WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

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WindTapper's Blog

November 2012

Talkin' 'Bout The Maker

I don't believe in God or the Devil. Maybe this is a quote from one of my favorite movies, Constantine. I don't believe in God or the Devil, but if the devil exists, he must have had a hand in making and addicting people to computerized Solitaire. That is Spider Solitaire, mind you.

It is so tempting to play it when I have a break between tasks. But it is such a stupid game and I get no exercise while playing it. I feel myself turning into a kind of fundamentalist as I swear off Spider Solitaire, yet again.

I have started thinking, "This is the devil's work," when I play it. I have reset all the statistics associated with it and now I am FINISHED wasting my time and the temple which is my body on Spider Solitaire, THE DEVIL'S WORK!

Generator Housing Project

I still work on designing a mold in which to cast a generator housing for my wind powered electricity generator. Every day. But today I have decided to move onto some more specific fabrication tasks having to do with this endeavor.

Today I hope to make the spacer that creates both the top hole of the rounded top for the housing, and it creates the thickness between the outside and the inside of the rounded top -- along with the contours of the two bowl-shaped gadgets into which I will press the cement.

I was reading Concrete Crafts by Alan Wycheck again last night and toying with the possibility of casting in a bed of sand, taking a cookie cutter bite out of the center for the center hole. However, the finish on the top would not be smooth enough. I do not want the top gathering dirt, dust, and debris. We have enough problems with that from traffic driving over our roads....

Still, it could be fun to cast with white Portland Cement having white sand, and white crashed limestone mixed into it. I am considering using the acrylic based waterproofer I saw at Lowe's for $7 a bottle, too. I used something like that to waterproof the top layer of cement I laid down around our commode a few years back.

Which reminds me, I also have a shower to re-build. "A woman's work is never done," the saying goes....

Algae Acquisition Problems

A pond that was and/or is extremely loaded with algae that I knew from decades ago turns out to have its ownership transferred -- maybe two thirds of its ownership -- to people I don't know, and the third part is owned by a man I never met. It has been suggested that I go to the place and knock on nearby doors to find somebody to give me permission to take some algae. This is a decent idea. I will cogitate on that a while.

It was also suggested that I get an aquarium from which I would obtain algae. Two problems with that idea occur to me. One: I have never owned an aquarium and they introduce work and expenses I am not interested in spending. Two: the algae I wish to grow must tolerate freezing temperatures because it is wintertime when I most need to convert CO/CO2 to O2. Wintertime is when I generate CO by burning natural gas to heat our home.

So, Plan B: Search nearby parks with ponds for algae. In my mind I can recall a few places where algae grows in our local parks. So, I sense an algae acquisition field trip coming on. The two or three places I recall algae growing are mostly shaded during summer, too, btw, although there was a snake at one of them. I will save the snake home for last, lol.

End of Mayan Calender

Only a few more days until the end of the Mayan Calender, which some Chicken Littles think will be the end of the world. I forget whether the END OF DAYS is supposed to arrive on the 12th or the 20th of December. No, wait. Please see Link to Story. The end date is Dec. 21. And another webpage has several images of said Mayan Calender.

I am more inclined to believe the story I watched on TV sometime back about how Dec. 21, 2012, marks the beginning (more or less) of a flooding time for the earth, having witnessed Katrina and Sandy flood, experienced Ivan flooding, and being a firm believer in global warming.

In the meantime, I acquired a CO detector yesterday for my experiments on converting CO2 to O2 and carbon using algae. I also acquired S x S Ell, 45 degree PVC joints. The "S x S" stands for slip by slip, meaning two slip joints instead of collared sleeves on the "L" joint. (Some joints have one slip and one collared joint.) I had to travel a little further, to a larger hardware store to get the 45 degree, two slip jointed ells.

