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Welcome David House, author of "Biogas Handbook"  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I am giving away four copies of David's book "Biogas Handbook": www.completebiogas.com

David is gonna be hanging out in this forum answering questions and the like for the next seven days.

All of the different aspects of biogas seem to me to have so much amazing potential.  And the field seems to be growing rapidly!  The Jean Pain stuff seems so powerful and yet so long ago - perhaps what has kept us from growing more in this space is a good book!

Here's the particulars about getting one of the four books:



  • I have a little program that will collect all of the posts to this forum for a date range (I'll set that to today through February 2.  It will then mix them all up and show me ten posts at random.   From those ten, I'll pick out the best four posts!  I'll then pass the email addresses of those four people to David so he can arrange the particulars.

    I'll run this little program on March first or shortly after March first.

    The more you post in this forum, the better your chances of getting the ticket!

    Posting in this thread doesn't count.

    A "good post" is a post that asks a great question, an answer to a question or even just an offering of some interesting information.   Posts that just say "thanks" or "hi" don't count as good posts.



  • Good luck!

     
    David House
    Posts: 34
    Location: Oregon, USA
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    Much appreciated Paul!

    I wanted to make a comment about one of your points:

    paul wheaton wrote:All of the different aspects of biogas seem to me to have so much amazing potential....


    Consider the following data from a study ( http://www.reap-canada.com/online_library/grass_pellets/40 Developing Energy Crops for Thermal Ch16-Samson et al. 2009.pdf ) by Roger Samson and his colleagues last year:



    (A larger version of the image is found at http://completebiogas.com/assets/biogas-compared.jpg )

    As you will see from the data, biogas provided nearly 8 times the energy per unit land than four other options, including ethanol from corn or biodiesel from soybeans, and it did that with a lower carbon footprint than any of the other options.

    Of course, this is only one study, but it is one among many others that demonstrate the potential of biogas for addressing some of our energy and climate change problems.


    I also wanted to mention that there will be a one-day biogas class, offering information about all the important aspects of making and using biogas, and including some hands-on with building a digester, offered in Hawaii in late April. That class will follow a class on commercial organic aquaponics, a process which can help people grow certified organic vegetables using limited space. Further details are found on the completebiogas site: http://completebiogas.com/class_2010-04-23.html

    I hope to meet some of you there...



    d.
     
    paul wheaton
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    David House
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    Jeremy,

    Jeremy Bunag wrote:
    I remember reading in a University of Illinois paper that they were researching switchgrass biofuels, being much more fruitful than corn ethanol especially considering the yield per acre.


    One of the advantages of switchgrass is that it is perennial. In other words, one does not plant it every year like corn. This has a good many implications that may not be immediately evident. One of them is that the root mass has a tendency to increase year on year, so that even after the top growth is harvested, the carbon sequestered in the roots continues to be sequestered, whereas by contrast, the root mass of corn dies and begins to degrade, and (largely depending on the tillage practices) that carbon is returned to the air.

    Switchgrass can also be grown with far fewer inputs, either from repeated passes of a tractor for weeding, etc., or from chemical inputs, again as compared with corn.

    And of course switchgrass can be made into biogas, and several studies show (with regard to biogas from switchgrass) what Sampson's study showed with regard to biogas from corn, vs. either as compared to ethanol, which is that energy yields are higher with biogas.



    Nature almost always has a better idea. That is not to say we can't improve on nature, but we had better know very well how nature does it before we head off into the blue with some gee whiz "solution" that we thought up ourselves. I mention this because even switchgrass is not as productive as more diverse prairie ecosystems. See, for example, this mention: http://www.physorg.com/news68305721.html

    The fact is that a more diverse ecosystem is always a more stable ecosystem, and that applies to the ecosystem in a digester and apparently as well to an ecosystem vs. monoculture of energy crops.


    d.
     
    Max Kennedy
    Posts: 483
    Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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    David House wrote:

    Consider the following data from a study ( http://www.reap-canada.com/online_library/grass_pellets/40 Developing Energy Crops for Thermal Ch16-Samson et al. 2009.pdf ) by Roger Samson and his colleagues last year:



    Good to see some of Rogers work here, it is quite informative.  The REAP website is quite informative and has an online library available to all (http://www.reap-canada.com/online_library).  Alternative energy has always been viable, unfortunately certain energy sectors, such as petroleum, do not operate on a level playing field due to overwhelming subsidization from governments, a point Roger also makes.  Another good source of information are the bioenergylists websites such as http://gasifiers.bioenergylists.org/ , http://bioenergylists.org/ and http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/ .  Some conversion to liquid fuels is appropriate due to their energy density and ease of use in the transportation sector.  However most heating and energy needs for local industry are better met with local resources.  It is, unfortunately, an uphill battle.
     
    paul wheaton
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    Hey!  This thread is for talking about the book promotion.  You guys need to start new threads for all of this awesome, meaty stuff!
     
    paul wheaton
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    Max Kennedy
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    paul wheaton wrote:
    Hey!  This thread is for talking about the book promotion.   You guys need to start new threads for all of this awesome, meaty stuff!


