Tire bale just confuses me. Other than getting rid of a lot of tires I’m not sure what its benefits are. Thus far it intrigues me not at all.
I’m currently working with the county to get an earth bermed, rammed earth tire structure permitted. The intent is also to put up a hyperadobe structure of some sort so as to get experienced with it. The rammed earth tire structure is to be shotcrete inside and out. Both will be insulated on the outside, probably with straw. The interior walls of both will be a made of light straw/clay brick or cob depending on what is trying to be achieved. Both will be oriented to take advantage of solar gain in the winter.
This winter has not been bad but generally speaking we have -15 to -30º F for part of the winter.
My first greenhouse was connected to a south facing window of our house much like a window air conditioner. This allowed the plants to be outside, under plastic and protected from wind and rain during the day. It also allowed the heat generated by the sun shining on the greenhouse to be passively circulated into the house through the open window during the day rather than needing a fan. A big advantage was the sunlight being reflected off the wall and striking the plants more evenly thus preventing the leggy, leaning, growth seen so often in plants grown on a window shelf with sunlight touching only one side of the plant. In your case this could be built large enough for 4 flats of starts and the flats brought in the house at night and the window closed to conserve heat. As the plants get older and need hardened to cooler temperatures prior to transplanting leave them in the greenhouse overnight.
Cucumbers: I find the best early results (if wanting to get a head start) to be germinating them indoors, 3 to 4 seeds in a pot about the size of an 8 oz cup or a little larger and letting them grow to the first true leaf (and no more than two true leaves) and then plant out. Cucumbers roots head to the bottom of the pot as soon as they germinate. The faster they are transplanted to the garden after the first true leaf is of a decent size the faster they are allowed to grow their roots deep in the garden instead of becoming rootbound in the pot. The same thing goes for watermelon and cantaloupe and squash.
Tomatoes: My best results are planting in a deep narrow container and allowing to grow to two true leaves. I then slow the growth down by cooler temperatures at night and then plant to the garden. If grown in too large of a container a lot of the soil falls off because root development was mostly down. This is not necessarily a detrimental thing just a waste of purchased potting soil. I have planted as young as 1 true leaf which allows the narrow container to be less deep. I plant up to the first true leaf in the garden.
Broccoli and cabbage: I sow in a wide not too deep container and then once they are of two true leaves I transplant above the cotyledons to individual containers. This helps me prevent them being leggy. Grow with cool night temps as they get larger.
Water the plants in the morning if in a window greenhouse so they don't dry out while you are gone during the day. My father-in-law commented that if you’re a little late milking the cow things were okay but if you’re late watering a tiny tomato it is a goner.
Chris Dean wrote:A word of caution on planting directly, make sure you keep an eye on your seedlings. My first year of planting I scattered almost all my seed, and then found out too late that pill bugs were eating them all as they emerged. Not discouraging you from it, but in addition to watching them closely it may help to sow a portion and see if you have any problems before sowing everything.
I would direct sow in your climate. Sowing in flats does a few things. You can control the germination temperature better. You don't need to thin as you will be transplanting far enough apart. You get a head start when there are still morning frosts. The plants do not need to compete with faster germinating/growing plants.
When they say to start in the refrigerator I think they are trying to imitate the conditions as if the seed spent the winter outside (stratification). Go ahead and follow those instructions unless you can accomplish it outside now.
So I finally bought the Rocket Mass Heaters book from http://www.rocketstoves.com/ and read it. Holy smokes people have put a lot of effort and thought into these things.
John Sizemore wrote:Problems with water would be construction cost. The materials would need to be welded in place and of higher strength.
Moisture. Hot water equals vapor and unless your tank was covered your home would become s steam room.
Calcium builds up in the water tank.
Legionnaire’s disease. It is a problem in hot tubs and other water bearing indoor locations. You would have a petri dish in the center of your home.
I can't argue with you there. The costs/difficulty of construction will go up depending on the configuration and one's scrounging ability.
To avoid indoor moisture buildup the water storage will need to be vented to the exterior in some manner. There may be other options. I haven't researched this one yet.
If calcium/mineral precipitation will be a problem I'm assuming distilled water can be used.
Legionnaire’s disease is a valid concern. I'm not sold on the idea of using a large volume of water which eventually ends up at the hot water heater as being wise. If not much hot water is being used and the water is held at the wrong temperature for too long prior to hitting the water heater a lot of bacteria growth can occur.
140º F will kill the Legionnaire’s bacteria. I suppose one needs to be aware and take the temperature of the water thermal mass above that on a regular basis. I have done no research to see what other options there are.
