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Dale's series of permaculture business ideas --- 3. Industrial Space Heating

 
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This one is simple in concept, but one of the more complex to pull off. The plan would be to burn wood waste and other organic waste to heat a giant vat of water in an outside boiler and pipe it into the building. By not burning anything in the building, it will be much easier to satisfy everyone on safety issues.

Type of business ---
Big cavernous places like those used to build and repair mining and logging equipment are ideal. I wouldn't get into trying to finance the plumbing of these buildings. We want to negotiate a price per BTU delivered. It's going to have to work out cheaper than gas or whatever they're currently burning. The price could be tied to that of natural gas. It needs to be a facility that burns several thousand dollars worth of fuel per year. The rust belt has many businesses that operate at less than capacity and could spare a large chunk of parking lot or the concrete pad from a bygone structure. The space needs to be a free part of the deal.

Fuel supply
--- You need to become the local wood dump and transfer station for other waste. Most cities have a place where people pay to get rid of wood waste and garbage. If this service is anywhere near free in your area, forget it. If it costs anywhere between $30 to $100 per ton for disposal, you've got a chance. Clean wood waste almost always dumps for much less than garbage. I would never consider a biomass heating operation where fuel is purchased. You're running a very clean incinerator for paid waste. Your landlord, the factory, gets a super deal on heat. You pay no rent. A nice chunk of space must be included. In some cases you may want to only deal with wood waste and forget about dealing with garbage. If the owners and town will allow it, the garbage has potential to make more money than the heating and wood dumpage fees.

Materials that arrive must be kept dry and dried if they are wet. They must be stored safely until the heating season.
--- Most cities have a dump that is a long drive for people who have small loads. It's not worth the drive, so people choose to pay more per ton at the transfer station. Any garbage that arrives must be charged at a rate that is more than the cost at the distant dump. You have to truck it and pay to dump it. The number one way to turn a profit on this is to pick out burnable wood and scrap metals that are mixed with the garbage. Have a metal bin but don't pay for metal. A good junk sorter can pull out at least twice the value of his wage from mixed loads. You'll have fuel, scrap metal and an ever growing pile of salable items. --- You don't need to own any trucks, bins, or land. All of those things exist in ample supply. Once you secure a location with regular hauling work attached, various companies will compete for your business.

Location
--- An ideal location would be on the edge of an industrial park, near a residential area in a city where industrial space has lost value. You want to be much closer than the dump so that haulers will choose you. It must be a place that will not oppose the plan to burn wood.

Other people to involve
--- You would want to make deals with all commercial junk haulers, that give them incentive to sort their wastes in exchange for preferential rates.

Junk Sales
--- All manner of useful items will be dropped off as garbage. Don't allow anyone other than yourself or employees to salvage anything. Allow them to spot and point out stuff. If it has no real value, give it to them. The main goal is to reduce your dump bill.

Employee(s)
--- This sort of job is often occupied by unmotivated minimum wage earners. I would want someone whose work ethic and skills warrant $25 an hour. Every load must be inspected and every useful item salvaged. Hundreds of dollars worth of dumpage fee savings per shift are possible with the right guy in charge. It might be possible to get a really good guy for nothing in a facility where large amounts of salvaged metals and salable items could allow a guy to make $200+ per shift selling these things. I've done this on salvage jobs.

Toxic waste and other controlled substances
--- There are many substances that you will need to ban and you must inspect every load and sometimes help customers unload. Those who try to sneak asbestos, pesticides, or anything else into their junk, must be banned. Signs must clearly state what is allowed and other signs must clearly state that there are cameras etc.
 
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Another great idea Dale
unfortunetly I cannot find numbers 1 and 2 could you please repost them
Thanks David
 
Dale Hodgins
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David Livingston wrote:Another great idea Dale
unfortunetly I cannot find numbers 1 and 2 could you please repost them
Thanks David


Thanks David. They're still here. Whenever you want to search something and you know the author, click on their name. You'll see a choice to the right of looking at all posts by that person or all topics created by that person. I've got about 220 created topics and am constantly losing track of them. Let me know if this works for you.
 
David Livingston
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Well for number one I tried to make a post on the thread and was told that it no longer exists ;-(

David
 
David Livingston
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and for number two , I dont know the title which makes things difficult .

David
 
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Germany has quite a boom in this business.
Either individual farmers or unions of them are providing heating services.
Not only for industry, also for schools and dwelling zones etc.
In most cases “small” stationary heating plants are built. In some cases they use mobile container based units.
The heating material usually is wood chips.
Some newer plants are also producing electricity.
And often the wood burning plants are combined with biogas plants.
The biogas plant provides electricity and warm water year around. And the extra heating demand in winter is provided by burning wood chips.
Excess heat from the biogas plant in summer is often used for drying the wood chips. Thus they do not waste the excess heat but are using it to increase the fuel value for the winter.
But it is a big materials moving business. I am not sure if it really can be called permaculture.

A village 10 kilometers from my home has built a cooperative biogas and wood chip system combined with solar panels. By now more than 60% of the houses in the village are connected to the system. Most of the others are heating with wood from their own forests, too.

The village´s website with some pictures and videos:
http://bioenergiedorf-effelter.de/mediathek-ubersicht/

By now their system includes:
-Biogas plant with 2 x 65 kW current generators (130 kW electric power, about 250 kW thermal power, the rest of the heat is required for heating the biogas reactors).
-Wood chip heating system with 500 kW thermal power.
-Wood chip drying hall
-2,4 km of isolated pipes for hot water transport through the village
-325 kWp photovoltaic systems
-60 m2 of solar hot water collectors
-3 kW water turbine
-several small private wood heating systems

One farmer is the director and is operating the biogas and heating plant. The other farmers provide the system with feed for the biogas reactor and wood chips.

We have a regenerative energy association coordinating these activities in our region.
http://www.energie-frankenwald.de/gallery.html
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