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Is this a scam? Liberty Generator (electricity from composting)

 
Posts: 128
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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I am disgusted about how high our electricity bill is and we have made moves to reduce our electricity usage. And then this comes across my screen for a Liberty Generator. I watched the stupid long video with all of the scare tactics at which I rolled my eyes a few dozen times. But I am intrigued by the idea that electricity could be generated by composting. So, who better to ask then some permies?!

So, here is the website (http://www.libertygenerator.com/index1.php) with the stupid long scare-tactic-filled video. If you try to close the window/tab then it will ask you if you want to leave or stay on the page. Hit stay on the page and you will come to the offer page. I tried to attach a doc with a screen shot but "files with the extension .docx are not allowed as attachment in the message." The offer is $37 FOR TODAY ONLY for the detailed plans to build one EVEN IF YOU HAVE NEVER ASSEMBLED ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE!!! Here is some language from the offer screen: "Some lessons you will learn from the course: You'll be able to power up ANY kind of household appliances - from lamps and toasters, to electricity hogs like refrigerators and AC units .

You can even power up a remote cabin in the wilderness - and stop worrying about having to pay the electric company $50,000 or more to hook you to the grid.
How to build a Liberty Generator under an hour...and the secrets of substituting the parts in his blueprints for common electronic devices that you can find in any RadioShack outlet...for only under $55!
The complete blueprints… color photos… and step by step instructions to make your own free energy generator… even if you never assembled anything in your entire life!
The amazing "amplifier" secret that triples, even QUADRUPLE the amount of energy you generate - so you can get off the grid quicker, and never owe a red cent to big energy again!
Sneaky places to hide your generator...so that not even the FBI can find it! This piece of information is crucial in a disaster scenario (like a hurricane when the power will be out for days)...since people will be fighting over essential items like a generator."

So, what do you know about this concept of creating electricity from compost? Or even this offer?
 
pollinator
Posts: 583
Location: Southwest U.S.
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I say scam. However, the best scams have grains of truth.

I checked out the site just long enough to determine that they are pushing a biogas generator. This is not quite the same as composting. This kind of system can generate enough gas for useful power generation only where resources are plentiful (think dairy farm that has access to thousands of pounds of manure each week). The average household cannot generate enough waste to make this kind of system cost effective, and certainly not for electric power generation.

Personally, I wish a very uncomfortable skin disorder for whoever is marketing this nonsense.

I take the position that grid electricity is the least expensive option. Alternatives become a relevant consideration only when grid electricity is not available. So, my advice is to stick to considering how you can reduce your electricity usage. If you decide to move to a remote site where grid electricity is not available, then things start to get more interesting.

 
Posts: 310
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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It has all the hallmarks of a scam:
- scary video
- limited time offer
- outrageous claims
- conspiracy theory
Stay away from it.
 
Elissa Teal
Posts: 128
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Thanks for the replies!
 
Elissa Teal
Posts: 128
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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I posted this question on some other forums. One person gave me this link: http://taboodada.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/electricity-through-compost/
 
Elissa Teal
Posts: 128
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Okay. So now that I have a better idea of what this concept is, I did a search for "diy methane gas generator" and I found some webpages that are offering plans for FREE! I've started a Pinterest board for DIY Energy Production: http://www.pinterest.com/elissamama/diy-energy-production/
 
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I did some research on biogas generator. In country like India, vietnam and china biogas generator already started a long time ago. First digestion plant to produce biogas from wastes was built in Bombay, India in 1859. The conventional biogas generator was fed with manure but nowadays biogas generator fed with any starchy material such is food waste which is rich with carbon sources. People are improvising the design, now small plant about 1000L tank is far more efficient than the 4000L of conventional biogas generator. For more info go to Let's go green and cut some bill from your household expenditure (Biogas Generator)
 
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This is a biogas generator and biogas is the real deal. We have a big biogas power plant nearby. They are taking organic waste and making electricity out of it. It's pretty nice.

Now I peronally don't know much about it, but according to this site about liberty generator it seems it's the real deal if you know a bit about building stuff. I don't think this is harder to do than your own chicken coop and we know there are plenty of DIY plans around.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Jason Douglins : It is interesting that you mentioned a chicken coup. While the history and proof of effectiveness is easy to track down there is an BIG output issue,

Or perhaps I should say a small output issue !

Even if you were a typical North American food waste-er who was very dedicated about recycling your food and other wastes, the output of a Bio-Digester would
typically be adequate to provide you with enough out put to provide you ''Free cooking gas'' simultaneous use of 'Hay box cookers'* Could save you about enough
gas to do all the prep and cooking clean up and some house cleaning !