I spent time reading instructions on the CO detector. I had hoped to put it on the floor, inside the furnace, in order to detect gases backing up inside the air handling unit, but the instructions say "no" to putting the device anywhere windy or next to the furnace, etc. I had hoped to test it by putting it into the stream of the exhaust, but again, the instructions say I could damage it if I put it into a windy place. Oh well. It is better than nothing, if only so I can sleep better at night by not having to worry about not waking up in the morning due to CO asphyxiation.

So, to tie the Mayan Calender hysteria to my experiments with CO2 conversion, let us imagine that some day we will consider this conversion of CO2 to O2 process a necessary function of our culture on this planet in order to at least delay the worst flooding somewhat. Call me a pessimist as well as Ishmael. ("Call me Ishmael" comes from the first page of Moby Dick by Herman Melville, by the way.)

I feel that Melville's ship, the Pequoid -- which was named after an extinct Indian tribe -- symbolized the "Ship of State" which was the U.S. prior to our U.S. Civil War. Our teacher seemed to disagree with my assessment, so beware of using this idea in an English class. I was not the first to posit this interpretation, btw. And let me add one thing, they call it the benefit of hindsight, not the detriment of hindsight.

Preparations List (To-Do List) For CO2 Exp. #4

Do not forget that all the materials on this site are implicitly Copyright © by WindTapper for the year in which they are or were first posted on the web. I hope to use these materials in future publications as well, when they will be re-copyrighted.

1. Get CO2 detector in place before starting to build Exp. 4
2. Glue most joints
3. Acquire and install two 45 degree joints nearest back wall of house. This is the place where the inclination of the pipes must begin in order to drain condensation moisture away from the furnace effluent pipes. Experiments 1-3 had two 90 degree joints. I see now that these create the worst back pressure imaginable, which would cause gases to bunch up and possibly even flow backward where they are supposed to go outwards instead.
4. Lengthen the pipe between the two 45 degree angle joints to help reduce turbulence of the effluent within.

Not sure when all this will occur. The weather has turned colder and I have more company in the house on the weekend days, so turning off the heat to work on effluent piping is inconvenient. Also, I plan to apply for another job today. Too much debt....

CO+CO2 Experiment 3 Torn Down (Call Me Ishmael)

Call me Ishmael instead of "paranoid" but I tore down the connection to our furnace exhaust in the middle of last night for fear of fumes backing up into our house from the furnace having to pump exhaust harder than it usually does.

I had taped all the joints on the shortened piping of Experiment 3, and most of them held fairly well. However, upon inspection in the middle of the night, water was leaking from the first elbow's taped joint. Since water was leaking when I touched it, I also got my fingers wet. When I went to inspect other tapings, I had the water on my fingers so I could feel coolness when gas passed over them. One joint was not completely secure using only tape. The coupling taking the 2 inch pipe into 4 inch pipe. That one would have to be glued to have any hope of a seal.

That coupling, however, did not produce much of a leak, although the gas was being pushed backwards toward the house. Still it was not enough to worry about. Later in the night I decided to turn the final elbow so that it would push the emissions away from the house rather than obliquely toward a lower level of the house -- imagining that a leak of gases into the house could come through that lower level.

As I turned the final elbow I wondered at how easily it turned and what that said about the security of sealing with tape. Experiment 4 might have to occur with glue on almost all the joints -- except the first one so that I can disconnect it there if Experiment #4 also fails. As soon as I disconnected Experiment 3 I noticed we had an increase of gases coming in our kitchen window. Without my rigging, we normally are vulnerable to gas seeping back into the house from outside.....

Even though I was Ishmael, I was glad I was making these experiments before the winter sets in. I can turn the heat off for hours these days while I am working on the rigging. But I also worried about what could happen if I were to get a job and I was not around to supervise the operation of these experiments, or a working prototype. That worry kept me up all night, testing and finally tearing the rigging away from the furnace.

I have decided not to conduct a fourth and final experimental rigging to carry exhaust gases further away from the house unless and until I get a CO2 detector primed and ready inside our basement. We have one around here somewhere, but where?

