Tuesday, December 28, 2010

heat from rot.

Observations on the jean pain method of composting:

for background info on this process see this


1, it appears to be an anaerobic composting process.

2.It uses material that would normally be considered poor compost material.
3.It uses large amounts of water.
4.It produces significant and salvageable amounts of heat and can be used for home heating purposes.
5.The heat can also be used as a heat source for producing bio gas.

Jean pains method used large amounts of material and consisted of piling up large amounts of finely ground underbrush. on and around a central coil of piping and wetting it thoroughly. In more advanced systems a central tank is filled with a slurry of finely ground organic material and water.


As the organic material in the pile decays it puts off heat. This heat can be salvaged by running water through the coils and heating as a sort of reversed radiator. The heat can also be used to provide heat to the central tank and used to promote methane production through anaerobic fermentation.

This will potentially provide heat and cooking gas to an off grid cabin.

Problems with applying the Jean Pain method to my circumstances.

1.sub freezing temperatures (high sierra's)
2.lack of water and very low humidity (high desert)

Potential solution: put it in a hole..

This would reduce evaporation and provide insulation allowing for better temperature regulation.

When no longer producing heat and gas you could pull out the coil and tank and plant a fruit tree in the hole.

With proper planning you might be able to provide heat and cooking gas/power by digging a hole and filling it with the product from land clearing/cutting a fire break. Do this every fall and every spring plant another tree and you eventually have an orchard.

On a side note: when I was much younger and thinner I was a seasonal firefighter. One of the fires I fought was at a golf club in the hills above Fairfax CA. I no longer remember the official name of the fire but We called it the “horseshit mountain fire” The golf course was very old and had used horses extensively for years and dumped the waste products out the back of the barn and into a canyon.

Much later in the late 80's or early 90's the drug dealer who serviced the staff of the golf club decided that the pile of ancient horseshit would be a perfect place to hide his profits. So he buried a coffee can full of money in the pile.

This oxygenated the pile and caused it to catch fire that evening.

So I know that decaying material can produce heat.


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