Newbie needs cost estimate: woodgas people transporter

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

  1. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "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."

    To actually be allowed to develop they will probably need to change their gov.
     
  2. Bioboat
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    Bioboat Junior Member

    Yes, but in order to have the political power and collective intelligence needed to change their government, they first need to develop a bit. :)

    Starving people don't take to the streets to change their government. They starve in their huts, in silence.
     
  3. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Ever see "The African Queen"?

    Now they sell working scale models of her.

    I doubt it would be terribly expensive to re-produce the engine.

    The trick will be charming a machine shop owner into knocking out a few key parts for cheap or free.

    The engine should be simple enough that even an amateur could 're-invent the wheel' with SolidWorks.

    Just make the boat 'close enough' to the one in the movie and you might get some sponsers.

    Maybe two or more boats if one wouldn't be enough.

    How big were you thinking to begin with?

    Maybe a "African Queen" with enough power to tow a barge.
     
  4. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    I wonder if churches in the area try to start community gardens? Community planning would be the best thing to help these people. Transportation is definitely necessary to accomplish all of that. Everything's expensive in the middle of a jungle if you order something. No mail service is alienating. It's bad enough they overcharge to drive the roads. Simple dirt roads would be enough and maybe they will allow you to organize volunteers to create roads, so to avoid the big ones costing so much.

    I hope they don't take over the waterways. Things are bad enough. What about horses? People used to capture live animals like deer, elk, and rams to pull plows to get help for their gardens. If you can collect wild food to feed them and raise them to obey the farmers to pull a plow, gardening on a large scale would be possible. You can also get contracts from neighboring countries to buy the goods from the farmers and they may come to the farmer himself to get it. What neighboring countries near Africa would be interested in exporting your goods? They can supply their own boats and your boat can have time to be built, carved, or hollowed out with coal.

    I wish you luck and this is important, so maybe if you write around others might join with you. It's a big task. You pirogues sound perfect for the job. They are quick to make, will carry a lot of people and goods.

    Charcoal pellets are made from being baked in a pan? It takes wood to make charcoal. I've read up on how they make charcoal not wood gas pellets, but it seems it takes double the amount of wood. This type of stove can burn anything including logs, so that is good for you.

    I really wouldn't be worried too much about the rain forests to be honest. If people cared so much about those trees, they would supply transportation. I don't feel as sorry for the trees as I do the people.

    If you don't already have this url, here it is. It sounds like everything you were talking about and they have pamphlets on each subject.

    http://www.ssrsi.org/sr2/Indust/charcoal.htm
     
  5. NordicFolkboat
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    NordicFolkboat Junior Member

    What is the price and availability of crude oil in Congo? This should probably be a last resort due to environmental effects, but what about a hot bulb engine?

    Should be reliable and easy to fix, as long as you get enough dinosaur juice for it.
     
  6. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    This site has some great do it yourself power equipment for farming, yard work, and other things and I found the steam engine plans in there under the general workshop category, so I gave the direct url to it. I just thought you might find other things there you might need.

    http://www.vintageprojects.com/

    http://www.vintageprojects.com/workshop-general.html

    You say you don't have anyone to service the steam engine areas, but a class or two would fix that. You and a friend might get people together and teach them how to repair what ever engine you decide to use, wood gas burning, steam, motor, etc.. They would benefit from the class, so to make money when other's need repairs.

    You can get lots of used books to use to teach yourselves and then how to repair anything.

    Another website I found about wood gas:
    http://members.tripod.com/~highforest/woodgas/woodfired.html

    About air balloons:

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/hot-air-balloon.htm/printable

    http://www.dreambuiltdesigns.com/hotairballoon.php
     
  7. NordicFolkboat
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    NordicFolkboat Junior Member

    One very important thing to think about with woodgas: Carbon monoxide poisoning. A leak in the system could be deadly to the passengers!

    CO2 detectors will be necessary. At least it's lighter than air, so it won't accumulate in the bilge.
     
  8. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Yes - I found that
    "With its 1 3/4" cylinder bore and 1" piston stroke, and with 75 or 80 Ib. of steam in its boiler, the little engine will turn over at 1,500 r.p.m. Actual power will depend much on the boiler used and on the workmanship in the engine itself. "

    Hardly a powerhouse of brute force! You would need a Metal Lathe and a full workshop to build it. Note how information on Boilers is in a separate URL. You will never get amateur plans for a boiler. Its about a year of classes just to use a Metal Lathe effectively.

