Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vault-Co's Zero Energy Generator Preference

Obviously, any fuel-based backup for your generator is confined to expedient/emergency use only for charging your batteries. A fuel powered generator is a good thing, but you don't want to rely on fuel for a variety of reasons.

1. Fuel will run out

2. In all likelihood there will be a severe risk from carbon monoxide or other hazardous fumes. You will always have to be worried about monitoring the exhaust scheme at all times.

3. Generators are complicated. They will someday break down. Maybe you'll repair them. They'll break down again. Eventually, without a supply chain from civilization, it is likely your generator will break down finally and never start again.

4. They can be expensive.

Now don't get me wrong - generators are a must have in any shelter. I don't know if it is in your best interest to rely on them as your primary energy source. Especially during a twenty year nuclear winter.

I do not think solar power should be your main preference for your shelter. I'll list the reasons, feedback is welcome.

1. Solar panels wear out quickly, lose efficiency and are easily damaged in a variety of situations.

2. They are complex and can be hard to replace and maintain.

3. They can be expensive.

4. Obviously, in a lot of situations they can be useless if there is no light. Like during an extended nuclear winter or after several supervolcanos have blown and clouded the atmosphere with ash for a couple of decades.

I have come to the conclusion that the single most sensible primary energy system for a shelter should come from wind generation. I'll tell you why.

1. A 12-24 volt DC wind generator can literally be built from junk that other people throw away. If destroyed or damaged, a new one can be built in hours. Several can be built and stored in the shelter as spares. A wind generator can be demounted during an attack preparation phase.

2. In almost any situation, there will always be some wind. Especially enough to power a 12-24 volt DC generator motor.

3. A wind generator is simple. If it breaks, the cause is nearly always obvious.

4. A wind generator is durable. Short of gale force winds, most wind generators can stand up to awesome weather - and still keep generating electricity!

5. Wind generators are flexible. They can be the size of a shoebox or a ten story building. They can use a number of designs and all of them will generate useful amounts of electricity, be it from rotors, vanes or various other innovative uses of wind force.

6. Wind generators are good long-long-term strategies. The wreckage of TEOTWAWKI would yield the raw materials to build a billion wind generators for anybody who could gather the scrap.

Vault-Co plans to build an expedient wind generator very soon for less than $100.00 to prove it can be done, as soon as Sparkgap gets a roof on it.


CadorBolin said...

Yesterday, I tried giving some US$ to a homeless guy and he threw them right back in my face!

We were told all through school that the modern generation was much smarter than the one from the roaring 20s that caused the disastrous stock market bubble and crash. I always thought that my marxist-educated teachers were full of sh*t.

It took a lot of 'tough love', soup lines and Hoovervilles to recover from the Great Depression.

I doubt that modern-day Amerikwa will be able to pull it off this time. Back then, the US had the advantage of being 90% european. Forget "Great Depression 2", we will see a civil war based on race hatred.

Anonymous said...

I aggree completely.

The whole idea of a town fueld by methane from pig shit like in mad max 3 isnt realistic. Compressing volatile gass in a post-apoc environment is suicide.

Barter Town would have had windmills :)


Anonymous said...

Lived on the hook on an old sailboat for many months, and can asure you that solar panels are far more reliable than wind generators. The panels of recent years are guaranteed for 25 or more years. They theoretically never will wear out. If glass-covered, as most are today, only an accident or exposure to corrosive gases can harm them. Even if the glass breaks, they still work.
Any ecosystem left without sun for several months will be pretty much devoid of animals and most plants. So the no-sun-for-many-moons scenario is grim anyway you cut it.
From my experience to date, solar panels are just an excellent way to go, albeit somewhat expensive.

Anonymous said...

Tex, most wind generators need a minimum of 10 knots of wind to produce any power. They start to really put out decent power at 15K and most peak out at 25 knots. After that they quickly go into survival mode.

Some things not adequately considered by most is how high to mount a generator (should be 6 metres above highest object in area), how to get it up and down from that height, and how to slow or stop it in high winds.

As a purchased unit, the skystream 3.8 looks pretty good with a 1.8 KW rating.

Texas Arcane said...

Thanks for that last post. Interesting. I didn't know solar panels would last that long.

I am buying new solar panels and new batteries before February next year but I think I will still build that wind generator from scratch.

Texas Arcane said...

P.S. I think 12-24 volt 30 amp generators from permanent DC motors are pretty hardy and will spin on a dime. It's when you move up to heavier loads like residential you need bigger winds to turn the blades and everything requires more force to run at a decent speed.

I saw a yacht running a windgen a while back and was just shocked at how much electricity it put out nonstop all day, very cheap juice. Especially if the sun isn't out for a while.

rina said...

thanks for the info.. i think people are now start buying solar panels because the price is much lower than before. The demands its there…It such a waste if we cannot benefit free energy from the sun … but you got your point when you compare it with the wind generator..

Anyway, I think in all case, the price will determine people whether to buy or not to buy..