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Old 02-07-2011, 03:25 AM   #1
Seerseraxlils

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Default Alternative Energy
I still call a spade a shovel,,

Might be a little off topic now, But Hydro-power is the least eco damaging power of all, but if you want power to run all those modern electric gadgets it has to come from somewhere and steam generation is nice if it is neuc. Coal and oil causes the most pollution and eco damage.with coal being the worst.
You can go to solar but the cost is great and the benefits small, I have made my own but the panels cost, the batterys cost and when recycled, do some eco damage, and you do not get a great lot of power for the dollar and can only run the barest of things.
If you happen to have a water source with at least 100 gfeet of head and a few gallons a minute then a pelton wheel is the thing to have, a 5 amp hydro will supply more than a $25,000 solar setup.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:49 AM   #2
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I wouldn't call myself a tree hugging hippie, but I am very fascinated with alternative sources of power. I can read about hydro power all day long. I agree solar is very inefficient in comparison. Though the choice that is made for the source of power often times is forced by your location I think.

Speaking of Hydro power, the Mekong produces massive amounts of it and it is sold off to Thailand and Vietnam by the Lao government. In fact I think last year it the country's main source of income. What I thought was most ironic is my wife has a cousin who lives between Pakse and Mokduhan and they have no electricity and no way to get it even when offered the almighty American dollar. Yet the government has so much of it they sell it to other countries. Funny how the world works?

Do you suppose that the way the Chinese have dammed up the whole river it has slowed their power production much?

***By the way, we could probably split this power discussion off the this thread since we have taken it so far off topic.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:50 AM   #3
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Thailand is not known to be very windy so I take it wind turbines are out.
Someone just put up 20 down the road from here. They will sell the kilowatt power to the electric company. Our electric bill will probably go up to help pay for the windmills.

Living without so called modern electric gadgets is a different life style in itself.
Makes things a little more complicated .

a spade a shovel. that is what I use mine for 55555.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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The gadgets I think are an improvement. Sure I have a PDA, Cellphone, Laptop, Digital Camera, Plasma TV etc... All these devices put together use less power than what a console RCA television used just 15 years ago. Most of the items run on battery, when not running on batteries are very low consumption between 5V-18V all at less than 8 amperes.

That's not to say we do not need alternative energy sources outside of coal though. In Northern Thailand nearer to the mountains, wind might be a viable option?
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:09 PM   #5
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There, I started a new thread, I think we shoud move from this thread with this topic,,sorry about getting off topic..
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:33 PM   #6
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I find this topic interesting so will start another thread to see what others think about it

IGNT, for your battery operated gizmos you could very well use solar most times as the cost per panel and small battery bank would not be to much, then a small inverter so you could have 120AC power to plug into with your charging devices.
That would work if you were without grid power, but you need grid for reefers, air cons, heaters for hot water and cooking and comfort heating, so not worth the expense of setting up just for your gadgets.
If it were possible for you to live without the energy hogs that make things cold or hot you can do it fairly reasonable, I have done it, but we also used close to 200 gallons a year of propane and a few cords of wood.
Wood for comfort heat and also used a coil for hot water and propane for some hot water, reefer and cooking along with cooking stew and beans on the wood heater. used a battery bank [2000 AH] for TV, lighting and small appliances.
But with a running stream or a water source with a few hundred feet of head would be very cheap to set up and would furnish 12 or 24 volt DC power 24 hours a day to charge your batterys is the best way to go.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:24 PM   #7
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Even large panels are only 90-125W, Personally considering the eyesore they can cause (because you need alot of them) I don't think they are very efficient when compared to hydro.

But with hydro you need so much fall for it to produce anything worth while too. So all in all I think hydro is great and the way to go without a doubt, so long as you live near a water source that is year round and has enough action. That sure is a pity about the bank. You know when some people are trying to do some good, and conserve or produce their power they then get raped on the price of batteries and equipment to monitor their battery banks.