Also, I got to wondering if it is necessary to put the CO+CO2 directly over the algae/lichen/moss vats because CO2 is heavier than normal air. It could flow in the general direction of the vats if they were strategically placed, anyway. Also, perhaps anything I can get to grow in winter would be equivalent to algae for CO2 conversion. Having a greenhouse, for example, could reduce CO2 in general, except at night. Except that we have a street lamp in our backyard....

Backyard Experiments in CO2 Reduction -- Record 1

1 Black plastic tray from Lowe's has the end of our furnace exhaust shooting our CO+CO2 across it. Filled as much as possible with water -- it is inclined on a hill -- it is weighted down with a heavy (maybe 20+ lbs.) rectangle of steel inside the water. I had added a. algae or cyanobacteria (green) scraped off our deck along with b. some of the red acrylic paint from our deck. c. Some sugar in the water. d. Old rusty tomato stake hoops because some algae/cyanobacteria grows on a rusty fence. This tray I put under a plastic table to shade it from the sun because our algae prefers to grow in the shade.

2. Clear plastic hanging basket drip pan, also under the table. This experiment started with a. a paper towel soaked in b. safflower oil drippings of turkey bacon that I fried up for dinner. c. Then water. d. Black Walnut twigs that had been laying on the ground and were impregnated with e. lichen. This concoction gave off a sewage kind of smell by the second day -- today.

3. a. Water plus b.the knot of a cottonwood tree that I picked up off the ground across town. As I was watering this clear plastic drawer, the knot kept disintegrating from its irregular surfaces. c. A piece of wood of unknown species. Both pieces of wood had no visible signs of either lichen nor of algae on them.

4. A second clear plastic drawer filled with a. water, so far. All of the above are under cover.

I expanded the surface of the table by sticking metal frames from old election signs, all around the table. Then I put a truck tarp and a multiply folded plastic drop "cloth" over the table and sign frames and tied down the edges of the tarp. I also put two rotting boards on top of the plastic and tarp on top of the table so the wind wouldn't get a purchase on the light weight coverings. The translucent plastic "cloth" will let some sunlight filter onto experiments 2, 3, and 4. Also, 2, 3, and 4 are exposed to light from the street lamp that we have in our backyard -- so they get dim light all night long plus exposure to the CO+CO2 gas emissions from our furnace.

I plan to add more vats/experiments, as well as figuring out what to put into #4. Each vat has its own position and so will have its own particular exposure to the gas, although, each vat's exposure will also depend on the ambient wind direction, as well as its position relative to the main flow of the emissions.

I plan to come back here to add data when changes and additions are made to these four experiments, but I hope to add many more vats. I am also considering casting little cement ponds someday, but I need to take into consideration the lay of the land as well as utility restraints. Our sewer line is very close to this set-up, for example. I can not build a permanent pond over the line, nor set up a drainage system that might interfere with that line nor get entangled with it.

I hope to take pictures to add to this record. Also, I know of a pond that is loaded with algae. I might try to contact one of its owners to see if he would let me have maybe 10 handfuls of algae for my experiments. But that algae should be kept separate -- mostly -- from what I have gathered from this location because I know algae, lichen, and moss from here like to grow here, heavily poisoned by our Black Walnut trees.

Hmmm. The moss loves to grow on our roof shingles in mostly shaded places, too. That should be another experiment. Trying to grow algae in water is a large part of this experiment because so far I find it only coating solid surfaces. I am afraid it is more likely that the green stuff I find in one of my planter drip pans is cyanobacteria rather than algae. I also need to gain access to a microscope someday so that I can sort these two green critters apart.

What is Carbon Sequestration?

AHa! "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See"... because "you only get to play this game once."

I had heard and seen that some people were making concrete from carbon emissions and I tried to look up this process on the web, but I haven't yet found it. Growing algae seems to be difficult and not fruitful enough on a DIY basis, at least so far, to me.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

So on this Thanksgiving I have been websurfing and now have a link to share to a YOUTUBE site where several videos reside concerning CCS -- alternately called "CO2 Capture and Storage" and "CO2 Capture and Sequestration." Click on the white letters in the previous sentence to get there, if you don't mind getting put to sleep by some very mesmerizing background music from time to time.

