3 ways 2_save


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Stop being a slave to your power company! This fact-filled free report shows you how generate your own electricity and save a fortune or your power bills – or even eliminate them altogether! What's more, the techniques shown here are doable by anyone with just basic DIY skills, and most of the materials required can easily be sourced locally or off the Internet.

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3 ways 2_save

  1. 1. © Copyright TheOffGridPowerPlant.com 2011
  2. 2. Disclaimers:The contents of this report are based on the authors own experiences andresearch, and are for information purposes only. The author accepts noresponsibility or liability whatsoever for the outcome of following the advice orinstructions in this report. E&OEThis report is free, and includes “give away rights”. It may be freely distributed,bundled with other reports, or offered as a bonus provided no charge is madeand the report is not altered in any way.Photographic copyrights are as credited.
  3. 3. I n todays cash-strapped times, everyone is looking for ways to save money. Todays world is reliant on electricity like never before, yet the costs keep going up and up. In this free report, Im going to show you three ways youcan generate your own electricity at home, and save yourself a fortune in theprocess. You can even turn a profit with what Im going to describe here, as (insome parts of the world) power companies are required by law to purchasesurplus electricity from you.A few questions to ask yourself before you start...The first question you should ask yourself when it comes to generating your ownelectricity is: Is this a feasible thing for me to do?If you live in a house in the country or in a suburb, then generating your ownpower is going to be a more “doable” proposition for you than if you live in arented apartment. Many of the processes Im going to describe in this report willrequire structural additions or open space, so if you live on the 24 th floor of ahigh-rise apartment block (say), youre not going to have much option but tostick with the power company.
  4. 4. Likewise is you live in rental property, public housing, or local authorityaccommodation, youre going to need your landlords consent before you doanything, so ask first before you start. If the answer is “yes” and your landlordhas no objections, get it in writing to avoid any misunderstandings later on.Even if you are a homeowner, there may be local planning laws, bylaws,ordinances or deed restrictions that could prevent you installing any kind ofpower generating system, so again, ask first before you start and be sure to getany permissions in writing.
  5. 5. The next question to ask yourself is: How long is it going to take me to breakeven? To a certain extent that depends on what type of system youre going tobuild, and if youre going to build something yourself from scratch or buy an offthe shelf system.How much electricity do you want to generate? If you want to disconnectyourself from the mains grid completely, youre going to need a much moreheavy duty system than if you just want to power an outbuilding (a garage forexample) or safeguard your deep freeze from power failures.Finally, how technically competent are you? If you cannot tell one end of ascrewdriver from another, some of the systems Im going to describe here willprobably not be for you. Each system requires a number of skills – both to setup and maintain, so some technical knowledge is a must.
  6. 6. Of course, you can always pay someone to erect an maintain the system foryou, but that will add to your costs and lengthen your break even period. If,however, youre a dab hand with a power drill, and have the space to erect someof the equipment Im going to show you how to make, read on because thiscould be the the most enlightening report you read all year.The methods Im going to describe here are designed to charge batteries whichwill store your electricity. You will need to connect up a transformer to convertthe DC generated power to AC, and a power inverter to raise the voltage to 120vor 220v (depending on the mains electricity voltage where you are) before it canbe used.
  7. 7. 1. Wind turbines When people think of “green” energy, this is one of the first things to come to mind; after all, commercial wind farms are springing up all over the place, and politicians like to hail them as the energy source of the future. Erecting a wind turbine is certainly doable and neednt be too expensive.The first thing to do is set-up your generator. You can build one from scratch,but the best way is to get hold of a permanent magnet motor. You can pick themup on eBay in 12, 24, or 48 volt configurations for around $300 new, and abouthalf that price used.Contrary to popular belief, a car alternator doesnt make a very good windturbine generator – mainly because it needs to spin a lot faster than a windturbine is capable of doing.
