Live from TTP 2011 in Provo Utah… one of our TTP members, James, entered his highly effective CO2 powered derby entry.
Archive for the ‘True Green’ Category
So I’ve been informed that my biomass burning heating appliance is bad for the environment, compared with rubbing two stick together, living like a hermit, or moving to a tropical paradise.
Oh, come on, how could something so pretty be so deadly? Lets find out…
Environmentalists always point to the science when it comes to Global Warming. But it seems the science was selectively sidestepped in Gasland. Most notably, the Gasland claim that natural gas from deep well fracking operations in Colorado was showing up in drinking water wells of nearby residents. Its a juicy story, and what environmentalists want to hear, so it must be true.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc
If someone drilled a gas well next door, and suddenly my drinking water got all bubbly and stinky, I’d probably draw the same fallacious conclusion: “Its those damn wells! Now please cut me my check!” And if you lived in Dimock, PA you’d have been right! But in the case of the Colorado residents, not so much.
Gasland presents a very simple reality: big Gas, in collusion with state, local, and federal officials, sanction the wholesale rape of the planet. Sometimes the truth is complicated, even inconvenient. And a complex truth is easily set aside for a simple salacious headline.
In this case the assumption is that methane in the drinking water wells is from the gas wells. And how would we know? Methane is methane? Right? And they are drilling into huge deposits of high pressure gas. So where else can it come from?
That is so 1980′s
3 decades ago I entered the green revolution when my parents purchased a pellet stove, which replaced their coal stove, which replaced their wood stove,… Back then the quality of the pellets, the crudeness of the technology, and other factors made them a real pain in the keester. Heaven forbid if the fire went out while you were sleeping, cleaning was an annoying daily ritual. Since then I’ve mostly lived in the big city, where natural gas was cheap, efficient, and increasingly costly.
Back to the future…
So on moving out into the ‘burbs, into a stereotypical late ’70s house, we had to deal with the money sponge that is electric baseboard heating. We considered a rather costly HVAC upgrade, which would certainly have reduced costs, but the ROI would have been approximately 10 years. But with the $1500 rebate on biomass burning heaters, we spend a third the money, and expect a 5 year ROI.
Compared to my initial experiences with pellet stoves, the modern version is like some alien technology that fell to Earth. And it looks good! Automatic everything, setback thermostat, multiple fuel capabilities, high total efficiency ( 83 – 87% ) which is outstanding for a wood burning appliance, and low particulate emissions compared to a traditional wood stove. Engineered fuels are much more consistent, more available, and have undergone inflation at half the rate of fossil fuels.