Dale Hodgins wrote:I think it would be important to ensure that the water is not allowed to cool the effluent before complete combustion is achieved. Wood stoves with water jackets are prone to creosote buildup if unburned hydrocarbons go up the chimney. The heat riser and several feet of pipe may need to be far hotter than a water jacket would allow.
Definitely the water will have to rob the heat after the heat riser to avoid the problems you’ve mentioned.
Dale Hodgins wrote:It would be a shame to have a giant water tank like this for thermal storage only. Water could be drawn off to heat a hot tub and for regular domestic uses.
It seems the Legionnaire’s risk will preclude the drawing off of water unless the 140º F can be maintained. If one desires to pre-heat the hot water heater feed I think coils robbing heat from the rocket mass heater water mass will be more prudent. The challenge will be preventing bacterial growth in the rocket mass heater water mass which, theoretically, one will not be contacting on a regular basis anyway.
That said 140º F may not be that hard to maintain for an extended period depending on how large an area one is trying to heat.
In this thread, http://www.permies.com/t/12344/stoves/Rocket-Powered-Sterling-Engine-water Dale has proposed the coupling of a Stirling engine powered generator with the RMH to produce electricity (along with other mechanical needs such as water pumping and clothes washing) while using water thermal mass as the coolant for the Stirling engine. After much consideration it seems to me that in order to most effectively use water as the thermal battery for a RMH the water needs to be located at floor level. In other words, if I understand how a thermo siphon works, if one if going to use a passive means to heat the water thermal mass the thermo siphon is doable but only if the tank is located higher than the heat source. Am I understanding this correctly? This would not allow the water thermal mass to be located in a cob bench unless the RMH was sunk below floor level significantly. Dropping the RMH below floor level may have it’s usefulness as can be seen in this thread: http://www.permies.com/t/5937/stoves/rocket-mass-floor-heater-finally. But can one really heat below the floor and a water thermal mass located in a bench on the floor? I suppose it’s a function of how long the burn is.
It seems to me that in order to realistically use water as the primary thermal mass one needs the ability to move water around on an active basis utilizing steam, a steam powered engine/pump or a Stirling engine powered pump. In other words to really utilize water’s heat storing/transferring ability well the ability to circulate the water though various connected by piping water storage vessels and through the heat exchanger piping either next to or inside of the RMH barrel becomes necessary. I am continuing to research what is the quietest and most simple method to actively circulate the water without steam.
1) Is anyone familiar with a passive design for circulating water which works with the water tank and heat exchanger being at the same level? For all I know there is a simple method of passively circulating the water and I’m not bright enough to see it.
2) What is a simple, quiet pump design which can utilize Stirling engine principles to actively circulate the water?
3) Is there another mechanical, quiet, simple design which can utilize the heat generated by the RMH to pump the water?
As I've been considering the ramifications of utilizing water as the primary thermal mass for a rocket mass heater I have come to the same conclusion. There are situations where electricity or a mechanical force is needed and a stirling engine or steam engine coupled with a rocket mass heater could provide those. I was up way late the night before last researching both.
The rocket mass heater has a great ability to heat water but getting that water to move to precisely where you need it is a problem. A pump powered by a Stirling engine or steam engine would be very useful and waste heat becomes a non-issue as it is captured somewhere. I think this is a perfect example of using technology to empower the individual.
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:Sorry if this is a stupid question, but do you suppose water is condensing in the exhaust pipes? Have you provided for removing that water?
Erica Wisner wrote:General comments on rocket heaters:
Water does condense in the pipes on other RMH systems, but not to the point where it would pool and do damage. Earthen masonry is pretty forgiving up to moisture levels around 13-15%, and cob both absorbs and evaporates water readily.
My gut is that any condensed water gets evaporated out again once the fire dies down. Some amount of cooler, drier air flows through the warm pipes as the fuel load diminishes, especially if you aren't tending the fire super-closely and let it burn out completely before shutting the burn door.
The time when RMHs tend to be really drippy is just after building them, especially if you build it in the fall when the weather is cold and wet. Water comes out everywhere - the cob faces, the pipes, the drainage underneath.
We do try to orient the cleanouts so that water can drain down and out.
I would not recommend this for the following reasons:
1) People gotta be in the greenhouse at some point and there is no way to guarantee no CO was produced along with the CO2 and water vapor.
2) Plants need oxygen too, not just CO2.
3) The water vapor is gonna condense on everything and it'll be a rainforest.
Yes, there can be condensation if you allow the exhaust temperature to drop too low within the thermal mass before venting. The vent tube is sloped away from the heater until it is outside the building so any condensation will exit if any is created. The bottom of the flue on the outside of the building has a hole for clean out and condensation draining if needed.
A cleanout is placed at the juncture of heater and piping.
Heat riser metal can and does oxidize. The heat riser can be made of firebrick.
I think what you just said makes a huge amount of sense. I'd find another way to get the water to the bottom faster if needed, though. Something more natural than a gaping wound of a pipe. Maybe a strategically placed pathway of gravel.
My impression of the concept behind hugelkulter is a wicking bed on natural steroids. The rotted wood soaking up moisture is the plastic sheeting equivalent which also allows deep roots a place to go also.
G. Karl Marcus wrote:One video I watched recently suggested 1 1/2" would put the majority of the heat dump directly at the top of the barrel, while increasing the gap to three inches might create a hot-spot torus half-way down the outside of the inner throat.
I'm not an engineer but it seems to me that whatever amount of power it takes to pump it up the hill it certainly can only exert the same force coming back down. It takes 2.23 hp to pump 20 GPM at 441 ft. of head. 2.23 hp is 1663 watts. If there is enough force in the stream to power a pump which takes 1663 watts to run why not just run a generator directly? Or are you saying it does not take 1663 watts to pump 20 GPM at 441 ft of head due to the pump configuration?
The juniper will take forever to break down. I'd stick with the other three.
Honestly, given the amount of wind you have and the long dry season I'd stick with something level or only slightly mounded on the uphill side to act as a water catchment. Unless you are planning on irrigating in some manner to establish well. If you are not going to irrigate I think it will take a different plant regime than if you are. What do you want the bed to become?
Size will depend on your desire and how much wood you have. I'm going to be placing single large fireplace lengths buried and slightly mounded in selected areas so I can easily ring and cover with plants and see what happens. I think a season or two of observation will give one a lot of information and confidence.
According to the Powerspout site the 40 feet of head at 2.7 gallons per minute (3900 gals/day) would produce 4 watts. I have to believe you could generate more than that directly from the water movement in the stream.
I’ve been spending a lot of time asking myself the same questions Abe has. I decided there was a simple test I would implement in strategic areas to see where subsurface organic matter addition would be of the most use. I’m going to learn from it and let it educate me. I’ve been looking around as I travel to see what natural areas and areas disturbed by man are telling me. Even with the low rainfall we receive here, unless it is an area that is simply bare clay, the disturbance I see creates places where water collects and enhances vegetation.
I decided to create swales on a limited basis and see what simply slowing the water down would result in. If the swales are actually catching water which otherwise will run away and be gone then I should see a change in the vegetation fairly quickly. I should see a more vigorous green strip. I’m not talking about huge swales. I’m talking about something I can dig by hand for 20 feet in multiple areas. If I see the change in the vegetation then I will know burying the wood will probably only enhance this process. The hand dug swale I envision will be a narrow trench with the dirt removed being on the downhill side.
If there is a lack of wood I think the only thing one can do is create his own organic matter. It’s not going to be as fast as an area with more rainfall. But all I know to do is go to work at it. Russian Olives grow here easily, some say invasively, but I view them as a gift; a nitrogen fixing, fast growing gift. Look for fast growing items which can be planted next to a narrow trench swale and begin the process. See if there are plants which will grow and thrive right in the swale. A narrow trench will be a perfect place for grass and leaves to get stuck. Nature sure doesn’t wait for me around here so I tend to think a little help goes a long way.
Great idea for raising and lowering the end of the siphon. Hahahahahaha. Simple and affordable. I think you could put a valve on the end and accomplish the same thing IF it did not plug up.
It seems to me that the siphon is helping the tank to not freeze only because of it allowing more water, which is warmer, to enter the tank from the hydrant. The water entering may also create a little movement of the surface also. The sides of the tank being exposed are allowing heat to escape the tank. Since the tank is effectively split between paddocks a moveable insulation of some sort could be implemented on one side. This could be a very simple item as you don’t seem to need the protection for long periods or for extremely low temperatures. Maybe as simple as bags of leaves hung on the unused side of the tank in UV resistant bags. Something simple moved from side to side as cows are moved into the other paddock.
A board which hangs on the trough under the electric fence could separate the surface of the water and floating empty plastic bottles could be placed on the unused side as insulation. Alternatively the dividing board could extend into the water level and the unused side covered completely. There may even be retrofit covers available which have the floaty balls which animals must push down in order to get to the water. Floating items on the cows side could also be used if you identify something the cows won’t destroy.
For any of these measures to be worth it will depend on how badly you’d like to not have a portion of the field waterlogged and how bad you want to conserve the water and the cost associated with it.
I’m thinking I was simply pointing out the double wall feature. The diameter, height, double wall volume and amount of water put in it is at the user’s discretion. I highly recommend the use of a rocket heater for simplicity sake and cost of materials. The parameters are easy to change.
If the Kelly Kettle’s volume is too little then increase it..
If the Kelly Kettle’s height does not take advantage of the reburn then make it taller.
If bs4872’s water container holds to much water then don’t fill it up. He certainly has enough heat being generated.
Is this an exercise for an engineering class of some type?
Since there is time to scrounge for used materials utilizing a piece of used double wall stove pipe should be considered.
It seems to me that utilizing water as the primary thermal battery for a rocket mass heater has its place in the grand scheme of things. This, naturally, leads to hot water for other needs as well. I am here to be put in my place by all of you if I misspeak so please feel free.
I am very desirous to see RMHs accepted by building officials utilizing cob and other natural materials as a thermal battery. From what I’ve read on these forums there are people who have put a lot of time and treasure into working on proper design. I applaud you for your determination and persistence for little reward. You have my admiration.
It seems to me that part of the challenge utilizing cob is that it is hard to get things just right so that the flue gases exit at the velocity they need to for safe, consistent operation regardles of outside condions and yet not so quickly they carry away precious heat. Since the rate at which water contacts the flue to draw away heat is easy to regulate it seems like that method of heat extraction from the flue gas could potentially make it easier to achieve as near to perfect flue gas exit temperature as possible. I’m not saying move away from cob. I’m saying there may be applications in which water serves the need appropriately. Perhaps a very small amount of regulated water flow could be the final arbiter of flue gas temperature after the cob bench. I’m stunned by the beauty and creativity of the cob creations I see.
Ernie has stated that an RMH can be used to heat water or bench but not both. On the surface that seems to say that a water container can be buried in the cob bench instead of flue resulting in the ability to store a greater amount of heat in the same area as cob and that the cob would act to slow down the release of that heat compared to a steel water container alone. I say it can be a win-win. This then leads to a need to figure out how to best implement that. Seems like a passive system is desirable and possible but…..
In my experience when a basement is getting that close to the same temperature as outside there is air rising up and escaping somewhere allowing the air leaks in the basement to bring cold air in from outside. And the coldest air sits right on the floor. If nothing else stuff every crack you can find with fiberglass insulation packed in or cloth of some kind to keep the air from getting sucked in. It will help some. I think the heat lamps of the brooders are a good idea. Way better than an electric space heater that tries to blow warm air around.
Is there any chance you have an unused chimney flue or unused vent pipe which is venting air directly through the roof? Plug it if there is. Even if it is upstairs.
Do you have a dryer in the basement which could be venting air to the outside? A gas/propane fired hot water heater vent can also be a problem.
I think integrating the raised bed against a wall that is basically wasted space is such a great idea. Especially since it makes the vines available that much higher off ground level right from the start so as to lessen the time it takes them to provide useful shade.
Since the vines will be growing up the back of the trellis it will shade the hugel bed (I think I've seen it said somewhere that a bed using hugelkulter is called a hugelbeet) if the rabbit nests are aligned east to west. Since the point is to keep the rabbit nests cool I don't think they should be facing west to collect the afternoon sun. I think the rabbit nests need to face east. Any thoughts?
I way like the idea of the hugelbed being close by. Because of the need to access the underground home it appears to me that you could only have the hugelbed against the back side and around the ends. Is that how you envision it?
I also like the idea of the trellis over the top with vining, fruiting plants. That would be great shade in the summer. If one were to design the trellis so that once the harvest was over the vines could be removed and plastic installed it could then become a green house type enclosure for the winter. Isn’t it Salatin who winters chickens and rabbits together in a hoop house for the winter?
If one is not opposed to using tires they could be stacked up and filled with dirt and the top tire used for the home and planter bed dirt between the tires. It looks to me like they access the underground home from behind in the trellis photo as there isn’t enough room to stand between the cages. Stacks of tires could be spaced far enough apart to allow room between cages to work since there will be hugelbed behind. The gaps between the tire stacks could be tire tread strips screwed to the tire stacks.
In the trellis photo there are tubes coming out of the wall below the cage. Any idea what their function is?
I’m not completely sure what all you will be trying to accomplish but I can say this: That would be soooooooo coooooool. That would look so good at my place. Whatever you are thinking I want one.
So the rabbits have an underground home which protects them from the elements, correct? How does the guy access it to clean it out in the second example? Are you wanting to do this so the hugelkultur bed is located close by for backside protection/insulation and for adding rabbit droppings to or is there something I’m not understanding about the setup. Give me all the juicy details.