• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


Listen Online
Download

Get all of the podcasts in convenient, giant zip files
Subscribe on iTunes

Summary

Paul, Ernie and Erica continue their conversation on the Rocket Mass Heaters workshop that started in part 1. They first talk about an idea that was brought up during the workshop to put the exhaust in a greenhouse to help with plant growth. The concept is that since the exhaust from a Rocket Mass Heater is only oxygen and carbon dioxide, the latter should help with photosynthesis. However, the exhaust from a Rocket Mass Heater is not always clean, especially at the beginning of the burn when the heat riser is still cold. The exhaust at that time can be smoky, contain pollutants and the extremely dangerous carbon monoxide. In short, the exhaust can kill people and plants.

Ernie points out that such a system would be risky every time and that it would just be a matter of time before someone forgets a step and causes harm. They all agree that fermentation is a much safer way to add carbon dioxide to the greenhouse atmosphere. They then talk about the issue of having a completely closed system at small scales.

The next subject that they cover in the podcast is the timberframed outhouse that Caleb built for the workshop. They point out that it used Paul's wheely bin idea. Erica then talks about the different composting toilets they saw on their tour. She expresses how uncomfortable the bucket composting toilets make her because of the risk of reusing the buckets by mistake.

They talk about the risk associated with handling poop and different safe composting toilet designs. They conclude the podcast by all agreeing that it is better to design systems that work for people as they currently are instead of people changing to work the system.

Resources

6" Rocket Mass Heater Plans
8" Rocket Mass Heater Plans

Relevant Links

Ernie and Erica's Website

Paul's article on Rocket Mass Heater

Podcast 225 - Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Part 1

Podcast 019 - Rocket Mass Heaters
Podcast 104 - Rocket Mass Heaters with Ernie and Erica
Podcast 128 - Rocket Mass Heaters, Money, and Permaculture
Podcast 196 - Rocket Mass Heaters w/ Ernie & Erica

Underfloor Rocket Mass Heater Video
12 Rocket Stove Mass Heaters – efficient wood heat Video

Support the Empire

Help support the empire and get all of the podcasts in bundles here

To support production of these podcasts, make a donation here at Paul's Patreon page.

COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just so you know, tomato seeds will go right through you and germinate with extreme vigor. Not that it's the thing to do it just happens.
 
Posts: 72
Location: Edmonton Alberta
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jordan Lowery wrote:Just so you know, tomato seeds will go right through you and germinate with extreme vigor. Not that it's the thing to do it just happens.



came on here to say the same thing, the water treatment ponds in Kamloops are surrounded by tomato plants.
 
steward
Posts: 3666
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
461
purity dog forest garden fungi trees tiny house chicken food preservation woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
And now the kickstarter for the workshop DVD has started. Full details here
 
steward
Posts: 5995
Location: United States
2549
transportation forest garden tiny house books urban greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What I appreciated the most about these two rocket mass heater podcasts were these two poignant remarks that Erica made:
-Humans are monkeys and will use things because they are useful, even if not for their intended purpose
-That we alone are not a big enough circle to handle and degrade wastes ourselves, which reached another good point that the self-flagellation of the environmental movement is not necessarily helpful or healthy.

And that second point is where I really have trouble connecting with people who see themselves as "environmentalists," because as Erica mentioned, humans are not biologically adapted for such a small loop for nutrient cycling. Okay, the connection I'm trying to get at is that I have difficulty explaining to "environmental" folk how working with Nature is possible- not just stepping back and saying "humans are bad."
 
pollinator
Posts: 1483
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
139
kids purity trees urban writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
now that i'm more up to speed on the "why not to vent rocket CO2 gasses into a greenhouse," I'm going to ask, "what about venting rocket CO2 gasses into a greenhouse?"--and, specifically, what if you did it in a more minimalistic, Fukuoka-y way? you just let things take their course.

Could this be made in a way that is discipline-free, safe, leaky, quite open to the outside but capturing a bit of the gas closer to the point of exit?

Could it be a greenhouse that is only growing algae or dinosaur plants--i.e., whatever DOES like to grow under these (admittedly weird, non-natural) conditions?  

Here's my thinking:

--discipline-free: there are certain routines that people will tend to follow, and one of them is making coffee in the morning.  (I don't, I start my day off with chocolate, but that's a topic for another thread).  If there's a particular rocket stove for making coffee only--ie, it has the coffeemaker attached to it in a way that can't really be separated from it, maybe a chain--the people will make coffee in the morning on _that_ rocket stove only, and so you'll get extra boost of CO2 in the greenhouse/halfway greenhouse thingy every morning, not at night.  The other rocket stoves for lunch and dinner won't vent into the greenhousy thing ever, only the coffeemaker one.