    Paul, I'm relatively new to this forum.  Is there a way to quote a comment then create a new thread directly and have it's link show up in the original thread?  That way new idea's generated can be followed and indeed followed back to the originating thread.  You know the old saying "one thing leads to another"!
     
    David House
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    Ken,

    Ken Peavey wrote:I've looked at alternative energy sources and found biogas to be the one with the best potential for indoor lighting.  Considering the amount of gas that would need to be consumed, there would be considerable ancillary heat produced.  I've considered putting together some sort of lamp to take advantage of light and heat:  A glass mantle containing the lamp topped with a metal flu.  If suspended from the ceiling, a reflector can direct the lighting downward.  The metal flu would aid in dissipating heat, as well as directing exhaust to a central vent.  Does this make any sense?


    Sure, absolutely. It is hard to find biogas lights in production, excepting for sources in India and China, but depending on what parameters are applied, biogas can be used for lighting during the hours of dark, and is a very good alternative as compared with other things that might be available. For example, most of the world lives in villages, and in a village (or some other situation) where electricity is not available, kerosene, oil lamps and the like might be used, but most of those alternatives are either more expensive or provide less light, as compared with a well-designed biogas lamp. (By "well-designed", I mean that it will extract the maximum lumens out of the energy in the methane as possible. One means of doing this is by the use of regenerative heating, where the biogas itself is heated up before combustion by the heat from the biogas that has already been burned...)

    As far as how much biogas would be needed, let me quote from The Complete Biogas Handbook, p. 99



    Gas lamps of good design (inverted mantle, high pressure), can achieve 2.3 lumens per Calorie (of energy input as biogas) per hour (0.58 lumens per Btu per hour).

    Compared to electric illumination, this is definitely not big potatoes. A 100-watt bulb will give 14.2 lumens per Calorie (of energy input as electricity) per hour. But even this is outclassed by fluorescent lamps, which can give up to 73 lumens per Calorie per hour. At 100% efficiency of conversion, heat into light, we would expect 721.5 lumens per Calorie per hour, so nobody can really brag.

    At any rate, the light equivalent of a 100-watt bulb (using the above figures) will cost us 355 Cal (1,410 Btu) of heat energy per hour. At 5.8 Calories per liter of biogas (650 Btu per cubic foot), 100 watts of light would be obtained from 60 liters of biogas (2.2 cubic feet) burned each hour in a very good incandescent mantle lamp. This can, however, vary a great deal. One propane light was rated at 50-watts light output at a cost of 452 Cal per hour (1,800 Btu).

    This is approximately a “best case” and “worst case,” and most inverted mantle manufactured natural gas or biogas lamps give light and burn gas in this range.




    In a well-designed (and safe!) lamp, the biogas is burned completely, and the exhaust should contain nothing except carbon dioxide and water. Sometimes biogas has hydrogen sulfide in it (caused by conditions which are completely discussed in the book), and this can produce small quantities of hydrosulfuric acid. As implied by the statement, wherever there is incomplete combustion, then carbon monoxide can be produced. So it makes a great deal of difference regarding the design of the lamp, and the contaminants in the biogas.

    Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can often be detected by its odor, and there is a simple procedure described in one of the appendices to the book that describes how to find out with reasonable accuracy if and how much H2S might be present. That appendix, some others, and some chapters, are available for free download from the completebiogas site. (See the Table of Contents page: http://completebiogas.com/toc.html)

    With the exception of H2S, and assuming complete combustion, however, the exhaust from burned biogas is quite safe, containing only carbon dioxide and water. The book describes how to determine if it will be safe not to vent the exhaust, and of course in a cold climate, one may want the heat to stay indoors.

    To return to your initial point, however, I would say that if you are serious about designing and building such a light, you should do enough research to make sure that you understand both how to achieve complete combustion, and how to get the maximum amount of light out of that combustion. These are fairly technical issues, and for most folks, the better option will continue to be to purchase a well-designed light.

    In any case, I would think it makes good sense to have a lamp that can be left up near the ceiling or lowered to allow maximum illumination for reading or close work.


    d.
     
    paul wheaton
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    mekennedy1313 wrote:
    Paul, I'm relatively new to this forum.  Is there a way to quote a comment then create a new thread directly and have it's link show up in the original thread?  That way new idea's generated can be followed and indeed followed back to the originating thread.  You know the old saying "one thing leads to another"!


    What I do is copy the stuff I want to quote, start a new thread, click on the quoting button and then past the stuff into that.

     
    Ernie Wisner
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    Hey David

    Looks like Paul is dragging in the big guns

    after the pyro workshop this weekend i will start a thread that i would like your input.
    I have several ideas i would like to get comment on.
     
    paul wheaton
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    Ernie wrote:
    Looks like Paul is dragging in the big guns


    That's only because the little guns have triggers for people with little fingers.  So I can only use the bigger guns! 



