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Thumpin455

Plug in cars?

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So long as one lives at their residence for 5-10 years, and/or recaptures the cost of the panels if they move sooner, solar panels do make sense (though it's hard to know if one recaptures the value of their panels when selling the house).

 

And on a positive note, the newer technologies of solar panels appear to return, on average, the amount of fossil fuel power expended in their manufacture within several years (though the more common older technology panels can take up to 10 years).

 

Ethanol pays back the fossil fuel inputs right away, of course.  But since solar panels are supposed to last 30 years, they provide their energy inputs several or more times over.

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=solar-cells-prove-cleaner-way-to-produce-power

 

In the end, plants are nature's original solar panels.  Some plants are incredibly more capable at capturing the sun's energy than our human attempts so far.  Harvesting sun energy with both natural and man-made alternatives now does look feasible to replace fossil fuel use.  If this looks good now, imagine in 20 years how good it will be!  ;D

 

We need to be careful with what we do with those heavy metals after the life span of the solar panels though:

 

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/01/the-dark-side-of-solar-panels.php

 

Done right, nature's plants have few or almost no environmental effects before, during, or after they capture the sunlight and are used by us for an energy source.  Nothing's perfect, so we can't let the perfect become the enemy of the good or better.

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I was haldf asleep..even had a senior moment ..but here is a small video of what I have already done and am working on.. all small stuff just to get a little experiance.. cant wait for the 200 Watt Panels to show up..  http://www.solar-panels.ws/solar/index.php?action=post;board=1.0

 

 

Anyone that has already done solar (and can help or anyone else  wants to "learn" as we proceed come on over.. http://www.solar-panels.ws/solar/index.php?action=post;board=1.0

 

I'll try and keep all the solar discussions there and ethanol here..

 

Just kind of branching out into some alternative energy for the home ..

 

So Ethanol for my Cars and Solar for the home

 

 

Hey Dan..... WE WANT PICS...  ;D

 

You can't say, "I'm going off the grid" w/o them.

 

True- and one of those pics will need to show his digital camera in it's charging base (plugged into his solar system) downloading to his PC (also plugged into his solar system). ;D

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Maybe we could save some energy in the jails too;

 

"Sheriff wants inmates to pedal for TV rights

by Sharon Vaknin

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.Share If you're looking for a weight loss boot camp, the Tent City Jail in Phoenix may be your solution. Controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who dubs himself "America's toughest sheriff," is providing the inmates there with a new amenity: cable television. But to watch their favorite shows, they're going to have to pedal.

 

 

Inmates at the Tent City Jail pedal for TV time.

 

(Credit: CBSNews.com) Arpaio installed an energy-generating stationary bike (PDF) attached to a TV when he found that 50 percent of the inmates were overweight, many morbidly so. As long as an inmate is pedaling, the bike will produce 12 volts of energy--just enough to power a 19-inch tube TV. But if an inmate stops pedaling at a moderate speed, the TV shuts off.

 

Because inmates can't be forced to exercise, access to cable TV could provide incentive for them to do so. Female prisoners will test the program first, because they were more receptive to it, Arpaio says.

 

This isn't Arpaio's first attempt to trim inmates' waistlines. Some years back, he cut inmates' food intake from 3,000 calories to 2,500 calories. "You're too fat," CNN reported Arpaio as saying to the inmates. "I'm taking away your food because I'm trying to help you. I'm on a diet myself. You eat too much fat."

 

"America's toughest sheriff" hasn't always had an easy time implementing his standards, which have included assembling a female chain gang and making inmates pay $10 every time they need to see a nurse. Human-rights groups consider Tent City jail to be among the harshest in the nation, according to CNN, and numerous civil-rights lawsuits have been filed against the sheriff.

 

The program that Arpaio is calling "Pedal Vision" might be received with less criticism, though. Watching TV while serving time is a privilege, not a right, so inmates are choosing to take advantage of it. But what if every prisoner pedaled to produce energy?

 

TreeHugger did the calculation:

 

Well, the total U.S. prisoner population in 2008 was 2,424,279 people, and an individual can produce 150 watts when peddling moderately on a stationary bike which would make for a total of 363,641.85 kilowatts per hour (kWh) produced if everyone peddled. With the average price of electricity being 12?/kWh in the U.S., if every prisoner exercised for 2.5 hours a day, that would amount to $109,092 in energy cost savings each day, or nearly $40 million a year!

 

Using prisoners to produce some of America's energy probably won't happen, but if Pedal Vision proves successful, prisoners may one day pedal to energize certain parts of jail facilities.

 

Green Microgym in Portland, Ore., took this approach by using its members exercise to power the gym's LCD TVs, laptops, and the gym's stereo. As long as the exercisers are pedaling, the electronics keep running.

 

Jails and gyms aren't the only places that can combine weight loss, sustainability, and economic savings. What if company offices or apartment complexes adopt this technology? Though most of Arpaio's implementations have received criticism in the past, he may be on to something with this one.

 

. Go-to intern Sharon Vaknin blogs for CNET News, tests MP3 players, and coordinates inventory at the CNET Labs. She's a broadcasting student at San Francisco State University who's unashamedly addicted to social media and sushi. E-mail Sharon and follow her on Twitter. "

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I like this one... I've long thought of similar things for prisons...

 

My idea was to tie this electrical generation in as a required...  don't produce, don't eat, don't get lights...

 

Have a swipe card.  Inmate swipes card, and pedals...  earning points per watt produces.  The same card is used to swipe at the mess hall, turn on TV...

 

You would have to make accommodations based on ability... but they would be earning their keep. 