I can certainly see why so few people have not been willing to put themselves off the grid. Once you do you could never afford to get back on it. What do you think about North-Western Thailand and the possibility of wind as a source? I would imagine it is a bit windier up there?
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:06 AM   #8
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But very few places it is steady enough to do the job, even up in the columbia river george it is known for it's wind but doesn't seem to be to good, PPL I think it was that set up a couple of big towers with each blade over 150 feet in length but never seemed to come to much, while down in Altamont pass in north central calif. they have very large wind farms, the wind is not so strong there as the columbia but is more dependable and they seem to make a lot of power.
I have never been anywhere in Thailand where they have the kind of wind that is needed, but there might be somewhere.
At all the water falls and streams in the mountains there is the potential for small hydro plants, maybe not big enough to be of a commercial potential but for a village would be sufficent.
I have a friend in northern calif. that has a couple of large springs on his ranch that they have improved for max. output and runs it thru 2 18 inch penstocks to a powerhouse they have built down close to the creek, runs the water from the springs to the PH and produces 150 KVA which is sold to PP&L, but there you can make power and it runs thru your meter, which makes the meter spin backwards when you make more than you use and so forth, and if you make more than your total usage then the power co. has to pay you.
But in Thailand I understand that you need special permission to generate power, I know I get some strange looks from some people when they come and walk on my back deck, there is a 5200 watt gen set hard wired into the system with wires running to my inlaws house next door. But I made the safety switches so the line switch has to be open before you can get power from the gen set and you can not throw the line switch til you open the gen switch. Sure wouldn't want to kill some lineman working on the power lines.

The amount of head required is dependant on the volume of flow too, you can have low head if you have a large volume of water, the more head you have, the less water you need, they make pelton wheels for both senarios, and they are really cheap for what you get, if you has 400 feet at 50 GPM you could set up a very nice high voltage unit and run the house directly off of that and not worry about a battery bank and low voltage.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:17 AM   #9
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as for hydropower, I'm just wondering about all the damage to the environment that damming the Mekhong River means, losing the natural balance, speed of the current, high and low water levels, not to mention that dams intercept the route of fish who regularly swim upstream seasonally or to breed. the Mekhong is said to have the second most versatile river ecosystem after the Amazon. and we just don't know enough about the implications of even small changes that we make. the Chinese have planned a few plants upstream, maybe have even completed some of them, there are serious concerns about the potential damage. (also because of the proposed river bed control, blowing up reefs and shallow banks to make way for bigger ships.) solar power might be less effective on the whole, but to me it seems that a solar power plant doesn't make such a mess on the whole (but I'm no expert at all, so I might get this wrong).
as for wind, up here in Chiang Mai in particular we haven't had any since November. I mean there have been a few days with a light breeze, but otherwise, absolutely no wind at all. maybe different on the top of the mountains though.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:41 AM   #10
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Hydro in large KW production is the least damaging of all, a lot less than steam generating plants that pump large amounts of pollutants into the atmos. unless those steam plants are nuke plants and no one seems to like them. and we can't throw the baby out with the bath.
To my way of thinking, SEX is the worst form of damage to the Eco systems, with the growing populations world wide there is a continuing need for more power to fuel industry, ease of living and more comfortable living, If the head counts could be reduced to 1900 numbers then the drain on the resources would be cut and therefore less damage to the environment. But that ain't gonna happen.
So we have to look at what we can do to make the least damage and still live in the style that we have became accustomed.

If every home would set up some system to make just 1/2 of their own power it would help, but people just ain't gonna do that. I did do it for a few years because my home was 10 miles from the end of the grid and I had to do it, which did cost some money and I still lived with a somewhat easy and modern lifestyle.
We had a propane reefer, a DEQ approved wood burning heater stove, propane cook stove, propane burning gen set for batt charging when we had no sun but used very little as we had a large battery bank and could go long periods with out charging. But we were so far north that we only had 2 hours of sun during a day when there was no cloud cover for part of the year.
I had a friend that had a small creek on his property quite a ways above his house and he went down low into the creek bed and took water from below the freeze line so he had water in his pipe the year round, ran it downhill to his house, ran it thru a small pelton wheel and turned a high output alternator and got about 10 amps 15 volt power to his bank and had plenty of 120V thru his inverter, He also had 12 phone jars and figured to 4000 AH.

Thailand would be a good place for solar but you have to invest a lot of money in solar panels and batterys before it would be feasible and then you would still have to figure a way to run reefers as they are a necessity anymore and are real power hogs, ceiling fans could be run at 12v, but air cons would be out.
Maybe if your system was large enough to power reefers in the daytime, you could make holdover systems and charge them during the day and get by that way.But a good holdover system would require at least R 50 factor insulation in the cabinets and fairly large plates. But I do understand how to set them up and might give it a try someday.

