Energy Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Tim Barker November 23, 2012
by Tim Barker
The basic unit, minus the rocket stove and piping
In my last post, I showed a picture of a wood powered water heater, so now we’ll roll up our sleeves and get into how this was designed. But first a warning! Boiling water is easy to do, but boiling water in a closed container and not blowing yourself up is much trickier — in fact I’ve heard it said that there is the equivalent of a stick of dynamite in 500 grams of boiling water! So if you blow yourself up, be it on your own head. Having said that, I have spent a fair bit of time creating a design that is simple to build, safe and efficient.Comments (16)
So where does the ‘appropriate’ in ‘Appropriate Technology’ come from? To me, it is technology that ‘fits’ well into a place or setting. You’re not further enlightened? Okay, I’ll make some generalizations and go from there. For the ‘technology’ part, I like W. Brian Arthur’s definition, whereby technology is the capture or use of a phenomena for a specific purpose. So this could be everything from construction of a compost pile (consciously promoting the action of bacteria to break down organic matter for whatever reason) to a system of community governance. The ‘appropriate’ comes in when you recognise that some ways of developing local communities resonate better with human behavior than others — say, community land trusts as opposed to landlord/tenant arrangements.
The appropriate part is generally covered by the following:
- it is human centered and human scaled
- it is easily replicable and understandable
- it focuses on locally available resources
- it tends to be labour intensive but energy efficient.
Building, Energy Systems — by Tim Barker November 8, 2012
The first post on the rocket oven left many with more questions than they started with so this is a follow up to cover some aspects in more detail. It would probably help to re read the first article and my replies to comments as I’m just going to forge ahead with more detail on the design.
On my first design I was prepared, even expecting, to have to modify things to get it to work properly. One fundamental question I had was how small the rocket oven cross section could be and still do the job.
I consciously made the decision to start with the smallest cross section I thought would work which just happened to coincide with some square section of steel I had lying around. This was 90 mm square (3.5 inches). The plan was then to work my way up in size as needed. It’s a good idea and simplifies construction if you keep the cross section constant all the way through the rocket stove part of the design (feed tube, burn tunnel, heat riser) — this reduces turbulence and restrictions where you don’t want them.Comments (9)
Energy Systems — by Tim Barker October 16, 2012
We’re using this awesome rocket stove powered wall oven for all the catering here at Koanga — it gets daily use and we’re loving it! The amount of wood required is minimal, a tiny fraction of what a regular wood fired stove would use.
by Tim Barker
During our last workshop at the Koanga Institute, we built a rocket stove. Our design brief was very specific in that the stove had to be practical, easy to use and long lasting, whereas what is being built by most backyard experimenters like myself, while being fun to make and muck around with, are more along the lines of ‘camp stoves’ built from tin cans that quickly disintegrate with use. Another consideration which I felt was important was that most rocket stoves are just that – stoves, as in place a pot on top and boil something.
What I envisaged was not a rocket stove but a rocket oven. This is a concept I had originally developed nearly three years ago when living in a small two room shack. It had a camping gas burner but no oven. Missing those things that only an oven can provide is a great motivator. Of course, due to my previous work making rocket stove powered water heaters (a subject we’ll get to at a later date), it was always going to be rocket powered. The hard part, or so I thought, was making an oven chamber that was insulated, had racks and a fitting door. Plus, it had to look good. It was then that I realised I had described an electric or gas oven. From there, the rest was easy. A quick trip to the local scrap merchant secured an old bench top unit where the hot plates are beside the oven. Cost: $20.Comments (8)
Economics, Food Shortages, Society, peak oil — by Tim Barker February 7, 2012
What: Nichole Foss talk on the present and future crises
Where: The Channon Community Hall, near Lismore, NSW, Australia (and a stone’s throw from the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm)
When: 10th of February, starting at 5.30 pm
Cost?: Donation at door
Nicole M. Foss is co-editor of The Automatic Earth (TAE), where she writes under the name Stoneleigh. She and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and real politick in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. Prior to the establishment of TAE, she was editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and finance.Comments (3)