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So...you mean they would have to work to eat?  It is interesting to think that the taxpayer is actually the prisoner right now--we work, pay taxes to run prisons, and the prisoners eat whether they work or not.  Who's the prisoner?

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good point...

 

it always bothered me that you need to pass a drug test to get nearly every job... but to collect well-fare/unemployment... (any government pay out)... you don't...

 

once again... who is the slave? >:D

 

 

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That is the major issue with plug in cars, in most cases they do not do what most buyers are trying to do. They simply shift the pollution source to a fixed facility rather than a mobile source. The actual energy economics is break even in most cases. Thermal efficiency of most coal fired power plants is in the 33% range  and newer combined cycle plants can get up to 50% range. So in the case of coal generated electricity the at the plant thermal efficiency is comparable to a typical automobile engine. Once you add in all the other energy losses, power conversion efficiency in the transformers, (3 or more steps in the transmission process) the power transmission line losses, efficiency losses in battery charging and discharge then the electric motor efficiency. Each by it self is pretty good, but you add them all in series and as mentioned above in many locations only 50% of the electrical energy generated gets delivered to the drive wheels of the car, making the over all thermal efficiency of the electric car about 1/2 that of a well tuned gasoline engine.

 

In the case of wind power typical net power generation is only about 25% of the name plate capacity of the wind farm, and you can have outages that last for days where a given facility can generate essentially no power at all. Same for solar, site location considerations make solar much more viable out west where I live where we have 300 days of sunshine compared to areas like Seattle where constant cloud cover greatly reduces total energy available.

 

To use renewables effectively you need to combine very low intensity energy use (homestead level technology) and careful management where you use each sort of power to its best advantage. I went 100% solar electrical power one summer and got by on only about 100w output panels but I was very frugal with power usage. My setup was more like you would find on an ocean going sail boat where power usage is very carefully monitored, and a couple small panels will get the job done.

 

There is a conversion loss every time energy is changed into another form. If your end usage is as heat, (still) you should probably store solar energy as heat energy in a well insulated rock bin storage. The beauty of thermal storage is you can run several sources in series and improve the quality of the heat at each stage.

 

For example the composting might only produce heat at 140 deg F, but that is a lot better than 45 deg F outside air. Take that heat and run it through at rock bin heated to 250 deg F to finish the heat input to a level that is useful for the application of distillation. In that setup you don't need to worry if the sun is out when you want to make a distillation run, only if the rock bin is hot enough to improve the heat quality of the heat harvested from the composting. If both of them combined is not quite hot enough use that pre-heated air in a small methane burner and let the burner finish off the heat input to what ever temp is necessary. By running the systems in cascade you get full benefit from each so you are not totally dependent on any one stage of heat generation.

 

Rocks are cheap and so is insulation. If designed properly you can also heat the rocks with a wood fired heater if the solar is not quite getting the job done.

 

Larry

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Agree with your analysis. Some proponents of "Green" energy will do the calcs with a wind turbine at the head of power generation and a plugin being fueled.  Like we all have wind turbine quality wind around our homes.  Well, it looks extremely attractive under ideal conditions. Folks day dream of light winds powering their car.  A few problems with this setup, the reliability of power generation. Back up grid power still has your below inefficiencies. The huge investment required with poor payback with ensuing increase in property tax. And of coarse the pathetic energy storage upon the auto per $dollar investment.

 

Some chemical storage as in hybrid a good deal to level off stop and go demands of city driving. If not, even hybrids a poor choice.  Combustion engines powering generators are attractive as in locomotive technology. Electric motors more flexible in this regard with no transmission. Powering all the wheels upon limited slip and regenerative braking an easy chore. High torque is easy as high speed. Your IC engine runs at constant most efficient rpm and the engine can be maxed upon engineering to peak efficiency at this rpm.  Single or dual cylinder engines o.k. Battery power storage can be added as needed.  This energy pack may be tapped for homestead backup power, even when located within auto.  Thermal energy upon the setup may be tapped for co-gen operation at home. Energy of exhaust, coolant water, and catalytic converter exchanged to hot water for home heating and hot water needs. Mechanical power could be pto to heat pump in either cooling or increasing heat gain. This would double the efficiency of the power generation and  should compete with grid power. Home battery storage to level production needs a good idea and can be accomplished with the low cost albeit heavy lead battery. Converters nowadays cheap and very efficient.  This home setup probably only effective with natural gas fuel as it's free of road tax and the best value.  Cooking with NG a very efficient process as back up heat of water. The natural gas home needs little electric power, so going off grid not a big deal. Some roof top solar panels a good investment to top off charging upon long vacation plans. 

 

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Adding to the addition quality of low temp heat, HR explained two below. Seasonal thermal storage. Not many in modern times taking advantage of once the only method available to cool building temperatures, food, or drinks. Interestingly Thomas Jefferson Monticello homestead had a underground ice storage and tunnel for air movement. He had A.C. some 200 years ago! They harvested the ice during winter from frozen lakes.

 

Currently, some A.C. systems utilize ice cubes produced with low peak electric power. One Scandinavian set-up utilized winter production of ice for summer A.C. needs.  It's amazing that more fail to capture this free energy. Consider most norther climates spend equivalent energy ridding themselves from roadway snow. For example your driveway could provide  your A.C. needs. Consider storage of some tonnage of driveway snow to an underground containment. Being underground, not much insulation required. You slide your snow to drop to this storage, all winter long. The snow compressed to ice. Design the bunker with earth drain and copper piping for heat transfer. Either utilize the ice for direct cooling or to improve heat pump operation efficiencies. Another thermal tank could do the equivalent with solar. Heat some tonnage of gravel for heat storage needs in winter. This setup more effective as compared to geo-thermal heat pump operation.

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