Dams are somewhat invasive but are about the best thing now but are hard on some fish populations but we have to figure out what we can live with and what we can live without, and then go from there, dams are not forever as they will eventually fill with silt, takes many years tho, but it gives us more time to finally decide that nukes ain't so bad.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:48 PM   #11
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watts are the amount of actual electricity used, amps are different at diff. voltages, but watts stay the same, 100 watts at 110 volts are about 1 amp where at 12 V they would 10 amps but still 100 watts at 220 it would be 1/2 amp. More volts, less amps..
so when you run an inverter you have to figure the watts used in 110 and then what you would be drawing off the bank. which would be 10x, and it is a lot cheaper and easier to find ac things than 12v things or here 220 things, I used 1/0 welding cables from the bank to the inverter to carry the heavy amperages.

these figures are close but off the top of my head. been a long time but I think watts / volts = amps. have to look that up I guess.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:53 AM   #12
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OK check the link below, he is a friend and I have done business with him for over 15 years, all my supplies came from him and a lot of info on this subject on his site, his name is ROB and he is in Bonners Ferry Idaho.

http://www.nwes.com/Index.htm
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:07 AM   #13
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One reason and the main one I think is price of setup.
Just to run a 1 hp pump or reefer system would cost about $7,000 for panels capable of doing that, you would need 700 watts, that would be 58 amps at 12 v and with a battery bank and 120v inverter it would still be 6 amps to run the 1 hp. motor with heavy draw from your bank.
My toaster burns 875 watts rated so that would be wire of #2 size if 12 V or about 3 amps at 220 V.

you can get a smaller panel to charge a battery for a TV and radio a few hrs a day and light in a cabin at night, but that still a few hundred bucks, and Thai will neither be able to afford it or would do it if they could. IMHO.
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:22 AM   #14
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Yes on the formula. And yes it is slow, tech support is looking into the reason now. As far as the watts, I was just trying to show that though my desktop computer uses 800 watts the same exact things can be done using only 60. Basically I was trying to say that we are being ripped because most people are willing to put the AC item to work first because that is all that is available.

Another stupid example is a coffee maker, you could use the AC coffee maker and pay only $8 for it. Run it off your outlet. Make your coffee. Pay your electric bill. But a 12V coffee maker costs at least 3X as much, but could be powered by a single solar panel and battery every day costing absolutely nothing. Same with your toaster, blender, crockpot, and most any other small appliance.

But people don't buy the 12V versions... Why? Because they cost far more than the AC counterparts. Too because to setup a home to operate (even partially) on a 12v system is expensive. Why? I think my above reason suits me.

I love the website, great info!

1/0 is some serious heavy gauge! I bet you are happy you didn't have to run that throughout the house because of the price!
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:31 AM   #15
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There has been a proposal put forward to build a solar power tower in Australia which is a large solar power plant that can generate electricity much more economically than solar panels. It uses a glass house that is several kilometers in diameter and in the centre is a tall funnel tower about a kilometer high, as the air heats up under the glass house, the hot air wants to rise, so it goes up this tall funnel tower that is one kilometer high to meet up with the cold air at a higher altitude, the massive amount of air going up this funnel can run about 6 generators near it's base. Now because Australia has massive reserves of Cheap coal, I don't think this will go a head. Thailand is a net importer or energy, and because of the hot climate, I think it would benifit from a solar power plant much more than Australia, plus it would be a big tourist attraction, going up in a lift to the top, what a view from the top.
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Old 09-22-2012, 03:54 AM   #16
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and you save the price of an inverter, but it still takes the same power to do a certain job, regardless of the voltage and an inverter at idle uses very little juice and if you run your appliance from 12 v it will draw 10 amps and if you run it off of 110 it will draw 1 amp, but you will still be pulling 10 amps off the battery. the only way you would save much is to have your fans run off 12v and then when your bank was charged the fans would run directly off the panels and use them instead of the panels shutting down.

And your reason is sound to use low voltage if it was available on all the things you need, but we used the same lights that we use here at a far greater price,There I paid $30 for them, here I pay 200 baht. 15w lights put out enough lumens to do the job of 75w incandescent bulbs but at 1/5 the power used. when you are using a solar system and batterys, you learn to use energy efficient parts. but wiring with 12v has to be bigger to carry the juice without a voltage drop.with an inverter you use standard house wiring.
for long runs of wire it has to be very large to keep the voltage up.
and you must have storage batterys anyway.
We had a dual voltage tv, but it drew the same watts no matter if it was on 120v ac or 12v dc, still 100 watts.
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Old 09-22-2012, 06:36 AM   #17
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Betti so nice to see you back!

As far as what I have read the Chinese have dome sever damage to the eco system with their damming and some say it was intentional. I didn't mean that river's should be dammed for profit. I was talking more on a per home basis with smaller pumps and generators.

As far as inverters go, I really think it is a severe waste to use 110/120, Using 12V systems may require a bit more amperage but not nearly the amperage one uses with higher voltage. It is the constuction of the devices where I think we are failing. If a laptop can run non-stop (as long as plugged in) using 12 volts 60 watts at 5amps, then why am I typing on a desktop & monitor that uses 110 volts 800 watts and running at many more amps?

I know why. The energy companies are securing their future. The same reason to convert a home to 12V in the USA is more than 6X the price of a 110V system.
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