Newbie needs cost estimate: woodgas people transporter

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Bioboat, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. Bioboat
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    Bioboat Junior Member

    Thanks for reminding us all of these key points!

    I find it a bit strange that - when the goal is to have the most basic and robust technology to perform the most basic tasks in the most dilapidated country on the planet - people suddenly start suggesting the most exotic or inefficient or high-tech concepts; from steam boats to deep space NASA engines to sail boats and rowboats. :)

    They're just poor farmers who need to get their bags of maize to market in an efficient, low-cost and reliable way. I don't see why suddenly these requirements prompt us to come up with bizarre unproven, difficult, unapplicable or outlandish ideas!

    What's next, a putt putt boat? :D
     
  2. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    1. I am no expert, so I'm just adding to what I accidentally came across. I agree the tried and proven methods available are better.

    What's strange is that most of the things needed are in a small way used there even to pull water from wells. Wind technologies are used, but in different methods. I watched a movie called "I dreamed of Africa" with Kim Bassinger and they used wind technology for electricity or for a water pump. Don't know which, so I figured it would be common technology.

    2. Cheap fuel still falls into the methane gas made from maure and any normal gas engine can easily be converted to that with common valve on your carburetor.

    http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/methane_bate.html

    http://www.jrwhipple.com/sr/fuel_making.html

    http://cobweb.ecn.purdue.edu/~epados/swine/pubs/methane.htm

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Transportation/1972-05-01/Convert-Your-Car-To-Propane.aspx

    Alternative gases:

    http://www.nooutage.com/books-AltFuels.htm

    3. Again not a proven method by most people, but cheap and easy way to build a boat is with chicken wire, metal rods, and concrete and sand mixes are used. There are books on ferro concrete building. I found some books used on Alibris books and many other used book stores online on the topic.

    None of these methods are commonly used, but none have been proven to not work either.

    I'm sure not many people will trust a boat not made with standard boat material they see normally. But rocks can be gathered from quarries and concrete is more easily available that I know of than any other material. The metals and chicken wire should be sold there too, but I am only guessing. Sorry if none of this works for you, but you have some urls to look over at least.

    Good luck.

    http://www.ferroboats.com/

    http://www.ibiblio.org/london/agriculture/forums/sustainable-agriculture/msg00616.html

    http://www.concreteships.org/books/

    Here are some articles explaining why some of these things I sugested would cause problems, but at least you know your options.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Transportation/1972-05-01/Jerry-Friedberg-on-Harold-Bate.aspx
     
  3. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    How you gonna store the methane on the boat ... in a big balloon???

    These are ALL *manufactured* materials ... so you won't be able to simply go into the forest, cut them down, drag them out and use them like you can a tree.

    Wrong. Wood is by far the most easily available material.
     
  4. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    If he has wood, than it isn't a problem. But it is inexpensive to build compared to if you BUY wood. No need to get testy.

    If he has the wood to build with he has already solved half his problem. I wasn't aware that he had decided. I was only leaving information on the subject. I hope they don't start making laws over burning wood fuel. Catalac? converters for wood stoves are required nowadays and they might have local laws protecting environment.

    If he has access to old car engines, he has access to chicken wire and metal rods from the scrap yard. All normal items available locally in every culture.
     
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

     
  6. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    It's not that I don't think some of the ideas posted here are interesting or possible -- in some places on Earth -- but in the Congo?

    Naturally I could be wrong about the following assumption, but from my understanding of the Congo it is mostly a big forest with little patches of small subsistence farms carved out of it here and there, and a huge slow moving river running through this jumgle / forest. In other words, virtually no development along most of the Congo's river banks. If this is correct then I think I understand the conditions rather well even though I've never been there, because I have been exposed to similar conditions in the Philippines.

    I suspect that the reason why woodgas is the proposed mateial of choice from which to make fuel is simply because the raw materials are practically free, plentiful, and can be found and made into fuel anywhere along the route that will be established for the boat's regular runs. This means the fuel issue has been resolved in a very effective manner.

    As far as the hulls are concerned, anything other than wood will likely cost substantially more, and will also require skills for manufacture and repair that most of the locals do not have. This suggests that simple canoe type hulls carved out of logs might be the ideal boats for such a service, since even an entirely new hull can be put into use at any time along the route simply by 'ordering one' from the locals and paying for it when they've finished it.

