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Separating algae from water from a raceway pond - Page 6

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Posted by Jim Wilkins on December 16, 2009, 2:26 pm

Before driving to Maine to get the tractor I called Sears and asked
the weight. Apparently those 1980's Roper-made garden tractors were
heavier (and stronger) than later models. My neighbor's new yard
tractor has a thinner frame and smaller tires and won't pull nearly as
much, though it has a 23 HP engine vs mine's 18 HP. I thought
something was wrong and had him call the Sears service tech who told
us that the hydrostatic transmission was behaving normally, they just
aren't that good for towing. They definitely are more convenient than
the stop-to-shift 2 range 6 speed on mine. I put the hydraulic
controls on the left because my right hand is so busy working the
shift levers. New garden tractors are way above my price range (= free
to a good home) and I don't know about them.

I designed the loader to clear snow, thus the oversized bucket, At
~900 lbs it's too small and light to dig in the rocky New England
soil. Around here the 20+ HP Kubotas seem to be about the minimum
practical size for that.

Sears doesn't carry parts that far back, which is why I had to make
the new steering sector gear shown in the Picasa photos, as well as a
new link rod with better ball ends connecting the sector to the tie
rod bellcrank. I haven't found another one to strip for parts, so if I
didn't have the machine tools the tractor would be junk now.

B&S rebuild kits for the carb and fuel pump were expensive but not
hard to find. Yesterday a parts clerk (not Sears) told me I could
still order stuff for my 1955 B&S engine but might have to wait
several weeks for it. Tecumseh OTOH went bankrupt and parts are

I have a large history and technology library and make bookshelves for
it, Some of the wood went into reframing my exterior doors and
windows. My father converted old houses into nice apartments and we
got a lot of practice making odd-sized kitchen cabinets, glass paneled
doors, etc. If the log had a defect I sawed that part 1/2" thick for
door panels, otherwise it's 5/4".


Posted by Curbie on December 16, 2009, 5:02 pm


Whatever the cost of machining, it's got to be less than a new
tractor, and it seems to me there has to be a pretty serious market in
the New England area for cabinet grade hardwood.


Posted by Curbie on December 15, 2009, 11:15 pm

A digester/raceway concept is depicted here:
The notion here is that the algae grows in the raceway, concentrated
(somehow) by the raceway and then the concentrated algae is pumped to
the batch digesters, keep in mind that nothing is of a calculated
size, and I have no clue whether the digesters should be many
55-gallon drum size or fewer of the large size pictured, and same with
the size of the raceway and concentration area. No data yet.

The digesters have a concentrated algae input, a gas output, heated
water in and out, and a compost drop. The digesters needs to maintain
about 97°F for methane bacteria and I'm thinking solar for the colder
months; grow algae in a raceway, concentrate it, fill the digesters
with concentrated algae, collect gas in the winter, and compost in the


Posted by z on December 23, 2009, 6:31 pm

Curbie -- you are always doing something interesting.  Not that I
understand 1/3 of it, but it sure makes for interesting and educational

Have a good new year man.. may your algae bloom and your methane burn well


Posted by Curbie on December 23, 2009, 8:05 pm

Hi z,

This methane path actually stared out here with Ulysses or Jim's
woodgas comment, after some research on how that process makes gas
(hydrogen, methane, & CO) that lead me to research first steam
reformation of carbon for hydrogen, then digestion of bio-mass for

I'd studied algae for oil for a long time only to run into that idea's
problems on a home-scale, but kept the idea of growing indigenous
algae for compost in mind. While studying the methane side of woodgas
I ran into the biological production of methane and from there, ran
onto Jean Pain's methane production from compost and John Fry's
methane production from compost animal and vegetable waste.

Jean Pain (book)

John Fry

All these processes are fairly old and have both strengths and
weaknesses, the hope is to mix a couple of them up with new technology
to find something that works on a home-scale.

Both wind and solar thermal are viable on a home-scale but don't offer
long-term energy storage, so I've been digging around trying to come
up with something to solve stored energy needs, I've sorta narrowed it
down to hydrogen, vegetable oil, or methane, but I all have drawbacks
and I haven't found that one sign yet that says "This is the way to

As much as hydrogen has a ton of stuff going for it, I have the
feeling IF there is a viable home-scale energy storage idea, it will
come from a natural resource like gravity (hydro or tidle) or bio
(vegetable oil, methane, or hydrogen IF they can find a bacteria that
makes it).

That should be the other 2/3 if you're interested, the Jean Pain plan
may be right up your alley, read it and see what you think.

You have a good New Year too.


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