Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings?

   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #1  

Diggin It

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"This "active" version of the HeatGreen system has great flexibility and sufficient capability for nearly any residential heating application. It is absolutely "green" and eliminates the need for the buying or using of any fossil fuels.

The relatively small device described here (a little larger than the size of an upright piano and weighing empty around 140 pounds) (and with all construction instructions included below) is around 5 feet in diameter and 2 feet thick. It can easily create the continuous 45,000 Btus per hour of constant heating that a medium-sized home in a cold climate like Chicago needs in January or February, and has shown that it can easily produce twice that amount of heat, or over 90,000 Btus of hour. It uses SCRAP cut lawn grass and autumn leaves, which decompose and release amazing amounts of heat in the process. We capture that heat and use it! (It needs to be refilled with any of a wide range of organic materials, every few days or every week or two, depending on the outdoor temperatures.)"



Alternative GREEN Furnace - Non-Fossil-Fueled - Construction


I'll reserve comment for the moment.
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings?
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Diggin It

Diggin It

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" Find 30 pounds (13 kg) of cut lawn grass, weeds, dead leaves, etc. Each pound of that organic matter took about 9,000 Btus of solar energy to grow, so that 270.000 Btus of energy is still in there! This will release the 270,000 Btus in the process of decomposition. All it needs to decompose, naturally, is about a gallon of water and some air (oxygen), and it will all eventually disappear (over a few months). You can speed this natural decomposition up!

STIR the material up every once in a while, with the water nearby, to make sure that every cell has available dampness at all times. Also, the stirring helps make sure that every cell has access to the oxygen that it needs. You COULD do this 'by hand' every few hours, but putting the organic material, the water and the air inside a 'tumbler' ensures that everything works most efficiently.

It turns out that either of two types of bacteria speed up this process. Naturally, a type called Mesophilic is always around so that Natural decomposition occurs, over a period of weeks or months. But if you surround your tumbling chamber with really good standard house insulation (R-20), you can trap some of the heat the process creates, INSIDE the tumbling chamber, and you can pretty easily get it warmer than 125°F in there, and if so, a far better type of bacteria, called Thermophilic, takes over. Then everything happens about ten times faster! And then, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the heat produced, as long as you add more organic material and water from time to time!

This small amount of cut lawn grass or weeds can produce enough heat to fully heat a large room in a cold climate for 24 hours! Or it can produce enough heat to completely heat a large house for about 8 hours."


Alternative GREEN Furnace - Non-Fossil-Fueled
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #3  

Jstpssng

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Like so many others I spent a summer mowing lawns. We tried to keep up so that the lawns didn't get too tall, but sometimes we had to rake and bag it. On a hot day when we dumped them out back at the shop we often would find they were already turning to ash. Luckily we never had a fire.

People are using compost to heat greenhouses in winter, raising cole crops which likes cool climates and can withstand moderate freezing.
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #4  

NorTracNY

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I love one page websites that are incredibly long. I was curious about one aspect - storage. Sure enough it is addressed....


Storing the Organic Materials
If you are able to mow the lawn all year, you may not need to store amounts of the material to decompose for a winter. But most of us live in climates where we need to plan ahead.
It is impossible to store most organic very long if they are not dried out, as the decomposition process will occur naturally in the presence of moisture, resulting in rotting and decay (and foul smells due to anaerobic processes occurring). Therefore, if you need to store materials for more than a week or two, you need to dry it out. Farmers have long had appropriate processes, in drying hay and straw before baling it up to be able to last many months. Also in drying feed corn for storage in grain silos. Even in leaving corncobs and crop debris out in the fields so that the sun can dry it all out naturally. Essentially the same processes can be used to dry cut grass and leaves in order to bale them up for later use.

Such bales then obviously need to be stored in a dry location. When they get damp, they start to rot and decay. THAT can sometimes cause an unexpected hazard in large stacks of hay bales! If one of the bales got wet, the decomposition process can begin, which creates the heat we have been discussing. There have been cases where large stacks of hay bales have spontaneously caught fire due to such internally generated heat. Therefore, really large stacks of hay bales should be avoided.

Similarly, great care needs to be taken regarding WHERE these bales are stored! If a single person wanders by and tosses a cigarette butt onto the stack of bales, a very serious problem can quickly develop. So you need to find a location where such a danger either cannot occur or if it does, it would not affect too much else. Farmers generally store hay bales in a building separate from where they keep valuable animals or equipment for this reason.

The storage of so much material that has been very well dried, and which is therefore extremely combustible, is a matter that requires great attention to ensure safety.
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #5  

oosik

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I don't know about a heating unit such as that. Every year I have one half-acre pasture I mow with my riding lawn mower. One year there was such a accumulation of dry mowed grass that I collected it into one big pile and burned it. Holy Mother of Murphy - the STENCH that came off that burning pile would have made the statue of Michael Angelo weep - uncontrollably. My barn cats had been using that pasture area as their private rest room for all of the previous year.

