I want to leave the world a better place for our children. I want to use less fossil fuels. And I want to find ways to grow more food in small spaces like suburban backyards. And I want to tell the world about it so everyone can do it; it takes a village!
Last winter I discovered Jean Pain, a revolutionary French activist in the 1970's who designed a system that made methane gas and heated water using nothing but composting. His piles were epic- over 50 tons and stayed hot for over 18 months.
I want to see if a slightly smaller scale pile is possible and can be replicated in today's American Suburbs. I have built a 10,000# pile of material and buried two steel drums in it. I would like to produce enough methane gas to test the system by flaring it off, and then focus on producing 120 degree water at the rate of about 3-4 gallons per minute. Why?
I want to install a compost hot water system - very similar to a solar hot water system- where the heat from a large compost pile is transferred to the water in our domestic hot water system to significantly reduce our natural gas use. Then, this winter I would also like to plumb this heat into a water : air heat exchanger to space heat our suburban home. The pile I have built is a proof of concept - and it is AWESOME. However, to install this into my home and start telling the world about it, I will need some help buying proper materials to see how much potential this idea really has.
New water pump: $100
PEX tubing: $150
Heat Exchanger: $150
Plumbing and incidentals: $100
The first week I wrote about the Methane Midden on www.onestraw.wordpress.com over 10,000 people read about it. The Methane Midden is so inspiring because it will produce hot water and space heating as well as over 3000#s of compost every 6 months as it sequesters carbon and heals our soils. In a pinch, it can be reconfigured to produce methane gas in times of crisis. Best of all? No fancy materials or skills needed. If you can screw in a garden hose, drive a pitchfork and are savy enough to plug in a water pump - you can do this!
The world needs simple solutions to our Big Problems as we search for a transitional culture to a more sustainable future. Help me fill in the gaps, prove the concept, and spread the word by pledging to help me make this happen.
Be the Change!
- (57 days)