    In terms of engines, the *cheapest* used engines that will run on the available fuel supply will naturally be the best since they will likely be the most common engines in the region anyways -- precisely because they are the cheapest. In a country where capital shortage is endemic there is seldom an option to go with either new or high-tech solutions because the money simply is not available.
     
  7. crazybudjr
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    crazybudjr Junior Member

    Nice

    i have what you need in base of a mold for a boat..unsinkable each spoonson can holld all luggage,and sealed seperate from one another.as is the engine compartment..one mold i have can make a 20 to 30 boat out of this mold....i will biuld you one for slighty above cost and you can pay as you go after a start up fee so the cost is all up to you.....
     
  8. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    What about air balloons for transportation? Canvas tarp, wicker box to stand in and would carry about maybe 10 people or goods at a time. If they don't have money to travel on the road, how are they going to pay to travel by water?

    They need to get each family a small flat bottomed boat to carry their family and goods only. A massive boat would cost too much. A caravan of small boats owned by each family would be safe travel and the goods would get to where they are going. Or a big boat to come and buy the goods and resell it at a small profit would give the family the option to stay at home and still get what they are asking for.

    Maybe a community funded small boat building class would give transportation and community planning of times when the group would travel together to sell in safe crowds and maybe even police to watch and make sure the pirates don't take anything like in Somalia.

    Water is slow moving and it could be just as expensive in the long run, not that the don't need a big boat because if they have monsoons, I don't know this are of the Congo and some areas are constantly flooding, it could save entire villages. If you have a big boat like what he's planning to build, if there is a cost at all, they will try themselves first however much cheaper than the road, some will try on their own to get there.

    He could transport goods to them to sell and they would not have to leave their homes and when he makes more room, he can buy their goods like the egg, milkman, or the icecream trucks in America. People still do this here.

    He definitely knows more about what he needs than me or maybe a lot of people reading, so good luck. The wood gas sounds great, if he has wood. If he's in a jungle and there is no regulation on the trees, he doesn't have a problem with a boat or the gas, he just needs an engine type and plans for the boat. He's got most of it solved. The biofuel caused riots in Haiti because of US corporates buying their foods to make it. That was horrible and dumb, plus very selfish of America and right now world wide I think there is a food shortage, so maybe biofuel is not a good idea unless you have access to land to grow the crops yourself.
     
  9. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    crazybudjr, how much will the shipping cost be from your factory to the Congo for each boat? Is there any installation or assembly work required in the Congo once the hulls arrive there? Who in your factory will be doing this final installation work? Will they bring the required tools and equipment with them?

    Yes this is all tongue in cheek!

    You obviously did not read this thread before you started advertising here ... or if you did you clearly do not understand the goals and limitations of the OP.

    You do not respect the rules of these forums either, because you have not only posted an ad in this thread which is against the rules, but you have also opened a new thread in the design forum so you could post another inappropriate ad there:

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?t=24461

    Look ... if you want to get any business from these forums you're going about it all wrong. Stop ignoring the rules and stop posting in threads where the OP clearly has no use for your services, please.

    :(
     
  10. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    If he really wanted to build some goodwill that might someday lead to some sales, he might consider donating something to the project. To donate means to *give away* without expectation of a return.

    Jimbo
     
  11. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Bangka1.jpg

    A Bangka boatThis looks like a type of boat you may be talking about.

    [​IMG]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:KazungulaFerry.jpg

    This pontoon carries vehicles across water and must hold a lot of people.

    http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/HandPeeling_and_HandHewing_Logs.html

    How to hand hewn and split logs is explained here, so with cheap tools like splitting mauls (wedges pushed into wood to split it at the desired width) and saws, you ucan make professional wood pieces to build a boat instead of hollow it out. Hollowing them out is quick and effective, but it's wasted wood and with split logs you can build bigger boats or to your specifications. It can be made of a cut down dried tree free to you.
     
  12. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    http://gas2.org/2008/05/13/run-your-car-on-wood-no-joke/

    Here's an url for wood gas, but not as charcoal pellets.

    http://www.woodgas.com/

    http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/BioFuel/WoodGas/t0512e00.pdf

    This would work for the real do it yourselfer. You can make your own metal molds to make parts or tools. It would be worth looking into. There is no mention of how bad things are about no communication and resources. If it's hard to buy parts, you can always try to make them from scrap metals, but of course using the right scrap metals that won't be detrimental to your project would be something to consider. If metals are weak and a problem, they could cause more trouble than they are worth.

    http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~dw120996/esp/sand_casting_of_metals.htm

    There are tons of websites and books out on these subjects. You can buy them cheap used if you want to save money and also, you might try to contact local churches to help with funding. There are churches that travel to some parts of Africa for their missions there and you could find local information about it.
     
