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using solar and wind energy for tillers, etc  RSS feed

 
peter mukunda
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Many types of crops still require power tillers and other types of power implements.  I think a wind turbine and/or (but preferably both) a solar photo voltaic (or csp) station can service many acres, cuz there is often wind and/or sun.  Provided one keeps tillers and other equipment small (ie: walk behind).

I'm no electrical engineer, but here's how I see it possibly working.  Restricting tillers, mowers and such to 5 hp or so (possible higher though - up to 10 or even more), the extension cords can remain reasonable thin.  (They will grow in necessary thickness as horsepower requirements rise.)

I see a reel cart accompanying the tiller, so that when you travel away from the power source the cord is unreeling and lying on the ground.  When you travel back towards the power source, the reel is activated (powered electrically) to reel up the cord.

For the power source, the place where this extension cord is plugged in, I see a large buried cable going in a line down a field, with plug-in outlets above ground on posts every 60 feet or whatever.

The idea is to till the land which is within 200 feet or whatever of this main power line, on both sides of it.  So, if you have buried half a mile (or whatever) of main line and provided outlets along the way, you will be able to do quite a few acres.  400 feet x 2640 feet.  I make that to be 24 acres.

For many people that will be enough or more than enough.  But one can also run multiple lines off one wind/solar station, so the acreage covered can also go much higher.

But obviously, this also all hinges on having a good medium sized wind turbine and/or solar pv array.  In medium winds and reasonable sunlight you need enough watts to achieve your desired horsepower.  Also, Ithink there will be some voltage drop along the cords.
 
John Polk
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For what that would cost, I can buy 2 acres, have it fenced, and put a pair of good draft mules on it.  At least I wouldn't have to worry about running over my power cord.
 
peter mukunda
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Yeah, I think there's a lot of potential in draft animals.  But also drawbacks, so naturally one has to weigh all the pros and cons.  Animals have to be trained and fed and otherwise taken care of.  It's not everyone's inclination and convenience.  Cold here on the Canadian prairies, so they eat a lot in winter.  And after they till 2 acres they might not be much use, whereas a wind and/or solar power station can provide power for the farm year round and also feed the grid.  On the other hand, mules and horses don't require parts from as far away as China and this will be important as the world now gets messier and messier.  Supplies may not be forthcoming.  Mules and horses are local, green, reproducable and we could make generators for them to turn year round.  Train them to walk in a circle to power a generator, I mean.  Those are some of things I see.  But, I was just thinking I can probably get by on wind alone - just make good use of the real windy days.  Windchargers aren't that exotic and shouldn't break down too often, so I'm inclined that way.  But figuring out no-till organic methods of cropping trumps everything, of course.  Thanks.  Keep the thoughts flowing...
 
Shawn Bell
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That is a cool idea, it reminded me of this tractor at, http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ElectricTractor.htm.

electric-tractor.jpg
[Thumbnail for electric-tractor.jpg]
 
peter mukunda
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Hey, neat.  Thanks!  Won't get a lot of hp of out of a few pv panels, but maybe enough for some jobs....  I wonder if the panels can be tilted in any direction, so you can always catch good sun....  Some batteries will reduce the need to stop during intermittent clouds... .
 
Shawn Bell
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Lightning,

There is a good thread in this alternative energy forum called Electric Tractors, there is some really good stuff in there.

Shawn
 
peter mukunda
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Tanx (thanks)
 
John Polk
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Solar panels produce DC power.  You will lose a %age by converting it to AC, and lose some more delivering it to your fields.  Using DC motors on your tillers would eliminate that problem, but you would need to have some pretty good batteries (heavy) on your equipment.  Five and ten Horsepower electric motors are quite expensive.
 
peter mukunda
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thanks
 
ronie dee
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lightning wrote:
Many types of crops still require power tillers and other types of power implements.  I think a wind turbine and/or (but preferably both) a solar photo voltaic (or csp) station can service many acres, cuz there is often wind and/or sun.  Provided one keeps tillers and other equipment small (ie: walk behind).

I'm no electrical engineer, but here's how I see it possibly working.  Restricting tillers, mowers and such to 5 hp or so (possible higher though - up to 10 or even more), the extension cords can remain reasonable thin.  (They will grow in necessary thickness as horsepower requirements rise.)

I see a reel cart accompanying the tiller, so that when you travel away from the power source the cord is unreeling and lying on the ground.  When you travel back towards the power source, the reel is activated (powered electrically) to reel up the cord.

For the power source, the place where this extension cord is plugged in, I see a large buried cable going in a line down a field, with plug-in outlets above ground on posts every 60 feet or whatever.

The idea is to till the land which is within 200 feet or whatever of this main power line, on both sides of it.  So, if you have buried half a mile (or whatever) of main line and provided outlets along the way, you will be able to do quite a few acres.  400 feet x 2640 feet.  I make that to be 24 acres.

For many people that will be enough or more than enough.  But one can also run multiple lines off one wind/solar station, so the acreage covered can also go much higher.

But obviously, this also all hinges on having a good medium sized wind turbine and/or solar pv array.  In medium winds and reasonable sunlight you need enough watts to achieve your desired horsepower.  Also, Ithink there will be some voltage drop along the cords.


How about a battery wagon (maybe driven with electric motor) that can be moved to the charger panels/turbine then unplugged and moved to use area (house- pumps- field- shed etc.).
 
peter mukunda
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The battery wagon idea sounds like it has potential, though I'll let more technically astute minds give some feedback before I get too excited.  But one thought is that is you had two battery wagons, then one could be charging while the other is in use.  More than two wagons if needed and you have the money...

Offhand, I really like this idea and hope it is feasible and efficient enough that it works.  In many ways, it beats the heck out of cords - providing it is not too clumsy and there is enough power to last for a reasonable length of time.  It will be heavy, but soft tires, like ones off an old ATV, should reduce soil compaction.

I'll think about it some more

Thanks
 
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