This leaves out most of the hot water and clothes washing needs!

However, if you collect you neighbors garbage and other wastes, or have chickens, you can dump their wastes into the 'digester' and gain more methane gas to do
more to meet your energy budget !

There is also the problem of keeping the digester tank warm enough that the germs within the digester are happy, here in Extreme Northern New York for instance,
I would be adding in more heat energy to keep the 'Digestion' happening than I would get out of it 5 months out of the year !

Having researched that far, I Quit looking further- so I have zero 'Facts' to share, as Detroit is not a much better location, and you need to collect your neighborhoods
garbage to make this work . . . . .

Please share any progress or especially failures if you go forward with this venture ! For the Good of The Crafts ! Big AL

Opps, Detroit was the original posters location- not yours sorry for the confusion- it might make a big difference to you

* Hay baker cooking is like crock pot cooking, and My wife and I often use it on long trips, and it is a favorite in many hunting camps I have visited ! A week using a
''Crock pot will make you a fan- A.L.
 
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This "scam" is getting the cart before the horse.  This is a bio-gas generator which produces methane.  This was used back in the 1800s to heat prairie homes.  What you have is basically an enclosed compost pile. this pile, as it decays produces methane  this methane can be collected and used.  I first saw this some 50 years ago as an experiment done bu the University of Colorado.  I think in was in Mother Earth News. It worked then it works now.  Be careful who calls something a scam. check your source.  If you will search Yahoo for prairie generator plans you will find free instructions on how to build both a methane gas generator and some guys have put out an open source set of plans on Tesla' Generator.
Just because some guy can poke holes in something doesn't make it a lawn sprinkler.
 
pollinator
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I watched the video as well, and have even visited a 1 megawatt digester, so I know roughly how they work. However it would be pretty difficult to make them really pan out.

The biogas generator on the farm I saw had 1200 dairy cows, producing 250 KW. They kicked it up to 1 megawatt by having local food companies dump their food waste into hoppers that converted the food waste into biogas. The plant also cost 10 million dollars and still had a lot of problems, namely quality of the gas that kept shutting down the engine driving the generator.

And here lies the rub, while it is possible to get methane out of animal manure, there is not of methane there. I mean, the animals burp and fart getting rid of much of it, and humans are even better at getting rid of it. So Unless you have A LOT of animals, even a meager amount of electrical consumption is going to require a lot of animals on the farm. I figured it around 250 sheep to give me enough methane to do something with (constant 3,000 watts 24/7)

But I mentioned how the biogas generator I saw, bumped production 300% by using food stuffs. This makes sense because the food has not been broken down, burped and farted out. Since I hate hay, and can, and do, feed my sheep silage, I was thrilled to learn that silage affluent has A LOT of biogas in it. This is basically the water that is in silage. Since silage consists of 66% water, a silage bunker is normally sloped to drain this water, where it is piped to a leaching field as it is very toxic. My plans were, to redirect this silage affluent to a biodigester where it would be mixed with my sheep manure, then the methane pumped back to a 3 KW gasoline/propane liquid cooled generator I happen to have kicking around. But a few problems arize from that plan.

First, there would have to be significant storage of the silage affluent because just after harvest, the volume would be huge, then taper off over time. The second problem is heat. Before biogas can be produced, it must hit 103 degrees (f) so there must be a way to heat the compost up initially. After that, water circulating through the generators engine goes back to the compost pile to help preheat the pile to keep it at, or above 103 degrees. In other words, there is no radiator on the generator, it gets cooled by trying to heat the compost pile up. But trying to find a small propane powered generator that is liquid colled might be a problem (mine is a 1943 US Navy generator)

But here is where real world numbers get in the way of this otherwise ingenious idea.

While it would be possible for a household to reduce its electrical consumption to a point where a small generator running on biogas would be self-suffecient, obtaining the "fuel" would be a huge problem. I have hundreds of acres of fields in which to tap for this endeavor, however, those same acres produce hay that is sold. Even though I live in a state with one of the highest electrical rates in the country, I do not spend $9000 dollars a year on electricity which is what I get from my hay, so my farm acres are better off used to produce hay and silage and sell it, then in trying to save $800 a year in elecrical costs.

I do think in the right situation it could be done, and I am close to that. I got the heavy equipment to make the lagoons, the small liquid colled generator, and the land base to get silage. But even then, the cost of fuel to make the lagoons, all the plumbing, and labor to save $800 a year??? Even to use the biogas for cooking on the kitchen range, for the clothes dryer, or even boiler for home heating would be questionable. Biogas is not very consistent after all, and not as potent (as many BTU's) as purchased propane, so a person will experience a lot of flame-outs.





 
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