OK, here’s a project challenge for anyone who wants to try it. This occurred to me yesterday and I wanted to throw this out there.
CHP stands for “Combined Heat and Power”. For example using an engine to make electricity but also using the waste heat for a useful task, like space heating or water heating.
It occurs to me that laundry is a perfect combination of heating and power needs. Hot water. Control by electricity. Agitation. Heat for drying. Several ways you could approach this…
- Run a small generator to power a standard electric washer/dryer (just for the controls)
- The Amish use gasoline washing machines. Use wood to directly power the washer engine.
- Convert a gas dryer to burn woodgas directly
- Use a big generator to power an electric dryer
- Use exhaust heat from the engine to heat water
- Use direct woodgas to heat the water
- Use surface heat from the gasifier to dry hanging clothes on a line
There’s room for charcoal to shine here! If you can make your charcoal while heating the water then power the engine from that, go for it!
The “winner” of the challenge:
- Must actually build, document, and run at least 3 loads of wash
- Gets the most wash done per wood burned
- Uses no power or heat except for the wood itself
- To keep it fair I’m excluding sunshine-powered outdoor clotheslines - dry the clothes with wood heat.
- Maintains WAF (wife approval factor)… operator stays clean, clothes come out clean, smelling fresh, and no wood smoke anywhere around the washing area!
Can it be done?