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SteamCastle site in Parainen, Finland, with timber frame house (under construction)

  • Timber frame house with light earth walls is being built in Skyttala village in Parainen
  • Entirely self-supporting heat and electricity production with Combined Heat & Power unit CHP in an integrated energy tower
  • Completely pollution-free waste management

Equipped with a self-supporting steam-driven power plant using a Finnish patented technically totally new construction, the (wankel) steam motor technology with a total of 50% efficiency - A new product combining the good qualities of two- and four-stroke engines and steam turbines.

Main features

  • Silent
  • Self-supporting
  • Unique building in Finland
  • Combined waste management
  • Living with low energy consumption
  • Realised with organic building materials
  • Preference for recycled building materials
  • Radiation free house for the electric hypersensitive
  • Powered with fresh wood, waste wood and household waste
  • All excess energy feaded to the energy tank for later use
  • Simple handling of the energy for the CHP-system
  • Gravity-based ventilation with several news
  • Good indoor air quality as before
  • Pleasant looking building

Timber frame house with carved joinery

This type of house and its heating system are totally new. Concern about the state of our environment has inspired us to build this low-energy consuming housing project. The aim is to build a housing environment with energy saving methods producing as little pollution as possible.

The timber frame structure with carved joinery will be built with pine columns on either side of the light-earth wall. The handsome timber structure us expressed on both the interior and exterior while at the same time adding to the insulation value of the wall.

The building's foundations are steel columns and the base floor is well ventilated, preventing possible radon gas problems. Organic materials such as birch, sawdust and linen will be used in both moisture- and heat-insulation. An etheric oil treatment is used in the insulation to prevent pest problems with rats, mice and bees among others.

The roof will be insulated with linen and compressed sawdust. This heat insulation is covered with a bitumen roof. The UV-radiation sensitive bitumen will be covered with a suction mat and sedum-sedum grass, preventing the radiation problems efficiently while enhancing the appearance of the roof.

Light earth walls

The clay material for the walls of the house is acquired from the same site. The clay will be mixed to light earth to a density of approximately 250-350 kg/m3.

Various insulation materials will be used for research purposes of heat and moisture conductivity in the clay walls. Materials include organic products such as saw dust, shredded reed, shredded straw, and inorganic ones such as under-drained gravel.

The clay walls are cast using sliding moulds that ensure even wall thicknesses and surfaces. Windows and doors are installed allowing the natural shrinkage and lowering of the clay material in the first months after the wall is cast.

The clay excavation on the site will be landscaped to a pond for the sauna hut on site.

Self-supporting energy production on site

During the cold season, the heating system will utilize the excess heat of the steam produced by the electricity production. The heat is stored in a heat battery in the energy tower. Additional heating can be arranged by using the fireplace and the stove.

The stored heat will be transferred to in-built heating pipes in the light earth walls at 30-40°C. This principle provides the comfort of floor heating without the disturbing circulation of floor dust.

The heated household water is also used for heating the other buildings of the Villa SteamCastle community. The heat-transferring lines are made of pine tree pipes dug in the ground. In the pipes the timber itself acts as an insulation material.

The ventilation is gravity-based. It applies both the in-house fireplaces and a ventilation system integrated to a specially coated chimney using the suction of the rising warm air. The ventilation can be adjusted with a remote control in the kitchen.

The pre-heating of the intake air is done by filtering the fresh air through a heating cabinet in the heart of the house. The cabinet is heated by the hot air in the combined steel chimney of the stove and the fireplace. Besides the pre-heating, the cabinet can be used as a cabinet for drying herbs, mushrooms and fruits.

The cool storage of the kitchen is cooled by leading fresh air from the outside through an underground pipe to the cabinet, thus levelling the temperature differences throughout the year. This well-ventilated space is also used as a storage for liquid gas bottles that are needed for the modern gas stove in the kitchen during the warm season.

The energy tower works as an energy production plant and household heat storage unit

Ground floor installations:
  • A Ceramic burner connected to a steam generator with
  • An oil burner for testing and backup use
  • A Steam generator made for the purpose in Finland
  • A steam motor using Dual Cycle technology made in Finland
  • An alternating current generator

To allow maximum burning with minimum pollution the temperature of 1050ºC is used in the ceramic burner. This temperature is high enough to burn many of the household plastic waste among the usual wood without producing polluting gases in the process.

Ash is un burned carbon produced by burning process at insufficient temperatures. When the temperature is increased, the carbon among other substances burn more thoroughly producing 40% saving in the energy consumption of the process. A catalyst is attached on the flue gas pipe after the steam generator to allow the cleansing of harmful gases to start in temperatures as low as 230ºC by increasing the temperature of the flame.

The solid fuel for the ceramic burner can be acquired from various places. For example, trade and industry consider timber in transport wrappings as expensive trash. In the burning process such matter can be burned with its metal nails still in them. The current transfer fees of the electric companies easily justifies the transport costs of this trash wood.

The amount of liquid in the Steam generator is limited to 10 litres for maximum safety. The steam generator is custom-made for the purpose in Finland.

The steam motor technology used has been patented in Finland in 1973. When compared with the 16% efficiency of the modern steam turbine in coal- and nuclear plants, this new steam motor technology is calculated to perform at an astonishing 51% efficiency.

The alternating current-generator will be chosen to be efficient in a large range of charging rpm, varying from 300 to 1000.

1st floor installations:
  • A 4000 litre energy battery to cool the excess steam. The battery is a recycled dairy tank.
  • Nickel Cadmium batteries; 24 Volts voltage with 600 Ah capacity.
  • An Inverter; 2,5 kW producing 3-phase alternating current, 3 x 230 VAC to match the phases of ordinary alternating current.

The energy battery is heated with both the excess steam and the circulated water in the coated pipe of the main house.

Nickel Cadmium batteries. The most feasible way of storing electricity is to use recycled led or Nickel Cadmium batteries. The amount of batteries is increased according to the amount of electricity consumption.

The inverter converts the 48 Volt direct current to an ordinary 230 Volt alternating current that can be used with the ordinary installations of the house.

A Finnish vertical rotor wind generator by Windside Ltd company is considered to be erected on site for extra energy along with electrical solar panels. Solar panels can also be added for heating the water.

A house without alternating current is simple to achieve for the electric hypersensitive users using this technology.

The electrical installations are built last. They are housed in flexible timber panelling a metre above the floor level. The necessary cables are housed in carved canals in the panels and the vertical column supports. Altering the installations is easy as the panels are attached with simple wooden dowels.

Biological waste management

There is a compost building on site with a biological dry toilet unit transforming biological waste to fruitful soil. Besides toilet waste, the organic waste from the kitchen and other areas are fed to the compost. Water heated pipes below the compost ensures the suitable temperature throughout the year.

The grey water from the kitchen, washing and sauna premises are lead to an existing disinfected 3000 litre sewage-water tank on site. Excess flow is lead to a biological filter where microbes are used to clean the water. The clean water is then lead to the sauna pond landscaped of the light earth clay excavation. This process is efficient enough to have fish living in the clear water of the pond.

Work awaits! Good luck!

Villa SteamCastle
Skyttala
FI-21600 Parainen, Finland
Tel. +358 (0)440 223 313
info (at) steamcastle (.) fi
www.steamcastle.fi