View Full Version : Who is living with renewable energy?
03-01-2007, 01:32 PM
This has been covered before, but some of those people have moved on, so my question is: who is living with renewble enrgy? Photovoltaics, solar heated water, wind, microhydro, biogas, biodiesel. Who is making energy.
I live with a hybrid solar/wind system, and pump water with a solar pump.
Who powers what with what?
Richard on Maui
04-01-2007, 03:46 AM
We are on solar. Also have a solar pump for lifting water. We have two diesel vehicles a truck and a car. We run biodiesel and biodiesel blends in those...
04-01-2007, 04:17 AM
Hahahaha! Richard, I knew you would answer! Did you ever get that wind turbine?
BTW, I ended up with a sunpmp when my kyocera died.
I didn't know you were using biodiesel! Thats really great! Where do you source it?
Richard on Maui
04-01-2007, 09:00 AM
Yeah, we have the wind generator sitting in the loft in its box. We want to mount it "proper" and have run out of money at the moment for the copper wire and tower etc.
Fortunately there is company on Maui called Pacific Biodiesel. They have been making Biodiesel here for about 5 years I think. . They have set up other plants on Oahu, and I believe a couple on the mainland too. They are connected to a company that works out of the county dump turning green waste into compost called Ekocompost, and I guess that is where all the waste grease and vegoil is collected and rendered as well. PB buy it from them I think and turn it into Biodiesel. Then all the machines used to grind up and move around the green waste are run bio. Pretty cool.
Our local service station has a 20% blend, and downtown there is 100% pump. It is generally a little cheaper than petrodiesel. :D
When I lived in New Mexico I made a couple of batches in the backyard, and did a conversion for Straight Veg on a 1985 Ford Escort ( a rare diesel model). I made a lot of greasey messes!
I would like to get back into it and start running the truck on straight oil, because it eats a lot of fuel. It just takes time to gather it and filter it and make sure there's no water in it, and I guess you kind of need to be regular about collecting the oil from restaurants or it can create an inconvenience for them. We are just that far away from town that it is hard to be regular about such things. If there is no other reason to go it is tempting to stay home...
I am about to plant some oil palms though! (and keep forgetting to try to source some of these diesel trees I heard about on here...)
04-01-2007, 09:32 AM
I get you on the wind yturbine in the attic. I had one in the attic for years, in fact its in the attic still. When i went to install it, I couldn't find the tail! So I piggy backed an Air X with someone elses solar shipment, and installe dit. It made a few hundred watt hours today!
You got an AirX, right?
Wow! Biodiesel is YOU! What a lucky resource to have. The neartest french frier that might possibly have suitable oil ios 200 miles away :( I am drawn to the SVO conversions as being better for us (more flexible), but am not sure how to do it.
Maybe jatropha curcas is the plant you are talking about. I think they use it in India for biodiesel. They call it physic nut here, and it is used as a purgative (it makes you puke). It has been touted as a suitable plant for biodiesel, but I have no experience with it as using for fuel. We should evenutually as we have some plants!
Richard on Maui
04-01-2007, 11:02 AM
No, I'm talking about Copaifera langsdorfii. A guy on here who has a place next to the Daintree in North Qld was talking about them recently.
You "tap" them like a maple or a rubber tree, and after filtering out the plant material you have diesel fuel!
It is from south america I think, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding some.
We do have an AirX, yeah. I know that it doesn't take that much to set them up, but like I say we want to do it right. How did you set yours up? Did you make your own tower or just stick it on a pole? Do you have it guyed down?
04-01-2007, 12:40 PM
Oh, yeah! I remember that thread! FDorgot all about it... I truly need to get some of that seed....
As for the Air X, we used the roof mount kit, put it through the roof of the thrird floor of our hous, which sits on a hill, and fluuuutttttter, it poduces power, with whiiiisssshhhheeee noises.
In a few years time, when we build a bigger battery bank, we will get a whisper with guyed tower, etc, but this is a good start..
14-02-2007, 07:58 AM
I'm a newbie here, hope you dont mind my questions. I noticed you're running an air x wind generator. We're looking at purchasing a wind gen in the next couple of weeks but SOOOOO many questions. I've been trying to find someone that actually has installed and is running a wind gen, plenty of "propaganda" in sales brochures but I'd like to hear about personal opinion and experiences.
What wattage generator did you go with? How did you go about measuring your av yearly windspeeds and what were they? How did you decide on siting? Most of all, how much noise does it really make?
Thanks in advance and apologies for my rush of questions.
Just so thankful to have finally found someone with a wind generator!
15-02-2007, 01:13 PM
We xhose an Air x because it roof mounts. It produces 400 watts in a heavy wind, flutters a bit, but not too badly, and is mounted in our house. It is a nice addition, but I would like something a bit bigger!
We have steady wind in the dry season, and in rainy season we get storm surges with high winds, so a wind gennie was attractive. I am a sloar/wind dealer/installer and had an opportunity to pick up a turbine cheaply, so took advantage of it. Most of the time, for me, it would have been more productive to buy another solar panel... but I am a bit of a renewable geek, so having the diversified system appealed to that part of me.
If I was in Australia, I would look into the Soma wind turbines, which are Aussie: http://www.rpc.com.au/products/windturb ... /soma.html (http://www.rpc.com.au/products/windturbines/soma/soma.html)
They have excellent reputations for robustness and reliability.
Spend the money on getting a good tower installed as the higher you go, the more power is available.
