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Space heating with compost

 
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Hello all, I'm happy to have just found your forum!

I thought maybe you'd get a kick out of the big steaming pile thats been heating my shop this winter.  It was our first attempt, and not without problems, but it did keep our shop from freezing over the last few months.  Check out the video:

 
steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Welcome to permies Jeff!  That is a great video and got me smiling.  Next year sink a stock tank into the top of the pile and you'll have a hot tub

So did you make the whole pile from hay?  No other materials (wood chips, manure, bedding, etc)?  How long was it putting out heat or if it is still putting out heat, how long do you think it will run?  The max temp you were getting from it was 38c, correct?  I've seen many of these done with wood chips so seeing a hay one is quite interesting.  

Thanks for posting!
 
jeff burkinshaw
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The whole pile is old hay and silage, about 16 tonnes total (I have nothing against wood chips or manure, I just didn't have any readily available).  It heated right away when we built it in mid November and is still hot now in mid April.  I'm sure it will go another couple months.  

We self inflicted some trouble by not immediately filling the pipes with fluid after building the pile.  My pump wasn't available so the pipes sat empty for a couple weeks.  By the time we set everything up the pipes had melted/crushed and were useless.  We rolled out another 250' on top of the pile and buried it with 4 more bales.  I'm confident that with the original 1000' of pipe buried in the pile we could have extracted a fair bit more energy.  As it is, our peak temperature is around 38C and normal temperature is around 20-25C.  We pulled an estimated 5000-12000BTU/Hr on a regular basis throughout winter.

It was definitely a successful experiment for such a cheap and dirty installation.  We look forward to improving it for next year.

Thanks,
 
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I look forward to the next video.  That was very well done and funny, too.
 
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