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The September Energy Update Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 8:26 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The September Energy Update






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Post #402817
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 1:35 AM
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Hi Steve,

horse menure is a notoriously good heat source and you seem to have plenty of it around. It's being used in greenhouses a lot. The mass itself can reach temperatures of over 60 degrees Celsius. When shoveled under about a foot and a half of soil, it will heat the top soil to about 20 degrees Celsius and thus it can keep plants growing under glass in winter conditions. Maybe you can set something up running a bunch of pipes through the menure depot and use it to warm up the water for the CV ?

HTH

Jurriaan
Post #402885
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 1:41 AM
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I saw something recently about ground-heat pumps. Maybe that's something worth your looking into - although the upfront cost would be quite high.

There is no problem so great that it can not be solved by caffeine and chocolate.
Post #402886
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 2:04 AM
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It's called geothermal energy (which means ground heat, of course), and there are several sites that will give you information, such as this one.
http://www.energymatch.com/features/article.asp?articleid=46
Post #402890
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 2:17 AM


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The whole subject is one I get all excited about since I live in an old 'disused' watermill, and I'm listening to the water thundering through the wheelpit as I write this. All that untapped energy.

There are two possibilities, generation from water, and a heat-pump.
There are several snags:
1/ To construct a resilient turbine that will withstand floods will cost around $68,000. It will generate more electricity than I need so I would sell it back to the electricity supplier. (batteries are a nightmare expense). In order to get any kind of grant I'd have to supply electricity to a nominated 'community', which would have to include a representitive cross-section of the country's population. Even if I achieve this, I have to find $30,000. At today's prices, this makes for expensive electricity, even assuming a life of 30 years without substantial maintenance.

2/ The local Environment Agency looks after the structures that maintain the headrace (high water level above the mill). If they see commercial use being made of this headrace, they may easily pass the buck back to me to maintain the dams, sluices etc.

3/ The mill dates back to god-knows-when. I almost have to get planning permission to lean against the front door. This year, we had to rebuild the sluice gates and we had planners swarming around like bees. If I want to put in a turbine, you can imagine the excitement.

4/ I'm told that health and safety measures for a turbine installation will be strict even though I'm on private property and the nearest house is a few hundred yards away. Guards, railings, hazard notices and all the other devices to protect intruders will be very costly.

Not much incentive to reduce my carbon footprint, Eh?



Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
Post #402895
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 4:12 AM
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My mother lives in a farm down in Somerset, they have an old industrial furnace which heats the water and provides central heating to the house - every few years they buy a couple of hundred bales of elephant grass or similar bio mass and it works a treat, a single bale can provide heating and hot water for an evening, its cheap and it has a zero carbon footprint.

If you have space in an outbuilding close to the house (and if you have the spare land to grow the biomass yourself) then its an incredibly effective and cheap way of getting heating and hot water.

James





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Post #402919
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 6:41 AM
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I often thought it would be great to be more self sufficient. I discovered the wind turbine a year ago and this technology will make wind energy available to more people.
Go to the following link and view the interesting story from The Denver News about it.

http://www.tmawind.com/
Post #402979
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 6:55 AM


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Also - don't discount solar. The price tag can be very high, but there seem to be a lot of overlapping grants/incentive programs to get it put in. It's also surprisingly effective even in areas of the world you might not expect it to be (doesn't have to be "hot" out to be effective).

We've just started down that road, and our utility company is helping us put that together. They even help with the paperwork - they're helping to secure some amount from the Feds (I think it's EPA, not DOE), as well as getting us enrolled in two separate state- and county-based programs as well as a tax-free, interest-free loan to cover the initial cost.

We're going to sell the energy back to the local utility, since we're not home during the day (that way you're selling @ peak rate, and mostly using at the nightly discounted rate....nice:)), but have the backup generator in place (just enough to run the beverage fridge, the routers and the computer equipment. Skip the stove - that's what a barbeque is for...)



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Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?
Post #402988
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:49 AM


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Surprisingly, with all the sun in Colorado (300+ days a year), the utilities in the Denver area don't offer help. There's a few places in the mountains that do, but the high plains don't. It's a mystery to me, especially with the National Renewable Energy Center just NW of Denver.

My neighbors have solar hot water and were looking at solar power as a supplement and the co-op out here wasn't very helpful, even resistant, to working with them. Only with the legal requirements to allow interconnecting and buyback would they do anything. I guess they think that they'll lose too many customers and their business. Instead I think it's an opportunity for them to grow their business by offering services and help.

The geothermal is interesting. I've got the space and I could go down 12ft and run 100ft horizontally instead of drilling 100 down. I heard a few people say it was a nice solution for them. If I get to build a workshop at some point, I'm thinking to go self-sufficient for everything except the tools. I'd need batteries to keep them going, which expensive, as Phil mentioned. However a combination of wind, solar, geothermal, should keep me warm and let me sell some power back to the companies.

On the manure, I'm just not sure how to manage the replacement over time (move out old, shovel in more). We used it to provide some insulation when we had a cracked pipe in Jan and had to dig up the yard. Also the flies. Need to find some way to keep it far enough from the house to manage the fly population. I've got enough as it is!








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Post #403025
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 11:01 AM
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Living in an area that is both remote and resource rich brings up all sorts of problems. Most of it is due to lack of infrastructure to move energy around this vast area of the world.

Alaska is also looking at alternate energy sources. Just in Anchorage alone, there is vigorous discussion about putting up a large windmill farm on an island just off shore near the airport. Good winds there. But, the FAA claims that the windmills will interfere with the various radar's used at the airport, the largest aircraft cargo port in the country. Other studies show no effect from wind turbines and radar reflection from the blades. So the arguments go on from both sides for now.

Another move is to consolidated the two local power utilities (a large co-op and municipal owned one) into a joint operation. Pressure from other co-op members to build two additional plants (gas and coal) are adding to the mix. Stinking greenies stop hydroelectric projects from developing. We have +/- 36 foot tides but are unable to harness that energy due to various issues including those by people that oppose everything manmade.

Toshiba is still trying to get a 10MW nuclear plant installed in one of the remote villages. Another village is increasing their wind production. Almost all villages use diesel power. Diesel in those locations cost upwards of $8 per gallon as some of it must be flown in.

There is some work being done on producing a turbine that one sticks through the ice in a frozen river to produce electricity during the winter.

Even at a Bible camp I take care of, we have to generate all our own power using diesel. What a hassle that is! We are adding some bathhouses and I am designing them to use battery and LED lighting. I doubt I will use solar to power the batteries but will use a small gas generator for a few hours each day to charge them. Won't really need to do that during the summer (no need for light) only Fall when it gets dark earlier. No use during the Winter.

I see one of the problems with your local utility not wanting to support customer produced power. Some real dangers are back feeding power into the grid when they are working on it like during a storm outage. Also it is most productive/efficient to run generators at certain loads to extract all the available energy from what ever fuel source they are using. Decreasing that load does not necessarily reduce waste or save energy.

I thought the article about the hydrogen generator was good until I read this in the last paragraph:
"Trulite's chairman is John Berger, a former Enron executive who is also behind Standard Renewable Energy, which sells energy-efficiency services and biodiesel. "

Sorry, no sale.
Post #403133
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