    You would be better off with a 6hp ouboard than this.

    It doesnt hurt to dream, but I think the guy is looking for serious commercial solutions.
     
  9. Filmdaddy

    Filmdaddy Previous Member

    rwatson... "serious commercial solutions"! I totally agree. Bioboat is looking for a low-tech, ultra-low cost, totally home-built and home-repairable system, using found machinery and materials, and he already had a coherent and appropriate concept for fuel and refueling. All of the suggestions here are good, but not for this particular question. I mean, I'm expecting somebody to suggest a steel hull with a nuclear powerplant swiped from the US Navy next. Or bought at an Army Navy store.

    Concrete (ferro cement) construction is cheaper and easier to build with an unskilled work force, is impervious to rot and insects (they're in the jungle, remember) and is fireproof. Which are all good things. Wood gas has worked in the past, and can work splendidly in the Congo.

    Bioboat... kudos, wonderful concept, work for your country and the people, and God speed.
     
  10. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    Concrete is not waterproof believe it or not. You have to have primers and all, but the ferro cement mixture of sand and porland cement maybe different. He will still have to buy some type of commercial covering even for concrete.

    Wood boats can be oiled down with fish oil. That is how most natives kept their boats waterproof. Concrete increases strength with age, though and it is spread about a little less than an inch over 4 layers of chicken wired attached together, then lined with metal rods every 6 inches or what ever, and then topped with 2 more layers of chicken wire. There are beams added into boats over 25 feet or less even. Depends on what type of boat you are building. You can build concrete canoes, but a boat more complicated and longer, you need to find better directions on how to add framing for support.

    The concrete has to be handled special by that they have to spray it, so it won't dry to fast. You would have to buy the book or the plans. Hartley plans says you don't need a book to build their plans. It comes with that, but they have a book explaining the method.

    If he's going to make a cheap good boat, he should go with traditional easily obtainable boat materials anyway. I don't think these people will want to float on concrete and may fear their lives being on one. It's just a good option for a cheap boat and every country sells portland cement, or so I thought. You can also make your own cement by grinding stone, but there are commercial sproducts added, so you would have to be a chemist to make the portland cement itself. Really not if you understand the names of the ingredients, but still a man in the middle of the forest has trees that are free to use as either building material or wood. The systems I gave for that type of stove weren't rocket science. Some guy even ran his pickup truck with it, but not a boat. A boat engine is much different. Something about taking the coolant water tubes through the water? I don't know.

    He needs to talk with a professional boat builder in his area who has access to what ever material that is really available easily. I thought I hit on some sites for Bioboat, but how will you know until he looks them over.
     
  11. Filmdaddy

    Filmdaddy Previous Member

    blackdaisies... nothing is absolutely waterproof. But concrete can be made as nearly waterproof as any other material that allows you to construct a big boat in the middle of the jungle. Probably more waterproof.

    Wood, yeah, wood is great, but green wood is not so good. Also as I suggested, wood is tasty for a lot of nasties, subject to rot, and burns really well. These are all bad things for a long-term boat being used in the most impoverished nation in the world.

    I've never heard of fish oil waterproofing. Of course, there's a lot of things I haven't heard of. But I would have thought that fish oil would be more valuable as food in an impoverished nation.

    The biggest problem, though with wood, IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, is that building a boat big enough to meet Bioboy's requirements requires dry, straight lumber, trained carpenters and lots of hardware. It isn't as easy as cutting down a few plywood trees.

    Ferrocrete is a very viable technique for this project. (I would think that a simple barge hull would be easiest and most practical not only to build, but also to operate).

    Iron pipe/rebar and chicken wire or a regionally appropriate substitute can be found anywhere. Concrete is the most ubiquitous man-made material (including lumber) in the world.

    So the rebar or water pipe is set up, welded or tied together to define the basic size and design of the hull, and chicken wire is wired to the framework. Spraying concrete onto the ferrocrete scaffold isn't required. It is simpler and easier to hand-lay the concrete from both sides of the hull at the same time. In fact, it's probably better to do it that way, given a little supervision.

