Author Topic: The next hairbrained Idea......  (Read 906 times)

glort

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The next hairbrained Idea......
« on: September 29, 2018, 10:32:01 AM »

Decided the Hydrogen gas was a failure.  Didn't fail to make gas, started off slow but then came along very nicely.
Failure  was in me being too scared to use it once I realised what it's flammability ratio was in air.... Way too wide for my comfort level.

On to bigger and other wastes of time....
With the weather warming up here and my solar production going through the roof, I decided to give the Bio gas thing another go.
Got a 110L Plastic drum same as the one I used for the hydrogen generation but instead of cutting the backside out of it, I left it complete, screwed the Valved outlet from the Hydrogen generator in the top and filled the thing about 80% with a mix of horse manure, Rabbit manure and a good handfull of Biological pellets.

Premixed it all into a slury of unspeakable Yecch! and put it in the Drum.  I'm just going to try a batch system first, make sure I can get the thing to work this time.  Last time I think I went the wrong way adding sugar which makes booze and CO2 not the methane I want.
The day temps are getting up to around 25 oC here and the solar is going off it's nut so using some to heat the mix is not a problem at all.

I put the smaller drum inside the larger one and sat that on some expanded white polystyrene for insulation from the cement floor and put it inside the shed door. I heated the water using a 2 KW element meant for Cups of water or whatever and my trusty old plastic Urn which was doing just under 2 KW.  With probably only 120L of water to heat up, I was over heating pretty quickly and had to back them right down.  I got the water jacket up to about 47 which I figured was OK because the inner drum will take a while to heat sink and stabilise the whole mix.  I want to run the thing around 35 but I might go to 40 in the day as the inner drum probably won't reach that anyhow and from what I saw, 40 is the upper limit for the middle temp digestion anyway.

I wasn't going to worry about insulating the outer drum as I'm not worried about the power to heat it and in a few weeks daytime temps will be 30 and night won't go  below 20.  One thing I over looked was the digestion drum is supposed to be dark to keep out light so Algae don't grow and waste Nutrient that the gas microbes could use.  The outer drum is blue but the inner is translucent.
With this in mind I found a larger Black Nylon tarp and wrapped the outer drum and covered the top.  Probably provide some insulation and well as darkness. As the air in the shed will be still at night, I wouldn't expect terrible heat loss anyway.

I have my Voltage monitoring Relay hooked up to the PWM Controller to reduce the power of the heater element which I have set to 1 KW. Soon as the solar starts pushing the voltage in the Circuit up, the heating element will kick in. I have enough hysteresis  programmed into the Voltage relay so once it kicks in, it will stay on at the reduced voltage level and not see saw all the time.

I spose now I wait a week to a fortnight and see what gas I make.  I have been looking for a a way to burn off the extra solar I am making and this is probably a tragic return But I have nothing else I can do with the power I'm making atm anyway.  Maybe in another month or so, The average temps will be high enough that I won't need to heat at all. Certainly will be like that at least 4 months of the year.

I will need t stir the mix and that one is eluding me for the moment other than to give the Digestor barrel a shake now and then.
My preferred option is see if I can find an airpump with an in and an out I can tap a hose to. I'll take the gas from the outlet Tube and put a Feed to the bottom of the tank and it can  Agitate with it's own gas. For this half arsed system probably wouldn't matter if it wasn't stirred, just make for slower gas production. Speed isn't the object here, just getting a successful gas production at any rate is.

I see on the net many Systems that use household scraps, Chicken, horse, cow and pug dung as the feed source but also a lot that utilise Human waste.
Really am not the least bit concerned about getting elbow deep in animal Crap but I sure draw the line at what comes out my own Fundamental orifice.
That said, I'm surprised I haven't seen any commercial systems that work like the Aerobic system everyone round here has done as an anaerobic with the gas as a by product.  Might be something that requires too much maintence for the average householder.

If this shows to be worthwhile I Might consider a bigger system but I doubt it would really be viable here. I would definitely have to heat it in winter and electricity is in short supply then. Could use oil but it would need daily attention.  Highly doubtful I'd get enough gas to do anything worth while with it anyway.  Might get enough to cook with but I'm not going to plumb it to the house and sure as hell not going to go up the yard for anything more to boil the kettle during ( a fine) Day.
To run an engine, I'd need a Much bigger digestor and a few cows in the back yard or be running to the equine park every weekend and shoveling a ton of shit literally. Much easier for me to run on oil.

Even just setting these things up you learn a lot which if nothing else is good experience and knowledge for having a real world understanding of these  alternative " save the world" technologies and their viability.
From what I have seen on the net, there is a lot that could be done with municipal waste to reduce landfill here, get a renewable energy ( or 2 in gas and power) and have a worthwhile by product in the fertiliser.  Other countries are making it work successfully which is why it will probably NEVER be adapted here.
 ::)

LowGear

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2018, 06:08:34 PM »
I heard some loose talk about beefing up the wiring out to the power shed?
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glort

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2018, 02:17:53 AM »

Still the plan Casey.

