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The rain is power...

September 25, 2008 11:12 AM 9/25/08

Look...here’s the thing. From a personal standpoint I want everyone in the world to have free electricity. Period. So it’s always on my mind.

And with the coming unrest in my country (the US) it behooves many of us to think about generating that power ourselves.

But here’s the problem. I’ve got a lot of ideas. A lot. They come to me from time to time and some of them are workable and some, like the one from yesterday, are not. And if they come to me they come to other people as well.

But as a species we don’t seem to be paying a damn bit of attention. Those that _have_ are more concerned about keeping what they have instead of making sure that _others_ _have_. Those that _don’t_ “have” are concerned about just surviving. This seems awfully lobsided to me.

So when I look at how cheap it is to generate power from the forces of nature I can’t help but be confused as to why we’re not doing so. It’s not a “single technology” solution but depending on the local environment we can power the world using wind, solar, and rain without serious impact on the environment except for the chemicals that make up the solar cells.

Picture this...

South America:

There is a rainwater reservoir at the top of a hill. The hill need not be very high - in fact as long as it’s got ten feet of grade that should be good enough. The reservoir need not be concrete either - it can be clay and stone - but concrete made from native materials should do well enough.

Now at the bottom of that reservoir is a pipe. That pipe leads down the hill to a box. The box contains a turbine. It need not be a complex turbine however I think the Tesla turbine is still one of the most stable ones yet devised.

That turbine is attached to a generator head unit. The generator is attached to a charge controller and that to an electrical grid or a bank of batteries.

South America is in the 80+ inch rain zone. They get a ton of water. A ton.

You could even do this on a smaller scale - say the size of one of the old movie western style water towers. Even if it takes an hour to drain that tower through a coiled pipe and a small nozzle that’s enough to charge a battery for _something_.

Furthermore it’s cheap. It’s stable. It can be made locally with perhaps the exception of the generator head. But frankly the right electric motor and a few metal tablespoons and you can source that locally too.

It need not be above the ground either. You could in theory put this all in a long vertical pit so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Servicing the generator would be a pain but it would work.

I said it once and I’ll say it again - this stuff is easy folks.

Most of this stuff could be made of discarded junkyard materials so cost isn’t an issue.

It’s a needed resource in many parts of the world so that’s not a stop either.

It doesn’t take the brightest scientists in the world to come up with this. I’ve just given this simple idea to you for free. So research isn’t a cost factor.

Safety? A fence around the reservoir and a box around the generator and that’s covered. Already in-use safety measures can be applied.

So what’s stopping this? Hmm?

I plan, though it may take me time to do it, to have a bank of batteries in my house that is charged by wind, solar, and rain. Period.

Batteries are expensive! Yes but they are an investment. Furthermore do you know that many hospitals and care locations have to swap their batteries out on a schedule? That means the batteries are often still good when they do so. Check into it. They often have to pay to have them recycled. And they use a fair amount of batteries...

The house power will initially be wind based hopefully, then rain based, then finally solar. Each one supplementing the other.

With this stuff available to even the average man there’s no reason to be paying the power companies.

None at all.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
what a great idea
With a power rig like that, one could maybe even run an Atom powered laptop with a 10" screen! Maybe also a nice 20 watt light bulb so the wife can cook over a wood-burning stove. Perhaps just enough juice left over to listen the radio station on you small radio.

What a return to nature!

This is the same stuff that crazies in Alaska or upper Montana love to do. They always have the weirdest look about them, but you ain't got it yet. Maybe after your first winter you will succeed.
Sep. 26th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
Re: what a great idea
Okay who let the troll in here? *sprays anti-troll spray*

Regardless you do have a point. I should have been more specific.

The larger reservoir system could easily produce quite a big of generated electricity almost like *gasp!* a micro-hydro installation on an existing stream!

Quite honestly there are a ton of different generator heads that could be used to generate a decent number of kilowatts and the larger the reservoir the longer it can run without current rainfall. Furthermore you missed the note that I said this was a system for HIGH RAINFALL AREAS.

As for doing this on a smaller scale it needs to be combined with battery storage to be effective. If you have space you can use regular lead-acid batteries to make a simple off-grid bank then use a regular inverter to power that Alienware laptop and your 50" plasma for however long the batteries last.

The point here is that there are a ton of smaller generation ideas that can be combined to produce usable power for homes and even towns or cities. And quite honestly a lot of people in the world don't use near as much power as say the US, China, or Japan.

We're at the technology point now that we are able to fill our energy _needs_ (note I said needs not wants) by using multiple sources to replace singular sources like oil and coal.

Live in an area with little sun? User wind and hydro. Live in an area with little rain? Use the sun and the wind. Live in a place with little wind? Use the sun and hydro. Live in a place with a weak amount of each? Use all three.

Live in a canyon? Put up windbelts. Live on the coastline? Use floating solar panels or wave generation.

Live in a place with none of those at all? Get your head out of your ass - it's dark there and your colon isn't very interesting. (Though you might want to get that polyp looked at.)

The ideas I put up here are ones that anybody with a local junkyard or some salvage and some minor mechanical knowhow can put together. I post them here and other places so they poke people's mind into motion and thinking about the problem. That's why I try and keep them simple and easy to understand.

I'm not out to change the world - I'm just out to find solutions for problems using what skills and knowledge I have.

And I'm not there yet myself - we use far too much electricity from the grid. I think it's 24kw a month. That's a LOT of power. A goodly part of that is my computers, the laser printers, the TVs, and the fans. (We don't have A/C.)

I'm no saint - but unlike a lot of Americans I'm _trying_. And if I can come up with solutions that will eventually remove us from the grid or significantly reduce it then so be it. Regardless of how weird they sound. I just try and make sure the ideas are workable.

Do I want to be off the grid? HELL YES! Why? Because in its current maintained condition it _WILL_ fail unless replaced. I don't trust future maintenance to be reliable.

*goes back to his gifted Pirate's Gold Maduro #4 cigar*
Sep. 26th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC)
Have you ever read any of the old Whole Earth Catalogs? We old hippies were into self-sufficiency and "living off the grid" forty years ago ;-)
Sep. 26th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
One of my favorite books actually. :-) I never have managed to get a copy of it but I'm still looking.

It's long past time for an updated version...

I stand corrected - there were several updates. How the heck did I miss those?


I guess I'll be adding a few more books to my Amazon wish list...

Edited at 2008-09-26 03:15 am (UTC)
Sep. 26th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Yikes - me too!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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