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Hi Bob, I looked over parts of your site and I am excited to find other people thinking about the bigger picture. My view on most of the worlds issues always seems to come right back to carring capacity. Human beings manage and controll every other living thing on this planet and I must say I'm not impresed. I respect the people out there who are moving against the unbelievable lack of responsibility torward our home. But I must say, if we could control our numbers on this planet our ecosystem might be able to survive our allien like approach to progress. Anyway, I'm not here to convert anyone. My reason for the visit is to ask you about your digester. The house I live in is off the grid, and I noticed that you use a length of heat tape to heat the slurry with is this more efficent than water coils in the slurry. Don't mean to question your design but I entend to build one and power is a big concern of mine. Also about your composter do you find that without turning the compost and keeping it moist you cant get it to completly break down. I compost tons of horse manure every year and can't get the results I want in a static pile even with perforated pipe in the piles. I would appreciate any knowledge you have in these areas to help me be a better caretaker of earth. Drifter
The house I live in is off the grid, and I noticed that you use a length of heat tape to heat the slurry with is this more efficent than water coils in the slurry.
An excellent question. No, living off the grid you would definitely not want to use that high quality energy for something like low-grade heat. I only used electricity because I have it available, and it was convenient for testing purposes. The system shown is only a prototype.
I don't know where you live, but would solar hot water heat be feasible year round?
For what it's worth, I've been working on a new design that requires far less water -- and commensurately less requirement for external heat. (Note that the biggest heat loss is from the material exchange, rather than from transmission losses through the insulated tank walls.) So far its only on paper though. I hope to build and test it before end of the summer, and will report here...
Also about your composter do you find that without turning the compost and keeping it moist you cant get it to completly break down.
The carousel unit that I'm about to install will be the 4th design I have installed and tested over the last 20 years here. In some of the previous designs, I did indeed have problems with incomplete decomposition -- at least until I learned how to use them. I expected that redworms added to the composter would do all of the work of turning and aerating. What I discovered, though, was that they died, probably due to the salt content in the urine. Even so, (after some learning curve) I was able to get complete decomposition by adding more sphagnum moss -- and being more careful to layer it, adding a bit after each use.
At any rate, the carousel design, with urine separation, addition of redworms (lumbricus rubellus), and sufficient additional carbon (vegetable scraps, sphagnum moss) is the latest refinement of the idea, intended to address those issues. We'll see how it works...