    Anybody who has built adobe or wattle understands the process and can do acceptable plaster work on a hull. It is a 'mud hut' technique that is easy to learn, intrinsically understandable, and can provide an absolutely appropriate hull for Bioboy's stated purpose in less time than any other technique that he can access economically.

    If the concrete is plastered from both sides, and the boat is... ideally... finished in one session, there will be no joints, and you will have a solid, long-lasting ferry-boat hull.

    If I read Bioboy right, he isn't interested in trees as wood OR fuel. He's using agricultural waste to manufacture charcoal. It's a lot smarter, and a lot greener, to do that than hew the forests.

    With respect, Sweden and Finland ran every type of motor vehicle... including boats... on wood gas during the Second World War. The technology is clearly understood, has advanced, and is being investigated by many governments - including the US Goverment - as a viable alternative to imported oil.

    And, as has been debated fiercely on this site, the differences between truck motors and marine motors is ESSENTIALLY cosmetic. A truck motor can be marinized with ease and economy. Or even, as has been postulated by forum members around the world, used without making one single change. There are mechanical elements that have to be incorporated, like thrust bearings, but finding or making them is not a problem large enough to invalidate the concept.

    And, finally, with regard to the safety of CO emissions, a point which has been raised in other parts of this thread, CO is lighter than air. As long as the generator and motor are open to the environment (protected from the weather, of course), the CO will rise and dissipate without danger. Come on, I mean, we use one of the most dangerous fuels in the world in the millions of liters every day, and no one insists that we stop using gasoline.
     
  12. NordicFolkboat
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    NordicFolkboat Junior Member

    A ferrocement hull makes the most sense to me as well. It doesn't really have to be fast, efficient or good-looking, but it has to be built and repaired with unskilled labour and be able to take lots of abuse. Africa isn't exactly known for high maintenance standards.

    How well does a ferrocement hull stand up to neglect compared to steel? Wood is obviously out of the question, and so is aluminium.
     
  13. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    I agree on ferrocrete, but when I said spraying, I meant with water as a mist over the layed concrete. I read that, but don't know the process, just know with concrete they do that and it improves the strength of the concrete. I think it sound much easier than cutting wood and fitting it correctly, using nails, and purchasing wood water proofing products. But if the region has never heard of a concrete boat, would they be willing to put them and their children on it?

    I am looking to build a ferro crete is why I mentioned it to him. I wonder why a pontoon boat isn't the best design for him anwy ways. It holds more people and supplies than any type of boat, even a catamaran plan would do. You can buy pontoons and catamarans for cheap and put them together as you like. They have less water wetted surface and are easier to push through the water with even the lowest motor for it's size. I'm not saying by a small engine and force it to push a big boat, but you will use less fuel with a multihull any way you look at it.
     
  14. blackdaisies
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    blackdaisies Senior Member

    Also, if he pre-plans his boat for a year from now, or when he's supposed to have this done, it will be dry. You can smoke it dry if not with the leftover branches from the tree cutting to shorten the time. The wood won't be as strong as air dried, but it won't be decayed by accidental environmental factors.

    I"ve always heard to cut the wood down in the winter when the sap is down to make better lumber, but someone here says in spring. During the winter the sap goes lower and then it's good fire wood. They say firewood cut in the spring burns very bad.

    He's talking about burning out a log traditional in the area, and using it like many of the boats are. He showed photos of them and they look like good boats. Waterproofing them can also be done with Kerosene. I read they soak their posts for pole houses in it. Can't think of any websites right now, but I read it in a book.

    It's a thought, but he's not going to build with wood, just do it the old fashioned indian and african way by using charcoal to hollow the log out. Also don't forget the metals between the concrete are subject to rusting. That is why so many people hate concrete boats. They have to have them x-rayed to prove they are safe, so if you don't waterproof, you will have some deteriorating. Chicken wire not treated is what you are looking for. I think it's zinc that is the chemical they cover the chicken wire with and you can't use it for concrete building.

    Also I think it's cedar that is water resistant, many traditional boats are made from them because they found out that type of wood rotted less in the water.
     

  15. NordicFolkboat
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    NordicFolkboat Junior Member

    From that standpoint steel may actually be a better material, simply because it's more obvious when and where it needs to be repaired. Question is; will anyone bother repairing it? Whatever the material, good management is really important!
     
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