2016-01-11 Mon

Second Use For Everything (SUFE)

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I emptied out a 6- or 8-week old two-litre frozen yoghurt tub. When I placed it in my vermicomposter Bin six or more weeks ago, the tub was filled with kitchen scraps and pierced with one-centimetre holes in the base.

In that two-month period, all the food-scraps have disappeared from my view. That does not mean that they are all gone, just that I can no longer distinguish food scraps from the general dark soil particles.

Of particular interest to me is the worm population. Worms have migrated into the tub, I presume through the holes in the base, and tackled the bacteria that grow on the food scraps.

Of great interest to me are the sizes of the worms; they are mostly small; I see little evidence of big fat pregnant worms. That means that these worms are recently hatched – some of them might be no older than the tub event, that is, six weeks.

I suspect that the voracious adult worms have migrated to a more recent tub.

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Here is another view of the matrix. A significant amount of torn paper, especially chunks of egg-carton, is in evidence. That suggests that I am adding enough bits of small paper to the kitchen tubs during the week.

The vermicomposter bin is pretty well a bin of absorbent shredded paper that houses my two-litre tubs.

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Once I have emptied the tub, all that remains are traces of worm castings, bacterial seed for the next week of kitchen scraps.

I no longer feel the need to sprinkle castings into the tub throughout the week; I reason that the bacteria present in the empty tub will be sufficient to repopulate the tub while it is being filled and will so produce an immediate food supply for the worms as soon as the tub is immersed in my vermicomposter bin.

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Here is the tub immersed in the bin; I am about to cover the tub with a layer of shredded paper.

The white material is egg-shell; the dark material is coffee-grounds and tea-leaves.

(later) I placed the “empty” tub in the porcelain bowl atop the stove. I figure that the small amount of heat energy in the stove top (the cover, not the heating rings!) helps evaporate some of the excess water that runs out of the tub. The next morning I found three baby worms struggling to get out of the tub, the temperature having risen somewhat.

So there is an assembly-line of processes that allows me to harvest every last little worm that breeds in my vermicomposter bin.

Clear Thinking

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Now about that Perpetual Motion machine ...

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I remember back in 1963 in High School, I embarked on a little theoretical project that centered around inorganic chemistry, in particular the generation of Na2CO3 and NaHCO3 in a cycle that went through various catalysts and molecules, in a circle of about two dozen components.

This was a summary of some things we had been learning that year, and I was fascinated by the possibility of one chemical molecule being used to develop another and then another, all the way around back to the source.

I was smart enough to know that energy would need to be pumped in along the way – you don’t get anything for free.

I understand the left-hand side of the diagram – reclaiming your catalyst is standard practice – but I have a problem with the concept of being able to transform gaseous Carbon Dioxide into solid Carbon Dioxide pellets, and still be able to produce electrical energy out of the back end.

I believe that a closed system of this form can not be a net producer of energy; there must be an overall cost of energy in the process.

The question is; from whence this energy? And how much carbon Dioxide does it produce, many, many miles away?