The Methane Midden: Epic Shit & Jean Pain Composting

Jean Pain was a visionary in the Provence region of  France during the 1970’s.  He was charged with protecting over a thousand of acres of woodland from fire, but his quick and able mind, love of life long learning, and a deep concern for the future of our Earth led him to accomplish something much more indeed.  Jean Pain spent a decade working through the techniques of a fantastic system to use the ever renewable waste brush from his woods into life giving humus. But then Jean took it to a entirely new level – he began to heat water in his compost piles, enough that he heated greenhouses and his own home.  Never content to sit on his laurels, he then began studying up on methane production- and he put a batch methane digester into his piles to use the “waste” heat from the bio-reactions to provide the ideal environment for methane production.  Before he died, his techniques had reached a level that he was able to produce methane and hot water for up to 18 months – enough for two winters – while also powering his truck, cooking, and producing electricity with the methane gas. My favorite part? No special machines, just a deep understanding of Permaculture before the word was even coined.  Partner with Nature to meet your needs.

Jean Pain was a visionary, but his techniques, if anything, are too simple.  Let me explain. They are not sexy at all.  Try writing for a grant to heat water with rotting garbage while going up against a Solar Hot Water array or a wind turbine, let alone algal biodiesel or whatever comes next.  Compost heat doesn’t create jobs; doesn’t need research studies and cannot be outsourced so it has no place in the Global Economy.  Know what?  Neither do I .  Jean Pain is a hero of mine for doing something that no one cared about because he knew it was just so very right and would be necessary to help save us from ourselves.  I read an awesome quote this week that pushed me over.

The time has come to do Epic Shit.”

-Larry Santoyo, Permaculturist

Right f/king on Santoyo!  Let’s do this!

Last week I scored a dump truck load of VERY green chipped mulch.  The rest is now history.  This project is going from drawing board to reality far quicker than I typically work, in fact the next step is typically being formulated as I am driving the wheelbarrow on the step I am currently on.  I knew I was going to do it at my home – that meant keeping it tight on space, visually acceptable, and must fit into the current plan.  Finally, it was to be a temporary structure – 6 months at most.  So I ended up with a 12×10 foot print using straw bales to contain the mulch.  Why Straw?  It has structural rigidity, is a great insulator, but also breathes.  The 16″ thick bales would contain the pile into tight angular dimensions and keep the dogs and kids from knocking the pile down.  The insulation would help me get away with only a 2′ thick compost layer around rather than the 3′ I would have preferred if I had more space and material. The following with be a pictorial journey through the afternoon today – with the help of my friend Kevin, we completed this in about 4 hours.

First I prepped the ground by removing a perennial bed that had succumbed to quack grass.  I chopped the ground up with a mattock as much because the quack needed punishing, but also because a mattock is possibly my favorite tool to use of all time.   Then leveled it with some old wood chips to make it look pretty.



10x12 - in the background you can see the chips soaking in their bins.


Next up was to lay down some temporary weed barrier for the quack, and start building the sides.  Gods do I love to build with straw – so fast!


Bales are on end to save space and stitched together with 2' pieces of rebar for some rigidity.


Next up was to throw some mulch down to hold the cardboard pallet slips down, and then put the two steel 55 gallon drums in place.  The drums will act as the batch digesters.


Now the Methane Midden is really taking shape - Woot!


With the digesters in place, it was time to put in the heat exchanger.  Compost will heat up ALOT.  The material for this project was at 140 degrees 3 days ago before we broke down the pile to soak it.  Methane production occurs between 85 and about 103 degree.  Over about 105 the bacteria start to die off, 101 is about peak production.  Jean Pain figured out that you needed to cool the digerster tanks, so he pumped water through a hose wrapped around the tanks.  So I bought 240′ to augment the one hose I could spare.  After cooling the tanks, the hose is then laid out throughout the pile to absorb some of the heat from the composting, so the exit water is up to pile temp, typically 130-150 degrees!


290' of hose wrapping the two barrels, then we threw in 8" of soaked mulch and laid on our first row of heat exchanger.


The hose is essential to pull the heat from the pile, and it takes a 60′ hose laid out like this to make one lap of the composting layout.  I did absolutely no math on this point, the hoses come in 60′ chunks and we laid them out to make one fit per layer.  I figured 6-8″ between layers should be enough to both heat the water in the hoses, but not too little that the water pulls so much heat that the bio-reaction is slowed.  Time will tell is my intuition was off.

