(scroll down for an update)
A few months ago a brother-in-law sent me something about a highly efficient small wood stove that gasifies the wood before burning the gases. I didn't get around to looking at it in detail, but it looked promising. Now via Kate, I find this article on using pelletized grass fuels, from R.E.A.P.-Canada (Resource Efficient Agricultural Production).
The grass part caught my attention. Just last night, I was thinking that my push toward self-sufficiency will have to incorporate some form of grass-eating livestock, because grass is what grows here. Then I got thinking some more, and realized that pelletized aspen wood fuel is another thing to look at.
Of course, the first thing to do is to fix up the weather seals around this house. No time like the present. Er, except I really have to plow through some piles of paper - arrgh! Well, while I'm sorting paper, I'll make a plan to reduce the amount that comes in here, and prevent it piling up. I wonder if I could pelletize it?
Update - I did some more reading on the R.E.A.P. site and found that the pelletizing process is just the familiar, large-scale, rather energy-intensive process that's used to produce feed pellets for livestock. It can also be done at a small scale, but with the energy involved, why bother? I also discovered on the R.E.A.P. site, the Mayon Turbo Stove, which uses rice hulls or other crop residues directly as fuel. That makes a lot more sense. I'll be reading some more. A plain old woodstove would be fine, but I'm interested in this gasification process that (according to the reports I've seen) burns the fuel more completely, getting more heat with less smoke. If you're using local fuels sustainably, your greenhouse gas emissions are balanced by new fuel growth regardless of the efficiency of combustion. But more heat with less smoke could help to keep the neighbours friendly, and it would also mean less work gathering fuel!
revisit: Littling Along
3 days ago