Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scott Strikes Again, the Solar Water Still

The post on the next page was extracted from another one of Scott's emails about solar energy. His latest brainstorm the solar water still. Please feel free to comment. Don't be afraid to be kind, funny, or mean.

Man, I never thought I would run out of space on my roof, but last night I was thinking about all the polluted water out there, and how I could use some Solar power to get some safe, clean water to drink.

When I was in Boy Scouts, we built this little gizmo out of a piece of plastic and the sun actually produced drinkable water "right out of the air". Pretty amazing stuff when you are stranded out in the woods and need something safe to drink.

So I was dreaming last night about Dave down there in Alabama drinking moonshine, and thought "Why not a Solar still?" Eureka!! My daughter screamed "Not from our lake! Dad, the ducks and geese constantly poop in that water, and the home-owners association is dumping herbicides in there every week to kill the weeds." Actually, I did notice some of those white PVC pipes running down from nearby houses right into the lake.

I want to take some water from the lake in my back yard and just eliminate all harmful microbes, chemical contaminates, salt, minerals, and any other impurities from any type of water using only the free evaporative power of the sun!!

I just happened to have added a new patio storm door to my house, and by some dumb mistake I actually ordered the wrong size door. I am pretty sure it was the HD clerk who miswrote the order, but since one can't return "special order" doors at HD, I was stuck with this nice piece of glass in a steel frame.

My still utilizes standard patio replacement glass (34"X 76") and has no moving parts, uses only solar energy to operate, and is self cleaning.

It is so efficient that solar distillation is still possible on partly cloudy and light overcast days. About 1/4 of the pure water produced each 24 hour day is at night after the sun sets. Stored heat inside the still helps to continue distillation process but at a slower rate. Boiling water to obtain the purest evaporated water is less effective than solar distillation because some chemical pollutants, and compounds will vaporize at higher temperatures above 200 degrees F but not at the lower solar still temps.

Pretty much, just a square black box, covered with glass, with some silicone caulking, and an input line from a plastic jug, with another output line down to our kitchen sink, with a small storage container sitting there. I used an old Clorox bottle. If you know anything about Clorox, it is really great to mix with water when you don't trust others to tell you the truth about your water quality.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My buddy Scott is saving $3000 a year on his energy bill

If you want to get bullish on America all you need to do is think about all the little guys coming up with ways to save on their energy bills. Well we have a genius buddy (a bit on the nutty side) that has been stringing together his wild ideas and is now saving more than $3000 annually on his home energy bills. Here is how he is air conditioning his house using solar energy and lake water.

My buddy Scott runs hot water under his floors for heat, turns lake water into air conditioning, and he is curently building an electric car. If we can get some people to send this blog post around the Internet and get some comments about this post, I think we can convince him to start writing this stuff up and sharing it with the world. Oh yeah, he also built a rear projection TV for a fraction of the cost.

The main body of this post (below) about how Scott air conditioned his house using lake water is actually an email. As such, Scott just typed this off the top of his head in answer to a question, How did you do it? It is a bit choppy.

Here ya go, how Scott air conditioned his house using lake water. Please feel free to comment and share this with others.

Basically, I went over to the MSU (Michigan State University) salvage yard where the university sells any junk they want to get rid of. I happen to see two humungus heat exchangers sitting their in a wooden crate. I asked the guy and he said they were brand new "never used". Just ordered and then sent for salvage. Knowing that they were filled with copper, I offered the guy a few bucks to get them out of his pile of junk. What I paid for them, versus what they are worth if I just hauled them down to the copper recycler was about 8 times my money. However, I am not in it for the cash, so I stuck them in the ductwork of my furnace. I found a Solar powered pump ($84), and hooked it up to a Solar panel (Bobby D is working on a Chinese supplier for the best prices), and dug a hole in the ground, deep enough to get 55 degree water.

(If you live on a lake, you want to get the water from below 10 feet). Heck, even Kevin knows from drinking polluted lake water in New York, the water gets colder deeper down. [Hopefully, Kevin will do some research and learn about all the US Naval experiments which were done in the Finger Lakes in the 40s and 50s. Some very nasty chemicals in those waters.]

So the sun shines, and the pump moves the 55 degree water through a pipe (aka hose), through the heat exchangers, and then you dump it wherever you want to (like in the sewer, or in your yard, etc). Heck, it is only 1 gallon per minute. Or you could do something really "cool" with it (get the pun?) Warning: big name Blog material coming up next.

HydroKool Systems

You take the "waste" water and run it up and spray it on the roof. I learned this from my friends on the island of Grand Cayman. If you bounce around the islands, like Jamaica, St. Thomas, etc. you will learn these cooling tricks. But you need to rub elbows with the big "movers and shakers" of NYC who have the huge yachts down there, like those people Bobby D knows.

So the cold, 55 degree water, meets the warm air in your house. The result is that the hot air becomes cold and the cold water becomes hot. I think I learned that part from watching that TV show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader". A solar fan spins and sends the cold air up to replace the hot air which came down the duct. Now as long as the sun shines, everything moves along nicely. If you are really serious, you just hook up a $78 battery instead, and have the battery power everything, and just use the solar panels to charge the batteries. Then you can run it during the night. However, if you learn about the moon, it doesn't really heat your house at night, so if you really keep you house cool during the day, it is OK to sleep all night while the system is NOT running.

Of course, the engineers at Siemens already know all of this stuff. I guess they are a lot like the car companies. They go around and buy up any systems which will reduce the gas consumption of your vehicle and "deep-six" it. You have all heard those true stories about the little guy who made an amazing carburetor in his garage, just to have Ford step in and buy it up...never to be seen again.

Any way ... I got to go. Some team from Carrier is at my door offering me $238 to stop writing about total nonsense.

Got to go!!

Comments are welcome, feel free to Digg It or send it to a friend.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Photovoltaic Systems Guide

The textbook covers the principles of photovoltaics and how to effectively incorporate it into stand-alone or utility-connected electrical systems. Detailed illustrations clarify the concepts behind photovoltaic-system operation, while photographs of actual installations show how components are integrated to form complete photovoltaic systems.

The Maryland-based National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Industry has published an installation guide for solar energy systems.

The guide, called "Photovoltaic Systems," was authored by Jim Dunlop, leading renewable energy expert and curriculum specialist for NJATC, with Todd Stafford, senior director of instrumentation, alternative energy and International Training Center operations for NJATC as technical editor.

The textbook covers the principles of photovoltaics and how to effectively incorporate it into stand-alone or utility-connected electrical systems. Detailed illustrations clarify the concepts behind photovoltaic-system operation, while photographs of actual installations show how components are integrated to form complete photovoltaic systems.

The guide also includes an accompanying CD-ROM that provides interactive worksheets, quizzes, calculators, video clips and animated graphics depicting photovoltaic principles and operation and links to additional resources. The work is published and available through American Technical Publications.

"Renewable resources such as solar power have become increasingly important, but no authoritative reference to the design, installation and evaluation of photovoltaic systems existed within the industry," Stafford said in a statement. "This work is not just the first but the only textbook currently available in the field."

The NJATC is a joint program of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association. The program has trained journeymen in the design and installation of solar energy systems for more than a decade.