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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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  #41  
Old 01-03-2014, 10:10:41 PM
Avery22x36 Avery22x36 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Hadn't looked at this thread in a while, lots of new posts. I am still pondering it, I have looked at plans for an 18ft wind turbine but that is the cheap part compared to the battery bank and inverters. It appears that 48volt is the way to go with the wind turbines so you don't have the loss coming down the tower. Forklift batteries appear to be the best value for longtivity but I would love to figure out how to make Edison batteries.

Solar power is not a very good option for me, I live where the Dustbowl was-maybe is? Several guys replaced their windmills with solar pumps but our dust is so bad they have to clean them all the time and most have went back to windmills or gas pump jacks. I do have over 14mph windspeed here so that is looking like the best bet.

Lots of stuff to consider and I appreciate all the replies.
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:30:10 PM
magneticanomaly magneticanomaly is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

I have lived here off-grid since 1989. No electricity, used kerosene lights and gasoline washing machine, gas genny and welder at shop where I made living. 2006 I put up a small solar panel to run tiny LED lights and radio . Built approx 1 KW solar power system with batteries from scrapyard and inverter for 'puter and refrigerator in 2008. Had six kids, all born at home. Wife left in 2008. Partly because of "primitive conditions"? Answer is related to next paragraph.

"Can you live off-grid" depends on what you mean by living. I started "simplfying" before I came here from the 'burbs. Got rid of oil heat for wood, added hand pump to well for times when electricity or electric pump did not work. Always drove an old car I had rebuilt. But the spark-plug for going off-grid here was the $ the power co wanted to run lines. But the secret to the answer to the OP's question is, WHY.

For me, I want to be independent. I would rather do ANYTHING for myself, than do something unrelated to my own life for someone else to get money, then exchange the money for what I really want. There is no logic about it, it is merely an aesthetic, a hang-up if you want a simpler word.

On top of the aesthetic now, is the expectation that the "grid' of global society is not stable enough to trust my family's survival to.

But you have to want the whole package, get positive satisfaction out of what might seem to some the "inconveniences", have to have a philosophical foundation for the whole thing. First wife did not. She had other problems, too, with honesty, loyalty, self-knowledge...

I am remarried now, and new wife shares my devotion to the peace and privacy and remoteness, the independence,the survivability...but not to the "inconveniences" So the solar power system is being expanded to run freezers, better batteries so we don't to have to wait for sunny day to run vacuum cleaner...

You will never save money off-grid versus paying electric bill, if you want to do thoughtlesly, any hour of day or night, all the stuff modern Americans take for granted. If you "don't want to think about it", pony up for the power lines.

Happy to get into it deeper, details of systems design and costs, hardware, operating experiences,etc., by PM

In case there is any confusion, I am passionate about being off- grid, would not ever willingly go back on, wish it WERE for everyone, but it is NOT.
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  #43  
Old 04-19-2014, 04:11:41 PM
Avery22x36 Avery22x36 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Well, as the original poster, my intent was not to live with out electricity, not to get out of a monthly bill and certianly not to brag about anything. I bought part of the original farm that my family had and I really want to build a house on it. Sure, I could spend $20,000 or 30,000 and have them run a line but spending that much is not very smart considering when I am gone the land will be worth no more with wires and most improvements are dozed anyway. Nobody lives in the country these days. With that said, I am trying to figure out a way to live comfortly or semi so with out spending half the price of a house on wires. Thanks for all comments.
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  #44  
Old 04-19-2014, 04:47:36 PM
Avery22x36 Avery22x36 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Oh, I wasn't mad, I just didn't think you understood that I didn't want to do this for an ego trip. When I bought the land it cost $7500 to run the line, when I called them to run it 3 years later it had doubled but they said I could probably get some kind of deal if I put my farm shop there so I waited a couple more years, then no deal but the price was close to $20,000 and now they can't really give a price until its done. Yea, I am getting ripped off because REA gives them all the money back for materials at the end of each year.

When land is sold the first thing most people do is hire a dozer to clear off all the improvements, I have seen nice brick homes only 20 years old dozed. Large farms and investment groups don't like renters. Sincs a lot of counties are no longer grading rural roads and some schools no longer provide bus service, young couples are not going to move to the country anyway. Its a fact of life, nobody wants to live more than an hour from Walmart. Well, nobody but me. LOL
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  #45  
Old 04-19-2014, 11:06:48 PM
Alastair Geddes. Alastair Geddes. is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

as for windspeed to do some engineering you have to measure it hourly over a years period to see how good the wind will be for the turbine.
I came across a well designed turbine from Australian windsun power or Axowind re bob burgess ph 02 46005747 bob@axowind.com www.axowind.com add country code for australia and note time zone if you want to ring.
Its a smaller type made out of composite but you need to check its performance in wind.

Solar Evacuated tube for solar hot water is the most efficient way to get hot water. say neopower at www.neopower.com.au ph 1300 062 788.

Solar is down to about $1 aud per watt ( ie 250 watts $250 per panel ) from the chinese manufacturers need to add freight etc to that for bulk lots in australia if you import you have to guarantee the 25 year performance @ 80% so be carefull you need to check this for USA.

companies chinese

Jiangsu Zeversolar New Energy
Zever solar T: +86 512 6937 0998 8816
E: simon_sun@zeversolar.com
www.zeversolar.com
or
Liyang energy Australia pty ltd
T: 61 385554138
Head quarters T: +86 513 83303909
E: marketing@linyang.com.cn
www.linyang.com

or Suzhou suncome solar Science & technology co ltd
E: yan.i@suncome.com.cn
www.suncome.com.cn
T: (00) 86 512 82557325

or
Yingli Green Energy Australia pty ltd
T: 1300 309 489
E: Clare.decastella@yinglisolar.com
www.yinglisolar.com/au

or
ZNShinesolar
www.znshinesolar.com
T:+ 86 13917540299
E: oscar@znshinesolar.com


wire cables etc
Shanghai jiukai wire and cable co ltd
shanghi factory: No 875 puwai road, wuqiao town, fengxian district shanghi, china.
T: 0086 21 57186991
E: tony@jiukaicable.com
wwwjiukicable.com

Solar tiles instead of panels just like a tiled roof
(a australian supplier)
Star 8
T: +61 396463340
E:debraj@star8.com.au
www.star8.com.au




fixings for panels ( australian supplier )
sunclik pty ltd
T: + 61 447 456 777
E: vincent@sunclik.com.au
www.sunclik.com.au

Research is done by Energy research institute
Melbourne University australia
T: + 61 3 83443519
E: powells@unimelb.edu.au
www.energy.unimelb.edu.au

as for inverters
Fronius, SMA etc worth having a look at they seem to have a good name.

of course there are other manufacturers ( german etc ) when i went to the conference 80% where chinese they sort of dominate the market in solar for price anyway.
Check them out carefully and make up your own mind
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  #46  
Old 05-02-2014, 11:37:16 AM
DLeach DLeach is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

In reading through these threads I have to wonder what some would do if the grid was ever shut down for any reason. Why most that are on grid have backup generators. I live off grid and have for over 12 years now. I live only half a mile from grid lines but was told it would cost around $30,000 to bring power to me. Between the batteries, inverter and solar panels I came out way cheaper than that. I have all the modern conveniences of being on grid. Yes I have to have satelite internet and tv since there are no wires. The only disadvantage is I have to haul water, but at $6.00 a month for water it's cheap. My wife does ceramics so the only time I run a generator is when she's running her kilns. I have seen the city of Kingman in the dark many times over the years. So much for grid power.
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  #47  
Old 05-02-2014, 06:22:49 PM
sasquatchm sasquatchm is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Re: mention of the Amish systems:
Many Amish communities use compressed air to run a lot of things. Appliances like blenders saws, water pumps , (including deep well pumps,) shop equipment etc.
Many of their new homes now have compressed air outlets on the backsplash of their kitchen counter for plugging in appliances.
There is a lot of proven information in these Amish systems. Air is usually stored in those large "Bullet" shaped propane tanks, and piped into the house and shops. (they have Amish guys who build/adapt air motors to replace electric motors,) i have seen some, and was surprised at the compactness and neat installations.
The air compressor is usually run by a 2 to 3 cyl diesel engine, when the air pressure drops too low.
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  #48  
Old 05-02-2014, 10:22:06 PM
Avery22x36 Avery22x36 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

I have also seen Amish use hydraulic systems to run wood working shops, saws, planner everything with lines coming from a single industrial engine. I assume you could run all those wood working tools off air also but in the winter the exhuast might be a bit cold.

I have a large collection of both carbide and gas lamps, I would love to use some of them in my house but I am just a little overcautious about that. There is still a hardware store here local that has gas lighting but they only use it when the power is out, it was probably put in back in the teens when the rest of the building was built. I may use them in an outbuilding but I do not have a gas well so I would have to hook up to the gas company and I really don't want them nosing around my house when they do their inspections. I will have to hook up to them for the print shop because most of my Linotypes and Ludlow uses gas lead pots. Might put gas lighting in that building?
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:01:55 AM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

YES Folk really do live completely of the grid in many places.

