Question for JOJ : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

Hello, JOJ. You may recognize me from another forum. Anyway, I've read somewhere that you have done some research on the progress of alternative energy development. Can you throw a few choice articles on the subject my way? I have seen too much. I can no longer sit idly on the sidelines and watch the horrible spectacle unfold before me without trying to do something about it.

FYI, the e-mail address on this post is genuine, so you can contact me at that address.

As for the rest of you, my greetings. I've been lurking here off and on for about two months. While I'm not a homesteader (no place of my own and currently hopelessly dependent), I find some of your discussions on certain topics (esp. Politics and Religion) quite revealing, even though I may disagree (sometimes strongly) with some of the views of some among you.


-- Nexar (, November 02, 2001


Welcome Nexar! I guess if you have been lurking that long you must find something of merit here. Glad to see you jump out and say hello!

-- Doreen (, November 03, 2001.

Hi Nexar! Your not hopelessly dependant if you are already thinking of options and alternatives. Be of good cheer. JOJ is a good guy to inquire things of that nature of. We don't share the same wavelenght on some topics but it's hard to miss his smarts and convictions. Hang around and share.

-- John in S. IN (, November 03, 2001.

Don't just lurk.......share your views. We sure have all different kinds of views on a lot of things. Wow John, nice to hear from you again!!!! Been wondering where you were. Did you listen to PHC tonight??? Did you go to Amish camp??? I have been thinking about my computer usage and that absolutely cracked me up tonight.

-- diane (, November 03, 2001.

Hi Diane! Only heard a little bit on the way home from work. I was gone for a couple of months working on the road , but not at Amish Camp. Didn't fix the computer for 3-4 months prior to that, so yeah I've been way out of the loop. Seems like w/ all the catching up to do on the projects here I've been to busy to spend much time online.

-- John in S. IN (, November 03, 2001.

Nexar---If you're interested in the nuts and bolts of alternative energy check out They are THE alternative energy magazine IMO with all the back issues available on line FREE

-- john (, November 03, 2001.

Thanks for the warm welcome and the URL :)

Anyway, if I find a discussion that rings a bell and I have something to say, I'll share it with you.

-- Nexar (, November 04, 2001.

Thanks for the URL. The site is VERY informative. One thing still bugs me though. According to physical laws, it takes energy to extract energy. As they say, there is no free lunch. Which alternative energy sources are truly renewable and which ones are in reality "energy sinks"? (e.g. A process where the energy yielded is less than the energy needed to start and sustain the process itself)

-- Nexar (, November 08, 2001.

Solar and Wind.

-- Doreen (, November 08, 2001.

Hi, Nexar, I don't know how I missed this post until now, but here goes: I agree with John. Go to The editors are so into sharing knowledge that they post the entire issue on line, at no cost. I personally subscribe, so I get the hard copies. I want to support them financially.

By the way, I only discovered this mag fairly recently; I'm self taught, and have done lots of reading, and also have developed and built a number of alternative energy devices, e.g. hydraulic ram, wood powered water heaters, a few passive solar houses, many, many solar water heating systems (I have free plans if you're interested, and am in the process of trying to find the time to develop one which works all year, with no possibility of freezing, as opposed to the others I've invented, which work very very well in non freezing months only)

A very good source for learning about photoelectric and solar pumps is Windy Dankoff. Very knowledgeable man, who happens to be an alternative energy wholesaler.

There are lots more; follow links from Dankoff and homepower.

My assessment of the current alternative energy situation? Germany has instigated a program for photoelectric which puts the US to shame. If you were in Germany right now, you would find that there is a brain drain from the US, because the Germans are very serious about solar energy, and lots of good solar researchers have moved there for that reason.

In Germany, you can actually make money by buying solar electric panels. This is true because the govt there forces the power companies to pay you almost fifty cents per kW for all power you produce from your solar system. The cost comes from a small (don't ask me what "small" means) surcharge on everyone's power bills. The way it works is that the very fact that so many people are taking advantage of this situation is driving the costs for solar equipment to come down, and driving the demand for research up.

