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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  15/12/2007  :  07:03
I thought it might be a good thing to have a topic devoted to this important subject.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk
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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 19/03/2008 : 01:20
Malcolm, I've often wondered what would happen if you asked for a discout for cash....  They were obviously on commission from the finance company, probaby their major source of income.  Bit like the white goods stores and the additional insurance they try to sell you.  I can remember the days of old-fashioned hire purchase.  Now there's a term you don't hear today, it's called 'easy terms'.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 08/06/2008 : 11:52
Getting back to climate change....

Has anyone got experience with having solar heating, solar electricity, a small wind turbine etc fitted at the domestic scale? The costs the problems, the planning implications, reliability, the longer term implications and so on?

I've long been interested in trying something of this type but every time I consider it I back off because of (a) the cost, (b) difficulty in finding someone to do the work (and who I would trust), (c) what happens when it breaks down.

Some, such as heating the hot water cylinder with a solar panel, look straightforward but then you find you have to fit a second cylinder. Or perhaps the pipe from the panel to the cylinder is so long you lose a lot of heat. Or your roof faces away from the sun - no suitable surface for the panel.

It's things like this that stop ordinary folk from going ahead with these schemes even if they would like to, not simply the cost alone. The government won't get ahead with its plans to cut back on fossil fuel use unless it overcomes some of these difficulties and makes it easier.

At the moment we do quite well with solar heating because many of our windows face south. No panles needed, just big windows with no net curtains and you gets loads of free heat - but it only works on a sunny day! Unfortunately, builders now put small windows in new houses because (they say) it is to meet heat emissions specifications. But what they gain on the swings they lose on the roundabouts - small windows mean less free heating.


Edited by - Tizer on 08/06/2008 11:56:06


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pluggy
Geek


1164 Posts
Posted - 08/06/2008 : 15:52
The sad fact is most domestic plants for heating / electricity won't recover their costs over their lifetime.  It can never be justified  on purely economic grounds.  Wind turbines produce the most expensive electricity, because their capital cost and low output outweigh the free fuel.


Need computer work ?
"http://www.stsr.co.uk"

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wendyf
Senior Member


1439 Posts
Posted - 08/06/2008 : 21:18
Tizer, we have a small wind turbine rated at 1.5kw which feeds into batteries, and from there via an inverter runs the lighting in our stables & barn. We tried a couple of the low cost systems available on the market and found them pretty useless, performing way under the advertised spec. with one actually burning out before it got anywhere near its rated output. This prompted my hubby, Colin, to develop his own system which works very well. A grid tie system which feeds into the electicity supply is also a possibility and has been tested by a neighbour with good results. Colin  would be the first to tell you that you are not going to get your money back with a wind turbine, but at least with a small turbine and smaller outlay you can feel you are taking advantage of natural resources and doing a bit towards being green without taking out a second mortgage.
We are also about to install a low cost diy solar hot water system. We were re-doing our bathroom anyway so it was a convenient moment to install the new cylinder, which I understand has 2 coils. The panel has yet to go up, but it should be interesting to see how effective it is!
Colin is the expert not me, and would be happy to advise if you are interested.

Wendy


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 09/06/2008 : 06:30
I was talking to Janet in Perth on Saturday and she was telling me that the thing that intrigued her was how few solar panels are used in Oz and how high the capital cost was.  My own view is that barring Nuclear or large barrages there is no long term future for energy generation from fossil fuels and looking ten years into the future there is going to be a period when we have to fend for ourselves to ensure continuous supply.  This will force the micro-generation market and tend to lower costs.  I view all cost analysis with suspicion because they are all out of date in real terms.  When electricity costs five times the present price the sums will fall into line.  Necessity will make home generators attractive.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
wendyf
Senior Member


1439 Posts
Posted - 09/06/2008 : 08:16
We are lucky to have plenty of space for our turbine up here, but even a small one can be quite scary when the wind gets up to 30mph and above. I certainly wouldn't want one anywhere near the house, never mind attached to it. I don't see how they can be a solution in an urban area.
The grid tie systems are the simplest to install, but if the power goes off you've had it. You need to rethink your wiring with batteries which is why ours is on the outdoor circuit, but I love that little bit of self sufficiency.

Wendy


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 09/06/2008 : 08:58
Many years ago, before the mains reached outlying farms, many had a system called the Lucas Freelight which was simply an ordinary car-type dynamo with a propellor on the front.  It charged batteries and the lighting was by ordinary 12volt car bulbs. 


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 09/06/2008 : 09:01
http://www.pbase.com/redtop/image/21236019

Have a look at this.  Nothing new under the sun! 


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
wendyf
Senior Member


1439 Posts
Posted - 09/06/2008 : 10:41
Our neighbour  told us about the wind generators that used to be on the farms around here. The Freelight looks wonderful, I must show Colin. Ours is a 24 volt system and has five small blades and a furling or "breaking" tail to move it slightly out of a strong wind. I wonder if that's the same as a feathering tail?
I'll try and post a picture.

Wendy


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 09/06/2008 : 17:41
Yup, same thing.  if the rev's get too high the tail moves the impeller acrodd the wind.  The big wind pumps used to have the same system.  Last one round here was up at the top of Wizzick on the left hand side, gone long since.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 09/06/2008 : 20:12
Thanks everyone for your comments. Sorry I'm late replying but I got side-tracked - my Dad's lawn mower managed to blow the fuses in his garage and shutdown his freezer so we had a bit of an emergency! (Turns out he'd already cut through the mower cable with the blade and had linked the two ends with a plastic connector. Not recommended. It's a wonder he's made it to 89.)