Just trying to organise that and other " civil works" around the place in order.  It's not the top priority but one that does probably play ion my mind the most.
There is also the quandary that it won't make any difference when I really need the power in winter and I still have too much in summer even limited as it is.
The main thing atm is to get the panels on the ground up on the north roof.  Literally talking to the mrs about that minutes ago.
She wants to go galavanting here and there around the place and OS then reminds me Christmas is coming and wants the things off the yard..... as Do I and have done for months.

The plan atm is to get those panels on the roof then get the guy to come run the HD cable for those, to the shed and to another part of the back of the house at the same time. Wiring it up does not worry me but I'm wary of the Physical job of pulling the cable through the existing populated conduit which I know will be tight and probably take skills and tricks I don't have.

Think I better get the panel relocation moved up the scale and underway as a higher priority. Weather is getting warmer fast and from past experience I know being on roofs with panels is not a summer sport and certainly not one for my disposition.

glort

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2018, 12:03:54 PM »

Today I started getting some gas in reasonable Volume. Burped the digester drum twice and it was well puffed up.

I have had a heater element in the water jacket sitting on 350C and it seems to be doing the job. been getting little puffs of gas  for about a week and been bleeding it every day to purge the tank.  Today though it was probably a couple of liters at a time. Come on pretty fast from what I was getting even 2 days ago.

I got a plastic bag and made a Fist size Bubble of gas and tentatively  lit it.... even without hearing protection. I got a nice lazy loping flame which made me a happy little boy that my ears weren't ringing like the Hydrogen test. I'll have to make up a storage Device again now. Kinda forgot about there where I sited the digester. Does not leave a lot of room for a floating  inverted drum design like the last one.  Might go to town tomorrow and see if I can procure a used innertube or 3 at the right price.  Wonder if a normal oxy Flashback arrestor will work with Bio gas?

Will be good when the warmer weather gets here and I don't have to heat the drum to keep it up to temp.  Put a monitor on it today to see how much power it's using. With the very light wrapping to act as insulation and the cool night temps, I'd gaurantee it's burning more energy than it producing by a long shot atm.  Be interesting to see what itt produces when it's up and running.  From what I have read, I don't expect it to be a great deal.
This is more proof of concept and it it looks worthwhile I have had a rare black IBC put up the back for many months for the idea.

Might have to shield it from the sun when the weather is hot but need the black to keep the light out anyway.  As the temps ramp up and cool down, may be good for self heating.

It would be interesting to have a gas volume meter on the setup to see the total  production I get but not seen ( or looked ) for one but I'll bet hey are worth more than the project warrants by a very long shot.  :0)

mike90045

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 02:52:10 AM »
A metal screen flash arrester is pretty universal.

glort

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2018, 04:59:50 AM »

Maybe steel wool packed inside a tube would be OK as well?

So far heater has pulled 3KWH. Might be about 3.5 Kwh for the day. Less than I was expecting thankfully. Weather has been really cool so its a good result.
Put a hose on the outlet Valve and put the other end in water. I am getting a steady bubbling now which means decent gas production. I believer this might last 4-6 weeks.  The digester is only set up for batch mode but I might try removing an amount of the liquid in the middle when things slow down and add new feed stock manure.

With a bit of luck should pick up again in a week and I can burp the thing and make more gas. Should be no need for any heating with ambient temps then as well.

dax021

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2018, 06:02:11 PM »
Or try this.  I think Ed mentioned it a while ago.

glort

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2018, 01:26:47 AM »

That was the sort of thing I had in mind.

It would be better I think to use proper flashback arrestors  which I have if they would work.  Bit more professional than bubbling water although what I read that can also act like a filter for acids in the gas as well Saw a couple of vids and they run the gas through steel wool as well.

Might be another trip to the hardware for some PVC end caps and a big bag of steel wool .

I have been shutting it off and then watching how much gas comes out but it's producing too much for that now. Just went up and had a look and the drum was deformed with the pressure.  Bled it off for about a Minute through a 1/4" hose. Seems the gas was trapped in the water or something given the time it took to bleed off in a quite steady  but significant way.   Have it Bubbling into a submerged 10L container now and will see how long that takes to fill.

Looks like this could be upscaled to something worthwhile. Although what that worthwhile purpose for me is i'm not sure? 
Something else that works best when you need it least.

dieselspanner

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2018, 10:31:28 AM »
Hi Glort.

''Although what that worthwhile purpose for me is i'm not sure?''

Given the amount of panels you've got how about one of these?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ_127_Graf_Zeppelin#/media/File:ZeppelinLZ127a.jpg


Cheers
Stef
Tighten 'til it strips, weld nut to chassis, peen stud, adjust with angle grinder.

glort

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2018, 11:11:05 AM »

I looked at the link, saw Zepplin and started laughing!!

You are a bit behind Stef.  This is Methane not Hydrogen I'm playing with now.  :D
I Did Vent the Hydrogen I had one time into a plastic garbage bag.  Although Large, it was still pretty much Neutral lift.  Might have needed to have some positive pressure in the bag for Bouncy. As a kid I loved helium Balloons.  Always would tie them to toy cars to elevate them.

