This year I’ve had the biggest battle ever with pond scum. Thanks to a willow tree growing on the banks of the irrigation pond, the algae have an abundance of food from the decomposing leaves, and they are multiplying ferociously. Whatever their nutrient or energy value, the algae are certainly a renewable source of something. After scooping out pond muck by the bucketful for days on end, I decided to find out not only what to do about the pond scum, but also what to do with pond algae.
I know algae is being used as an alternative biofuel, so why not use it as an alternative heating fuel?
Hence, the experiment: making homemade alternative heating energy with algae.
To make bricks out of our pond algae, I stapled a metal screen to the bottom of a large box and put dividers inside to create compartments for the bricks. Then I scooped about four bucketfuls of pond scum into the brick mold. After a couple days, I dumped the moist bricks out of the box frame onto the ground to dry in the sun. I let them dry for three weeks until I had lightweight pond algae bricks, ready for the wood stove. I also dumped some pond algae directly onto the ground and let it dry in thinner sheets to have a different density to compare flammability.
Here is the video of my alternative heat bricks.
I’m a bit disappointed with the results so far. I thought the algae would burn like compressed cardboard, but apparently, it doesn’t. However, I’m encouraged that I’m on the right track. The thinner pieces of dried scum burn pretty well. I’ll have to test the bricks on a hotter fire once we get the wood stove going this year.
And if any of you have tried something similar or think you can give me tips on making better algae logs, please let me know! Thanks.