So far the technology available to our back yard seems to be soil sequestration where you take biomass and plow it into the soil in order to sequester carbon. I still have to grow something, though. One interesting observation is that the day I had CO+CO2 leaking around our greenhouse -- NOT RECOMMENDED BTW! -- some of my lettuce plants doubled in size. Perhaps I could grow anything and not just algae, lichen, moss, and cyanobacteria.

EXCEPT that growing anything would tend to cause persons to try to walk up to those plants where the CO+CO2 would asphyxiate them. So, somehow, I need to figure out how to grow algae inside closed containers that have CO+CO2 pumped into the liquid, I guess.

So maybe a wind powered pump?

Here's a specific video discussing biochar versus compost => the compost wins, folks.

AHa! "The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See"... because "you only get to play this game once."

My CO+CO2 Sequester Dream

This project is a dream at this point. I have no idea where to go to get ideas for experimenting with building such a contraption. So far I have conducted two experiments for safely redirecting the CO+CO2 from our house's furnace. Now, what to do with the gases while maintaining safety?

Algae is the plant that I have most often seen converting CO+CO2 back into oxygen gas plus some form of solid carbon (on the web), but our house seems to like to grow lots of lichen and moss compared to the biomass of algae that grows on our house, stones, and trees in our yard. One website tells of "algae, lichen, liverwort and moss on hard surfaces", saying they indicate clean air, moisture, and shade. I wonder how much of these are needed to negate the CO+CO2 for heating the average house in winter?

I wonder how much CO+CO2 that lichen can convert to oxygen plus solid carbon compared to algae?

Anyway, so far I have spent some intrigued time at having found a nice picture for a greenhouse full of experiments I would like to send you to. However, converting CO+CO2 does not lend itself, exactly, to having a greenhouse that you can walk or crawl around inside, since those gases are deadly killers....

1.  Plugging "CO" into the "Search" line at so far I have gotten to a picture and page of "disambiguation" -- as Wiki calls it -- between cyanobacteria and algae -- as though I were not already confused! Cyanobacteria grows as straight chains, btw, so these can be distinguished from algae with a microscope.

BTW, I noticed an oil slick on the surface of the water in my vat of algae. Oil is what algae produces, in addition to oxygen.

I wonder if I should be preserving the lichen that I am now washing down the drain as I scrape it off our gutter guards? Hmmm. Does anyone want to buy some lichen? Let me know if you want some for making your own experiments. Send queries to with the subject line: LICHEN if you are interested in acquiring some. I have plenty on the other side of our house's gutters because I did not scrub those this year, so far.

Remember, algae is symbiotic with lichen. I finally found a use for those old yard sign pieces of metal framing. I can put these around the final outflow of the exhaust in our yard and put plastic dropcloths over the tops of these. Then I can set bowls of various experimental concoctions under the dropcloth, within the frames, and see how each of them are at growing CO+CO2 sequester agents.

The first bowl will have wood with algae in it, along with some Black Walnut leaf litter and lichen plus water. And, by the way, window washing fluid based on ammonia is another possible elemental spritz I could add occasionally because algae loves nitrogen, too.

I have also decided to stop flushing the lichen down the drain and start saving it for experiments and for sale.

Just A Note

As I was reconfiguring the 4 inch pipes under our greenhouse yesterday, a white cat that seems to live in our neighborhood came by. It seemed intent on walking on the white pipes that I had just removed. When it finally figured out that I was in the backyard, looking at it, it took off. The white cat no doubt felt comfortable near the 4 inch white pipes because, for one thing, there are not very many environments in which it does not stick out like a sore thumb. Another possibility is that it had a white mother.