The US has now dropped to fifth, worldwide, in solar power generation. First is Germany. Then Japan. Then the World Health Organization (they find it much cheaper to develop small solar systems than to develop "first world" power programs). Then California. Then the rest of the US combined.

If we weren't being deliberately kept off the path to power independence by Dick Cheney and his sidekick (the Lube Oil Brothers), we would not likely be over in Afghanistan trying to force a pipeline through that country, and we would likely not be debating the pro's and cons of drilling in ANWR. We'd be seriously encouraging alternative energy. Alternative energy, in the form of both solar and wind ARE PRACTICAL AND COULD BE ECONOMICALLY VIABLE right now.

Except for politics. Duh.

Sorry, I'll get off my soap box. I don't know what came over me.


-- joj (jump@off.c), November 08, 2001.

Joe, I totally enjoy it when you are on this particular soap box!

All the alternative power information I can find all have to do with solar, wind or water, none of which are available to me. Is there such thing as rain power? Have you ever brainstormed alternative alernative power?

I am seriously searching for hay powered energy conversion.

-- Laura (, November 08, 2001.

Laura, thanks for the compliment!

I've investigated "alternative alternative" power, but not too much. The wood powered water heater I invented and made could be considered such, i guess.

I'm going to sound argumentative, perhaps, and I am sorry, because we've been at each other more than enough on another topic or two, but here goes: you DO TOO have solar! I'd agree that you don't have wind power potential where you live, or you'd definitely know it. If the wind where you live is not frequent enough and strong enough to be considered a nuisance, you likely shouldn't consider wind power. But there is sunshine everywhere. You don't need to live in Arizona or something to utilize solar. There's a saying "the perfect is the enemy of the good" This may be keeping you from giving solar a chance. Even if you can only produce part of your own energy from solar, it's better than nothing.

Rain power? I'm not sure quite what you've got in mind. If you can catch the rain, and run it through a pipe, and if you have a large enough drop to get it under a significant amount of pressure, you can use it, when it rains. That's actually all hydroelectric power is, really.

Hay power, again, I need more info.

I've investigated ethanol, methane, and compost powered water heaters, but not enough to claim any expertise.

I CAN tell you that fuel cells are NOT power sources. Only power converters. Beware.

I wish I had more knowledge of engineering. I'd work on turning a heat pump into a "perpetual motion" (sort of) machine.

Anyone know an electrical engineer, or a mechanical engineer, or a refrigeration engineer, who is able to think "outside the box"?


-- joj (jump@off.c), November 09, 2001.

Go point on the solar JOJ...........I have always kind of ruled it out for here cause we can go 30 to 40 days in the winter without sunshine. Never really considered it before for what we CAN use. That would be considerable in the summer. A lot of the Amish farmers in my neighborhood use solar fence chargers and seem very happy with them. We are thinking that every little bit would help. We have lots of wind but the ability to use it requires more capital expense then we have unless we borrow.

-- diane (, November 09, 2001.

Diane, we get a lot less sun than that. In a normal year, which we haven't had for a while. It's been dry here for a year and a half.

The one thing that's interesting about solar is that photoelectric panels will generate power even in cloudy weather, or so I understand. I would like to find some statistics on "how much" they'll generate on cloudy days, which we normally have for about six months per year, all in a row. Unless it's raining, in which case it's "very cloudy".

Also, did y'all know that you can do some solar electric stuff without batteries? First, if you are already hooked up to the grid, you can install an "interface" system, where the power company acts as a defacto battery. Second, you can power some things, e.g. fans, water pumps, etc. DIRECTLY from a solar panel. There's this little goodie called a line current booster, or something (the memory fades so frequently these days) which causes the power generated by the panel to save up for a while until there is enough power to run the pump or whatnot for a while. Thus, if there are too many clouds to run the pump continuously, it will run intermittently without batteries.

This is very cool, because the batteries are a large part of the expense of solar electric. They are also more labor intensive than anything else in the system, and they have to be replaced preiodically, at significant expense.


-- joj (jump@off.c), November 09, 2001.

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