About The Sustainable Steam Sawing Company.

I have lived in the county side all my life; 50 years, and have noticed first-hand changes to the environment around me. It is probably more apparent from my perspective as I have lived in a rural setting for so long and can compare these things from season to season. The stream for example that runs past my cottage, twenty years ago full of water and trout, water voles and kingfishers in abundance, is now a shadow of its former self.

The water disappears when water is exstracted to feed the ever growing conurbations nearby. The voles and kingfisher have gone, not so many trout come up the stream to spawn and the river gets choked up with weed in the summer due to the nitrates washing off the fields.

It is a catch 22 situation, I fully understand why agriculture uses these chemicals at the moment as we are under great pressure to produce more and more food for an ever increasing population. People need water to drink and it has to come from somewhere, and the poor old trout is subject to all sorts of problems (not so many flies about) affecting their lives.

I am not opposed to industry or change but I think a more considered approach is necessary as I witness first-hand the impact it is all having on our environment.

You use water for the steam engine I hear you say.

I try to catch as much water off the farm buildings as possible. The engine is also fitted with a system that catches the condensed water in the exhaust and pumps it back into the water feed tank to try and recycle as much water as possible. So with a bit of thought change is possible

Long term I would like to see a few more trout in my stream and a drop more water, but I know the reality of it and it is not a favourable one. I am trying to make a difference in a small but positive way. It is not perfect, but something I can build upon, and I hope it is something my children can get involved in and build upon for their future too.

Biomass - how it works

Hydrogen fusion from the sun is captured by green plants on earth, complex molecules including carbon dioxide and water forms wood. Burning wood in the firebox of my steam engine breaks down these molecules and re oxidises the carbon releasing energy as heat. Heat converts water in the boiler to steam which as it is in an enclosed space under pressure wants to take up a lot more space than when it was liquid water.

When a valve is opened steam is fed into a cylinder and as it expands pushes a piston that turns a big flywheel forming rotary motion. This is transferred via a 80’ drive belt that turns a pulley on the saw bench which turns the saw blade (tip speed about 100 miles an hour) that cuts the wood.

The plan is that the carbon dioxide in the wood that is released into the atmosphere from the burning process is re absorbed in growing trees, thus keeping a closed carbon cycle.  This is opposed to burning fossil fuels; Coal, diesel, gas etc. that has been locked in underground for millions of years  and overloads the planet with an excess of carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere.