AuthorTopic: Machinery for a post collapse world  (Read 89 times)

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Machinery for a post collapse world
« on: March 15, 2019, 12:24:44 PM »


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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 15, 2019






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Welcome to my kick off post. I find it the height of arrogance to blog as I claim no mastery in the subjects that interest me most. I’m a greenie, a builder, a single dad, an alternative energy enthusiast, a gardener, and deeply concerned about the sustainability of the world we have created. I probably won’t write all that often but look in from time to time as I muddle my way through building a better life. For today the topic will be My charcoal powered tractor.



Years ago I launched a search for a fossil fuel free way to charge my batteries in my off grid home. The amount of useable sun in the winter on my solar array would drop to 1.5 hours from a summer high of 5. Most off grid homes resort to propane generators to make up the difference. Propane was not cheap and like any good doomer I understood how precious it was. Steam, thermo electrics, stirling engines, Hydrogen brown gas, you name it I researched and tinkered. The search for an alternative led me to Gasification, specifically charcoal gasification, as a possible locally appropriate solution. Hidden in history I discovered hundred of thousands tractors, buses and cars ran on the stuff during the second world war. Some were jury rigged but there was also also factory made kits, standardization of fuel, Fuelling stations, government pamphlets, standards of construction, government regulations and guidelines, it was all there and vanished as soon as gasoline became available again. Don’t buy it? Just another conspiracy theory?  here is a great photo montage done by another woodgas nut like me. What strikes me here is just how normal this fuel was:






Imagine my surprise that a fuel that could run all my machinery with minor modification could be made at home while I heated my house…



This article is too short to go into the ins and outs of gasification, charcoal versus wood and how it works so take a look here for a primer on the subject:



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas



If you want a glimpse into the modern masters of the technology check here:



/



As often happens in life priorities change. For me it was kids, a busier work schedule and correspondingly higher electrical usage which had me choose to grid connect my home to replace the generator. For a while projects around resilience took a back seat to all that make families work. It was always there though. I’ve decided to revisit these themes over the next few years as I attempt to refocus my life towards greatly increased food production, renewed energy independence, and fossil fuel replacements. Right now food comes first.



Fossil fuels have come to be critical to food production. I won’t debate the effectiveness of permaculture, lasagna garden bed making, french intensive methods, organic farming, or the joys of draft animals here. I can tell you that in times of crisis we will need millions of new large gardens seemingly overnight and one thing all those above methods are not is fast. Tractors are able to convert a manicured lawn into a plowed field in a matter of hours. With all that in mind my contribution is my 1953 Ferguson TEA20 tractor converted to run on charcoal. It was cheap and available but appropriately its from an era of simpler machines designed to run forever and be repaired by an owner in the field with minimal tools. On a sunny october afternoon it turned my weed filled 2250 sq ft garden back into the food plot it had once been. One hour of charcoal powered cultivation replaced what would have been 3 days of back breaking work for one person. Total fuel consumed 10 gallons of charcoal ,just shy of 14 Lbs., roughly equivalent to 1 US gallon of gasoline. I make my charcoal in my wood stove over the winter. This would have represented the coals from 24 hours of mid winter fires but honestly it probably took me 2 evenings of shovelling coals to accumulate this much as I’m not a fanatic or desperate. This is not a solution for a thriving society basking in economic prosperity and cheap energy. It works best if you have access to wood and are used to processing it so probably rural dwellers, who are land rich but money poor and heat with wood. It will not power an economy of commuting suburbanites but it might be enough for my northern tree covered slice of the world.



I’ve committed to plowing up 2 garden plots for friends this fall if time allows. I will be running on charcoal and will record the process. For now just some stills and some background videos will have to do. As a teaser that same 14 lbs of charcoal would have produced between 6 and 8 kW Hr of electricity for battery charging… That is another post though.



Cheers,



It all starts with making charcoal:






A walk around in the tractor’s early days:






All nice and shiny running on charcoal gas at an agricultural fair. It’s never been that clean since!







 



Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2019, 02:15:18 PM »
hmm, Thanks and all but why now? and the links don't seem to work. That picture is a steam tractor by the way.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline RE

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 02:23:54 PM »
hmm, Thanks and all but why now? and the links don't seem to work. That picture is a steam tractor by the way.

I copy/pasted it directly from your post, so if the links don't work then you didn't keyboard them right.  I didn't do any editing or keyboarding other than to paste in the header.  I picked an old tractor picture I had in the diner file, if you want a different header picture send me the link to it.

Why now?  Because it has been sitting in the pending file for months, it kept getting bumped back due to so much shit coming in.  So I published it today at a sort of lull to perk up the blog.

RE
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Offline cernunnos5

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2019, 05:55:14 PM »
I know I would like NF to come in and do more (spiffied up) articles, in a C5 manner. I figure you know more practical skills than I (not hard}. Just need to set you up with your own free wordpress site. If a computer retard like myself can look so professional, I'm sure you could pull off some interesting bloggery.

Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2019, 06:27:18 PM »
I know I would like NF to come in and do more (spiffied up) articles, in a C5 manner. I figure you know more practical skills than I (not hard}. Just need to set you up with your own free wordpress site. If a computer retard like myself can look so professional, I'm sure you could pull off some interesting bloggery.
I set one up but i have not prioritized writing. Maybe this is the year.
Here it is. The article presents better there and the links work:

https://smallhomesteadonabigplanet.com/
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline RE

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2019, 06:30:45 PM »
I know I would like NF to come in and do more (spiffied up) articles, in a C5 manner. I figure you know more practical skills than I (not hard}. Just need to set you up with your own free wordpress site. If a computer retard like myself can look so professional, I'm sure you could pull off some interesting bloggery.

He's put up some great Vids here inside the Diner too.!

He doesn't need his own blog, I will publish everything he writes on the Diner, as he writes them  if he does more than one every few months.  You simply can't get more professional looking for blogging than what I can do with a page of html.  I've been doing this since before you ever heard about Collapse (and before I did too!)

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Offline RE

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2019, 06:39:01 PM »
I know I would like NF to come in and do more (spiffied up) articles, in a C5 manner. I figure you know more practical skills than I (not hard}. Just need to set you up with your own free wordpress site. If a computer retard like myself can look so professional, I'm sure you could pull off some interesting bloggery.
I set one up but i have not prioritized writing. Maybe this is the year.
Here it is. The article presents better there and the links work:

https://smallhomesteadonabigplanet.com/

I updated the Diner version with the new html.  If you gave it to me that way the first time, that's how it would have gone up.

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SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2019, 07:11:02 PM »
I know I would like NF to come in and do more (spiffied up) articles, in a C5 manner. I figure you know more practical skills than I (not hard}. Just need to set you up with your own free wordpress site. If a computer retard like myself can look so professional, I'm sure you could pull off some interesting bloggery.
I set one up but i have not prioritized writing. Maybe this is the year.
Here it is. The article presents better there and the links work:

https://smallhomesteadonabigplanet.com/

I updated the Diner version with the new html.  If you gave it to me that way the first time, that's how it would have gone up.

RE
thank you.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Machinery for a post collapse world
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2019, 07:46:25 AM »
Really informative article and a terrific start as a blogger!
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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