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I see energy and warmth everywhere

Posts: 17
Location: Belgium
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Hi all,

I've been reading quite a lot on permies already, am tinkering with a rocket stove design to build a terrace heater and passionate about fire. Let me tell more about who I am and the title of the topic. I'm an industrial engineer who is passionate about engineering and designing and likes to try and build stuff with dirty cheap, recycled materials, just to make use of something that would otherwise get thrown away.

And here comes the explanation of the title. Everywhere I look around me, I see potential heat sources. For instance paper. I get so much junkmail, I save it, mix it with water, bought a big bag of sawdust and making briquettes to burn in my coal/wood insert I ordered. Curious on how it'll do... Anyone having experiences with this?

If I see a tree, I see wood. But trees are important, so I'm interested in sustainable wood harvest. Therefore, I became interested in bamboo, as it grows quicker. Therefore I bought some bamboo seeds and waiting for them to come in and try and grow it. I'm wondering on how much m2 of moso bamboo I would need in my backyard to make some timber of it in the future. (the back yard is 35x5 m2, but not all is available for bamboo growing offcourse) Am IT crazy to even consider it, or is it a worthy experiment to see how sustainable one can be in the middle of a small town?

If I see a harvested corn field, I wonder what happened with the majority of the corn plant, it could be burnt imo.

I think there are so many sources of materials that can provide heat that there are possibilities to harness them and make use of them on a small scale, just to make us less (or even completely!) dependant on energy suppliers.

We have solar panels on our roof that provide us with electricity. Soon I'll have a coal/wood insert that can provide heat.

To make a long story short, who has a lot of experience in using biomass materials that are all around us and use those for heat. How do you guys do it? What do you guys use? What about growing bamboo for timber? (on a micro scale for own use).

Call me crazy or not, I don't mind, but I'm just worried about our rate of consumption of fossil fuel, that I want to start thinking about easy ways to contribute to the problem. All suggestions and ideas are welcome.
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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I know pulping junk mail and turning them into briquettes for heating is actually a proven idea. I wonder about the efficiency however, aka how much heat am I getting for the time I invest? My time is worth money, so if the return on that time doesn't yield properly it's not worth it. I also only have electric heat but it's something I would try if I had a stove, which I plan on putting in The garage in the future. Of course buying sawdust cuts into the savings, there has to be a free source somewhere I you look around. As for me I religiously recycle, so it either goes off to be recycled or shredded and thrown in the compost pile.

Are you talking bamboo timber to burn? If so I'd almost say it would be a waste of time. Building material would be worth a try but you'd have to alter techniques to use it. Either way it can't hurt to give it a try, and you already purchased seed so why not. I'm weighing the option myself but I don't want a 40-50ft tall stand of timber-worthy bamboo in my yard. Probably gonna go with a smaller clumping bamboo to use for garden stakes.

Most corn after harvest is turned to silage or dumped back onto the field to compost in place. Basically they take the leftovers, ferment it, then feed it back to livestock. Probably one of the more "permaculture" things I've seen done by big agricultural so I'm cool with it. Most around here use a no-till method so they leave the leftovers to rot back into the soil. I can't see anything from the grass family (corn and bamboo) being a heat source worth the time. Yeah, it'll burn, but it'll burn quick, probably not produce much heat, and would leave behind a ton of ash which you then have to find a use for.

In summation, junk mail for heat is probably the only idea I would personally pursue. If you want to grow bamboo for building material go for it. Been done for thousands of years and it works. Really what do you have to lose by trying it? Wouldn't even waste my time burning corn silage, let it feed a cow or the soil. The sheer amount you would need would make it impractical and the results would be less than stellar
Posts: 490
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Sawdust paper briquets, have had better results using oil rather than water. If making when they will be stored a long time use a mineral based oil, if for immediate use then food oils and any fat wastes can be used as the binder. For mineral oils be careful they are not heavy metal contaminated, in other words know your source.
I have gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, keep me here with this tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
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