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GaryD

Converting tree biomass into food and fuel.

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Hi,

 

Luke Boshier.....and Abe (Velacreations).....are engaged in some interesting work.

 

Here's the post that Luke made that caught my attention......

 

One of the projects has been converting mountains of Eucalyptus waste biomass (sawdust) into food and biofuel. After much work with Mycelium (inspired a lot by Abe of Velacreations) i used Oyster mushrooms to break down the liginin of the biomass and get to the Hemicellulose and Cellulose matter. I then built an Enzymatic Hydrolisis reactor (fancy words for first phase digestion) to liquify the feedstock ready for fermentation and distillation. the results have been fantastic and the world is opening up for all sorts of by potential. I have my eye on a 100 hector farm which has a 50% heavy Alien presence, mostly Port Jackson and Spider gum. The project involves turning the vegetation into kilowatts and kilojoules and then converting into currency in order to purchase the land.

 

Looking at building fun things like gassifiers and digesters as well as the usual integrated food systems to make the whole project part of a quest for total sovereignty. I am setting up internet on the land so will be able to post updates and look forward to interacting with the Aquaponics Nation community for all your valuable info.

 

In a subsequent post, Luke suggested that......

 

I have requested Kellen a "sustainable living" or something along those lines in the Sustainable section, perhaps i was pushing my luck! or perhaps you can suggest the right place to put this project?

 

 

While we wait for Kellen to notice what we're up to, I'm happy to host a discussion in the Microponics forum.  Stuff like this is what underpins Microponics.

 

So, folks......have at it!   This is where we discuss hydrolysis, bio-digestion of tree biomass, mycelium and all of that good stuff.

 

Luke, can we start with an overview of what's possible when it comes to using wood chips and sawdust?

 

Gary

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Hi Gary,

 

first off so sorry Mate, i have been so engrossed in my work that i have shut out most of the world around me. Wife and kids doing their nut- but am taking the weekend off to go camping with them up the coast and catch ourselves some Lobster!

 

In the hard board and ceiling board world wood-chip has a roll to play but there is little place left for sawdust. Mountains of the stuff are piling up and many countries have legislation which prohibits this. The main problem with composting it, is breaking down the lignin. Lignin is the hard cellulose wall which protects the Cellulose and hemicellulose biomass that is essentially different forms of sugar monomers. Hemicellulose is easier to hydrolyze (break up the polymers, or liquify the biomass) than Cellulose which is crystalline. Hydrolysis is the first of four processes in Biodigestion and is basically an oxygen free environment at around body temperature (37'C). The enzymes that work in this environment shorten the polymers and essentially turn it into glucose rich liquid. This liquid can be fermented into biofuel and even distilled into ethenol. Other uses are feedstock, to create animal feed in many different forms from algae to BSF feed to just about anything - its all about the food chain!

 

White Rot Fungi is natures way of breaking down lignin, in our case we use Oyster mushroom spawn. Whats left after this process is called spent substrate (full of kilowatts and kilojoules). There is a belief that White rot fungi was responsible for the end of oil/coal production as the energy stored in the lignin polymers petrified in the rotting wood which no longer occurs. At the same time if used correctly white rot fungi gives us a much quicker access to this valuable resource. large refineries use pyrolysis and catalytic chemicals to "crack" the lignin, this is expensive and very unstable. Growing mushrooms is far more pleasurable and profitable.

 

I have been using Australian Port jackson wood-chip very successfully and eucalyptus sawdust. I would like to point out that traditional Oyster Mushroom growers try to get a weight conversion ratio of 1:1 between substrate and mushroom production. This is usually done by using a chemical cocktail that balancers all sorts of necessary ingredients in their substrate, i get a about 1-1,5kg mushroom fruit per 3kg pure Port Jackson or eucalyptus, but there are no chemicals and i do not pay for it.

 

This is only the beginning phase but i think a good start for now, i will try answer any questions with in my experiencers (as soon as i get back). I have made loads of wonderful mistakes which have been costly, frustrating and totally worth it-  as the learning has been incredible!

 

much regards Luke

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Hi Luke,

 

first off so sorry Mate, i have been so engrossed in my work that i have shut out most of the world around me.

 

No problem, mate.....but we have to get this stuff out there in case you fall victim to lions or tigers.....or (the much more dangerous creature).....the wife!

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend.

 

In the hard board and ceiling board world wood-chip has a roll to play but there is little place left for sawdust. Mountains of the stuff are piling up and many countries have legislation which prohibits this. The main problem with composting it, is breaking down the lignin. Lignin is the hard cellulose wall which protects the Cellulose and hemicellulose biomass that is essentially different forms of sugar monomers. Hemicellulose is easier to hydrolyze (break up the polymers, or liquify the biomass) than Cellulose which is crystalline. Hydrolysis is the first of four processes in Biodigestion and is basically an oxygen free environment at around body temperature (37'C). The enzymes that work in this environment shorten the polymers and essentially turn it into glucose rich liquid. This liquid can be fermented into biofuel and even distilled into ethenol. Other uses are feedstock, to create animal feed in many different forms from algae to BSF feed to just about anything - its all about the food chain!

 

 

So, hydrolysis is about putting the tree biomass into an airtight container (fitted with an airlock) and filling it with water. Right?

 

Any particular proportions of tree waste to water?

 

How long does it take for the hydrolysis to occur at 37oC?

 

White Rot Fungi is natures way of breaking down lignin, in our case we use Oyster mushroom spawn. Whats left after this process is called spent substrate (full of kilowatts and kilojoules). There is a belief that White rot fungi was responsible for the end of oil/coal production as the energy stored in the lignin polymers petrified in the rotting wood which no longer occurs. At the same time if used correctly white rot fungi gives us a much quicker access to this valuable resource. large refineries use pyrolysis and catalytic chemicals to "crack" the lignin, this is expensive and very unstable. Growing mushrooms is far more pleasurable and profitable.

 

 

So, once the hydrolysis has happened we inoculate the solids out of the digester with the spawn.  Is the spawn naturally occurring or do you buy it in from somewhere?

 

I agree that growing mushrooms is a much better idea.


I have been using Australian Port jackson wood-chip very successfully and eucalyptus sawdust. I would like to point out that traditional Oyster Mushroom growers try to get a weight conversion ratio of 1:1 between substrate and mushroom production. This is usually done by using a chemical cocktail that balancers all sorts of necessary ingredients in their substrate, i get a about 1-1,5kg mushroom fruit per 3kg pure Port Jackson or eucalyptus, but there are no chemicals and i do not pay for it.

 

I can access mulched tree lopping waste.....and when I mow my block it's a good mix of green grass and largely Eucalyptus leaves and twigs.  Are either/both of those what we're looking for?

 

Gary

Edited by GaryD (see edit history)

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NOOOO, sorry Mate had to apply the ABS on this.

 

First chip the Tree Biomass (woody stuff) 

Then allow to dry - time depends on conditions

Soak substrate in water overnight then allow to drip dry for about 6 hours

I put the substrate into 3kg plastic bags

Pasteurize substrate at about 78'C for 4 hours, let it cool down to around 30-32'C

Inoculate with Spawn, tricky process that must be done in very sterile environment

Incubate for 2-3 weeks in about 24'C pitch dark environment

(After about 3-4 days the mycelium should start running, i like to put fine holes in to allow some oxygen)

Once bag turns pretty much white, expose to either below 16'C for short time or 12 hours bright light to shock mycelium into fruiting

Can put larger holes in at this point and watch for pinning

Can fruit up to three times

re-chip spent substrate, will go into a fine fluffy compost

I then put it into Enzymic Hydrolysis reactor

I add everyday and get liquid out every day, which i ferment

Need to get a bit more scientific for you on time data will pursue

 

You can feed the fine spent substrate to BSF and skip the hydrolysis 

Spawn should be very easily located just about everywhere - going to have to consult the Oracle (Google) on this one!

You preferably wont wood chips, and can add a bit of straw (15%) to counter contamination as the mycelium takes to the straw quickly 

 

I am off up country to do some consultation work, but will follow this up with a pictorial step-by-step process on my return.

 

Much regards Luke

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Thanks Luke......that's clear enough.

 

Abe....up to the mycelium stage, this appears to be pretty much what you do for mushroom production. Right?   Did I read somewhere where you skip the pasteurisation stage?

 

Gary

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Shame this has thread has died - or was it continued elsewhere?

 

 I want to start using woodchips to crate a fines mycofilter in my barra RAS system, which is in an enclosed EPS panel room at 24 degs C with subsequent high humidity.  Hopefully this would be ideal for the mycelium growing stage.

 

 I have already created the woodchip filter using shopping baskets with coreflute down the sides to direct all water to the bottom and a coreflute distribution plate (with lots of holes in) on top to evenly spread the water across the top.  They worked well as fines filters, though also as a gnat breading ground.  I'm thinking the sterilization stage would stop this.  The shopping baskets sit ontop of the IBC fish tanks and can easily be taken out, so I'm, thinking I could grow the mycelium for 3 weeks, then remove them and place outside to trigger fruiting and put another one in.

 

However I'm not sure if I can get away with constant water running through, or if it should be intermittent and how much flow rate (litres per m2) I can push through the filter.  

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Hi Matt,

 

I built several mycofilters a few years back and certainly had the best results coming from my winter trout system. Your room sounds perfect but you could need to drop the temp briefly for the mycelium to start fruiting, of course this does depend on the variety. Winter was best as it countered the gnat problem, not even sterilization of feedstock will help in this regard. The water does tend to create its own path (of least resistance) through the filter but this was not a problem as the mycelium web is so intricate that it remained moist through out constantly. All the systems i had running on mycofilters were constant run through, 2.5 liters if i remember. I recall having a separate diversion for the water to the filter and played around till it looked happy. Colour, sound and smell of the water were remarkably improved by the filtration. The fruit themselves were very different from normally grown mushroom as the water made them heavier and had an odd texture, once fried up were delicious though!!

 

My attention did change to processing biomass with fast hydrogen pyrolysis where i am able to produce 95% pure biochar- as a filter medium i find it unparalleled not to mention using the carbon in my soil systems and gardens once inoculated with fish effluent is out of this world!

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Thanks Luke - Biochar is the other thing on my list - i like the idea of charging and activating it by using it as a filter.  I wanted to make a TLUD stove I could cook on and to make biochar with - seen a nice stump design using two gas cylinders...

 

http://biocharindustries.com/store/products/biochar-stumpy-stove-tlud/

 

so many projects, so little time!!   

 

Was the 2.5 Liters you mentioned per hour or per minute?  Sounds like I'd have gnat problems all year - if I had a species that ate them it may not be so bad, though in the absence of that, the extra protein going into the system when they would all hatch and drown would create foaming issues.  I'll try some oysters and see how I go....

 

Also, Is it possible to keep adding new layers of (sterile) substrate after fruiting to keep the system going - or alternatievly, if I mix some of the established substrate from the filter with newly sterilized substrate will that work?  I'm thinking of using barley straw first then moving on to woodchips (street tree prunings - so a mix of species of tree)

 

Cheers

Matt

Edited by mattyoga (see edit history)

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Here is my new mobile unit in action Senfore Mobile Unit Demonstration

 

i am able to cut, chop and process the biomass on its own energy. In this video i am only running a 6kva genset on about 2% of its energy potential.

 

enjoy!

Edited by lukeboshier (see edit history)

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Luke,

That was awesome! Do you think i could process dried horse manure and pine shaving bedding in this machine. As i have posted on other threads in this sight i have a horse boarding operation with 34 horses. Needless to say i have a lot of this stuff. Currently it is piling up and is a nuisance. If i could process it into biochar to spread in the orchard that would be a great addition to our small farm.

 

Jens 

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Hi Jens, 

 

yes very much so, you should pelletize the horse litter first then try get the moisture content down to less than 20% for best results. you could use the heat generated from the machine to achieve this. 

 

regards luke

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Luke,

What would i use to pellitize the horse litter and where would i get one or both of these machines. I am also curious as to the emisions. Here in California the state can be a little picky about what and when you burn.

Thanks a million for your input into this thread and topic. Great to see!

 

Jens

Edited by Jcnielsen4 (see edit history)

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a half inch palletizing machine can be bought/ordered from an agricultural supply store, failing which Alibaba seems to have the monopoly on .. um everything!

The machine is my own i am busy hooking it up to a rotary motor then into a 200KVA double bearing alternator, once it is tried and tested we can look at crossing the Atlantic, i know Gary is keen for it down under too. 

 

excess hydrogen gas is burnt off, the CO2 is caught in its solid state and returned to the earth as Biocarbon 

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