I have friends that moved onto a large parcel of land up in mid Maine that is several miles from the nearest power line and they built a headstock dam on a small stream that runs through the property. They generate power for everything they need with a water turbine and use a Serval gas fridge /freezer along with gas lamps.

They heat with wood from the land and eat pretty much off the land ,except for a trip to town 2-3 times a year for staples like flour, oatmeal and spices & propane.
Raising chickens , turkeys , dairy goats and a few pigs, along with venison and moose brought down in the back yard along with huge vegetable gardens and tap their maple trees for sap to sweeten their meals.
They are also raising Christmas trees for resale to bring in Cash for their staples.

Now they are not the "normal couple " that is dependent on modern conveniences and they live a simple and peaceful life without much stress.

Maybe more folks should try the simple life.
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:28:50 AM
Avery22x36 Avery22x36 is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

I think a lot of us could live like that but but most guys would probably only have half their stuff if you know what I mean.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:30:12 PM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by froelich View Post
I believe the answer to your question,"Can you really live off grid?" is no you cannot. Just like most Amish have found, they cannot either. Just because you don't have wires connected to your house, does it qualify as living off grid. IMHO

I've got two notes on that.

First, the definition of term is pretty concrete: being 'on grid', means you have a utility power line coming to your property. If you have one, and us it, you're 'on' it. If you don't use it, or don't even have a connection, you're not.

Second: the statement that 'no you cannot', is blatantly false, and it takes essentially no effort to defend this argument: Many do, and prior to 1886, EVERYONE did. My grandparents had no utility electric service prior to 1951... not stellar response, considering the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (following Executive Order 7037 of May 11 '35 was the initiator) but hey, there was a war going on through a fair chunk of that timeframe...

Aside note, along with Rural Electrification, also came the opportunity (via shared easement agreement) for telephone service to be brought to rural homes as well. My grandmother's house still had a party line in 1984, and three windmills still pumped water- one to barnyard, one to field trough, and the third pumped from the house well, up a hill to a cistern IN the top of the hill. They had gravity running water 24/7/365 since prior to the turn of the 20'th century.


But off grid, yes, and not all that difficult. It's simply a matter of adapting one's lifestyle to suit the environment... and it's not always about money. One of my close friends has a grid connection that he could lose any day of the week, because he's wood-heat, but doing so would disconnect his grid-tie inverter and solar array from a nice source of income. Last summer, I visited Mary and Bob Mahl up in Prentice, Wisconsin... they're basically surrounded by forest in such a way that there's no 'good' path to bring in a utility line, and every NON-GOOD path option, was cost prohibitive, so they put in a PV solar array and a dozen Trojan RE batteries, two inverters, a charger/maintainer, and they have a small propane-fired generator outside that they can run if they need to charge batteries after a long bout of no sunshine.

Nowdays, with LED lighting, the possibility of someone being 'grid unreliant' is much greater, because we have much better opportunities in terms of efficiency. We've ALWAYS recognized that an Edison type incandescent light bulb wastes 9 parts of the energy it consumes, for every 1 part light emitted. Ever wonder how an old farmhouse could seem 'comfortable' on a hot night? Try not running incandescent lights.. use just a candle, and remember that every incandescent filament burning, that 90% of it's energy has to get pumped back OUT of the house by an air-conditioning system that is easily uses 5x the same energy, just to extract the head brought in.

Gramma said: "The words Impossible and Can't, mean that you're not willing to make the sacrifices necesary to succeed.

By the way... my house is on the grid, but the grid frequently goes down. My cats, however, are totally off-grid.
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  #52  
Old 05-03-2014, 06:22:32 PM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Gramma said: "The words Impossible and Can't, mean that you're not willing to make the sacrifices necesary to succeed.

By the way... my house is on the grid, but the grid frequently goes down. My cats, however, are totally off-grid.[/QUOTE]

Your Gramma and my dad was on the same page he would say can,t died in the corn field. so around him better not said can,t up still in the 1970,s we were cooking on a wood cook stove best food you ever tasted burnt wood and coal we had electric did not have no running water we had a spring house and the coldest water you ever drank we carried all of our water to the house for eating and bathing my mom had a saying cleanliness is next to Godlyness . we finnaly got a land line .
we raised all our meat and vegetables . if my health was good like it was 40 years a go I know I could live with out power. that is still a dream I always had is to live back in a nice oak woods setting and a log cabin my ole hound dog live by anice crystal clear spring mountain water well Thank you for your story sure took me back in time.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:28:16 PM
DLeach DLeach is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Oh, I do support the grid in many ways so let's not even go there.Every time I purchase Fuel for my generator or vehicle I am paying my grid bill.
I pay for my internet and tv every month which also pays for the so called grid. Maybe the millions that spent their lives creating the grid would like to cough up the $30,000 it would take to bring me GRID POWER. But then I would still need a backup generator, when the grid fails to provide me power which it does quite often around here.
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Old 05-04-2014, 07:58:54 AM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Were you born a curmudgeon?

