Friday, 9 December 2011

Temporary Interlude in the Log Burning Experiment

Part 3

Well, after the past couple of days of rain, hail, sleat, snow, gale force winds and flickering power, I'm hoping I can get back to normality.

Relying on log burning as our only source of heat and hot water is a non-starter for now, primarily because we simply don't have the facilities needed to make this realistic.

Winter weather has put paid to our having sufficient dry logs to burn but I was able to estimate a cost of £2.50 per day when combining that with £1.84 of coal plus the usual £2.14 of electricity. Total cost for that combination is £6.48 per day or £45.36 per week.

To my dismay, the more carbon neutral option of burning logs looks even more expensive than buring coal so, once again, trying to do anything remotely like following the 'green' way is proving to be uneconomical without first laying out a small fortune on a suitably large, dry, log store and paying to keep it filled with well seasoned timber.

I have seen 'kiln dried' logs available (at premium prices, for those who can afford them), but have to ask myself the question, what is fueling the kilns that are drying these logs and how much fossil fuel is used to cut and process them in the first place?

Is there really any economical, environmentally friendly, pollutant free way of generating heat and power and, if so, what is it?

What ever happened to Hydrogen Fuel Cells that run on water?

Is there a non-mains powered pump suitable for maintaining a solid fuel heating system so it doesn't need shut down when there's a power cut? (Likewise with solar PV, ground source heat pumps, oil or gas central heating, boilers etc, etc, etc.) Does everything regarded as 'normal' to everyday living rely on mains power?

Questions, questions, questions... we can't all simply go into a forest and handsaw a couple of trees to split and dry logs for firewood each year, so what's the solution?

I wonder who will win the LENR race to finally produce sufficient scientific evidence to support mainstream manufacture of energy catalysers?

NYK Media


  1. We use woodburning stoves for about half our heat last winter and I imagine the same will happen this year. We haven't paid for any of our wood - none of it at all.

    We admittedly have plenty of space to store/dry wood and I suspect we have more opportunities for collecting wood as we live in a more densely populated area. We (and my father-not-in-law, who collects wood for himself & his three grown children) keep an eye out all year around for scrap wood in skips, abandoned pallets or people cutting down trees in their gardens. The FnIL also has made friends with people at a couple of local joinery shops/wood supplies so we get (usually dry pine) offcuts and new wood that is slightly discoloured or wonky so can't be sold any more. (Our wood store is made entirely of that wood so was essentially free too. I also use it to make raised beds and our chicken run.)

    That said, if we did have to buy logs, I think they'd work out about twice the price of yours per trailer load so I guess there are advantages and disadvantages to heating with wood in both places!

  2. You are so lucky! With all that free wood, I think I'd be using it for all the heat. What's the other half made up of, if you don't mind my asking?

  3. I have often asked the same question Frugaldom, whether its possible to have 'green' energy. Many so called Organic farmers drive cars and tractors (pollution), you're not allowed to dig peat 'turf' any more here in Ireland. Even Ireland's none nuclear stance isn't really so. We import electricity made in British nuclear power stations. How much carbon pollution is there when we burn wood? Questions, questions..?

  4. The answer, here in the Western isles at least, is peat (yes Dave, it's still legal here). It's hard work, I'm told (we don't, as yet, do it ourselves) but good exercise and, of course, you get a year's supply of fuel for nothing. It smells lovely too!

  5. Albedo, I loved burning the dried peat, it gave off such a fantastic heat! Such a shame that everyone's turning against it on the grounds of the carbon issues, surely it can't be any worse than coal, oil or gas?

    I think the biggest problem with solid fuel of any description has to be keeping a regular DRY supply of the fuel. Few people who live in houses with mains gas or oil central heating ever think about how others live and keep warm.

    I wonder how many politicians rely purely on solid fuel, private water supply and septic tanks?


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