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Alternative Fuels An energy source alternative to using fossil fuels. Materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, other than conventional fuels. Waste oils, vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used alone, or blended with fossil fuels.

Alternative Fuels

Can you really live off grid?


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  #21  
Old 02-22-2012, 01:34:38 AM
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Craig A Craig A is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Where in creation are utilities still putting in NEW services with overhead wires?.......
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:49:02 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Fielder View Post
i have a friend that has free natural gas on his property and a natural gas generator. don't know if that's off grid, but he doesn't have any utility bills
I wish I could do that! All I have found on my property is rocks!
Steve
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  #23  
Old 02-22-2012, 09:59:00 PM
Avery22x36 Avery22x36 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Power View Post
local electric coop absolutely will not allow anyone (unless a line outfit under contract by them) to put up a line with a transformer on the end
Correct - you can't put up hi line, but you may be able to put the poles up, and they install the hi line. That should cut the cost. If the distance is so long that you need hi line and a can at your end, then there is more ugly.
Try thinking out of the box a bit. Maybe they will allow you to come in with 480 and drop it to 120/240 at your house. That halves the drop, and the cans have taps on them, so you can go to a higher tap - say 125/250 to keep full load drop within acceptable limits. We did an installation where they designed for 130/260 once. 130 volt bulbs are readily available.
Yea, the nearest 3 phase is 5 miles off but we have talked about coming off the transformer and running through a rotary phase convertor and going 3 phase the mile to my place. Of course the cost of me doing all that was still over half the ECs cost and if I have a major component failure a couple times I may not be ahead. Where the electric company's wire ends and I would tie on is my shop, its the end of the line and we have problems buring single phase motors up, my air compressor can make the neighbor's lights blink at times and I go through florecent light bulbs like they were machine gun bullets so the power source I am hooking onto is marginal at best. I asked the company for a large transformer and they said the line would not support a larger one. Thanks

---------- Post added at 07:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:53 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig A View Post
Where in creation are utilities still putting in NEW services with overhead wires?.......
Where on Earth do they put them underground other than from the street to your house? Most of the time the company puts in the transformer and meter and you either take the wire to your house or hire an independent contractor to do it. There are still many NEW applications around here where the farmer brings the wire in overehead from the meter. Done a shed myself a couple years ago like that. My local electric company will not do more than 1/8th of a mile underground unless you pay the whole amount.
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  #24  
Old 02-23-2012, 04:35:04 AM
dalmatiangirl61 dalmatiangirl61 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Texas has NO problem with overhead wires, years ago we had to make a big stink with the power company to get them to bring in power from a neighbors service line to a pole set on the edge of the property, from there we buried cable to the house, had to do same thing with the warehouse. With a crane in the yard we wanted no overhead lines.
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  #25  
Old 02-24-2012, 03:18:13 AM
NZ-Pete NZ-Pete is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Ive often contemplated this, firstly I would convert my power to 24 volt DC, run an inverter for any thing that requires a higher voltage, but have most items like TVs, stereos, etc as 12 or 24 volt, and use higher voltage items sparingly.
so a combination of solar cells and wind turbines, 24 volt wind turbinesare quiet common in yachting, though I would preferr a vertical drum fan over a conventional propeller, as a drum fan would cope with dirty air flows that are fouled by trees and other buildings.
Cooking and Fridges, freezers can be done off gas ie LPG, I would have a coal range / wood stove as back up for cooking and home heating.
The only thing I would have in standby is a modern inverter generator, for those times when there isnt quiet enough wind or sun, or for those jobs for larger power needs.
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  #26  
Old 02-25-2012, 03:43:47 AM
NZ-Pete NZ-Pete is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

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This is a house truck that I helpd build for a friend a number of years ago, he lives in the truck all year around, it is fully self contained, he lives in the front 3/4 of the truck and operates a Cafe out of the back 1/4.
he has solar panels on top, and a wind turbine for charging the house batteries, also has a second altinator for charging house batteries when driving, cooking and fridges run on LPG, also hot water califont, and his exspresso coffee machine.
he has an inverter generator as back up power, and can carry up to 1500 litres of drinking water.
He caters for all tyes of events around New Zealand.
http://www.petespalace.co.nz
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  #27  
Old 02-25-2012, 01:08:35 PM
Ronald E. McClellan Ronald E. McClellan is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

