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Sludge Burns…Or Does It?

January 22, 2011

“Back to the drawing board.” A phrase that most people detest. But there is something in the researcher that relishes the challenge of perfecting something that didn’t go exactly right. Marty Koonce is one of those guys.

During the last two weeks, Marty and David Kimbrow have been working on the bio-mass charcoal project. Marty found plans for an all-wood press from Engineers Without Borders website. This new press is much less complicated to fabricate and yet achieves an amazing amount of pressure.

Of course, even the first prototype had some issues. So there were adjustments made to size, joints, positions…

Then comes the sludge recipe. Sawdust and wood shavings, paper pulp, banana peels, cassava paste, water, etc. It seems that what is in it doesn’t matter as much as getting the ratio right. How wet should it be before pressing? How finely ground is the stuff?


These bricks are square. Will that be a good shape? Will there be too little surface area to burn well?

The test is in the burn. Is it going to smoke too much? Is it going to incinerate too quickly?

Well, we are going to leave you hanging. Even though it is supposed to be the dry season, it has been raining every other day. SO needless to say, we are waiting on a dry enough brick to see how they burn. Stay tuned for the next episode of “Sludge Burns… or Does It.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anna Mitchell permalink
    January 24, 2011 1:54 pm

    I am sitting on the edge of my seat! *wink*
    I love a good mystery- so I’ll wait patiently to hear how it all turns out.
    I must tell you, the “sludge” looks a lot like a fabulous rice krispie treat I make with all sorts of fruits and M&M’s added in. -useless information, but information none the less.
    Good luck with your new endeavor!
    Pray for you guys daily.

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