Is gasification a viable component of a sustainable future? Can a tractor mounted gasifier be used to supplement other forms of energy generation as it does its traditional tractor chores? Should the engine be diesel or gasoline? What kind of modifications are required? Can such an effort help us to keep on keepin’ on even when there are disruptions in the petroleum supply? As we continue our conversation with Dr. Richard Bates, we will discuss these issues and more.
As we continue our discussion on gasification, we will now explore how it can help in leveraging the waste stream and insights gained by Dr. Bates from work with a municipality in an effort to avoid excessive disposal costs while generating some electricity. Can these lessons be applied to similar problems on a home scale? Can gasification play a role in both waste management and its elimination on the homestead?
We will discuss how gasification can help us to, not only reduce waste but top off our batteries while producing a useful byproduct called biochar. Here again is Dr. Richard Bates.
Continuing our discussion of gasification, we will touch upon moving vehicle engines as well as stationary engines like generators. We will further explore some of the factors to be considered in the conversion of petrol to wood gas with additional emphasis on the combustion energy produced and efficiencies in particular. We will discuss wood stoves and how those functions differ from the requirements of internal combustion engines and we will consider some of the environmental factors as they relate to gasification. Here again is Dr. Richard Bates.
This conversation with Dr. Richard Bates describes the process of gasification. His doctoral thesis was brought to my attention awhile back. Rather than me doing some injustice trying to summarize it, the good doctor has consented to break it down for us.
What happens when you combine an embarrassment of riches with managerial incompetence? You get opportunity squandered and systemic failures together with prevarications and blame-shifting. If only the Electric Reliability Council of Texas could somehow convert the prevarications and blame-shifting of state officials into useful current, citizens could use it to heat their homes. Unfortunately, the electric companies and the state’s elected representatives are now passing the cost of their malfeasance on to customers.
In her 2013 book, Farmacology, Daphne Miller, MD makes a compelling case that gut flora is linked to soil tilth. In one chapter she describes her encounter with a rodeo ridin’ Missouri cattle rancher and his conversion from all things antithetical to tree hugging. Cody Holmes, owner of Rockin’ H Ranch picks up the story himself with:
“What’s funny is that my wife Dawnell and I have morphed into rancher, foodie, tree-hugger, worm lovers.” He goes on to describe their realization that “to be more economical, we need to be holistically minded conservationists.” According to Cody, the pivotal decision occurred because, in his words: “We used to run the cattle through the squeeze chute and use Ralgro hormone implants.” He continues. “For years we were running the cows and doing the injections of antibiotics and growth hormones, and I was keeping one out to be injection free for the kids.”
When I first read about KickStart International’s Money Maker Hip Pump. The dance floor chant “Shake your money maker” immediately came to my adolescent mind. Although, once I got beyond the amusing imagery, I soon realized just how important a human powered pump would be to a farmer trying to scratch out a living in certain parts of the world.
The Berlin Air Lift style food drops that were once seen as the best way to alleviate poverty have since been replaced with missions that are more nuanced. Well intentioned efforts to make lots of food available quickly are now seen as a way to instantly ruin the market for the local farmer. True sustainability is dependent upon a deep understanding of the dynamics on the ground.
If you could measure the quality as well as the quantity of natural light entering your greenhouse or growing dome, you could supplement with the kind and amount of artificial light needed for optimal plant growth. The colors preferred by plants for rooting, stemming, branching, leafing, flowering and seeding vary just as they do for the temperature, atmospheric pressure, gas envelope, hormonal balance, and nutrient complement.
Television networks have worked continuously to maximize their return on investment by making spectator sports more exciting. For example, I once heard a proposal about how NASCAR races could be more compelling by putting the beer stand in the middle of the track. “Now that would be a sport!” said one producer. News organizations have long operated in accordance with the same doctrine “If it bleeds it leads.” They’ve been pushing the fine line between news and entertainment for a long, long time. One of the initiation rituals is to put young, low seniority reporters downtown to describe an incoming hurricane.
As they stand, waiting to be decapitated by a flying stop sign, they often struggle to be heard above the wind as it messes with the big furry microphone they’re holding. The synthetic fur cover you often see on a microphone is referred to as a “dead cat” or “wind muff” by TV news crews. Experience hath shewn the funny looking covers can actually help to reduce the amount of wind noise that gets broadcast or recorded. One time, when I was tilting at windmills on a calm day, it occurred to me that I was missing the glorious battle. While windmills are ferocious noisemakers, they are highly efficient energy generators because of the wind.
The romantic era poet George Byron wrote “The dust we tread upon was once alive.” Such contemplative reflection, over the interaction humans have with the environment, continues today in the evolving intellectual disciplines of science, philosophy, and religion.
Those that would have us believe that liquid is gas and that solar energy is “alternative” have long been packaging ideas for those they assume lack critical thinking skills. All of the physical energy that we can leverage while on earth traces its roots to that blazing orb at the center of our solar system. While the taming of fire is considered one of the cornerstones of civilization, any use of it today is seen, by some, as clear evidence we be bad!