Actually John, I am not operating on any assumptions of the kind, in point of
fact, if you take the time to read my post thoroughly, you will find I
happen to agree with you that using a waste product with little or no extra
processing is preferable! The concept of embodied energy is certainly valid
and something I do give some attention and consideration.
In my initial reply I was addressing the question from the original poster...
and the topic was making composite fuel from sawdust, so that's what I had
attempted to help with. I certainly can't speak for what you or anyone else
cares to dirty their hands with, those choices are up to you as an
individual. And quite frankly I didn't ask about your personal dislikes.
It is however clear to me I should have been more concise with the way I posed
my question in the message you replied to; as it seems to have invited a
somewhat closed response that had nothing to do with the context of what I was
actually asking about, so it appears, that is on me. My apologies.
To clarify, after my first post on this thread (when I made initial
suggestions), the general talk of using a binder "defeating the purpose of free
fuel" was somewhat of a puzzle, as the reason given was that you wouldn't be
able to use anything monetarily cheep enough to make it worth doing as opposed
to the cost of buying wood... buy wood? Weren't we talking freebie stuff?
I know for some people buying wood is an economical alternative to more main
stream (and dirty) fossil fuel choices, but like other here posted, I too normally get my wood fuel free of charge.
The real point to my question is... If (for whatever reason) one wants to make
a composit log/pellet how does using free sawdust and a free binder (what
ever it is) become more monetarily costly than buying fuel?
As that makes no sense to me, I thought asking was to the point... perhaps I
As far as the usefulness of these particular recommendations and that they
somehow devalue your time spent collecting them and or endanger your health,
that is something I can address.
On the issue of time spent on collection, this again is all about
availability, and personal choice. If collecting seemingly sundry things
like this disagrees with you, then your not likely the kind of person who would
bother with the sawdust in the first place, let alone go to the
trouble of figuring out a method of combustion or useage.
I am not advocating going to extraordinary lengths to find these or any other
waste products... that would be silly... I'm simply saying if you have it
available... give it a shot.
Manure... well I'll be the first to say it not a bundle of roses... but it's
not without it's merits... we like to put it on the gardens rather than using
a chemical fertilizer... and my point about cow and horse dung combusting
well when dry is just a statement of fact. I have actually burnt it in my stove insted of wood. If the animals are primarily grazing then it's not to bad to work with (comparatively), pretty much just grass paste. I've even used it to give a boost to the odd batch of cob... no the wall doesn't smell.
I don't recommend using other types of animal dung for this application... as
fertilizer yes.. but for this no. As far as quantity if one does a little looking I'm sure someone can be found whom would be delighted to have you take it off there hands. I myself don't currently have horses or cows, but I have all the dung I care to.
Do you have a lawn or pasture areas? If so chances are your going to mow or
brush hog it at some point. I know waste plant material and sawdust make a
dandy log because I have done it... A good reason to compress this type of material is simply because it takes a bit less space to store and won't make such a mess on the floor in the house or shop. We made our logs with a 50/50 to 60/40 mix of sawdust and a rather sticky/sapy batch of pureed weeds that were in the bin of the field mower. As far as time spent on making them, it was minimal... sawdust and weeds got mixed up on the shed floor with rake and pitch fork, then packed into six inch diameter sections of pipe 1.5 feet in length that were standing upright in the basket of the old cider press. We had fashioned reusable "plungers" that fit into the six inch pipe, these were simply two circles of plywood with a length of iron pipe between them... they looked like really strange dumbbells/freeweights.
We just get them set into the tops of the upright pipes crank the cider press down and walk away. That setup could make ten logs at a time. The finished product was about 12-13 inches long which fit into the stove well and they usually slid right out of the "forms" but if it was stubborn a whack with the rubber mallet got them right out. We did ours throughout the spring and summer so there was ample supply come winter. Which all worked out well as the grass and weeds conveniently grow during those seasons and we couldn't seem to compost it all quick enough.
Now waste veggie oil was just a suggestion... I don't know for sure if it will help the sawdust stick together. What I do know about it is that it burns well in the right conditions... in fact around here we like to put it into diesel engines... perhaps you've heard of this practice?
As free fuel goes I find this quite worth my time to collect. As far as it being carcinogenic... well any carcinogen in waste veggie oil would only be there because it was used at high heat in a deep fryer to cook food. Which incidentally people eat that stuff... now I'm not saying fried food is all that healthy and I certainly try to avoid eating it... but I can assure you I nor likely anyone else would desire to drink used fryer oil... but as I can only speak for myself here.. I could be wrong about others drinking it, any of you want a sip?
Now everyone here is quite intelligent and I delight in seeing all the minds at work and I'm sure other freely available things can be found and even ways of burning the sawdust directly can be thought up, which of course from the stand point of embodied energy is better.
If a person is only into getting some heat and doesn't want to put any effort into it perhaps just using that little thermostat on the wall is more the speed of said individual... the respective energy company will be happy to send a bill I'm sure.
I could ask why would you want to bother collecting parts to build a
wind generator from scratch? Or install solar panels on your house? Isn't that
quite a bit of time and/or money involvement? And I would likely get a response as individual and unique as the one you just got from me.