Alternate Energy & Fuels
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:56 AM   #1
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Think this would be a good thread for us to share ideas on Alt energy and fuels , What you use or plan to use or any Ideas you may have .

I have always pondered a Stored energy flywheel type system that would turn a generator .

If you have a 12v dc to 120v ac inverter , it would run off a common 12v car/marine battery . Fine and dandy till the battery runs out , right ?
What would keep you from plugging a battery charger into the inverter to keep the battery charged , therefore having a small but nearly constant power source.
If I were closer to a stream I would run a paddle wheel but Im not

What are your ideas ?
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:36 AM   #2
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I'm kind of a fan of the gaserator.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:37 AM   #3
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I am a fan of solar, and wind energy. It is for the most part free, and extremely clean. I believe I said this in another thread a long time ago, but 100 square miles of solar panels would be enough to power the entire USA. That may sound like a lot of dedicated space, but if you spread it out, it's not much at all.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:45 AM   #4
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I was watching a tv show and saw that they used animal fat as bio diesel to run a tractor! Then in turn used the tractor to recharge batteries. The only problem is keeping the fat melted l. Also I read u can cover certain engines to take ethanol. But ethanol or moon shine would be a pain in the ass to make.
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texaswoodworker
I am a fan of solar, and wind energy. It is for the most part free, and extremely clean. I believe I said this in another thread a long time ago, but 100 square miles of solar panels would be enough to power the entire USA. That may sound like a lot of dedicated space, but if you spread it out, it's not much at all.
I like this as well. Did not have any idea about the 100sq miles though. Very cool indeed.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:40 AM   #6
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You cannot hook battery to inverter to charger to battery. Inverter and charger each have a loss- you get less back than what you took out.

We have a small solar charging systems, a few deep cycle 115 amp/hr batteries, and a 2500 watt inverter. Enough to run a deep freeze. Can also rig small scale wind generator.

Would love to have an old style overshot water wheel, but those run 6-10 hp max. Small scale hydro can be neat, but you need year round water flow at correct rate of flow and head (distance water drops).
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:24 AM   #7
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I've always had a soft spot for the old stationary engines they used to use on pump jacks before they all went electric. Sure, they have a pitiful power to weight ratio and are kind of loud and take a mechanical bend to maintain but they are not very picky eaters. At 200 rpm they don't wear out very fast and they can run continuous duty for a decade and turn a small (3kw) generator the entire time. They are built to run on natural gas as a byproduct off of oil wells so using good propane out of a 500 gallon tank would let it sing like a bird.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:11 AM   #8
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I have a 12.5 Kw solar array on the roof. Plan on adding battery backup and more panels in the future. Some of my neighbors use small hydro generators and I may do that myself for some of my outbuildings. Hard to justify that right now though because all I use power for is lighting and a small battery does that fine since I have two LED strips that use very little power.

I also want to install a solar water heater in the future. That would save me quite a bit on propane.

MobileMarine, how would your flywheel be replenished? Maybe a windmill?

The other side of alternative energy is how can you reduce your needs? I have been replacing much of the lighting with LEDs and flourescent (wife hates the light off of the LEDs). I also installed a float switch that controls the well pump. I have a 5000 gallon water tank that supplies the domestic water, the float switch runs off of the top 500 gallons. That way if there is ever a problem with the well I have a substantial reserve before running out on that tank. Before that it was on a timer and the water would run over more often than not. Water was wasted and so was the energy used to pump it out of the well.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:43 AM   #9
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Keep in mind that large scale solar energy is not done with panels. It is done with salt in a tower that has a bunch of mirrors aiming the sun at it. The salt gets hot enough to melt and the molten salt falls into water that almost instantly turns to steam. The salt reduces the boiling time for water also so its a plus. The rest of the operation is the same as a coal plant in that the steam turns a turbine.

For solar energy to be feasible in places other than the desert one of three things has to happen. Find a way to keep the salt hot during winter, cloudy days, night time, ect. Whether that be chemically or otherwise. Two, find a way to make steam turbines operate more efficiently because most exit water is at a quality of 94% and anywhere below that ruins the turbine. Or lastly find a way to store energy on a large scale, and amazingly we still haven't accomplished that after more than 100 years of using electricity.

My money is on a new form of nuclear energy that uses fusion instead of fission. It is a safer method than what we currently use but no government in the world will let a new nuclear plant be built. There was some chatter a while back about building a plant for some country in Africa that has a nice desert that they could use but I think budget got in the way.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:26 AM   #10
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If you're on the grid it opens up all kinds of possibilities. One of which is 'selling' solar to the grid all day when rates are higher, and pulling off the grid it at night, when the rate are lower, to run recharge heat storage systems, batteries, etc. The grid is your battery.

There are places that do this with hydro. They generate power in the daytime and sell it. Then at night they pump water from the lower pond to the upper pond, when the rate is lower, and do it again the next day.

Up here some are mounting panels on the side on the home to take advantage of the reflected light off the snow cover.

But the most economical gain is reduction. Remember clothes lines?
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