NZ Pete; From the picture it doesn't look like a tractor-trailer (5 th wheel). How does he make normal 90 deg. turns? Is there one axel in the front and one axel in the back? Ron
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  #28  
Old 02-25-2012, 03:18:39 PM
Windables Windables is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

check out solar on the roof
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  #29  
Old 02-25-2012, 05:05:55 PM
NZ-Pete NZ-Pete is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

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Its the largest box body truck allowable on NZ roads, it is twin steer front axels, and twin driving axels at the rear, you just need a reasonable area to turn around in.
These trucks were used in Japan for moving cotton wool. It has a 9 litre mitsubishi v8 diesle.
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  #30  
Old 02-26-2012, 01:51:08 AM
marvgarr marvgarr is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Hi I live totally off grid there is not a power pole for 5 miles I have a wife and a 2 year old daughter. We have 5 (only 4 are on the house the other charges the battery for the water pump) 210 watt solar panels and 8 golf cart batteries from Sam's club that are 6 years old we have 2 wind generators but have not finished the towers to put them on. We have lived here for 3 years in AZ summers are 110 deg we have a huge swamp cooler a electric 16 cf refrigerator plasma TV in the bedroom 55 inch big screen in the living room electric washing machine. We have a propane stove, water heater, and heater electric lights we live in a mobile home. We can go for 2 cloudy no sun days with out having to run the generator in fact I have not used the generator for about 4 months its not even hooked up I used it to weld across the property and never plugged it back in. We live like anyone on grid I installed everything myself and it is low maintenance for me I have about 5000.00 into it so yes it can be done just my 2 cents.

Marvin
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  #31  
Old 02-29-2012, 10:14:56 AM
John Marrais John Marrais is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avery22x36 View Post
, is it really possible to live in normal house offgrid?
It depends on what you call "normal." My wife and I have two homes here in New York. One totally off-grid and the other on grid-tie. Both use solar for electricity. We live in one of the darkest "low sunlight" areas in the US. So, if we can do it, so can anyone else. Not what many would call "normal" though.

Our main "winter" home is based on an 1820 farmhouse. I built a tractor barn with one roof facing south and angled to hold 5400 watts of solar panels. That's wired to a 48 volt battery bank and twin 10,000 watt inverters that make 220 volts AC. The only reason we have grid-tie is so the excess power we make does not get wasted. Heat is 100% firewood. That includes hot water in the winter. In the summer it's heated by roof panels. We have two water sources in the house. A hand-powered pitcher pump on a dug well (30 feet deep) and a submerged electric pump in a 200 foot drilled well. We keep 1000 gallons of diesel here all the time - mostly to run tractors. I also have a 17KW electric generator powered by a F140 four cylinder Continental gas engine that is set up to run on wood smoke. We have several 42" plasma TVs, microwave, etc. Also an equipment repair shop with a 220 volt welder, big air compressor, etc. Our kitchen has a Rumford wood cooking fireplace, a wood fired bake oven, a wood cook stove and oven, a gasoline stove, an oil stove, and two propane stoves. Yeah that's a lot but my wife used to teach alternative cooking at a living history museum and water powered mill. We both like backup systems.

If you have NO hookup to grid power - and you install solar and/or wind power - you will have times when you make twice the power you need - and it all gets wasted. And you'll have times when you make NO power. So, off-grid needs backup power to make sure your battery bank stays charged. A good battery bank will last 10 years. My neighbor is totally off grid and he uses propane to run a backup generator to keep his batteries charged when it's been dark for a long time. I know another family that uses water power for backup but that only works if you've got a good running creek or river on your land. That is unless you build a dam, pond, and water-release system.

By the way, I forgot to mention refrigeration. Someone else mentioned an absorbtion type. That needs fuel - either propane or oil. We use a Swedish Sundanzer 12 volt frig and freezer. Will run on 12-24 volts and they are amazing. One 120 watt solar panel hooked to one 225 AH battery will run one all year long. And - solar panels are very cheap right now. 1/3 the cost they were 5 years ago.
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  #32  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:38:16 PM
Jeff Smith Jeff Smith is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod Fielder View Post
i have a friend that has free natural gas on his property and a natural gas generator. don't know if that's off grid, but he doesn't have any utility bills
Rod,

