Gaelan Brown’s new book, The Compost-Powered Water Heater, is a work that demands being read by anyone interested in learning more about all the free energy available to renewable energy stewards who also happen to be composting champions.
Brown provides plenty of detail in this innovative approach for heating rooms and generating hot water. Brown, who brings considerable background on this subject, attributes much of his interest in this technology to Jean Pain, a French agricultural scientist and innovator. Over the years, he has worked with engineers and compost scientists to refine methods of composting that can heat greenhouses, barns, buildings, and hot water, all without combustion.
“You could think of compost power as hot shit,” writes Brown, “but there need be no obnoxious odors or manure involved. In fact, compost heat-recovery systems often have the added benefit of reducing or eliminating odors that night be part of the compost production process.”
Compost heat-recovery might sound too good to be true to some, but Brown provides a number of proven examples. Bottom line, practitioners also make high-value organic compost while generating reliable combustion-free heat (Pain also ran his tractors on natural gas that was produced in the process). The system Brown describes works. Think of this book as a practical introduction. With detailed case studies of large scale engineered systems and plans for constructing small DIY systems, you’ll find step-by-step illustrations and photos to guide you through the process. A review of calculations to help estimate the heating capabilities of various approaches and other planning tools make this book invaluable for compost heat recovery on any scale.
Gaelan Brown brings abundant experience to the table. He is the founder of CompostPower, an open source research network that has developed new methods of generating hot water from specially designed compost systems, and he’s taught classes on the topic at Vermont’s Yestermorrow Design Build School for several years. He is also on the senior management team for Agrilab Technologies, a compost heat-recovery company.
The Compost-Powered Hot Water Heater was published by The Countryman Press. Price: $16.95 list.