Anyway, I was happy to see my suspicion/intuition realized so quickly. Underneath our back deck is actually above most of the rest of the backyard, so the cat had a second reason to like it there. It was camouflaged while it had a lookout for hunting rodents.

I took away the radiant heat pipes, sent the CO+CO2 straight away from our house, sealing all joints several times with clear tape, then only bent the 4 inch pipe by 90 degrees twice. Now we have less CO+CO2 attacking the back wall of our house. Now I have less worries about having to breathe noxious fumes while on our back deck, too.

I spent time during the last two days cleaning gutters, though, so have not yet devoted enough time to configuring an algae culture. I still have more gutter work to do and the weather -- I hope -- will hold out another day so I can more or less finish that. Scrubbing the gutter guards is quite time consuming, btw. A lot of lichen plus a little bit of algae loves to grow on them. I imagine our algae could be a symbiotic partner to the lichen that grows on our Black Walnut tree bark.

If I can figure out how to grow enough algae to negate our heating, I could sell it. Don't you think?

IXNay on the Radiant Heat Idea

"Ixnay" is Pig Latin for "No!" or "Stop!"

I have been experimenting with the exhaust from our furnace which is pumped out the back wall of our house by one of those more modern furnaces. I was hoping to send the exhaust through a piping system under our greenhouse in order to take advantage of radiant heat rising into the greenhouse, before using the exhaust in a CO2 sequestering experiment based on algae consumption of the CO2.

The first experiment netted too much CO2 coming into our house. [I also had not taped up the joint connections.] Likewise with the second experiment. On the second experiment I had rebuilt the pipe system so that every segment of pipe inclined and was lower than the segment of pipe that was closer to the source of the CO2 [but still had not taped up the joints]. This continuous inclination was supposed to help the moisture to also exit the far end of the piping.

I also put an elbow at the end of the contraption to point the gas emissions down into the vat where I hoped I could get algae to propagate. However, even with the system relatively securely pinioned into place, I could feel that the system is inherently unstable due to constant vibration the whole length of it. And, even if I were to glue it all together, and place tape around the outside of each joint seam, I believe there is still an inherent problem with the idea of capturing radiant heat from the exhaust of the furnace.

I believe that the furnace system is not designed to handle the extra work I was making it do by pumping the exhaust beyond the back wall of our house. I believe that CO2 and CO was building up inside the furnace and leaking into our house, so I broke the connection between the furnace and my contraption for the second time.

I also do not recommend anybody trying these experiments at home. There are far too many risks. Let me count some of those risks, even beyond the fatal flaw I described above:
1. Gathering up exhaust gases, even if they seem to be sealed, under one's porch, subjects far too many people and animals to risk. Kids, infants, pets, even yourself while trying to maintain the system -- all of these are subject to asphyxiation. Infants, toddlers, and pets all like to crawl into hidden places. Pets even more so when the hidden place provides warmth. Wild animals, too, would love to make a home in winter next to a warm pipe. Rodents have to chew things, too, because their teeth are constantly growing, so holes in the pipes are a given if they are made of plastic.
2. There is not enough heat gained when you consider the risks, the costs, and the vigilance required to keep it, your family, pets and local wild animals safe from its toxicities.
3. Dangers you never knew existed also lurk nearby with such a system. I swear that the CO2 and CO concentration even rose on the opposite side of the house once I had gotten the furnace exhaust all sent to flow over a vat of water on the ground (although the exhaust from the highway sometimes reaches us when the wind is blowing in the right direction). Perhaps it was the wind or lack thereof combined with the peculiar geometry of our house next to the creek at the bottom of a hill, but if you have neighbors, you could be putting them in danger, too, if you experiment as I have been doing. We don't live close enough to anybody else for that to be true at our house.
4. I have not yet -- and did not -- set up a CO2 detector with a fresh battery inside our basement to see if any of the exhaust backed up into the basement when I ran the second experiment.
5. Since CO2 is heavier than air, basement windows, doors, cracks and holes in walls anywhere along the outside of your house could let in the newly gathered CO and CO2.

