I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Any Ideas on Alternative Energies for an Essay?  RSS feed

 
Jacob Oostra
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Hi there, I'm doing a research paper on alternative energy sources for my Environmental Studies class at Western Washington University. I thought this would be a great place to start on getting alternative ideas to the major alternative energy sources posted all over the net like solar and wind. Are there any? I've heard some great things about magnetic electricity and bio fuels like algae, hemp, and coconut oil. So maybe just a list or or some randoms off the top of your head that I could use to support my paper. I'm trying to prove that there is valid alternatives out there.

Innovative technology and science seem to be fairly mind blowing these days, how come we can't get off the fun machined fuel by oil?
 
maikeru sumi-e
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Bamboo Jake wrote:
Hi there, I'm doing a research paper on alternative energy sources for my Environmental Studies class at Western Washington University. I thought this would be a great place to start on getting alternative ideas to the major alternative energy sources posted all over the net like solar and wind. Are there any? I've heard some great things about magnetic electricity and bio fuels like algae, hemp, and coconut oil. So maybe just a list or or some randoms off the top of your head that I could use to support my paper. I'm trying to prove that there is valid alternatives out there.

Innovative technology and science seem to be fairly mind blowing these days, how come we can't get off the fun machined fuel by oil?


There's no easy replacement for oil. Oil and its derivatives are deeply interwoven and critical to most forms of transportation, industries, agriculture, materials, etc. Its energy content, ease of use, flexibility, holding, and transportation, etc. is uncontested. This is part of the problem with alternative energies and technologies. To replace oil it takes a wide variety and forms of alternative technologies and alternative sources of energy. Though many of them provide options better than oil, few of them provide the flexibility, quantity, transportability, materials capability, etc. that oil does. Oil is, in other words, essential to making modern civilization, modern life, modern agriculture and agribusiness, and overpopulation affordable and possible. Oil allows us to reach far above and beyond our means otherwise. But this will not always be.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
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maikeru wrote:
Oil is, in other words, essential to making modern civilization, modern life, modern agriculture and agribusiness, and overpopulation affordable and possible. Oil allows us to reach far above and beyond our means otherwise. But this will not always be.


+1

I agree. It is interesting that one of the forums is called frugality. One of the ideas in permaculture is getting any one step to help us in more than one way... that is stacking functions. It is interesting that one of the ideas of permaculture is that once things are set up, all that should need to be done is harvest.... The rest of the system should take care of itself. The solution is not different energy, but making the best use of what we have.... making one trip not five, heating the person not the room air .... of the whole house.

Any alternate energy setup I know of starts with finding way to need as little as possible first... that is fix the leaks before deciding how much to buy.

Second thing... converting is wasteful. Using energy in the form it is obtained is the best... figuring out how to store energy for latter use is one of those leaks as it often means converting it to a different form.

Third, the sun shines on us all and provides all we need to live. Nuclear energy at its best and at the best distance from "my back yard". We don't need lights. We don't need electronics like this computer. If we are growing a food forest, the trimmings will keep us warm in the winter (if we haven't built to take advantage of the sun directly) and cook our food (if we don't use the sun directly... and the sun doesn't always shine for cooking meals). Our home does not need to be an even 72F every square foot to be comfortable. It is healthier to have some variation and to have less temperature shock from inside to outside. Even in dry climates, rain will provide drinking and plant growing water if managed correctly.....

Ah, that last word might be key... "managed correctly".
 
Jacob Oostra
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Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments. I pretty much agree with everything you've mentioned. it's basically all about bringing down consumption rates. The alternative sources are going to be really hard to compete with oil. I'm thinking about just doing some research on one specific source like solar. I just thought their might be a few sources I haven't come across yet. This paper is more for the larger more main stream populations. I'm fairly aware of most of the permaculture tricks to reduce energy demand and consumption.

Does anyone one know anything about magnet energy or its potential?
Maybe I'll post a new topic on this.
 
Max Kennedy
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What you seem to be looking for isn't another energy source but a portable, energy dense storage medium.  Oil isn't a source but a means of storage and easily transporting the energy.  Thinking about it in that light may help.
 
Brice Moss
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might turn the essay on its head an reasearch the generation potential equivalance of wide spread implementation of some new energy saving tech.

for example if all the electric heaters in your county were replaced by ground source heat pumps how many power plants could be shut down?
 
Max Kennedy
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Brice Moss wrote:
might turn the essay on its head an reasearch the generation potential equivalance of wide spread implementation of some new energy saving tech.

for example if all the electric heaters in your county were replaced by ground source heat pumps how many power plants could be shut down?


A heck of a lot.  Unfortunately Gov't will spend billions for new nuclear plants but spending the same $ for that type of efficient technology won't be done since it puts the tech in private individual hands.
 