I know of the same thing, off the grid, but he has also converted his cars to natural gas and also gets enough $$$ from the gas it to pay the mortage...............
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  #33  
Old 03-03-2012, 04:19:54 AM
DLeach DLeach is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Power View Post
local electric coop absolutely will not allow anyone (unless a line outfit under contract by them) to put up a line with a transformer on the end
Correct - you can't put up hi line, but you may be able to put the poles up, and they install the hi line. That should cut the cost. If the distance is so long that you need hi line and a can at your end, then there is more ugly.
Try thinking out of the box a bit. Maybe they will allow you to come in with 480 and drop it to 120/240 at your house. That halves the drop, and the cans have taps on them, so you can go to a higher tap - say 125/250 to keep full load drop within acceptable limits. We did an installation where they designed for 130/260 once. 130 volt bulbs are readily available.
That green is awful hard on the eyes.

---------- Post added at 01:19 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:08 AM ----------

Marvin
I live up in the Peacocks and have been offgrid for 8 years now. Will be adding a couple more panels in that demand is up a lil for power. Just added a gas clothes dryer so wife doesn't have to hang clothes on cold days. Maybe some day we can meet to compare notes.
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  #34  
Old 03-06-2012, 03:46:45 AM
marvgarr marvgarr is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

That would be great I too will have to add some more panels as i am at the limit in summer time but not much more
private message me and we will get together one of these days
thanks
marvin
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  #35  
Old 03-06-2012, 12:46:41 PM
Bill Sherlock Bill Sherlock is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

"That green is awful hard on the eyes."

If you left click and drag your mouse over the green printing it becomes visible.

Bill
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  #36  
Old 03-07-2012, 07:34:11 PM
G Willikers G Willikers is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

This lad is just around the corner from us:
http://www.lunaproject.ca/about-us-luna-project
Another way of living off the grid if you are up to the challenge?
But I grew up on a farm with wood stove heat and outdoor pooper facilities. It was a good life in that we had a strong family upbringing, had plenty to eat ( all from our farm) and knew as kids that we didn't have the money to have what some other people had. But then, back then, a lot of people lived the same way.
Having said that, you can shove your yurts and off the grid living firmly where the day's sunlight doesn't reach! A lot of people struggled and sacrificed so that we could have a better life - a warm, comfortable home with safe and reliable drinking water and toilet facilities for example.
Turn off the lights in the room you are not using, leave the tv off if you are not watching, turn the heat down a wee bit and wear a sweater, likewise the ac, don't surround yourself with every useless, modernistic, power consuming trinket that comes across from China. Live a sensible, modest lifestyle. The rest will look after itself!
RM.
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  #37  
Old 03-12-2012, 10:33:59 AM
Robdiesel.707 Robdiesel.707 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

My wife and I have been off grid for 32yrs, living in her great granfathers house on his ranch. He didn't have a liteplant but had propane lamps, oil lamps ect. Propane cookstove, water heater and refrigerator. It all cost money! I talked to the power company about power in 1980, and they wanted $79,000.00 for 2 1/2 miles. Ten years later they wanted $180,000.00. I have 2 generators now, both diesel one to run the solar for the house and one to run the shop 3ph. We don't get enough water for a pelton wheel but we do have some wind, and I did buy an old wind generator. I just have to climb and limb a tree to put the thing in. The higher you go the more wind you will get. I'm going to make a bearing cap that will slip on the top of the tree after I top it. This bearing cap will have a stud to mount the windmill on so the windmill will spin free. My concern is climbing the tree to repair the thing. I'm kicking around building a steam engine to power my generator so I can burn waste wood around the place to offset my diesel use. I think unless you find a way to harness some unseen power sorce you will allways have to pay someone for fuel ect. The steam power thing would be good but I still have to figure out a boiler, size ect. I know nothing about how to build a safe boiler or just a boiler period. Another thing is a boiler consumes fuel, and if I should build the thing I should have a clean looking forest.
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  #38  
Old 03-12-2012, 02:40:06 PM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Rob - woodgas might be a better solution than a boiler and steam engine. Can use your existing engines.
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  #39  
Old 03-14-2012, 10:42:55 PM
Robdiesel.707 Robdiesel.707 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

What is wood gas?
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  #40  
Old 03-17-2012, 11:48:25 PM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Google it. Also, we had some discussons on Stak. Look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas

---------- Post added at 11:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:45 PM ----------

Another article-
How to Power a Gasoline Engine with Wood - COVER
Historic document "How to Power a Gasoline Engine with Wood", woodgas gasifier plans
puffergas.com/florida/florida.html
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