  8. 8. Then fabricate your 3 blades. PVC pipe cut in half is best for this. Youll need toadjust the length to fit the type of motor youre using. This is most important:Too long and it can damage your generator, too short and the blades wont turnunless there is a strong gale.Youll need to fabricate a hub to attach the blades to. Cut a disk from sheetmetal (aluminum is best) and machine it on a lathe until it is perfectly circular,then drill a hole in the exact center the size of the spindle on your generator.Getting it round and centered is of crucial importance as vibrations can damageyour generator very quickly.Attach the blades to the hub so that they catch the wind, and balance them toavoid any vibration. The way you arrange the blades will determine whichdirection your generator turns, and which axis will be positive and which one willbe negative.Now its time to build your tower. Itshould be at least 12 feet tall – thetaller the better as the higher you canget your turbine, the more wind it willcatch. The tower should be placed asfar away from tall buildings asfeasible. If space is limited, makesure its taller than the nearestadjacent building. You should, ofcourse, choose a spot well away fromoverhead power cables or telephonewires.
  9. 9. You can build the tower yourself out of pipe (2 – 3 inch aluminum pipe isrecommended) or adapt a radio tower or parking lot light pole.Connect 10 – 20 gauge extension lead cables to your generator, and run themdown the outside of your tower. Raise your tower and secure it with guy wires tokeep it vertical in high winds.Youre now ready to connect up to your batteries. Be sure to put a diode in thecircuit so the batteries dont discharge when the wind isnt blowing.Pros:Easy to buildParts readily availableNot too expensiveCons:Only works when the wind is blowingMachine shop (or access to one) requiredMay fall foul of local planning laws, complaints from neighbors, etc.
  10. 10. 2. Solar panelsSolar panels are probably the ultimate form of green energy. There are nomoving parts, they are completely silent, and maintenance is minimal. You canset them and forget them As long as the sun shines, your batteries will becharged up and youll have plenty of electricity.There are two types of solar panel: Active and Passive. Most solar expertsagree that the best way to utilize solar technology is to have a combination ofboth active and passive solar panels.
  11. 11. Active solar panels use photo-voltaic (PV) technology to turn sunlight intoelectricity. Passive solar panels use the heat from sunlight for home heating andhot water.A sloping roof is ideal for this type of technology, although you can mount themat ground level. Either way, you should choose a spot that gets sunlight all yearround and doesnt have any shade from overhanging trees or adjacent buildings.You can build your own active panels, or you can purchase them from aspecialist retailer. Obviously, building your own works out a lot cheaper.Active solar panels can either be stand-alone units mounted on your roof, or youcan have your roof space covered in PV roofing shingles to maximize theamount of space available. The size of shingle to use is mainly dependent onthe area of roof space to be covered and the pitch of the roof.Once installed, the active panels are simply wired up to your batteries asdescribed earlier.
  12. 12. Passive solar panels wont generate electricity for you, but they will save youmoney on your electric bill by reducing the need to heat both room space andwater; indeed, during the summer months you may be able to switch off yourwater heater altogether!There are two types of passive hot water heaters: One tank, and two tank.
  13. 13. With a two tank system, water is pumped through passive solar panels on theroof. This preheats the water prior to it going into a conventional hot waterheater or boiler. You still use another system to heat the water, but as the wateris warm rather than cold, it requires much less energy to do the job. In placeswhich have a combination of high temperatures and long hours of strongsunshine, this system may be all thats required to heat the water enough tocomfortably take a shower or wash dishes.In a one tank system, a combination of water and antifreeze is pumped throughthe solar panels, and then through a transfer coil inside the hot water cylinder(see diagram above). This is a closed loop system, so the fluid from the solarpanels never comes into contact with the hot water. As the fluid is recirculatedand never gets completely cold, this is generally all the heating required for hotwater most of the year. In dark winter months, though, a conventionalimmersion heater may also be necessary to supplement this system.
  14. 14. Passive air heating systems work in a similar way to the one tank systemdescribed above. Instead of a transfer coil, the fluid is pumped through a heatexchanger (similar to a car radiator) and an electric fan blows the heated airthrough ducts to rooms. Fans and pumps can be powered by PV panels andbatteries making the entire system independent of the regular power grid.To build your own passive solar panels, do the following:First of all, decide howlarge your solar panel isgoing to be. Roof spaceavailable will be theultimate determining factorhere, but as a general rule,you should allow 20 squarefeet for the first tworesidents and 8 – 14square feet for eachadditional residentdepending on the climatewhere you live (the coolerthe climate, the more spacerequired).