Back to sustainability...I admire folks like yourselves who can fix up your own gadgets to do the job. I always have to"get a man in", otherwise I'd probably burn the house down and not make it to 69!

I've been doing a bit of furtling, as Stanley would say, and found the Energy Savings Trust site useful for my level of understanding:
http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/housingbuildings/renewables/



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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 10/06/2008 : 04:23
I put a washing machime motor on the old Qualcast Panther 40 years ago....  Great improvement on the old chain driven blades.  I felt guilty watching Vera pushing it.  get the old lad an earth trip uit for the plug socket.  It'll stop him frying himself.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 14/06/2008 : 11:45
A couple of  UK government web sites on fuel and CO2 emissions.

Act on CO2...... 

http://www.dft.gov.uk/ActOnCO2/index.php?q=best_on_co2_rankings

VCA Car Fuel Data.......

http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/ 


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 17/07/2008 : 11:32
An alternative design for the Severn Barrage is now being promoted. It should allow the ports of Cardiff and Bristol to stay open....

Severn Barrage alternative design

16 July 2008 BBC News web site

Severn tidal 'fence' idea floated

Plans for an alternative tidal energy project to a £15bn Severn barrage have been put forward by opponents. Those behind the idea say it will allow shipping to move freely and keep ports at Cardiff and Bristol open and provide a balance with wildlife concerns.

Severn Tidal Fence group (STF) includes engineering groups Amec and BMT and Edinburgh University. Conservation campaigners WWF said alternatives to the barrage should be given "serious consideration". Backers of the barrage - which is facing a government feasibility study - say it will provide a huge amount of renewable energy at a stroke, providing 5% of the UK's needs. A feasibility study on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government and UK Government was announced in January. But conservation groups claim the £15bn dam, spanning the Severn estuary from Lavernock Point near Cardiff, to Brean Down, near Weston-super-Mare, would affect wildlife.

Now STF Group has been formed and will lobby Parsons Brinkerhoff, the company behind the feasibility study into tidal power. Key to its strategy is that a tidal "fence" would leave open major ports which it claims might otherwise be forced to close if a barrage is built across the Severn.

The fence, which it is estimated would cost around £3.5bn, is a continuous line of underwater tidal current turbines, which would force water flow through them. It would be around 9km long, in three 3km sections, passing near to the Bristol channel's two islands.

Although the fence would produce less energy, STF Group claims this approach would be a compromise between conservation, commercial interests and renewable targets. Marc Paish from the STF Group said the fence would have a capacity of 1.3GW - slightly more than Sizewell B nuclear power station - and provide around 1% of the country's electricity supply. "Importantly, the fence would allow shipping to pass through and so keep the ports of Cardiff and Bristol open, whereas the barrage risks their closure," he said. "The fence also allows the migration of salmon, and it would only slightly reduce the areas of mudflats which are an important habitat for migrating birds. "It would also reduce high tide levels upstream enough to significantly reduce the risk of flooding."

In addition to the tidal fence, the group is suggesting a small barrage or tidal lagoons to ensure continuous output - and which could bring the total capacity to 2% of UK supply. The fence would produce most power at the middle of the tidal cycle, whereas the barrage or lagoon would produce most power at high and low tide. STF estimate the project could create between 8,000 and 13,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Conservation campaign group WWF welcomed the idea and said the alternative proposals deserved "serious attention", with the barrage occupying almost entirely all the focus so far. Morgan Parry, head of WWF in Wales said: "We have argued for many years that there are better ways of generating power from the tides than through fixed concrete barrages and we must keep all these options open." He said there were many options and ministers were "wrong to focus exclusively on the barrage."

A Department for Business spokesperson said they made it clear what they would look at all options, including barrages, lagoons and other technologies. "The study will assess in broad terms the costs, benefits and impact of potential schemes and how they would affect the environment and the region," said the spokesperson. "As part of the first stage of the feasibility study we asked for tidal range proposals to be suggested. We are now considering those suggestions."

STF GROUP PARTNERS
Amec - Engineering group
Marubeni Europe plc - Trading and investment house
Edinburgh University - Researcher into tidal currents and tidal stream power
Econnect - Renewable energy projects company
BMT - Engineering, science and technology consultancy
IT Power - Sustainable energy consultancy
NaREC - New energy research and development
Pulse Tidal - Tidal stream generating development

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7509904.stm

Edited by - Tizer on 17/07/2008 11:39:43


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 18/07/2008 : 07:13
Tidal barrages make so much sense......  I suppose that the finance and the will to get on with it depends on how deep in trouble we are.  We need some long-term joined up thinking.

Have you noticed that weather forecasts (apart from shipping) don't mention wind direction any more?  I have never seen as much North West quadrant winds as we have had this year.  I suspect it's the effect of the jet stream moving south again.  I haven't heard anyone addressing this but it has been a major factor in our weather this year in Barlick.  I note on the shipping forecast this morning that all the west coast forecasts from the Irish sea northwards ended with a wind change to the NW.  Forget summer while this is blowing.


Stanley Challenger Graham




Barlick View
stanley at barnoldswick.freeserve.co.uk Go to Top of Page
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