Feeling brave today I dried Lighting the gas while bubbling it through some water in a drum.  I had it bubbling really fast and had a blow torch but couldn't get it to light. I thought maybe the Bacteria pellets I put in had made the other type of bacteria that produces Co2 and makes booze.
I was very disheartened because I thought 2 fails at something that should be simple and I put real effort and energy into.

I pondered for a while and thought, No, there should be nothing in there to force the reaction that way.  Minimal Sugars and the gas production is too high.  I recalled seeing on vids stink gas burns with a blue flame and while still overcast, thought that perhaps I was just not seeing the flame.  Throwing Caution and personal safety to the wind, I took the output tube back in the shed and removed the heater controls  I had sitting on top  and cleared the screw in valve with the bung of the black cover.  I thought if I light this and it Pops, with a bit of luck the bungs will go first.

Cracked the valve, applied blow torch and  was greeted but a beautiful light blue flame I let burn about 30 sec and am still here to tell the tale.
Got it right this time at least!  I put my hand over the flame and felt more heat than I expected. I haven't looked up the calorific value of this gas but I thought it was pretty low.  Might be more in practical terms than I realised.

I have an idea I'm getting a thick crust on the top of the slurry by the way I can crack the valve and instead of getting a fast rush of gas that bleeds down in seconds like any compressed gas of about 20L volume would, I get a very constant supply that may go for a minute before it tapers off. I would have still thought the gas would be on the top though and if it had to come up that alone would permeate and saturated crust material.
I have been trying to agitate the drum which floats in the water jacket but maybe that is not vigorous enough?  Definitely any up scaling and more serious  digestor will have to have a stirring Mechanism although that may be able to be done through the feed hole as well.

Have to try and work out how much manure an IBC size Digestor would require per day.  I can get plenty of manure but I really don't want to be shoveling a Cubic meter a week of the stuff. Mrs was at me today to go get more but I still haven't unloaded the IBC I picked the last lot up in.  Might have to rethink the collection vessel.

I guess I could use the gas for a shit fueled BBQ. Something we have a lot of in summer and would save buying LPG ( or pro paaaaannne for the Us readers). Of course then there is the problem of Compressing the gas without out any air ingestion and how long a bottle of compressed but non liquefied gas will last.  Thinking I'm going to be needing a car size tank, which I have a couple of, full of gas at 100 PSI to cook a decent lot of chops, snags and Onions.  I have done good BBQ's on less than a litre of veg oil!


Johndoh

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2018, 12:13:08 PM »
Glort when are you going nuclear?
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness

ajaffa1

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 12:29:27 PM »
Hey JD, funniest comment of the week.  :laugh: Very glad I don`t live anywhere near Sydney.

Please don`t encourage him, I think Glort is perfectly capable of taking out most of his neighborhood without going nuclear,  he doesn`t need our help!

That said, to run a barbecue or gas cooker requires very little pressure. I think LPG runs at about 14 psi, which should be easily and safely achieved at home.

Bob

glort

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 01:35:49 PM »
Glort when are you going nuclear?

Well, Funny you ask that!

I put in an order for some Plutonium and thought the delivery had arrived but it was just these men from the gubbermint.  I think they must have been interested in my alternative power ideas because they sure did ask me a LOT of questions about all sorts of things.  Didn't bring me any plutonium though!
I was thinking of a trip to Japan. I hear there is a town there on the coast and there are already processed fuel rods lying all over the place!
Such a wealthy country Japan to be able to leave that around for anyone to come along and just pick up.

Quote
Please don`t encourage him, I think Glort is perfectly capable of taking out most of his neighborhood without going nuclear,  he doesn`t need our help!

Not sure how to take that comment Bob! Compared to what I did and had at the other place, I'm highly reformed now. I haven't even fired an oil burner, not even a little one, since I have been here.  The urge is getting stronger though!  :-[


I was looking earlier at wood gasifiers which may be the next technology I have a play with.   The theory does not quite gell in my head how you can burn wood with air going through it as against in a retort type setup where it is just cooked,  and still get gas out of it? I'm guessing limited air allows it as  the gas is just smoke but it's basically a weak or diluted output.

My grandfather had a Couple of trucks with charcoal burners on them during the war.  Should look into the wood gas thing for family heritage sake.

mike90045

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 04:39:35 PM »
Somehow, the idea of cooking my food with "fart gas" is not appealing.

I think the best use is an old fashion style gas lamp streetlight.

glort

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Re: The next hairbrained Idea......
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2018, 11:07:06 PM »

I read the gas is supposed to be outdourless. Mine reeks!  The digester gas I mean as well as..... Never mind.

That said, when I lit it yesterday I made sure to get a good snoutfull and it was just that nice warm air smell, not a trace of odour at all.
Seemed to me it may be in fact cleaner and have less byproducts in it than  LPG.