--safe/idiot- and guest-proof: there is no way to get into the greenhousy thing except by climbing a ladder, crossing a moat filled with crocodiles, etc., and the only reason you ever go in there is to harvest algae out of it or something of the sort.

--easy: dinosaur plants, a completely non-technical term I am making up on the supposition that at one time there were plants or plant-like beings that lived long before there was any noncombusted oxygen in our environment whatsoever, such that they can thrive under any and all conditions, or at least get by under all conditions.  I tried to grow duckweed for some quail...for a friend...but all I got was algae.  So, I figure if it's even easier to grow than duckweed, it's easy.  It's almost just a problem rather than a solution.  So I am thinking that you just let whatever grows in a tub of water grow in that tub of water, and be unconcerned about what it is, and something good has to come out of it in the yield of carbon capture/energy you can put into use as fuel.  

--open: I understand that a greenhouse generally has to be fairly well sealed to be of much use as a greenhouse, but since Paul's doing his truly passive greenhouse that means I get to do my truly passive greenhouse.  I think mine just freezes at night and starts up again in the morning when the algae or the whatevers thaw out.  It's up on the roof, remember, by the chimney, so of course it doesn't have any geothermal help.  It may stay frozen on cold days too, but so what if it misses a few, it's just trying to capture some of the carbon, not necessarily get every last drop.  

--soot: the first few minutes of the burn aren't clean, but once it reaches temperature there's a passively-opened valve that responds to the presence of heat only.  If it fails, no worries, then you're just not capturing that carbon but venting to the sky as before.  If it succeeds though it diverts some of the carbon dioxide-water stuff into the algae greenhouse. Or maybe it's an active vent but you have to stand there holding a handle up to keep it open--if you let go (or even try to get around it by leaning a heavy object against the handle) it's just going to fall closed again.  You can stand there and recapture your carbon while drinking your coffee and chatting, but the second you step away, back to venting to the sky as usual.

Downsides I can see to this--the carbon could sink down to the house below.  CO could.  Mold.  Mold is OK in that greenhouse since no one goes in there except to harvest.  

what if you forget to harvest?  I guess it eventually gets overgrown with something, and you've got broken glass falling on your roof.  Maybe better to use homemade bioplastic instead of glass.

Well, if a tiny ad can defy gravity, why can't the power of half-assed-ness defy dangers aplenty?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1483
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
139
kids purity trees urban writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One last thought--since we're basically asking for the function "how can I sequester/keep a little more carbon on the landscape," what other solutions might be better?  what about just putting some shallow tubs of water on the roof and seeing what grows in them (it's roof space use question).   would that be more impactful overall?
 
Posts: 130
Location: Idaho
57
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joshua,

After a long career in the air pollution control business cleaning up combustion gases, all I can say is that venting combustion gases into an area where people might ever go is an extremely dangerous idea.

Even with the most perfect controls in the world, combustion is rarely steady. There are always upsets of some sort. Also, start up and shut down of a combustion system has a completely different offgas profile than steady operation. It's always dirtier because the combustion hasn't reached it's efficient steady state-ish conditions.

There is information available on pumping CO2 into algae vats to boost growth. Our company looked into it about 10 years ago. It's a good idea but there are unforeseen issues. It's a discipline all it's own and a worthwhile endeavor to find a way to make it work efficiently and safely.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 1483
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
139
kids purity trees urban writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks robin for sharing your expertise.  What if it's a place people cannot go into?
 
Robin Katz
Posts: 130
Location: Idaho
57
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If it's a greenhouse, people will be going into it at some point. Propagation, maintenance, watering, harvesting, etc. are just a few of the activities.

The biggest safety issue with combustion gases is carbon monoxide, especially if the combustion isn't going at the proper efficiency. You can't see it or smell it and it's deadly. I wouldn't bet my life on one or even two CO detectors set up in a place where I knew there was a chance of CO toxicity.

Again, during start up and shut down, there is a tendency for incomplete combustion, and in the case of wood, you get nasty dioxins along with CO.

If you really want to go down this road, I suggest you get a good, solid background in combustion and all the associated controls so that you don't get surprised in a way that will be your last. Even in the industry where we were all well versed in the state of the art, when we started trying new things, we got different results. One of them was a CO fireball that nearly killed one of the workers and scorched the steel around him. Surprise! Industry tends to not advertise such things so most people never hear about the deaths, maiming, and numerous close calls.
 
"Don't believe every tiny ad you see on the internet. But this one is rock solid." - George Washington
Rocket Mass Heater Manual - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/8/rmhman
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic