Scrapheap challenge

Today, I drove around town looking for scrap to finish a project. The project entails building a wood gasifier to run a small engine without resorting to welding. By not welding I am limited to thinner gauge steel, which is more available and, more importantly, free.

By driving around trying to hunt for scrap metal you get an idea of how lucrative the scrap metals business is. If it's ore being mined from the ground or scrap metal in a yard you can be sure that most of it is heading to China and you will have to dig deep into your pocket to convince people otherwise. And if it isn't ore or scrap, such as telephone cables, bronze war memorials or graveyard plaques then it's probably heading to China anyway via a foundry run by a criminal gang. Such are the record breaking prices for metals.

I went to a car breaking yard. Nothing much there. I did see a pair of air-conditioning blowers that would be good for a gasifier but I have a blower already. Anyway, the breaker would have wanted £10 for them and this week is meant to be an ultra-belt-tightening week. I then went to a hardware store to look at some pipe fittings, just to see what was available. Nothing bought. Then I ate a packed lunch. No eating out. Money in the bank.

On the way back home I passed a pub, I slowed down as I passed the back gate and there they were, a pile of vegetable oil cans. A U-turn and a chat with the pub's cook secured the whole lot. Well, I took two for now as I wish to build a cage for my blower and a filter barrel for the gasifier. I can collect the rest in a day or two.

Fuelling the gasifier will not be a problem. Thankfully, China doesn't want our waste wood just yet as it does with all our other waste. Though it is only a matter of time. There are plenty of skips overflowing with wooden pallets all over town. Everyone in the UK is still happy to flick a switch and pay well over the odds for their energy. That will come to pass too.

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