Wood and wood-like bio-mass is well known as a fuel to heat and to provide power using a thermodynamic system. For those people who have access to inexpensive burnable bio-mass, I present my thoughts on a comprehensive home heating/cooling and power production system. (see HEAT Technology, Book 3).
First requirement: is a heat sink, to store the heat which you will be producing by burning eco-fuels. In a practical system a heat sink is required because you want to burn your fuel very hot (fan forced air) for maximum efficiency. And you want to then meter the stored heat out only as you need it. The heat sink can be a large tank of water or the like.
The heat sink can also be a bit exotic like using eutectic materials. Eutectic means ‘heat absorbing’ and isn’t really exotic. Wax is an example of a eutectic material, as the wax changes from a solid to a liquid it’s temperature does not change, yet it stores a lot of heat as ‘latent heat of fusion’. As it turns back into a solid, it gives off as much heat as it absorbed, again at a constant temperature.
Second: you need a burning container, to burn your fuel and store the heat in the heat sink. I recommend that you build a little house outside to house the burner/heat sink. Then you won’t be tracking dirt, wood chips, bugs into the house and you won’t have smoke stains on the walls and you won’t be feeding your house oxygen to the fire and you won’t have drafts as the fire sucks fresh cold air in from outside to replace the air that went up the chimney.
Third: you need to be able to bring the heat into the house. The world’s best heating system (in my opinion) is radient hot water, which can be put right into the floor, ceiling or walls; or added to a home with various types of radiators.
This hot water system is also the basis for heating domestic hot water and for providing refrigeration by using a salt/ammonia system This hot water system is also the basis for one of the designs of home power systems I’ve developed. (H.E.A.T. Technology Book 3 and Wise Cycle Report.) Another way to create your own power is to use a steam system built into your main burner, so you can produce power as you heat up your heat sink and then store the power in batteries till you need it.
For information on how to build an inexpensive battery bank by recovering used automotive batteries, see Capacitive Battery Charger