Jean Pain was a French innovator who lived in southern France from 1930 until his passing in 1981. He was able to create a compost-based energy production system that was capable of producing 100% of his energy needs.
Using compost alone, Jean was able to heat water to 140°F. He used this water for washing, cooking and heating his home. We aren't talking about a small amount of water either. His system was able to heat water at a rate of 4 L per minute; or almost 1 gallon per minute.
Many of our modern hot water heaters can't even boast figures that impressive.
In addition to heating water using compost, Jean also distilled methane to run a generator, a stove, and fuel his vehicle.
The work he did is still viable today. Sometimes known as Jean Pain Composting or the Jean Pain Method, we can learn a lot from the work of this Frenchman about resiliency.
Interestingly enough, just about all of Jean's work is in French. There are English translations available around the Internet, however, so with a little bit of research we can take advantage of Mr. Pain's successes as one of the early innovators of modern resiliency.
If you are interested in learning more about the work of Jean Pain, check out the book entitled "Another Kind of Garden." It is translated from the original French so it is a little hard to read, but the information is extremely interesting and we could all learn a thing or two from his work.
How Does it Work?
It may seem unbelievable that a simple compost pile filled with anaerobic bacteria could heat water to temperatures hot enough to scald skin. It is, however, entirely possible and easily replicated at home.