I like it, it does make some noise, but that doesn't bother me. It doesn't screech like some turbines I have seen (older Air turbines sound like a cat getting its tail sawed off with a butter knife in high wind), and its dynamic to watch. Of course, I get excited watching the watts my solar panels produce, too.
Let us know what you decide to do.
15-02-2007, 02:50 PM
The only wind power i get is after Ive eaten too many baked beans phew
Scott A. Meister
15-02-2007, 10:31 PM
Hey Tezza, you crack me up!
Now, if you could just harness that waste in a nearby can...or via tubes or something...you could light up that wind make some good blue flames and cook some more beans! Circular thinking!
BTW...I really haven't researched wind power much, so my knowledge is lacking, but I'm wondering if it's possible to build your own power generating windmill from recycled junk parts like old bicycles and stuff. Has anyone every tried? If so...I'd love to hear about it.
If possible, I'd rather take on a project like recycling stuff to make wind power (not that kind Tezza, my says that I have enough of that), instead of buying stuff. The lower the embodied energy, the better!
16-02-2007, 12:52 PM
:lol: 8) :lol: 8) :lol: 8) :lol: 8)
Try a lumpy fart then Scott. Human manure has other benefits instead of just maggot food. 8) 8) 8)
20-02-2007, 08:23 PM
Its quite a toss up at the moment. Looking at a combined solar/wind system. It seems you get more watts for your $$$ with wind than you do solar. Mmmmm. Will continue to investigate and report back when its all done. Thanks for your input. Much appreciated.
21-02-2007, 08:09 AM
It seems you get more watts for your $$$ with wind than you do solar.
That depends on your wind resource. If you are well sited, that is the way to go. Tezza sitting on a couch eating beans may make wind, but not usable by a turbine.
06-05-2007, 05:50 AM
Hello, I'm new to the forum, this is my second post.
We've built a house which is off-grid.
Our electricity is supplied by 8 x 75 watt solar panels and two small 75 watt wind generators. We'll add to the system as and when we have the time and the finances to fit everything.
We don't have a washing machine/dishwasher/freezer/ or any large electrical appliances here, but we share those with two other families at a place which has grid electricity. My dream is tohave a washing machine here. :wink:
From our little system, we can run the laptop computer and all the bits for it, television, music, sewing machine, 2 small 'fridges, we can charge handtools, goat shearing equipment, kitchen gadgets and small appliances and we have indoor and outdoor lighting of course - lots of it, using LEDs where we can or 2D tubes.
We have power cuts here (often!) and when that happens we're very popular and charge mobile 'phones, torches etc for the whole village! (They thought we were bonkers when we said we were going to be off-grid but they've been converted since we had a storm when grid electricity was cut off for 8 weeks. :twisted: )
We have enough battery storage for five days without sun/wind and for five years we've never been without power. We're careful around the winter solstice, but I can usually use my computer around Christmas for three hours a day - if I have the time 8)
We use solar and wood to heat our water and radiators, and we run our vehicles and tractors on bio-desiel whenever we can. (We hardly ever go anywhere though.)
06-05-2007, 06:59 AM
Where are you? Not Australia if Christmas is winter solstice. Any pics of house and system?
06-05-2007, 07:22 AM
I'm in France.
I only have a few photos of the energy system in Flickr, but here are some photographs of the house. We're building an extension to it and we've planned to build a Russian stove. I'll try to remember to take photographs as we do it. 8)
This the link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkin ... s/1313215/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy/sets/1313215/)
06-05-2007, 07:51 AM
WOW! Nice house! What a beautiful place you have. Really lovely. How long did it take you to build that house? The results are spectacular!
06-05-2007, 09:19 AM
I have looked at all those photos, and your house speaks the langauge. My mum lives in Roq, in Gers (with views of the Pyrenees, and Spain, where I speak the language, since I can't speak french). She has remodeled several abandoned farm houses, fixed 'em up, made them stcuturally sound (if needed) and them sold them, and your house looks like it has been there for 300 years. I am very impressed.
BTW, where do you get your LED lights? I have one luxeon LED lamp by my desk (also at 12vdc like yours), and lve it, but it was, well, USD40 or something. Do you know of any cheap sources for LEDs?
06-05-2007, 08:04 PM
Thanks very much for your comments Christopher, it's really is nice when people like what you've done. I don't usually like new houses, but it's a lovely house to live in and I'm very happy here. We started building about 9 years ago, but had other projects on the go at the same time.
What does "speak the language" mean ? :?:
For suppliers of LEDS, I used Energy Douce because they're local (and nice): http://www.energiedouce.com
There are cheaper options. This is one of them HERE (http://www1.uk.conrad.com/scripts/wgate/zcop_uk/~flN0YXRlPTIzOTM0NzUzNTM=?~template=PCAT_AREA_S_BR OWSE&glb_user_js=Y&shop=UK&p_init_ipc=X&~cookies=1&scrwidth=1024)
I looked at your site yesterday, what you're doing is great !
07-05-2007, 02:21 AM
"Speak the language" in my case meant I-don't-speak-French-but-I-do-speak-Spanish, and Spain is 100 klicks from Roq, so I prefer Spain to France (though France is certainly beautiful!), and in the case of your house it meant, it looks like an old farm house, warm, inviting, human scaled, ergonomically designed around human use. It looks, simply spoken, like a house built by someone who would live in it.
Christopher Alexander wrote a great book called "A Pattern Language", which you should own. I am sure you will find paradigm shifting bon mots and affirming patterns that recur in your life/house, etc.
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