I have had some success recently with using a small monotube flash steam generator (coil of 1/8” tube) to vaporize unfiltered WVO. I did receive a couple of emails requesting more information about the pellet stove conversion, so here is a little more info. With both the pellet stove and the fireplace burners I had trouble with the babington design. The babington burner works great but for me was difficult to scale down and tricky to implement. I experimented with a small burner outside and found that as long as you can vaporize the oil it will burn clean and hot.
The first burner was simply coiled copper tube right in the fire to heat the oil being pumped in to the burner. This idea worked well at first, but it clogged quickly and couldn’t be cleaned out since it clogged with a cement like hardness. I noticed the heating of the oil alone does a nice job of vaporizing the oil and that the burner (pan or can..) once hot helped this also. The next burner I ran the fuel line in to the bottom of the burner to keep it from vaporizing in the line and clogging.
This burned oil only with a lazy dirty flame (black smoke) but when I simply blew in some compressed air from the top wow, I could melt aluminum on that flame. Adjust the air and oil flow and you could get whatever you want for a flame. I started using stainless steel for the burner since I test the white hot mode of burning often, (no smoke lots of heat :) and that generally burned right through whatever I used for the burner. I finally burned through a large stainless steal burner after about one month of use. Warning: Steam can be very dangerous!! do not try thees experiments unless you know about the dangers of explosion etc. The things I’m trying now are related to running without electricity. I am experimenting using the fireplace that has an insert. I made a copper tube steam generator with 50′ of 1/8” coppertube and placed it in the flame of the burner.
I force water through the tube using a stainless steel pump sprayer. I do not allow more than 80 PSI as the pump sprayer also acts as pressure relief and I never restrict the steam flow out of the end of the tube. If I let the steam out into the house it helps with the humidity (It gets dry without some added moisture here in Newhampshire) But when its running hot I can use the steam to do what the compressed air does! I bought a cool little fan for on top, it runs using just the heat from the top of the insert! The fan uses a thermoelectric module to generate electricity from heat. Hmm Now if I place lots of these little modules in the exhaust perhaps I can generate enough electricity to run the real fan.