Now THAT could give an all new meaning to the burning of organic materials - especially if this is an indoor unit.
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #6  

Industrial Toys

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When something goes on to argue, why not to burn wood, it kind of sidesteps whether this idea is feasible on it's own merits.

I sometimes have a few bushels of grass clippings that I "try" and burn on the bon fire. Let's just say, I'm skeptical. I'm not even sure that chipped wood is better than cut firewood.
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings?
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Diggin It

Diggin It

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The point here is not to burn the clippings.

They use the natural decomposition process to heat water or air, more like geothermal. Ever turn a compost pile and feel the heat, or see the steam rise? What this process is doing is harnessing that internal heat of the pile.
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #8  

oosik

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This system reminds me of another "unit" that a company brought to Anchorage and wanted to receive Environmental Health approval to sell to the homeowner. It was a home sewage treatment system. It was decried to be so efficient that the effluent was to be piped directly back into the home potable water supply system. There was absolutely NO disposal system involved with this unit - she all went back into the home water supply.

Well - even an idiot or moron or imbecile - knows that any mechanical system can and will occasionally fail. So when this happens - guess what the family is drinking now.

They had one family agree to put a unit in their new house as a demo. All it took to completely put the kibosh to this entire matter was -- I asked one of our visiting nurses to go out and ask the family for blood samples before this unit was installed. This would be used as a comparison - in the future - when the family became gravely ill.

When the family came to their senses and realized how serious this situation could become - they dropped the idea like a hot potato.

In all my 18 years as Director of Environmental Health in Anchorage - we seemed to be chosen to try all forms of new miracle equipment and processes.

I'm not saying this Heat Green System is anything other than great. I'm saying that, some times, when a thing is too good to be true - it really IS too good to be true.
 
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   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #9  

quicksandfarmer

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I love one page websites that are incredibly long. I was curious about one aspect - storage. Sure enough it is addressed....


Storing the Organic Materials
If you are able to mow the lawn all year, you may not need to store amounts of the material to decompose for a winter. But most of us live in climates where we need to plan ahead.
It is impossible to store most organic very long if they are not dried out, as the decomposition process will occur naturally in the presence of moisture, resulting in rotting and decay (and foul smells due to anaerobic processes occurring). Therefore, if you need to store materials for more than a week or two, you need to dry it out. Farmers have long had appropriate processes, in drying hay and straw before baling it up to be able to last many months. Also in drying feed corn for storage in grain silos. Even in leaving corncobs and crop debris out in the fields so that the sun can dry it all out naturally. Essentially the same processes can be used to dry cut grass and leaves in order to bale them up for later use.

Such bales then obviously need to be stored in a dry location. When they get damp, they start to rot and decay. THAT can sometimes cause an unexpected hazard in large stacks of hay bales! If one of the bales got wet, the decomposition process can begin, which creates the heat we have been discussing. There have been cases where large stacks of hay bales have spontaneously caught fire due to such internally generated heat. Therefore, really large stacks of hay bales should be avoided.

Similarly, great care needs to be taken regarding WHERE these bales are stored! If a single person wanders by and tosses a cigarette butt onto the stack of bales, a very serious problem can quickly develop. So you need to find a location where such a danger either cannot occur or if it does, it would not affect too much else. Farmers generally store hay bales in a building separate from where they keep valuable animals or equipment for this reason.

The storage of so much material that has been very well dried, and which is therefore extremely combustible, is a matter that requires great attention to ensure safety.

So in most of the world that needs heat, the season when you need heat is not the season when grass is growing. (I said "most" but I have trouble thinking of a place where that isn't true.) The storage of well-dried grass is a topic that has been studied extensively, there is a forum on this very website devoted to it. Look under "Haying."

The maximum amount of energy in a unit of hay is the same whether you get it from burning or composting. I would think burning the hay would be a lot simpler than composting it.

Gathering firewood is a lot easier than gathering hay.
 
   / Heat Your Home with ..... Grass Clippings? #10  

4570Man

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The maximum amount of energy in a unit of hay is the same whether you get it from burning or composting. I would think burning the hay would be a lot simpler than composting it.

.

Maybe true but I’d guess the composter is a lot more efficient. IMO for this to be practical you’d need an easy way to dry grass clippings and then just bag your yard when you mowed. I’m not sure that it still wouldn’t be easier to cut firewood. I think one guy could cut and split 10 tons of firewood in a day. Bagging 10 tons of grass, drying, and storing it it wouldn’t be as quick.
 
 
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