Keeping the home fires burning

31Aug09

What better way to end this barbecue summer than with, umm, a barbecue? I piled up the charcoal, used the last of the firelighters and soon had a nice blaze.

With a tasty marinade I dealt with the courgette glut and liberally scattered the pepper on my North Norfolk Cajun chicken strips. It was cooked…and eaten, in minutes.

The barbecue continued to glow well into the night.

Is it just me or does everyone find that the barbecue stays dangerously red hot for long after you have finished cooking?… That’s a lot of energy being wasted.

Now there is an answer.

I am planning to launch my soon to be patented patio power station. Two pipes, a cut down car radiator attached to a barbecue grill, a reservoir of distilled water and a steam turbine generator…all attached to a three-pin electrical socket.

No more wasted heat from the barbie, just usable watts. Stick the radiator over the coals and watch the steam start rising.

According to my rough calculations, an average barbecue should generate enough residual energy to run a small electric heater on the patio for nearly two hours. Just long enough to finish off the beers…or Pimms.



6 Responses to “Keeping the home fires burning”

  1. 1 Sarah

    Sounds like a dragon’s den idea if ever there was one.

    You can pitch it with my one for blackout linings for tents!

    • 2 alexoutside

      Sarah – yeah! What about heated blacked-out tents? For Winter camping…in places where it doesn’t get dark.:-)

  2. 3 Camilla

    If you have a posh barbie like ours – http://www.goodwood-outdoor-cooking.com/meco_swinger_deluxe_seabreeze_grill.htm – you can close down all the vents and it goes out in about 30 minutes – just enough time to grill bananas for pudding. The half-burned charcoal can be reused next time, although I’m not sure if it would be Ok after a whole winter

    • 4 alexoutside

      Ooer… it looks a bit complicated. My barbecue technique is more neanderthal really… Fire, meat, eat.

  3. 5 Michael Dagless

    Hmm… Sounds a little bit like my idea to install a wind turbine to generate enough electricity to power a clothes dryer. As for the barbie, take some advice from a rugged Aussie: Gas goes on, ignition goes click, food gets (over)cooked, gas goes off. Then retire to “The Great Indoors” to eat in front of the TV.

    • 6 alexoutside

      Michael – In England that is called a cooker. Not a barbecue. We have them in the kitchen. 😉

      Your clothes dryer idea is the mother of invention. It is brilliant and will probably be widely copied. It has the added advantage of eliminating the need for a washing line, especially in windy weather.


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