     
    David House
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    Ernie,

    Ernie wrote:
    Hey David

    Looks like Paul is dragging in the big guns

    after the pyro workshop this weekend i will start a thread that i would like your input.
    I have several ideas i would like to get comment on.


    That reminds me of the joke about the circus owner who reluctantly melted down the cannon, out of which he used to fire a dwarf clown, after the clown died. When asked why he had gotten rid of it, he said (with a tear in his eye) "I'll never find someone else of his caliber..."


    Let me know by email or some other means when you post and I will try to reply...


    d.
     
    Jeremy Bunag
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    I was perusing the website:

    paul wheaton wrote:
    I am giving away four copies of David's book "Biogas Handbook": www.completebiogas.com



    and I was at first very confused by this:

    This third edition of The Complete Biogas Handbook offers five Appendices (of the 19) and three Chapters (of the 51) from the book, downloadable for free. (See the table of contents page.)


    I was afraid the third edition of the book only contained 5/19ths and 3/51 chapters from the second edition!  I read that a few times then finally got to the end and read:

    …There is much, much more in this book, in its 51 chapters and 21 appendices. It also has 90 figures and almost 60 tables, an index and two tables of contents (one brief, one comprehensive) for ease of finding items.


    and reread that first part again and FINALLY saw the "downloadable for free" part of the sentence.  The book then became about 94% more complete in my mind!

    The site talks about the wide breadth of topics covered, and even frank discussions about less-than-ideal but do-able courses of action (talking about humanure). 

    All in all it looks like a great read!  From even the excerpts on the site I see that all the corn stalks I see laying around after harvest are just waiting to be harvested by the right person to make biogas!  Makes me want to do some scavenging...

    I'm interested in some of the small scale generators, what they can do for me.  What would I be able to do with it?  How would I store it?  Hmmm... 
     
                                      
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    Well, I'm not sure about everyone else, but I think the most exciting thing about biogas is the use of human and animal waste along with true food waste, not switchgrass or corn cobs. Why? Because you take pure waste products, extract gas from them and use the remnants as fertilizer and a soil enricher. It can't get any better than that!  I also thought that for electricity (and also light) it would be best to tie a sytem like this into a methane or propane generator, and then also use the gas for cooking or also gas heat. I know that companies add sulfur to natural gas and it seems to burn off fine. Does the H2S burn off as easily as the sulfur they add or are they two different animals? Anyway I think using products that could feed cattle or livestock is a waste. I wouldn't be raising pigs personally, so kitchen waste (there is youtube vidoe about this in india) and biological waste (hint, hint) is perfect for utilizing what could be a pest attractor or a pollutant and turning it into a beneficial and completely natural product that will help me grow more things and better!

    Godbless,
    Quranist
     
    David House
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    Jeremy,


    Jeremy Bunag wrote:
    I was perusing the website... and I was at first very confused...

    I was afraid the third edition of the book only contained 5/19ths and 3/51 chapters from the second edition!



    How strange that I've read that sentence so many times and never actually read it! Paris in the the spring, eh? (It's changed now: Thanks!)



    d.
     
                                              
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    This is an area I'm surprised we don't hear a lot more about in the mainstream media.  To me, it seems like the ultimate form of recycling.
     
    David House
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    Luckybustert,


    Luckybustert wrote:
    This is an area I'm surprised we don't hear a lot more about in the mainstream media.  To me, it seems like the ultimate form of recycling.


    I absolutely agree. In Germany they have a population which is 30% of our size, but they have perhaps 20 times-- 2000%-- of the number of digesters we do. They produce about 12% of their national energy through alternative sources of energy. In Sweden they power their city buses with biogas.

    I just wrote an article for Renewable Energy World which will be released soon, called "Biogas: Renewable Energy's Cinderella".



    d.
     
    paul wheaton
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    The four winners are:

    [size=20pt]velacreations
    ernie
    Chris K e n d a l l
    Jeremy Bunag[/size]

    Congrats!

    I'll send david your email addresses and then let you all work out the stuff about the books.

    Thanks for participating everybody!

     
    Abe Connally
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    Thanks so much!  I really wanted this book, and this means a lot to me!  Soooo, in return, look forward to a lot of participation in this forum by me!
     
    Christopher Kendall
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    Thank you Paul, I am very happy that I found these forums.  I will read this book with relish.

    Well, maybe I'll leave the relish off and just read it.

    chris
     
    Jennifer Smith
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    Did I miss the chance to welcome David?  I just found out about this as Alternative energy is beyond me. 

    I am still harnessing horse power. 

    Funny thing is that just today someone sent me a link where to buy a digester for horse manure.  http://www.seabenergy.com/products/anaerobic-digesters/

    Maybe it is a sign.....
     
    Pat Maas
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    Jennifer,
        That looks pretty interesting, will have to investigate further.

    Thank you
     
    Jeremy Bunag
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    Wow thanks!  I can't wait to read this!
     
    See where your hand is? Not there. It's next to this tiny ad:
    Book Review Grid
    https://permies.com/wiki/31762/Book-Review-Grid
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