SO DON'T TRY THIS! We live in a very rural area, have no kids or pets, either, and mostly no kids cutting across our yard. Once some neighbor kids set off fireworks in our yard, some other kids built teepees and played in our creek, but I was here to see them all....

Al Gore on TWC Today

I only caught the last part of the Al Gore interview by Al Roker on The Weather Channel this morning. However, this interview will be repeated. Not sure how soon, but I imagine it will replay before noon at least once. The Weather Channel replays segments throughout the afternoon, especially when there are no major storms brewing.

Al Gore was talking about global warming, about the increase of storm frequencies these last few years. I think that it was one of the meteorologists who mentioned a few days ago about the effect of higher temperatures on the levels of the oceans. We often think of how the amount of water is increased as glaciers calve much more frequently near both polar regions. But did you think of how an increase of temperature also makes water expand in size?

Since three quarters of our planet is covered by water -- more or less -- more these days -- imagine how much more water we will have with each rise of one degree.

"Al Gore is joining us live at 40 past the hour," Stephanie Abrams just said on TWC.

Reading at CaringBridge & Etc.

Some 2 a.m. reading at CaringBridge is SO sad. It brings back memories, too, of my family's tragedy out in Denver in 1993-4. No one told me Will was ill until, maybe, the week of his death. I talked to Will during his illness, but he never told me he was ill. He made a joke about how that guy I saw teetering along toward Krogers was another guy that people often mistake for him. Will even made up a name for that "other guy," and I did not catch on....

Still looking to improve aforementioned graphics in support of President Obama:

Click the pic. Go ahead. I dare you.

2-inch PVC Furnace Exhaust Couplers

My first attempt to rough out pipes connecting our furnace exhaust to a vat for algae growing ran into several glitches that I am working toward fixing, one-by-one. The first glitch is that Lowe's does not carry the best 90 degree couplers for 2 inch PVC pipe that is being used to redirect furnace exhaust gases.

An older hardware store in our neighborhood does, however, carry the better couplers. A "Dura" inside a raised diamond shape logo is cast right into the PVC on these. Some have "NSF-U.P. Code" in raised letters, while one has "2 D-2466 SCH.40 USA" also in raised letters on one side with "NIBCO PVC-1 D  4" on the other side. One also has "105619" written in ink on its side.

The two photos above show the better 90 degree couplings. Someday I will have a better light to be able to display the numbers on these better.

Below are the couplings from Lowe's that have "sleeves" that overlap the pipe I am trying to connect to, only half as much as the couplers above.

The Hub X Hub couplers (the last two photos) fall off the straight pipes without glue to hold them on. Glue is not what I want to seal the joints with because I am right now trying to design a system that will hold up on its own, without glue. The other couplers will naturally let far less gas escape through their joints than will these.

Another problem getting parts came today when I tried to get 10 inch Quick-Tube concrete forms. The Columbus outpost of Quick Crete rep told the Lowe's rep that they don't have enough call for 10 tubes so they don't make them. So much for ANYTHING being easy.... I will search online for same, however.

Dear Diary

Moving logs: To support exhaust pipes that I need to  be placed at a certain elevation and inclination so that the exhaust will not "attack" our back door while the pipes are sending the exhaust on its way to radiatively heat our greenhouse in winter plus feed CO and CO2 to an algae pond. Also, I need to go back to Lowe's to get the better elbows for the 2" PVC pipe -- the elbows that much more securely connect pipes....

From I downloaded graphics last evening after the LiveStream "conference call" with the President last evening. Over 30,000 volunteer campaign workers from the election went online to hear the President. What we could do now to continue the action was supposedly at the website.

I have been playing around with some of the graphics using Picassa3 and MGSuite. Here's one screensaver that I concocted:

I made clicking on the picture a link to
BTW, I was finally able to recognize the cement forms at Lowe's yesterday that are about 10 bucks apiece. Figuring out how to get the exact measurements in the form is my quandary now....
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