  15. 15. Decide where youre going to place your solar panel. The location should be asdescribed earlier, but you should also find a space where your solar panel will fitover roof joists so that it can be easily secured. If you have a wood burningstove or fireplace, make sure you have a spark arrestor fitted. If you dont,sparks from the fire can burn holes in your solar panel.Purchase the wood youll need for the base. Preferably this should behardwood like Teak or Cedar as this will be the most hard wearing and longlasting, but if youre on a budget, plywood will do. Cut the wood so it forms asquare or rectangle.Attach lengths of 2 X 4 lumber (with one of the 2” sides downwards) to the edgeof your base. Secure with wood screws, evenly spaced. This is going to formthe frame. Again, hardwood is best for this.Coat the entire panel in a good quality wood preservative and allow to dry.Obtain a glass fiber mat to line the panel and keep the heat in during coldweather. Thin wall insulation, Styrofoam tiles, or bubble-wrap can also be usedin a pinch.Next, youll need to obtain an aluminum sheet the size of your panel. Make sureit is completely clean, then coat it in red oxide primer. Allow to dry, and place ontop of the insulation. Attach to the base with screws.
  16. 16. Purchase lengths of copper pipe and 90o elbow fittings. The goal is to have thecopper pipe zig-zag across the panel at around six inch intervals, so youll needto calculate how much pipe and how many elbow fittings to get depending onthe size of your panel.Drill a centered hole the size of the copper pipe you intend to use in one of the 2X 4 sections near the upper left-hand corner of the frame, and a correspondinghole in the lower right-hand corner of the frame.Run the pipe through the top hole all the way to the bottom of the frame, attacha 90o elbow fitting and approximately 6 inches of pipe, then another elbow fittingand a length of pipe all the way to the top of the frame. Repeat the process untilthe entire panel is covered with the last downward section of pipe exiting the thepanel via the bottom hole. You can secure the pipe to the base if you want, butthis generally isnt necessary.Solder all the connections to make sure theyre watertight.Attach a garden hose to one end of the pipework, turn the water on and checkfor leaks.Paint the entire inside of the panel matt black. Make sure everything is covered,especially the copper pipes. Give it 2 – 3 coats to ensure total coverage.
  17. 17. Cover the entire panel in a sheet of plexiglass. Attach it to the frame with strongadhesive or drill holes and use small screws. If you have an exceptionally largepanel, join several sections of Plexiglas together with special fixings. YourPlexiglas supplier can advise you about this. The goal here is to keep the panelair and water tight so it retains heat.Mount the panel onto your roof with “L” shaped fixings. Get heavy-dutygalvanized ones which wont rust.You then need to plumb the panel in. How you do this depends on whetheryoure using a one or two tank hot water system, or a passive air heatingsystem.Pros:QuietEfficientUnobtrusiveCons:Not particularly suited for areas that dont get a lot of sunlight
  18. 18. 3. Bio-diesel generatorThis is probably the simplest way to generate your own electricity as thetechnology and components are readily available. Its not as green as theothers; there is a waste product (exhaust gasses) but its an off the shelf solutionyou can start to use right away.There are two ways you can use a bio-diesel generator: Directly – just plug yourappliances straight in, or indirectly – use it to charge up batteries like theprevious two systems.
  19. 19. You can pick up a diesel generator on eBay quite easily. Prices range from afew hundred dollars to tens of thousands depending on how powerful a one youget. A high wattage AC generator will be much more expensive than a lowwattage DC one, for example. A low wattage DC generator is usually fine ifyoure going to combine it with one of the systems described above.You can make your own bio-diesel at home quite simply. The main ingredient isvegetable oil, and you can often pick this up for free. Restaurants have to payto have this stuff taken away once its been used, so if you can find a fast foodoutlet near you and make friends with the owner, chances are youll have aready supply and a win/win situation for you both.
