Ian Paddock <firstname.lastname@example.org>Jan 21 (3 days ago) to me
Hi Will - I did see the video - it is impressive. I also find all of the events, workshops and activity going on impressive too – I wish I lived closer. I do now have a new work from home job which basically means work from anywhere. With that, I'm hoping to make it down to a few of the events next spring and summer and also would like to come see the 2 ton/hour set up that Larry Hartpence moved to his facility.
Here we bought & installed a pellet stove this fall and burned three boxes of grass pellets I had made. Some general observations of consumption are:
a) As is already known - there is significantly more ash with grass vs wood. I simply mitigated that by habitually emptying the ash pot every morning when I got up.
b) A couple of times it had difficulty starting on 100% grass pellets. A 50/50 grass & wood mix seemed to work better. The moisture of may hay was around 12% when I densified it, so that might have
been a factor.
My Dad and I tried the briquette machine once - it didn't go that well. Once thing I didn't do was hammer the hay first, as I wanted to see if chopped hay right off the chopper wagon would go through - it did for a minute then the machine plugged. As a result I did find an efficient means to get the mass out using a core drill bit. Attached is my report on this first run and next steps - pictures of the results are included.
Regarding the group in Ontario - if I can ever help with anything, I see that the map on their websites homepage lists a location is Kingston. Kingston is about 1/2 hour from our farm.
At this year's New York State fair, I talked to a representative from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) about my individual scale efforts to produce and consume densified hay. He then suggested I assemble a long term plan and apply for a clean energy related grant they offer. With that, I'm now thinking bigger and working on what I might ask for in a grant request. For this, I was thinking of reaching out to the group here for suggestions and assistance with this, since I have never applied for a grant before. Hopefully by Summer I'll have a larger scale, long term plan assembled and at that point be ready to submit.
I'm also experimenting with some Proof of Concept / table top ideas of breaking down grass further than the hammer mill can do (in case that turns out to be the secret to the briquette machine, or even shorter hay improves pellet machine performance). At this point, I have a meat grinder with a blade behind the output die that works well (pictures attached). Eventually after POC work is done I'll go to our local machine shop and see about building a scaled up, PTO powered machine that is similar.
Cell: 315-751-GRASS (4727)
Will: Ian has a briquetter. I have been curious about it. He added this as a file to his email.
10/04/2016 – first briquetting run with ZBJ III BM machine
1) Chopped 4 bales of hay into trailer (did not hammer mill afterwards)
2) Mixed two washtubs full of hay, sand, and cooking oil (4:1:1/4) to make a mud mix for die
conditioning, rust cleaning, and easy throughput.
3) Started generator and briquette machine (BM). Grounded BM to a ground rod.
4) Instructions said to heat the die to 280 Celsius. This took at least ½ hour to reach 250 Celsius.
5) Threw in a couple of handfuls of mud mix – this made it to the end of the tunnel and was loose.
6) Add more mud mix. Brick started forming inside the tunnel, but then stopped moving out. Mix would
cycle and spit back inside the hopper too. Stopping/reversing/restarting helps mitigate this.
• At one point, the machine stopped the auger to the point where the belts squealed. Several rounds
of Stopping/reversing/restarting resolved this. During this time, the BM motor would not run at all -
this must be due to some sort of override or overheat protection with the motor. After 3 – 5
minutes, the motor ran again
• A couple of times, the material in the tube ‘popped’ and blew material out the end.
• The grass blockage was like a donut with its hole in the middle.
7 ) Added corn meal to try something else – this cornmeal pushed through the donut hole and out.
The popping earlier might have been the middle of the donut blockage blowing out. The corn meal
formed most of the logs shown further below. Some of these were grass logs too that would have
pushed through the blockage:
• When putting corn meal through, or when grass/sand/oil based logs were coming out of the tunnel,
the sound of the machine changed, just like the pellet machine does when is begins to work to put
out good pellets.
a) I suspect that the chopped grass (and not hammered) was too long, so the Youtube video found at the url below shows them processing a dust like material:
b) Due to spending too much time inside the tunnel, did the lignin glue itself to the inside of the tunnel, thus causing the
c) Shorter material (corn meal) when thru while longer (chopped hay) didn’t go thru well
Options to try for removing a blockage:
1) Hammer drill (don’t like the idea of the pounding inside the tunnel)
2) Drill and chip (like last time – takes forever – need quicker solution)
3) Use hole saw to pull chunks of blockage out, like pulling a cork out of a wine bottle:
Extra long hole saws:
PVC to use as protective sleeve for inside of tunnel:
11/12/2016 – Blockage removal
• Around 10/24/16, I used a Lenox 2.5 inch, hole saw to successfully drill out ‘plugs’. Problem is that this
hole saws is only 2 – 2.5 inches deep.
• On 11/12/16, using a core hole saw for drilling cement & concrete, I was able to drill all the way in the
tunnel since this core hole saw is 12” deep. It cut thru on the outside the blockage and I then used a
long bar to break out chunks of the grass plug.
• I didn’t use the 3” split stove pipe I bought as a protector from tunnel scrub from the core bit. Next
time I should use this as a protective sleeve.
• The core hole saw was purchased from EDiamondTools at: https://www.ediamondtools.com/products/dry-diamond-core-drill-bit?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=google_shopping&gclid=CLbhh_-f3c8CFdJahgodb5MCrg