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  • Sourcing Biomass
    icy rain took the largest tree we had and laid it over on its side to die a century old tree falls victim to winter Sometimes the damage is partial as the heavy ice snaps off large branches branches broken off by heavy ice Sometimes the heavy ice finds a weakness in the truck and the tree snaps at the base a tree snapped off ten feet above ground Or part of the upper tree is broken off a tree snapped off twenty feet up Sometimes a tree will bend under the weight and never recover some young oaks permanently bent over All of this forest waste will need to be cleaned up and disposed of The traditional way is to pile it up and burn it B2M will enable us to convert forest waste such as this into the heat fuel and power needed to keep a community warm and thriving through the cold winter months Thinning the Forest The important and ongoing custodial work described above is done each year there s needful forestry work that will generate considerable additional woody biomass work such as thinning and limbing B2M is founded on the way that trees function as self replicating solar collectors In an untended forest the growth of trees proceeds through random propagation of seedling which then engage in a struggle for resources as they grow and content for limited resources such as water sunshine and minerals This process of producing an overabundance of seedlings is no different from the way a gardener will plant more seeds than could possibly grown in their garden The conscientous gardener will then thin out the resulting plants to select those that will make the best use of garden space and resources In a similar manner a forest steward will thin

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/sourcing_biomass01.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Project Context
    front part of the daily trash train Klickitat County has a well established foothold in a variety of renewable energy systems Here are some examples For more than a decade Klickitat County has operated one of the largest landfills in the Pacific Northwest Six days a week a trash train with more than three hundred forty foot long shipping containers filled with Municipal Solid Waste MSW makes the journey from the Seattle area to the tiny town of Roosevelt in eastern Klickitat County The Rabanco Landfill is a state of the art facility that operates under a vacuum that sucks out the methane gas given off by waste decomposing in the landfill The gas is processed compressed and cooled then fed into huge engine driven generators that currently supply 10 megawatts of electricity to the local grid enough electricity to power every home in the county Klickitat County is home to a string of state of the art wind generators that stretch for twenty six miles along the ridge that overlooks the Columbia River When complete that string of wind turbines will have the capacity to generate more than 500 megawatts of electricity Klickitat County is also home to both The Dalles Dam and the John Day Dam facilities with a hydroelectric generation capacity of 1 800 and 2 400 megawatts respectively As the world wide demand for energy grows there s a lot that can be said in favor of living in a county that produces way more food and energy than it consumes a county which has a substantial head start in the race to produce renewable energy systems The work we have to do on the B2M project is substantial and experience shows that projects of this nature inherently take longer cost more and turn out differently that what was expected going in In short this work is difficult enough it would be foolish to undertake to do it within a political climate that was hostile to the development of rural energy sources Klickitat County has shown itself to be a leader in the development of renewable energy systems and therefore a good home for the B2M Project The Community Component Efficiently used the new fire can do our work without working our undoing 8210 Amory Lovins The challenge of creating resilient communities is not new and history provides a remarkable array of approaches that didn t work out well One lesson that can be drawn from that history is that when a community is dedicated to a single path however relevant that path was when the community was founded it is at mortal risk because when the times and social concerns of the world around it shifts the community usually fails A community that uses market related technology as its primary way of fulfilling its core needs will soon find itself stressed by changing market forces A community that is created to serve a specific technology is unlikely to survive when that technology becomes non viable

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/context01.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Project Scale
    much timber or plow as much land The ability to create fuel from waste biomass has the potential to create a tipping point type shift away from decline and into a more resilient ecological configuration Greater financial independence To the extent that rural communities need to convert local resources into money they re vulnerable to financial market forces which have little to do with local concerns The ability to produce and trade a key resource within the community confers an important degree of protection from speculators Increased opportunities for stewardship The more ties a community has to its land base the more opportunities there are for local people to become vested in the vitality and diversity of their land base Stewards can diversify a forest s long term potential to support the community through the production of timber fuel food and fiber products which can serve as raw materials for a host of traditional crafts capable of meeting community needs in sustainable ways Greater local accountability No technology is totally benign The large scale conversion of woody biomass into vehicular fuel could in the hands of large corporations result in the wholesale conversion of forests into clear cut deserts The long term management of a healthy forest relies on stewardship at the local level not on production quotas handed down from some far away corporate headquarters generally speaking the greater the distance between decision makers and the local community the greater the likelihood of ecological damage through over use or misapplication Better utilization of low grade energy inputs and outputs Industry often wastes materials that don t fit into the commodified categories demanded by large commercial operations A local B2M plant can be configured to make use of resources that otherwise would not be sent to market And because of

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/scale01.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Supporting B2M
    to continue with the work they re already committed to doing Perhaps one of the strongest holds the status quo has on people is the need to pay their mortgage or their student loans Fortunately the internet now makes it possible for people in widely different locations and situations to collaborate on complex projects such as B2M by contributing what they know from where they are For example there are people who have industrial experience that is relevant to the demands and hazards involved in working with flammable gases or in constructing high pressure hydraulic systems or in programming process control computers and the list goes on There are others who have access to university libraries where they can research aspects of the chemical engineering or the catalyst activation or the environmental impact of this work research that will prevent our having to duplicate work that has already been done If this project touches on things you have experience with or things you want to learn more about we d invite you to become part of our Away Team a network of people sharing what they know and what they can find out in order to make something new possible If becoming a member of our Away Team sounds interesting we d be delighted to discuss the possibilities with you We can be reached via email at b2m at gorge dot net Hungry Samurai I m preparing for a tough war It will bring us neither money nor fame Want to join 8210 from Seven samurai Kurosawa s 1954 film Seven Samurai tells the story of an isolated village that is being repeatedly robbed by bandits If this continues the village will wither and die as the farmers either starve or have to abandon their land Knowing that the bandits will return as soon as the next crop is harvested the farmers are desperate The village elder advises them to journey to the city to find samurai who will fight to defend them from the bandits Knowing they lack the money to hire skilled fighters they ask the old man How can we find samurai we can pay with only rice He counsels them to Find hungry samurai Rural villages today find themselves in a similar situation as the cost of non renewable energy sources drains them of the capital they need to keep their community alive Year by year they have to sell off more resources to pay their energy bills and watch as their young people leave to seek work and income elsewhere Without some way to reverse this process those villages will shutter their windows and die Who must do the hard thing 8210 Those who can 8210 Sicilian proverb Lots of people understand that a social order founded on the increasing consumption of non renewable resources will inevitably crash as those cheap resources become scarce and an endless series of resource wars squander what is left Before long the only resources that rural people will be

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/support01d.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • B2M Timeline
    the inside of the container This design creates a safety envelope around the operators Phase Four Produce 1 gallon of fuel per day This is where things get especially interesting The specific liquid fuel that the B2M Project will initially focus on is methanol a biogenic 2 fuel that is a natural part of the environment Not only is methanol a necessary ingredient in the production of bio diesel 3 it can be used in place of exogenic fuels such as gasoline in flex fuel passenger vehicles 4 While a gallon a day may not seem like a lot it s adequate to meet Windward s current on site need for fuel Reaching this level of production will signal that the project has solved the majority of the technical issues involved in the village scale conversion of woody biomass into transportation fuel There are two primary chemical routes that Windward is working on for the conversion of synthesis gas into methanol The first is the Liquid Process Methanol reactor LPMeOH developed in the 1990s by Eastman at their Kingsport TN demonstration plant The second route involves the work done by Dr Mahajan 5 of the Brookhaven National Laboratory BNL involving a dual catalyst dual solvent reaction that proceeds at low pressure and low temperature The nature of this reaction is such that it appears to be well suited for village scale production Windward has entered into negotiations for a license from BNL to develop small scale applications of the technology This step will also require stepping up the sophistication of the gasification side of the operation The initial work uses air to produce a fuel grade gas suitable for powering the internal combustion engine that drives the compressor Since fuel grade gas is created using air as the oxidizer about half of the gas produced is nitrogen an inert gas that takes up space This high proportion of inert nitrogen renders raw wood gas unsuitable as a feedstock for a synthesis reaction It s at this point in the process where we ll begin gasifying woody biomass in two steps using a two stage gasifier the first stage converts the biomass into a combustible gas before the second stage called autothermal steam reformation maximizes the amount of reactable gas The first stage converts woody biomass into charcoal and a tarry gas suitable for burning 6 Then this tarry gas along with oxygen and steam is polished in a second stage by passing it through a fluidized bed of glowing charcoal 7 This step breaks down the tars water and complex molecules into synthesis gas i e a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen suitable for synthesizing methanol and other fuels Phase Five Expand production to 10 gallons per day It s an axiom of engineering that increasing the size of a process by an order of magnitude warrants a complete reexamination of each step in the process Once the demands involved in expanding production by a factor of ten are

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/process01.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Supporting B2M
    the status quo has on people is the need to pay their mortgage or their student loans Fortunately the internet now makes it possible for people in widely different locations and situations to collaborate on complex projects such as B2M by contributing what they know from where they are For example there are people who have industrial experience that is relevant to the demands and hazards involved in working with flammable gases or in constructing high pressure hydraulic systems or in programming process control computers and the list goes on There are others who have access to university libraries where they can research aspects of the chemical engineering or the catalyst activation or the environmental impact of this work research that will prevent our having to duplicate work that has already been done If this project touches on things you have experience with or things you want to learn more about we d invite you to become part of our Away Team a network of people sharing what they know and what they can find out in order to make something new possible If becoming a member of our Away Team sounds interesting we d be delighted to discuss the possibilities with you We can be reached via email at b2m at gorge dot net Hungry Samuri I m preparing for a tough war It will bring us neither money nor fame Want to join 8210 from Seven Samuri Kurosawa s 1954 film Seven Samuri tells the story of an isolated village that is being repeatedly robbed by bandits If this continues the village will wither and die as the farmers either starve or have to abandon their land Knowing that the bandits will return as soon as the next crop is harvested the farmers are desperate Their village elder advises them to journey to the city to find samuri who will fight to defend them from the bandits Knowing they lack the money to hire skilled fighters they ask the old man How can we find samuri we can pay with only rice He counsels them to Find hungry samuri Rural villages today find themselves in a similar situation as the cost of non renewable energy sources drains them of the capital they need to keep their community alive Year by year they have to sell off more resources to pay their energy bills and watch as their young people leave to seek work and income elsewhere Without some way to reverse this process those villages will shutter their windows and die Who must do the hard thing 8210 Those who can 8210 Sicilian proverb Lots of people understand that a social order founded on the increasing consumption of non renewable resources will inevitably crash as those cheap resources become scarce and an endless series of resource wars squander what is left Before long the only resources that rural people will be able to depend on is what they can create themselves using sunshine rain and air There is

