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T O P I C     R E V I E W
Member # 111
 - posted June 21, 2010 10:53
Just so you know, I am a huge fan of Bob Ross, I just love watching his shows. However, to draw the oil spill scene was extremely heartbreaking for me. I saw some footage of dying birds, and I just feel sick. Since the beginning of the oil spill I decided that I would make a plan to reduce my oil consumption, and wouldn't-it-be-nice to get off oil all together, at least chip away at it, possibly become a hippie. [Big Grin]
Member # 1211
 - posted June 21, 2010 12:00
I feel for you, Nitro. All disasters are heartbreaking, and of course, the loss of human life is nothing compared to the tsunami or Katrina, but they all seem to end at some point, and we rebuild. This has no end...and the impact on the environment and wildlife, not to mention people's livelihoods, will be felt for years to come. The non-stop daily coverage just makes the heartbreak neverending.
Member # 392
 - posted June 21, 2010 12:01
A partial list of petroleum based products. The point is even if we could conceivably go 100% green for all of our fuel sources we would still need oil for the rest of this stuff. You can believe me when I say it is breaking my heart what this oil spill is doing to my area, especially when I know there are better ways to deal with it, but I realize that we are not in a position technologically, nor economically to do without oil in the foreseeable future.
Member # 736
 - posted June 21, 2010 14:42
If we reduce our consumption, though, we'll reduce the need for drilling. How much oil would the US need if (and this is a tremendous if) we stopped burning oil to run our cars? What if we stopped burning to produce electricity? Or stopped burning for all our energy needs and used oil only as a source of petrochemicals?
Member # 1659
 - posted June 21, 2010 15:29
____ Xanthine, therein lies one of the problems. Michigan has started a drive for cellulose to Ethanol, really sounds good too. Right now they only want a certain grade or species of Switch Grass, however that one does not do well here, so then the next move is to Rape Seed straight to diesel nope too much lin/acid in the strains that handle Michigan weather. So now the choices are food grade Corn or do not bother. If I had a pellet mill I could convert my field grasses to fuel pellets for pellet stoves, been working on that. I also know that a certain crop harvester used in Michigan would pick up tar balls a lot faster than a bunch of unemployed
Member # 4924
 - posted June 22, 2010 00:12
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
____ Xanthine, therein lies one of the problems. If I had a pellet mill I could convert my field grasses to fuel pellets for pellet stoves, been working on that.

This interests me. How would you convert your grasses into pellets? What fuel would you use ? ( I don't think you would do this by hand ;-) )

My sister in Denver has a pellet oven. I have a heat pump and supplement my heating with a wood burning stove. (It has an afterburner to increase the efficiency) But maybe someday I would switch to pellets. The thing is, I can buy the wood from local sources surrounding my town ( no fuel is used in shipping it therefore it is carbon neutral ) No pellets are made in my village, but, if you could convert grass to pelelts then I bet I could work something out. Pellet heating is big here and I bet alot of my neighbors have pellet ovens. All the orchards surrounding my village have losts of grass, and as less people own farm animals than before there is a surpluss of grass.
Member # 1659
 - posted June 22, 2010 02:58
____ Good questions Ash. Good because with all of the green questions, I had to think this through.

Energy expendatures A: Cutting the grasses. B: Transport to the mill C: The actual extrusion D: Bagging and sealing. E: Shipping.

____ The presses are very simple but vary widely on energy /ton.

Straight press load with the grasses and push them through the plate.

Screw auger takes the grasses down a funnel shape until the correct size. Think old kitchen hand crank food processor.

Drum mill think of a very large truck brake drum with lots of holes drilled in the circumference, inside the drum is a wheel almost as big 3/4ths or 7/8ths as big into the gap the grasses are fed as the big drum is turned the grasses are compacted and forced out the holes by the smaller inner wheel rolling inside the bigger wheel.The design patent is held by a professor from the University of Syracuse, and he has published it to the public domain. I hope my explanation of the drum extruder was understandable.
Member # 4924
 - posted June 22, 2010 04:12
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
____ The presses are very simple but vary widely on energy /ton.

Straight press load with the grasses and push them through the plate.

Screw auger takes the grasses down a funnel shape until the correct size. Think old kitchen hand crank food processor.

Well the electric says you can feed grasss, teh diesel does not ( and as I could get diesel tax feree for such an application i would want diesel.)

but other than saying it takes grass, there is nothin more on the topic other than " buy this 35$ book".

what sort of prep would be needed for grass, can it take grass, wet, as is, from a field?. how do you feed 200 lb's and hour of grass into such a machine?

I guess I need to buy a hammer mill (6 grand) and then a mill ( 6 grand) and then an oven that takes pellets. (not to mention to work out a deal with local land owners for thier biomass)
Member # 1659
 - posted June 22, 2010 05:37
____ Ash, that linky, is not too good. Every thing is back to the economy of scale, big mill, big hoppers, large sources of grass. Die formers are expensive to run, the grass can be left to dry after cutting not unlike hay. In fact the best pellet presses were built to make hay into food pellets for animals.

____ I am sure you have seen the large bales of hay used in the Mid West farm belt, those bales are big but burn very fast, there really is not much celulose in one of them. Then there is the plastic used to form the spiral wind. I would bet on Pond Scum to algae to bio diesel. My reading suggests that skim the pond leaving some behind for seed, press out the oils, and then form into pellets. Again you need a big pond.
Member # 371
 - posted June 23, 2010 08:19
I've wondered about the small pellet presses.... do they work well enough for burning pellets or not.

I *think* that the presses the big boys use for making wood pellets are a lot higher pressure than the presses used to make animal feed. Would pellets made from these lower pressure presses hold up? Do you need the higher pressure to get pellets to stick together if using grass instead of sawdust?

I have a corn burning stove - nature makes the pellets for you - all you need to do is harvest them. But, burning corn has pretty corrosive gases that chew thru the stainless steel chimney liners. I have burned pellets some in the stove, but the lower quality pellets have a lot of fines in the bags from broken/crumbling pellets. Those fines tend to end up as ash flying around and that tends to plug the heat exchanger.

Maybe a different stove design wouldn't be as susceptible to fines.

The organization AURI does have some more balanced information - and they aren't just trying to sell you a book/mill/plans. They do test different pellets for BTUs, ash, moisture, etc.
Member # 1659
 - posted June 23, 2010 09:39
____ Doco, again good questions. I have played with grass clippings and a hydraulic jack, the wetter the grass the better the pellet. Also one can buy binders. I have not tried sawdust and grass clippings together, yet. My stove does not handle corn well, Cherry pits and sunflower seeds burn well but have an oil residue not unlike creosote that clings to the flue.

____ I was at an energy fair hosted by the Chippawa tribes that had some very interesting grate designs that would take care of fines and the clinker corn burners develope. I do not remember the name of the multifuel pelletized fuel boiler but the grate was a drum, like a small clothes dryer and the tumbling broke up the clinkers. The drum grate was above the ash bin so fines w/could fall through.

____ Like every thing there are trade offs in design.

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