Ronald Greek
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Location: Outside Yuma, Arizona
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My broad brushstroke notes are online at http://www.scribd.com/doc/11849883/Sustainable-Civilization-From-the-Grass-Roots-Up

While a lot of energy from the sun may reach earth, collecting it, and getting it to a type you need can be a challenge.  At 10 degrees above the horizon, there may be available up to 50% of the total solar power, but is it worth having photovoltaic or heat panels tracking over that far, and is the E/W spacing required for such a low angle worth it?  If you panels are two feet wide, to not shade each other on the E/W axis when tilted to only 10 degrees up from the horizon, they must be spaced apart at around twelve feet.  If you limit your morning/evening aim to 30 degrees above the horizon the same two foot wide panels need to be spaced only four feet apart. 

Depending upon factors such as your latitude, time of the year, and physical barriers, the difference between ten and thirty degrees may be a lot of solar sky-time missed.  With the charts from U.Oregon, you can estimate the potential collection time throughout the year. 
To obtain a chart of the solar path in your area, see the University of Oregon website:

http://solardat.uoregon.edu/SunChartProgram.html

A website to work right triangles is at:
http://www.csgnetwork.com/righttricalc.html

Remember that if a solar panel is partially shaded, most lose a significant portion of their power generating capability, well beyond the percent of the panel shaded.

 
ronie dee
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Make the panels short and wide and place them north and south of each other.
 
Jacob Oostra
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Thanks everyone on your replies thus far. Unno 2002, I'm definitely going to read your notes and possibly uses the techniques you posted. I just decided to go with doing a paper on Solar, and I'm going to title it the Solar Revolution, haha. I know solar is not the cure-all source to the challenges facing our times, and from what I hear the actually materials to make the panels are finite as well, plus adding in the energy to produce these solar cells, panels, arrays (net energy), it's probably not best to get our hopes too high. However, anything is better than the dirty energy produced today. I have been see some new highly advanced solar technology coming out that tends to produce more outage and requires less material which sounds like a positive, the work was being down at UC Berkely I believe as I saw it on TV.

As for the paper though, I figure solar is a safe bet for now. However, i did like some of the suggestions on lowering the funding for projects like nuclear and putting that same investment into more earthy, and local projects. I think my instructor actually suggested investigating how the government could actually do more. Umm, I'll think about this, because this seems to be a real solution, and that's what got me into permaculture in the first place....it seemed to be the only system that brought real solutions.

But when it all comes down to it, I'm also like you guys in that I believe that less demand for energy across the board, or at least  using it more consciously would solve our problems for now.  My motto is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Thanks again,

Bamboo Jake
 
Peter Mckinlay
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Hello Bamboo Jake.

Have you considered heat as an alternate energy. Most people think of high heat temperatures needed to turn water into Steam, however CO2 gives abundant more energy at far lesser heat.  For example Steam at a temperature of 550* Celsius has a force of 175 Bar, whereas CO2 at a temperature of 100* Celsius has a force of 10,000 Bar.  however the best thing of CO2 is its own self cooling quality. It remains liquid to 33* Celsius then when heated above that the gas in top of the cylinder turns to dry-ice minus 40* Celius providing an excellant cooling medium for the hot CO2 gas.  Of further advantage is CO2 gas behaves as a liquid so a hydro turbine cheap and simple to make provides the energy conversion apperatus.  A one litre hydro turbine revolving at sixty times per minute at a pressure of 9 Bar produces 720 watts increasing with volulme or rotation. CO2 at minus 10* Celsius has 9 Bar pressure so not a lot of heat is needed, and hydro turbines are 82% efficient.
Cheers Peter
 
                        
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Something I am surprised that nobody has mentioned is the use of the methane produced by the garbage and sewage  produced by society.  It's a constant and ever  renewing supply (read problem) and methane capture is certainly well researched and understood, only the will to put it into action is required. It's also a heck of a lot cheaper and less dangerous than nuclear but not nearly so sexy I suppose.

As a by product it would mean that landfills could be a fraction of the size, and the resulting compost could be used  in parks and other places, or even sterilized (to avoid any sort of potential problem being attributed to it)  and used for urban gardens in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Just think. cities could stop dumping their (treated or not) sewage and garbage into the ocean and other waterways.

In India (and I believe China also) systems have been developed that will serve various needs from single households to small/medium sized restaurants etc on up depending on the amount of feedstock available.  All running on garbage and/or other waste material such as human or animal manure and providing gas for cooking and heating water etc. 

In colder climates the problem is heat to keep the process going; it's difficult to imagine that is an insurmountable problem when some of the gas produced could be used for that. With appropriate insulation it's difficult to understand why  this is not a viable  option.




 
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