “Corn Cobs as Fuel

  1. I remember talking about bio-fuel In my Agriculture issue class. It is a debate weather corn cobs should be grown for fuel or food. A down side to it is that it can take up land that can be used to grow food for livestock. Burning corn cobs is more environmentally friendly but, how do you balance that with growing food.

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    1. I think the traditional burning of corn cobs took place after the corn had been harvested and perhaps eaten by the livestock. The cobs were collected and burned. The article mentions how, with more modern harvesting methods, it became prohibitively labor-intensive to go get the cobs out of the field. So, my impression of burning corn cobs is that it is more suited to a subsistence farming situation with older technology. Not something that we hope to ever have to go back to, but in the event we are ever thrown back on that, the fact that corn cobs make good fuel might be useful to know.

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