Or just got a burdock stuck in your skivvies
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:57:14 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Hey froelich,I had often wondered how I could become a curmudgeon but thanks to your link I have determined I am ALMOST already 1! Wow. Thanks for that link!

As for off grid. I like the idea, but dont like the expense.
For me the point of it would be more independent.

Every time the wind blows the lights go out around here.
The power company gives you cfl bulbs to use less electric and then jacks the rate up. I just dont like being at the end of their pull cord like that all the time.
Water, I would NOT want to be connected to a central water source. To accessible by terrorist. Pay for tv? Ha, yea right. The worthless dribble that comes thru the air called "news" and "weather" is all I want any access to and it is captured by my rabbit ears.
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Old 05-04-2014, 09:38:44 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Folks if we all thought the same looked the same it would really be a dull world in which to live electric is nice I agree but one day who knows when and it will happen they will be no power the grid will go off and then we that know how to live with out power we will .
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:32:54 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
I'm on the fence with water. Most ground water is not fit to drink and we worry too much about terrorists. We will run out of water long before we run out of power. That's going to be the tough one.
Which came first water or electric? my 2 cents I believe that when the power grid electric is gone we will still have water. three drops of bleach to one gallon of water is free of bacteria fit to drink may be cloudy but drinkable or boil the water for 10 minutes and it is free of bacteria . You know we all tend to worry about things we have no control over I do not worry in fear of terrorist be Godly mined he will take care of us so each day let us be thankful for what we have and try to live as God would have us to live God Bless us all.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:12:22 PM
DLeach DLeach is offline
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Dan:
We all know water came first...lol Water was around long before anyone thought of using it to generate power. Hence Hydro electric plants. Other ways to generate power came after the fact. I live where I do because there is no crime, no city noise, ect. We bought this 40 acres 22 years ago as just a get away. I used to live in Mesa, Arizona but got tired of it. After my shop got broke into and all my tools stolen, and a guy killed his family not more than two blocks from me, my wife and I decided to move here. My nearest neighbor is two miles from me, but if I need help or he needs help, we take care of each other. Don't see much of that in cities anymore.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:32:11 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

I see what you mean now about bad water my little mind set I live in the hills a way from civilization and population no farms or toxin and so on and I do not want near cities and so on we still get a lot of airborne contaminants planes all the time dropping dust for tent worms I always did say the government was poisoning the air we breath. thank you Froelich take care be safe. the ole mountainmandan
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:44:20 AM
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Default Re: Can you really live off grid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by froelich View Post
I have a friend that pushes freight up and down the Mississippi and he says you can already see the effects of the lowering water levels.
I'm looking out my front window, and not seeing a lowering water level... If your friend pushes freight up and down, he's most certainly come right by my front door... and my river gauge shows much higher than the record lows of 1945 and 1887. Perhaps he wasn't around when Leutenant R. E. Lee surveyed this spot in 1837, if he did, he would've been in dismay, because the draft of his vessel would've certainly exceeded the water's depth. Of course, we don't have finitely recorded flow volume from that timeframe as we do now, BUT, they had a pretty good approximation going merely by measuring the differential of fall between LeClaire and Davenport...

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydro...rob_type=stage


Your argument is, that one who lives in condition where utility power doesn't exist, is not truely living 'off grid', because they rely on things that rely on-grid. While this may be true, I assure you that if all the infrastructure were to vanish, that a larger percentage of our culture would perish from lack of proper knowledge and skill, there would still be plenty that do, either by their own talent, or by having the ability to draw on the experience of others to rapidly regain capacity to do so, and it certainly won't take the internet to do so.

Case in point, some of us have been transported to far reaches of the world to accomplish tasks that preclude creature comforts like food, water, and shelter. I know of few who would choose to live that way- it's inherent amongst humans that when put in such situations, the first thing they do, is seek shelter and establish a short reach to food and water. That's not any special talent per se- that's INSTINCT. Some have traded in their instinct, and they'll rapidly become food for wild animals, but not all.

Again, you state it impossible, yet humanity has, in recorded history, dozens upon dozens of generations who DID, long before 'the grid' ever existed. They were well-motivated, yes?
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