Friday, February 16, 2007

How are we going to heat our homes?

1) Insulation
2) Passive Solar
3) Geothermal
4) Gas from Garbage
5) Wood and other Biomass
6) Electricity from Wind

1) Insulation: this gives the best bang for the buck and has the least negative impacts. We already know how to build well insulated houses and are learning more all the time.

2) Passive Solar: There is a guy here who lives in Northern Wyoming - his January gas/heating bill is $50. His entire south face is glass with dark brown tile over 15 inches of concrete floor - insulation under the floor (which I think is a mistake, the insulation I mean, not the tile concrete). The key to passive solor is having a mass to heat up and store the heat.

3) Geothermal: The core of the earth is molten - hot, hot, hot. This heat is constantly rising to the survace and being radiated into space. The key is to capture this heat on its way to the surface and run it thru our buildings on the way into outer space.

The MIT study is very encouraging. We should make sure that Keith Ellison is aware of it - once he grasps the essence of it, I am sure he will internalize it and run with it.

Deep drilling is not really that big of a problem. In 1976, I worked in the oil fields in the tidal basins of Louisiana. We were working on old wells that were over 10,000 feet deep - about 2 miles. The good news here is, that as petroleum & gas drilling decreases, these same technologies + infrastructure can be used to drill for geo-thermal.

4) Gas from Garbage 5) Wood and other Biomass: If a tree falls and rots int eh wild it will emit a lot of methane (CH4). CH4 is a significantly more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. If you take that same tree and burn it, it will give off CO2. But, if you take that same tree and put it in a closed container at very high temperatures + with no oxygen, you can "crack" the molecules down into a solid residue - (to be used as fertilizer) and into CH4 (methane gas). The methane gas is thus captured + stored to use as fuel for (a) the cracking of more wood or garbage and for (b) fuel for anything else such as heating homes and powering vehicles and generating electricity. This technology is now beginning to be used on dairy and hog farms. It could be used for urban garbage, including grass clippings, leaves, dog poop, used pork chops, [just learned that I sat here in the library writing + missed lunch. Not a bad thing] paper (not fit for recycling), oat hulls (mega-generated by General Mills to make cheerios), dead squirrels, human waste, potato peels, etc. All of this organic matter is more than being wasted. It is being allowed to rot and give off CH4 into the atmosphere.

This technology will solve many problems, including global warming, shortage of petroleum and natural gas (CH4), garbage expense and related landfill issues, farm pollution problems, farm fuel cost problems and more.

Before I left, I was working with John Madole. John is an Class A expert in garbage and organic recycling. You should get him to talk at a Green Party meeting about this stuff and get him to explain it better to you.

Forest fires are good because they take material that otherwise rot and gives off CH4 and instead burn and emit CO2.

Burning wood for heat is not a long range ecological negative, but may create some local problems if there is too much of it concentrated in a small place.

6) Electricity from Wind: Wind can and must be the backbone of our electrical generating infrastructure. We need more, sooner. I think it will solve urban pollution by powering PRT in all urban areas - eventually everywhere.

Please share my letters. Please share any generic paragraphs with others.

I think I am going to be able to get a recycling program off the ground here.

I find that as I write letters, I must rewrite the same news over and over - my pen does not have a "reply all" button. I would like to fine someone who could take the generic paragraphs and information and send to various people and assemble them in to one letter to be emailed each month or so.

I am fine, life is good.

Remember the great grandchildren.



1 comment:

wiley said...

Glad to see you're working on recycling at the Camp -- great idea! I keep thinking there should be a way to use solar in our homes, but it takes time to figure it out and money to pay for it, no?

Really good to see your smiling face! Miss you, wiley