Sunday, 27 December 2009

Sunday 27th December 09

Another late morning but a peaceful one.

I spent time on LinkedIn, replying to a topic posted on '' by a guy who's developed a technology which converts 'waste' (his terminology) to 'SynGas', a type of pyrolysis or gasification, a way of heating materials and getting a fuel off them. I am a proponent of materials recycling, keeping plastic as plastic, agricultural wastes as solid carbon (and sequestering it in soil as compost), rather than converting it to something which will power cars or electricity generation... and releasing that carbon into the air. I also feel that having a constant market for these materials, to feed incinerators, will skew the economics for recyclable materials. For instance, (purely hypothetically) if it costs £100 per tonne to take plastic bottles to a recycling plant and render them into a new product, and a 'waste to energy' plant pays £10 a tonne for the same material, which is the local authority more likely to do? I don't have a problem with renewable materials (like agricultural wastes) being used for power generation, and I'm particularly interested in anaerobic digestion, which gives methane or natural gas, plus a digestate which can be composted and added to soils. BUT this can only replace our fossil fuel addiction if we rapidly cut the amount of energy and resources we are consuming. The 'Energy from Waste' proponents just want to replace coal power stations with rubbish powered ones. They are not in the game of radical reduction in energy use, per se. However, many of the people involved are in fact keen greens and support concepts such as permaculture and low carbon technologies.

Interesting discussions and hopefully some mutual awareness raising.

During the afternoon I finally got outside to bring logs from the back up to the front to rebuild the logpile on the left of the door... and we've nearly used all the pile on the right, so hardly any really dry logs left. We've plenty of old dry wood, but it's been outside on pallets and has had a wet winter's worth of rain and snow on it. It will burn, but best if it has a few weeks in the dry first. I'm stacking some round the stoves to flash-dry them... although this process reduces the warmth coming into the room somewhat, as the heat on the damp logs is used to evaporate moisture, not left as 'free' heat.

I had rescued a tray of slightly shriveled kiwi fruit from one of the shops before Christmas and today I managed to peel and slice quite a few of them to dry. I did 5 for a fruit salad and about 20 on racks on the stove. I helped Gill prepare the meal... rice and assorted veg, roast Turk's turban squash, and some felafel.

I watched a very interesting programme about how people who were affected by the tsunami felt about their faith. Despite my being an agnostic, I'm really interested in what people believe and why. This programme was good as some had come through the event without questioning God, some had questioned their faith, one person who had lost their entire family said she hated God for doing it. There were some who blamed 'Karma' for the loss of innocent lives... it was fascinating.

I got a phone call from my sister which was most welcome. I am so lucky to have the support of my siblings. They both have very different qualities and attributes, and I'm grateful for them both being in my life, and supportive and loving.

I had a long facebook instant messaging chat with a friend in Germany who is going through some difficult times. It feels good to be able to offer some support there.

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