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Thread: Exploring alternative energy resources

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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Exploring alternative energy resources

    In a day and age where we are forced to conserve energy, getting accustomed to the occational power cuts and the sound of generators, I think it might be necesary to explore alternative domestic energy resourses available.

    I know that many members are considering moving to gas, wind power, heat pumps or solar panels and would appreciates some input. More specifically: how much will it cost to sustain alternative energy, what products are available etc.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    My parents live on a game reserve hidden in a steep valley in the Muden area - no Eskom electricity and no piped in water. In terms of sustainable energy sources, I wouldn't say they're on the leading edge, but they are pretty well kitted out. The only outside utility is a telephone, that is rather too regularly out of service. It passes through an area where the poles prove rather useful building materials, and the kids find the insulators of the rather old-fashioned twin open line telephone cabling rather fascinating target practice. And unfortunately, tightly wrapped as they are in high hills, there is no cellphone reception at the residence, although you can get a feint signal if you head about a kilometer towards the mouth of the valley.

    The borehole water supply is solar powered and delivers sufficient water for their and guest needs up a 60 meter head to their main reservoir.

    The house electricity is also solar powered. Sufficient for powering lights in the evening (CFL's, of course), about 8 hours of TV via satellite, and a fair amount of computer time - all via an inverter. On cloudy days, a rarity in the area, they do have to cut back on their electricity usage.

    I popped in there on my way back from Pretoria for an overnight visit yesterday. Their latest gadget is a torch which you shake once and provides about 14 hours of quite usable light - especially on a moonless night such as last night. It consists of a coil through which a floating magnet passes when you give the shake. This, I assume, charges either a capacitor or a rechargeable battery which in turn powers a phenomenally energy efficient light source. It was that hue of a CFL so possibly an extremely small fluorescent. Absolutely amazing. I kid you not - one pass of the magnet through the coil and 14 hours of light!
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Have seen those torches....

    Now, if only a flywheel could be used to run a magnet through a loop with coils and keep the process going to create power... what do you reckon?

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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Dave, please let me know where I can find out more about the solar power pumps for the borehole... might be an avenue worthwhile exploring.

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