  13. Bioboat
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    Bioboat Junior Member

    Kengrome, I think you've hit the nail really well on the head. You seem to have a very good grasp of the situation.

    Exactly: the only development you will find are tiny villages with subsistence farmers, starving. And a few big companies in the extractive industries.

    The small farmers can be kept from starving, if only they could get a boat ride to towns and cities, to sell a bit of surplus. Small traders would bring in small goods, to the villages.

    So this is the context indeed.

    Helping the farmers transport food to markets, would be beneficial on a larger level, because urbanites are forced to import food from abroad, which is very expensive. If the small farmers can sell food to their own country-men in the cities, this would be a win-win.

    Indeed.

    1. Diesel and gasoline in a town like Basankusu (1000km upstream from Kinshasa), currently costs up to $3 per liter. ($11.3 per gallon). Obviously, nobody can afford it.

    2. Charcoal pellets made from agricultural residues in Basankusu cost around $0.3 per liter gasonline equivalent ($1.1355/gallon).

    3. Any wood fuel can be used interchangeably (so in case a charcoal pellet business fails or there aren't enough of them yet, we can always rely on wood).

    The large dugout canoes will probably be used first. They're dirt-cheap, manufactured locally, they're rather durable, and in many other countries there's ample proof that it's not too difficult to motorize them.

    Alternatively, or in a later phase, existing old steel boats will be used. There's plenty of boat graveyards in Congo, with boats that aren't dead, but that haven't been used because of a lack of capital. One can buy them on the cheap and repair them. But this would require some expertise (lacks in Congo).

    Exactly. I wouldn't know how to "marinize" a car engine, but there's plenty of them, and small car engines are easy to operate on woodgas.

    It would be very interesting to try to get a big outboard running on woodgas too.
     
  14. Bioboat
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    Bioboat Junior Member

    If the boat you're talking about costs less than $3000 a piece (locally, in Congo, all costs included), then I'm very interested.

    A huge 80ft+ pirogue capable of carrying 60 people, manufactured locally, costs around $3000 in Congo.
     

  15. Bioboat
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    Bioboat Junior Member

    Blackdaisies, I beg to disagree. The US biofuels are not to blame for the mess in which a country like Haiti (or indeed Congo) finds itself.

    Lack of investment in agriculture is to blame.

    In Congo (the world's poorest country, with the world's largest number of malnourished people), there is a truly HUGE capacity to produce food and fuel. But there's no investment.

    Instead, these countries have become dependent on imported food from Europe and the US. The US and Europe like this, and they subsidize their farmers.

    So the poor countries haven't invested in agriculture, and that's why they're so vulnerable to agricultural price shocks.

    Congo has the capacity to produce food for 2 to 3 billion people. But guess what? Today it's a massive food *importer*, dependent on corn from the US, rice from Asia, and wheat from Europe. This is obviously insane. There are 40 million Congolese farmers who should be feeding Africa. Instead, they can't even feed themselves, nor their own urban populations. This is why they're vulnerable to price shocks (resulting from, e.g. corn biofuel in the US).


    The good thing of biofuels is that they have disrupted agricultural markets, with the effect that, for the first time in decades, agriculture in poor countries is back on the agenda. This is exactly what these countries need: investments in farming.

    Obviously, it would be best that the EU and the US abandon their own biofuels industries, because their fuels are inefficient. It's 10 times more efficient to make these fuels from crops like sugarcane. Better still would be to use solid biomass to generate electricity to power electric cars (using solid biomass for cogeneration can be up to 3 times more efficient than converting it into a liquid fuel).


    One last point: I would not be using wood for the gasifier. I would be using charcoal pellets, made from agricultural residues. (See opening post). The rainforest is too precious and shouldn't be cut down (even though the farmers slash-and-burn their way through it on a daily basis).

    Using charcoal pellets made from crop residues, used in gasifiers, would be the best compromise between limiting the pressure on the environment, and helping people develop.

    Remember, there are no electric boats capable of working in this environment; solar-powered boats are also obviously too costly; and fossil fuels are way too expensive.

    These people want to develop. And we can try to do it in a sustainable and cost-effective way, with minimal impacts on the environment.
     
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