  20. 20. Converting the oil into bio-diesel isnt rocket science, and anyone who didntflunk high school science class can do it. Take adequate precautions, though.Some of the chemicals used in the process are both toxic and dangerous. Wearprotective clothing including an apron and gloves. Its best to perform theconversion outside and to have a water supply handy to wash off any chemicalsthat may come into contact with your skin. Follow all directions and precautionsthat may be printed on chemical containers.Firstly you must prepare the oil for conversion. If youre using waste oil from arestaurant, youll need to filter out any food residue (bits of french fry, chickenbatter etc.) that may still be in the oil. You may need to warm it up to roomtemperature to get it to flow smoothly. A funnel lined with cheesecloth is best tofilter the oil, but you can also use a commercial coffee filter. Repeat the processuntil the oil is clear and clean.Next step is to get rid of any water that may be in the oil. Water contaminationmay occur because of condensation in the container while its sitting in therestaurant waiting for you to collect it. Water contamination can slow down theconversion process, and could even make your bio-diesel turn into soap!To get rid of the water, you basically have to boil the oil. This is probably themost dangerous part of the whole process, so take adequate precautions: Wearprotective clothing, have a foam fire extinguisher handy, and do the job outsideand away from buildings – so if the oil does catch fire, you wont burn yourhouse down!
  21. 21. Heat the oil to boiling point (212o f/ 100oc). Stir it to avoid steam pockets formingand splashing the oil everywhere, or drain the water off the bottom if youreusing a vessel with a drain plug. When the boiling slows, raise the temperatureto 265 oF / 130 oC for 10 minutes, then allow it to cool.For the next phase youre going to need some chemicals: Lye (either sodiumhydroxide or potassium hydroxide) – which you can get at soap maker supplystores, and methanol – which you can get from specialist suppliers andracetracks (you can use antifreeze, but the result may not be as good).Dissolve the lye and methanol to form sodium methoxide. Then mix the sodiummethoxide with the oil. To ensure all the ingredients are mixed evenly andthoroughly, a commercial blender is best for this task. The mix ratio should be 3– 5 grams of lye and 200 milliliters of methanol for every liter of oil. The amountof lye is going to vary slightly depending on what the base oil was used for. Doa test batch first to get the ratio right before you attempt to do a whole tank full.Pour the mixture into a glass bottle and leave overnight. In the morning youllfind that a byproduct, glycerin, has formed and sunk to the bottom of yourcontainer.Skim the bio-diesel off. If you want, you can use the glycerin to make soap, oryou can just throw it away.Let the bio-diesel sit in a sealed container for about a week. This is to allow anyresidue or bits of glycerin that may be suspended in the fuel to settle. Filter thebio-diesel using the same method you used for the unprocessed oil, then store itin another sealed container until youre ready to use it in your generator.
  22. 22. Bio-diesel has a higher octane than regular diesel, so you may need to adjustthe generators injection timing. See your generators instruction manual abouthow to do this.Pros:True recycling – turning a waste product into energyBase fuel is easy to come by, and (in many cases) freeGenerators are easy to come byCons:Initial generator purchase can be expensiveNoisyNot a constant power source as you need to turn the generator off for refueling,maintenance, etc.
  23. 23. ConclusionSo which system is best? They all have their pros and cons. In an ideal world,a combination of all three would work wonders. You could have a bank of activesolar panels with a wind turbine for cloudy days feeding to a battery bank with alow-wattage DC generator running on bio-diesel to keep the batteries topped upwhen the sun isnt shining and the wind isnt blowing. Couple that with a passivesolar water heater and air heater and you can kiss your high energy billsgoodbye.In this report Ive only been able to scratch the surface of the many ways thereare to generate electricity and save money on your power bills.In particular, there hasnt been the space to explain how to make your ownactive solar panels. The process can seem a bit complicated but it isnt difficult ifyou know how. It isnt as expensive as you might think, either.This site, http://theoffgridpowerplant.com/solar/ explains the process in detail.Warmest regards,Steve Pearce