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/support01.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • The B2M Analog
    components can work in concert at this scale While we think that this is reasonable reasonable enough that we have dedicated a considerable amount of our resources to the project still the track record for new technologies is such that it s prudent to get a working model set up operational and debugged before urging its widespread adoption the Analog s future home In projects such as this long experience suggests that most everything takes longer costs more and turns out differently than was thought going in There s little doubt that much will be learned in the process of getting an actual plant converting wood chips into fuel and that by documenting those lessons 8210some of which will not be the nice kind 8210this project will enable others to adopt this technology more quickly effectively and most importantly reasonably safely The skills needed to handle this technology are often closely held for reasons ranging from trade secrets to an effort to limit liability It is our hope that by speaking frankly about what we re learning in an open source context others will recognize the public service potential of this work and lend their support Modules Built from Shipping Containers Shipping containers are one of today s great creative resources They re especially ideal for containing a project which deals with high temperatures and various types of fuels A quick search of the web will show shipping containers that are serving as housing offices workshops emergency shelters and dozens of other uses In addition to the containers themselves there are a variety of specialty built tools to facilitate moving them from one location to another A prime example is the special built tilt bed trailers that make the loading or unloading of a container into a quick one person fifteen minute job a special built container delivery trailer The use of shipping containers to house a B2M plant will enable the efficient production of custom systems to be produced efficiently in one location and then delivered by conventional means to where they re needed This will result in cheaper and faster depolyment and more reliable initial operation than would be possible if each unit were to be constructed by a different group at each potential location The construction of an Analog will also enable a crew of operators to come to a central location to learn how to operate an existing debugged unit before returning home to tackle the challenge of integrating a B2M plant into their local circumstances On site Staff Housing Moving a portable B2M plant to the biomass elimenates the cost of loading hauling and unloading an ongoing stream of biomass the next step would be to ensure the energy saved wasn t consumed by an increase in the amount of time and energy spent by the staff commuting to the plant A B2M plant would operate continuously so trained staff would need to be on site around the clock Instead of having staff commute a

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/analog01.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • What is Bio-fuel?
    interchangeable they re not Automotive ethanol for example is promoted as a renewable resource a key problem is that it s often being grown in an unsustainable manner that some see as the agricultural equivalent of strip mining the topsoil The recent increase in the number of acres planted to hard corn generally has come at the expense of other more sustainable crops A key factor here involves the rate at which biomass both in the form of plants and in the organic content of the soil is being consumed If that rate exceeds the long term capacity of the land base to renew itself such a practice is not sustainable While much of the current focus is on the exhaustion of the world s non renewable resources and rightly so it s still important to remember than renewable resources are also limited Taking biomass faster than the land can replace it leads to the same ecological consequences as taking away the resources the land can t replace Biodiesel is commonly produced from oil obtained by pressing palm nuts As demand for these oils rises more acres of the Indonesian rain forest are being bulldozed and planted as pine nut plantations a process that is destroying much of the oranatang s habitat At the least by converting waste biomass into replacements for diesel fuel communities can use B2M technology to stop participating in the destruction of the wild lands yet remaining At the best they can help point the way for other rural communities to stop supporting this process through the purchasing of products of deforestation Local versus Imported Biofuel Mr Peabody s coal train One goal of the B2M Project is to enable rural communities to stop having to sell off more of their resource base year after year in order to purchase energy supplies By converting local biomass into more concentrated forms that meet local needs a host of hidden costs and damages can be avoided Even if all other aspects of a given biofuel are equal it would be better to work to build one s local community rather than continue to drain away its raw resources This is true regardless of whether non renewable fuels are being imported from another state another country or another continent and the farther away the source the more important local production becomes Stationary versus Mobile Biofuel a car modified to run on wood Modern society has a huge investment in cars and trucks designed to use liquid fuels While it is possible to convert some of these vehicles to use either solid or gaseous biofuels doing so can involve an expensive conversion One result of this ease of use limitation of modern vehicles is that as long as they re around liquid biofuels will continue to be in high demand and sell for more than solid forms of biomass A key component of a system s overall sustainability is its effiency The more efficently a system uses its resources the

    Original URL path: http://www.biomass2methanol.org/biofuel01 (2016-04-26)
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