Making wood function like home heating oil

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

An evening pause: Hat tip Cotour.


My July fund-raiser for Behind the Black is now over. The support from my readers was unprecedented, making this July campaign the best ever, twice over. What a marvelous way to celebrate the website's tenth anniversary!

Thank you! The number of donations in July, and continuing now at the beginning of August, is too many for me to thank you all personally. Please forgive me by accepting my thank you here, in public, on the website.

If you did not donate or subscribe in July and still wish to, note that the tip jar remains available year round.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
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  • Jeff

    In the late 70’s I worked in a cedar processing plant. Not much was wasted. Sawdust and chips were used to fire the steam boilers for facility heat ,kilns and steam extraction of cedar oils. Dried shavings bagged for kennel bedding. Prime heart wood milled for closet lining. Any unusable scraps, slabs, bark was ground up and sold as mulch. If they had electrical generators, entire facility would have been mostly self-sufficient. When I asked about that aspect was told buying electricity was cheaper. The pelletizing of wood waste was in its infancy. I’m sure the company would have managed to work that into their recycling system.

    Sadly, market changes, city growth, taxes and environmental pressures forced the closing

  • wayne

    Great Story!

  • MDN

    Seems like contrived efficiency to me. That was a pretty substantial plant to generate the equivalent of 1 small tanker truck of heating oil per day (the stated 2,500 gallons). Last winter the commodity price for heating oil was about $2 per gallon (currently it’s only $0.92 presumably due to the shutdown/Saudi-Russia glut), so that means $5,000/day in revenue normally for these chips.

    And even assuming the same density as oil (which they aren’t because they float), 20 tons of these chips must require at least 4X the volume of oil to transport, so will need 4X the number of trucks and drivers to distribute. I’m sure they pay for themselves, but not much beyond that.

    They are a true bio fuel though, except for all those trucks anyway : )

  • Cotour

    This appears to be a very nice and neat and fairly complete cycle type of business model.

  • Max

    Until the 1900, biofuels what is the primary source of energy. Oil, coal and natural gas has far outpaced natural bio fuel wood products…
    Even so, biofuels still today produce more than twice as much energy as all the others (Solar, wind, nuclear, Hydro power) combined.
    Natures solar powered renewable energy.

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