Here we are about 75% done, laying the fourth and final “rung” of heat exchanger:


Isn't it GORGEOUS?! This project just feels so right!


That is about as far as we got today.  I ran out of mulch about half way through the next layer.  I will finish the pile alternating leaves and grass clippings.  Would like it to be mounded over the top of the digesters about 8″ and will then cap the entire pile with either straw or mulch for insulation and to prevent evaporation.

Some items that maynot be evident in the photos.  The heat echanger is set up counterflow.  That means that the coldest water enters at the top of the barrels- which is where the slurry should be warmest, and then runs through the 290′ of hose around the digesters.  At that point it is at the bottom of the pile, at which point it climbs 4 “rungs” of 60′ hose laid out about every 8″ through the pile.  Total hose length is 530′  for no reason other than that was what it took to do the above and “make it look right” – no fancy math here, just intution.

Still have some very serious issues to overcome on how to store the methane, and some minor ones on plumbing the tubing.  I am good friends with the head of our village’s waste treatment plant and he is keen to see this project work.  Had him over for a beer as I put the last of the mulch on, we have some ideas that appear workable.  We do have some time – it will take about a week for the pile to hit peak temp and a few more days to heat the water in the drums.  Then we add the slurry, plumb in some tubing to take away the methane, start taking temp readings, and put up the “No Smoking!” signs.

“The time has come to do Epic Shit!”

Help fund the Methane Midden: Pledge to my Kickstarter project!

Be the Change!


67 Responses

  1. Man you are awesome! What a great system, I want to do this. The photos really help me get a better idea of how you are building this, thanks for taking the time to take them. That’s often thing I don’t do as I’m working, and I should.

    I’ve never heard of Jean Pain, but I’m going to find out more now. He sounds like my kinda guy! Any books or websites you recommend on or by him?

    Love the quote by Santoyo! I’m going to write that on my wall!

    • Donna, sent you his book as a PDF – its long out of print, but available online in a few spots. Even if you skip the methane part (most dangerous and diffcult) making hot water out of these is very simple. Jean’s techniques of soaked, green brush should allow for a much longer composting time, meaning more hot water per hour building. 6 months would be my goal from this pile – about as long as out heating season here in SW Wisconsin. 🙂

  2. This rocks. What comes out of the barrels at the end? Will the wood chips be completely digested, or do you end up with squishy wood chips?

    Any ideas about doing this on a smaller scale? I’m thinking of doing a mythbusters-type experiment with my kids to make compost explode.

    • thanks Matt. Not entirely sure what will come out, I would expect the chips to be, erm, “chippy” still as fungus breaks them down – typically the lignin will be too much for them. I think it should scale down well – though temp maintenance will be harder with a smaller mass, though control will be easier.

      • >“chippy” still

        You might be pleasantly surprised. My cold dry compost pile eats 1/8″ diameter twigs in about a year, with no structure remaining. Six months might be plenty, given consistently high moisture, temperature, and oxygen: I think there’s a niche for an organism that lives deep between wood fibers, and collects nitrogen from the chip’s surface.

        If it stays hot for so long, there must be *something* providing calories, right? Why not lignin?

      • Consider innoculating the outside of your wood chip pile with mushroom spores. Google -Paul Stamets- or oyster mushroom spore. Having an Oyster mushroom banquet would be a pretty cool outcome. Kids do like explosions but the idea that compost explodes is probably not one you want to push. Besides capturing and igniting methane from a digester needs to be done very carefully. Methane and CO2 is fine but add a little O2 and you’ve got a big problem.

      • Good idea on the mushrooms – I have a bunch of winter squash growing on it now, but mushrooms would play nice with them. Just so happens I have some spawn growing at the farm…

        I am very aware, and concerned about, the dangers of the methane digesters in a subdivision, let alone in a yard with two curious kids of my own. That is why we are going to produce methane once, and only a few cu meters, and then dismantle the digesters and convert them to water heaters.

        Thanks for the idea!

  3. So. Freakin. Cool. Trying to figure out how I could make use of that kind of heat at my place…

    • 🙂

      Pretty sure you has a greenhouse that needs heat and C02… Planning a hot water only version of this in one stall of my two car attached garage. this winter to heat my first floor using a series of salvaged radiators from Chevy 350 v-8’s mounted in the hallway and some computer fans to push the heat around. Dead serious.

      • >salvaged radiators from Chevy 350 v-8′s…and some computer fans

        That is exquisitely cool. (Well, kinda warm…whatever.)

        If you document this build, be sure to send a link to Hack A Day: they love that sort of stuff. They don’t really focus on alt-energy, but they have a thing for home automation, and I think the convergence of auto + boxen scrap would really get them excited.

      • Contact me if you want some old industrial steam heater units. These are like large radiators with 240 volt fans on them. In their original use a boiler would create steam, the steam would be piped to the heater, the fan would blow cooler air across the fins thus transfering the heat to the surrounding space. For a low tech use like this I think you could pump warm water through them while they are on their sides and extract heat or perhaps just put a small box fan behind them.

  4. Great documentation. Can’t wait to see your results.

  5. […] nature to supply you with 130-150 degree hot water? [Onestraw] shows you how to get just that by building a compost heap that heats water. Finding himself the proud owner of a dump truck of green wood chips [Onestraw] went about building […]

  6. I am curious about a few things. What volume of water are you able to push through the pile? By knowing the volume and temperature gradient, you can make a guess at the heat output that the pile has. Additionally, do you know how much energy the water pump is using?

    I find this project interesting because it provides a fairly simple form of heat. If the energy output is high enough, it might be possible to leverage the temperature gradient between the pile and the outside world (air/ground) to generate electricity.

    • My pump (standard Clearwater 1″ from Harbor Freight $30) will max out at 650 gph, but that is way more than I expect the pile will heat. For the first runs I will just use the hose – which is pressurized from the municipality. My thoughts are exactly paralleling yours on the volume/gain to determine BTU’s. First goal is to produce biogas,which I will likely only due once to not tempt fate here in the burbs. Then I will spend time researching making hot water and running more tests. Stay tuned.

  7. This is so damn awesome that I I could, I would build one myself right now. I was planning on building a house that was off the grid, and this is something worth thinking about seriously.

    • I think it will fit in well, especially if you have aspirations for growing alot of your food. My thought is to source a heat exchanging hot water heater like those found in many solar hot water kits (or build your own) and use a low volume pump to circulate the water from the pile (located against the house – this winter it will likely be in my garage) to the tank. I am supposing that a pile this size will more than heat a well insulated tank to 120, so the extra BTU’s will be vented (in season) into the home with a air:water heat exchanger – car radiators, baseboard heater, or radiant floor, salvaged boiler radiators. A well built / sized pile should produce heat for 6-8 months if Jean’s techniques are replicable. Time will tell.

  8. Interesting project, hope it works well for you. The temp. of the incoming water, and how much HW your household uses is going to affect the composting process as much as the size of the heat exchanger will IMO.

  9. […] The Methane Midden: Epic Sh*t & Jean Pain Composting [via Hack a Day] Tagged:diysaving money […]

  10. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how efficient automobile radiators are–one might be enough for the full heat output. Also, if you need a heat exchanger for potable water, you might get a used one from a dairy farmer (they use this sort of thing between the milking machine and the bulk milk tank).

  11. Excellent. Just don’t blow up the subdivision.

  12. […] A Day | The Methane Midden: Epic Shit & Jean Pain Composting // Share| Subscribe to comments Comment | Trackback | Post Tags: One Straw, […]

  13. Dear Rob,

    I’ve known of Jean Pain’s work since the early 80’s and have been following related literature since. If you’re interested in learning about similar projects through time. Please contact me.


    • I’m interested. One question: how does this undertaking compare to just using the wood as firewood?

      • Christopher – Burning a similar amount of carbon would be more efficient if all you were doing is trying to heat water or a home. However there are several differences. First, the brush that is composting in these piles would be very poor firewood as it is twiggy material that is still green. Even in a rocket stove it would need to be dried, and much of the energy (sugar in the sap, nitrogen in the leaves) would be lost. Secondly, when burned as firewood, nearly all of the carbon is released into the atmosphere again, losing any sequestering component and thusly not healing the climate. This is also a reason burning is more “efficient”. Also, it is impossible to grow food on a fire, a midden of this size can grow over 200#’s of squash and tomatoes in its 6 month life time. Finally, a midden of this size breeds trillions, and trillions of microbes, enough to cover over 2000 sq ft of garden with an 1″ of compost – essentially inoculating that soil with life again if it was denuded. I have seen soils go from producing 24″ tall corn to 105″ tall corn in 2 years with no other changes than a 1″ application of compost.

        Another way to answer your question is that the potential energy of a given mass fo carbon is the same. Burning it can be seen as a more efficient way to use that energy if your goal is solely to heat something, though the method of burning matters immensely in regards to efficiency. But simply burning the material is far less efficient from a macro level as it limits system potential – it does not create a resource (compost), nor does it make food. And that it is not carbon negative is huge for me. I am firmly convinced that human endeavors need to strive to do all of the above – produce food, energy, and resources, while doing so in a carbon negative fashion. We need to go beyond sustainable and set our sites on regenerative.

  14. Be careful trying to store the methane!

    Generally speaking ‘homemade’ methane contains a whole bunch of oxygen and air making it impossible to compress as it will ignite with enough compression.

    If I were you I’d modify some type of engine (diesel might be easiest, though hard to find a small enough one) and run it off of the methane coming from the pile directly. Or if the direct method won’t work, set up some type of capture balloon that will fill with your homemade methane mix and trigger the generator to start when full. Then turn the mechanical energy into electricity.

    From there you can put it back into the grid or buy some batteries to store the extra electricity.

    All else failing use it to power a steam generator, but there again, even harder to come up with.

    Either way more power to you! Hope you can get it all figured out, I’m interested to see if you do!

  15. […] Mierda épica: Como calentar agua (y más) con una compostera [ENG]…  por perico_de_los_palotes hace 2 segundos […]

  16. Very cool. What about ground water contamination? Or are you on city water there?

    • City water. Will likely switch to closed loop in the system once I am done with the methane phase and explore the potential of the hot water heating aspects.

  17. I’ve known of the methods of Jean Pain since the late 70’s when I was a student helping out at the New Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod. I’ve been keeping track of any literature I can find regarding the harvest of low-level heat recovery from compost. Please contact me if you are interested in any of it.

  18. OneStraw,

    As you scale up an ideal use for the methane might be some sort of gas to liquid process (

    I hear that a company in Nevada is working on a smaller scale solution (


    Anyway, love to have the Jean Pain PDF.

    PRoceed with Epic Shit.

    C. Edward

  19. […] The Methane Midden: Epic Shit & Jean Pain Composting « One Straw: Be The Change My home compost pile reached seriously high temperatures recently, and this link from Lifehacker hits home for me. There are some farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota that use their manure digesters as heat and methane production sites, just like this guy is using his compost pile. Very cool. AKPC_IDS += "2614,"; […]

  20. This is just amazing. Most of the by-products in this project I could use for my various projects. For my own research, could you please send along the PDF of Jean Pain’s book? Thank you.

  21. Pile is apparently stuck at about 125 degrees. I have 2 theories and am addressing both. First – that the pile is not quite big enough – with the drums in the middle the pile is really only 2′ wide at any one point, and the tops of the drums are open to the air allowing for alot of heat to escape. Second, that the 140 gallons of water are only about 100 degrees and are sucking in BTU’s as fast as the bacteria can make them – each degree will take about 1200 BTU’s. Added 3 cu yards of material to the pile today to offset the first theory and cover the barrels with about 1′ of material. For the second, time will have to tell as the drums heat to 120 degrees – which will take about 80,000 BTU’s. Planning to run them up prior to adding the methane to see how hard it will be to regulate the temp with water.

  22. Onestraw,
    May be we could use a low pressure “Fan” type pump with a flash back preventer to provide a small amount of flow, enough to fire a water heater with the methane.
    The only problem I see is keeping the flame going… Electric starter???
    In any case I agree methane mixed with O2 can be dangerous. Best not to try to store it, but use it as soon as you can.

    As for the pumping of the hot water, the Wilo STAR-S21F pump looks to be a good solution as it provides 3 speeds (3 output GPM settings).

    The Harbor freight 600 GPH pump can be used with a motor speed control to reduce the output (flow)..
    Like we spoke about I think the motor speed control can be modified to automatically adjust the flow within a range based on a temperature probe. (Making for automatic flow control based on water temp.) That will take some adjusting to get the flow right for the output.

    Anyway See you soon, I will bring the 600 / motor speed control over this week.

  23. […] nature to supply you with 130-150 degree hot water? [Onestraw] shows you how to get just that by building a compost heap that heats water. Finding himself the proud owner of a dump truck of green wood chips [Onestraw] went about building […]

  24. Why is it a big problem to store the methane ?
    Is it possible to hook up a methantank directly ?

  25. this is so incredible. I can’t wait to hear the results! congrats.

  26. Okay, Rob

    I have finally sources something that might be useful here in the south. Coming into our winter it is still above 30 degrees, but tree lopping has come to a standstill, so green chips is out for my version.

    But, I have made an arrangement with the local saleyards and they are prepared to give me 5 tonne of shit a week. Mixed with bedding straw (and god knows what else!), do you think it would make a reasonable substitute. I soaked a tonne for 2 days, and 4 days later it is hotter than hades and the neighbour has commented on the smell on more than the one occasion.

    Your thoughts?


    • Awesome Bryan! My thoughts? The manure will heat up very well (as you;ve seen), but may not have the staying power of the brush. This is only an issue if you want to heat for 4-12 months at a time. Second, soaking the manure may cause pockets of anaerobic digestion within your pile, likely the cause of your foul odors. Pain’s brush has large particle size and even sopping wet, will have lots of air space between the shredded mulch. If you add straw to your manure, I think soaking the straw would be a good compromise.

      Finally, some thoughts on my system. If I were to do it again I would have used a non-rubber coated hose such as can be seen in agricultural use. The rubber appears to be insulating the hose overly much, reducing its ability to exchange heat. Second – if you are going primarily for hot water, I recommend a tank (preferably steel) within the pile. 530′ of hose is only about 22 gallons of water. That means at 3gpm of flow the water has only 7 minutes to heat up– not enough to gain more than 10-15 degrees.

  27. […] The Methane Midden: Epic Shit & Jean Pain Composting « One Straw: Be The Change. This is pretty awesome…Using compost as a water heater.  I doubt it would work very well in the winter, but still, great idea. […]

  28. […] One Straw’s Methane Midden Project One Straw's Methane Midden Project […]

  29. That’s a really great system! And you had put a lot of work ,too. Kudos for you!

  30. Well, it’s a very impressive beginning! But what happened later? What is happening now? How successful is it being? If it works, this process should go national! Does it work even in winter? Since the pile cools down after a certain point, could this possibly give you hot water all winter? Or even summer, for that matter? Thanks for any answers you are willing to share.

    • I have a compost pile of approx. 40 cubic yards of leaves, woodchips and grass clippings. Started it the 3rd week of August. It is now November 18 and pile temperature registers 135 degrees 18 inches from the surface. The pile was created by piling the materials with a bobcat . The pile has naturally sloping sides and is not retained by artificial means. Outside temperature is 6 degrees F. The lower 1/3 of the pile is frozen approx 4-5 inches deep diminishing as one moves up the pile. It will be interesting to see how long the pile continues to maintain a level of heat worthy of attempting to tap into its water heating capability. I think running coils into the pile of cooled
      water to be reheated will require determining what pile size would make critical mass and then managing the water temp/pile temperature much like one would regulate a radioactive pile….all a balance between pile size and the amount of water to be ran through the pile to be rewarmed. Certainly, creating a pile bordered by straw would be much more efficient. The longevity of the pile will naturally be a function of how quickly the bacteria break down the compost. A well balanced pile can easily run up a temperature of 160+ degrees fairly qucikly, but will will burn up the food resources faster. There are, as I understand it, three bacis groups of bacteria that function at high, medium, and low temperatures. As the pile temperature drops the bacteria that function at high temperatures will die off and the medium functioning take over, etc., etc. until the pile is composted out. Using circulating water to keep the pile at the lower temperatures will increase the longevity of the pile.I am anxious to see how well the pile handles our Alaska winters here @ 62 degrees N lat. At any rate, I am positive that given the room, which I have, that utilizing the pile to heat water for supplemental greenhouse heat is a very real possibility at the absolute minimum.

  31. Congratulations on your exploration. As you start to get some results, I would like to visit with you for a possible article in FARM SHOW magazine. Your post mentions ideas on storing the methane. Please see the following for some ideas. It is a story I did for FS a few years ago that you might find of interest:
    Jeff Hoard has reduced the number of visits from his propane dealer thanks to his home-built biogas system that turns manure from his livestock into methane gas.
    “Our system consists of eight 55-gal. barrels that act as digesters,” explains Hoard. “The gas flows through two simple pvc manifolds that ‘scrub’ the gas, draining moisture and serving as shutoff valves. Once scrubbed, gas is stored in a series of tractor tire inner tubes before being piped to the propane line.”
    The off-grid farmer and his wife use windmills to pump water, a solar panel for electricity, wood to heat the house, gas for cooking, gas for hot water heat, and gas to run his refrigerator and freezer. When his biogas unit is working, the propane flow shuts down.
    “I bring the biogas into the propane line at the output side of the regulator,” explains Hoard. “Any time the biogas pressure gets over 1/2 lb., it shuts down the propane flow, and everything runs off biogas which is 70 percent methane and 30 percent carbon dioxide. When production drops, the propane runs.”
    In ideal conditions of 65 degrees, Hoard’s biogas system produces 24 hours a day, maintaining about 15 lbs. of pressure. Living in the high country of Nevada, summer nighttime temperatures can drop to 40 degrees, slowing down production. In the winter, the drop off is even faster and more complete.
    “As long as the sun is shining, I can produce gas,” says Hoard. “My problem is keeping the barrels warm.”
    He relies on a simple sunroom built from recycled patio doors and a tin roof hinged for easy access. Hoard plans to build a better insulated sunroom that will warm his barrels even more. He also plans to add a few more barrels to the easily expandable system.
    “It only cost us about $350,” he says. “We’ve used it since this past November and have had no problems.”
    Hoard fills each barrel with about 40 gal. of manure slurry. He empties and refills according to gas production. In a warmer climate, he says, each barrel would generate biogas for about 40 days.
    Even the spent slurry gets recycled. “It’s weed free, high in nitrogen and has very little odor,” says Hoard. “It makes great fertilizer.”
    He says the simple system is one that anyone with some manure or even food waste could set up and use. He’s willing to provide detailed descriptions of the system and information on how he set it up for a fee.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, HM Ranch, HC 61, Box 6108, Austin, Nevada 89310 (ph or fax 775 217-9264).

  32. […] a steady stream of great information and inspiring projects.  Be sure to check out his latest.  The Methane Midden: Epic Shit & Jean Pain Composting  Join me in supporting his Project on […]

  33. […] Midden: 2 Week Update Posted on June 4, 2010 by onestraw When we left the Methane Midden 2 weeks ago it was 75% finished and consisted of 2 55 gallon steel drums destined to be batch methane digesters […]

  34. I have been researching and starting to build a large compost ‘tumbler’ heating device from a plan I found on the internet by Dr. Carl Johnson.
    This has led me to find out a few things to consider relevant to the Jean Pain process:
    1. Keeping compost heat going is the trick . It needs enough insulation in the wintertime but also enough oxygen and material movement.
    2. See the New Alchemist experiments with using compost to heat a greenhouse. It worked but it was cumbersome and they could not use the amount of CO2 produced for the plants.
    3. Building a device to create heat for a residential property probably requires a large, waterproof, insulated, aerated, agitated ‘tub’ or cylinder. Such containers such as ‘lick tanks’ or culverts are available via ag outlets (Fleet Farm, Co-ops). A company makes ‘Earth Tub’ in this fashion for the purpose of getting rid of vegetable waste via composting.
    I would very much appreciate anyone interested in experimenting with creating residential or small greenhouse heat contacting me.

  35. Through the process of collecting solar energy industry is becoming more and more solar panels and the response to air pollution, global warming and a host of other factors does not mean quality air. The building of their own solar panels is now available for almost all homeowners, then you will have an impact on our overall lifestyle.

  36. […] combined with energy systems like the Methane Midden, which has 6000#’s of chips in it, sequestering carbon can also offset carbon emissions for […]

  37. […] a cup of fuel.  In future years I hope to find a way to power the chipper on methane from the ‘Midden or ethanol from a local co-op.  But for now I’m in bed with BP on this one.  One very cool […]

  38. Any thoughts on using Peltier devices with this setup to produce electricity?

  39. Here’s a thread on another forum talking about how to properly compost, I think this might be of some use.

  40. […] in intended use.  This Midden will be designed to produce hot water (l’eau chaude) v. the Methane Midden’s failed attempt to make methane (botched the PH and ran out of time).  Second, this the Midden […]

  41. […] summer I built the Methane Midden which was inspired by Jean Pain’s epic work in 1970 France.    It was big, it was a little […]

  42. I like the process to produce biofuels.

  43. inspirational.
    Thank you
    best wishes

  44. I find this a fascinating article. Every year in my German town we have a chipping drive where this huge machine comes and chips up your garden prunings. I made a cubic metre last spring which ended up under my “Hugelkultur ” raised bed. I will likely generate another cub metre this spring.

    One cubic metre isn’t enough however to try out the Jean Pain system, as he says you need four. Are there any smaller scale projects one might try? I have a conservatory which is freezing in winter.

  45. […] isn’t the limit to what can be done. According to One Straw, French visionary Jean Pain “was able to produce methane and hot water for up to 18 months – […]

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