• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Burra Maluca
  • Mike Haasl
  • Joylynn Hardesty
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
  • thomas rubino
  • Jay Angler
  • Tereza Okava

What are the ingredients of hot compost for heating water like the Jean Pain method?

Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am interested in the Jean Pain method for producing hot water and methane.

I have a large pile of lawn clippings, leaves and another large pile of cow manure.

I was wondering if cow manure is beneficial with this type of compost pile and will it add to the ability of the pile to produce heat?

Am I supposed to put something on the bottom of the pile to allow air in the pile?
Posts: 19
Location: Zone 6a Western PA
forest garden
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Check this: Combustion-Free Hot Water
Posts: 7473
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
From what I understand, the Jean Pain method used only wood chips. There were probably leaves and bark involved from the chipping process.  Chips are important because they have some air spaces to allow air though the pile.  Manure would heat it up quickly but it could block air flow (as could leaves and grass).  Coiling a perforated pipe underneath allows air in.  

There's a wonderful book on the subject called The Compost Powered Water Heater.  It will tell you everything you need to know.
Posts: 4958
transportation duck trees rabbit tiny house chicken earthworks building woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I looked into this extensively, and there is four ingredients that is needed for hot composting. Jean Pain only used wood chips because he was a forester and not really trying to create home heat, he was trying to find a creative use for precommercial thinnings that made for proper forestry. He was sound in his thinking, before his time, and very permie in thoughts; get a secondary, every day use from something that should be done (proper forest management) anyway.

But that did not mean he got the ultimate in high heat.

Ideally the mix should be about 50% woody debris and 50% green plant debris. This is what we used on the dairy farm to compost dead cows and the bones would be creamated in about 2 months time. Cow manure is not a good product because like biogas production, by the very nature of the digestive system of the cow, the best parts of the food the cow has been given has been burned off in the form of energy.

But beyond wood and grass (wood chips and hay), you need lots of air, and a LOT of water.

So just make a non compacted pile of hay and wood chips and make sure it is drenched, and she'll cook.

I'll see if I can find a picture of one of my compost piles on fire. They can get that hot!

[Thumbnail for 100_3046.JPG]
Posts: 117
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jean Pain was using the thinnings from his forestry management system of the trees , the green twigs ,leaves and smaller diameter branches---brown and green stuff  -- plus brush cleared from firebreaks--not really chipped up but more of a tearing shredding process in the length --- in his own specifically designed /built machine---to maximise surface area for bacterial action to kick start quicker---and in huge piles /mounds of material , he was in the 50 to 60 ton of stuff at a time.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent - Eleanor Roosevelt. tiny ad:
Voices of Transition--documentary, streaming
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic