Is Carbon Monoxide In Your Home Killing You?

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Is Carbon Monoxide In Your Home Killing You?One of the wonders of modern construction techniques is the energy efficient house. In times past, houses used to be poorly insulated and quite drafty.

In fact, people used to say that their house “breathed”.

Nowadays, many houses are built with super insulated walls and ceilings. And energy audits are performed to seal up any remaining cracks.

All these improvements mean smaller heating and cooling bills. They also mean that the air in the house is not […]

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Love those Tesla-lovers

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Tesla-powered pool

Jason Hughes is a happy hacker – but not of computers – he is known for leaking Tesla’s plans ahead of the company’s actual announcements, and now he has revealed photos of his own Tesla battery-powered compound in North Carolina. The 4,500 square-foot home has 102 commercial-grade solar panels to capture energy from the sun which then gets stored into a home battery storage unit composed of battery modules ripped from two Tesla Model S 85 kWh packs.

The 44.4 kW home solar system produces enough energy to not only power the entire home and all of its electrical appliances, but also provides enough energy to charge a pair of his and hers Model S each day. The end result is an elaborate home-engineered system that took roughly a year to design and build, and has allowed Hughes and his family to remain 99% self-sufficient for the past two years.

The battery banks used for storing solar energy are derived from*battery packs found from a salvaged Model S. Hughes dismantled the packs to create a stacked array of battery modules. A total of 36 modules are used in the home set up which equates to 2.25x Model S 85 kWh battery packs.

Here’s a video of Hughes performing a teardown of one of the Model S battery packs.

hughes-solar-home-electrical-roomhughes-solar-home-tesla-battery-module-2hughes-solar-home-tesla-battery

COSTS OF SOLAR POWER

Hughes says a large portion of the overall expenditure went to the $40k cost in Tesla batteries. He admits that the project likely doesn’t make sense from a financial perspective, but it’s important to understand that the value of his project goes beyond what a cost benefit analysis may yield.

Beyond being able to show that living solely off of sustainable energy is possible, the main inspiration behind his yearlong project was his father who taught him at a young age of 9 how to build a small off-grid solar system that produced enough energy to power his bedroom light, a small TV and a PC. That became the catalyst to what would become a lifelong dream to design an off-grid system capable of powering an entire house, along with electric vehicles.

HOME SOLAR SYSTEM WITH TESLA BATTERY

36 modules from 2.25x Tesla 85kWh packs
191.25 kWh (DC side)
~4,200 Ah
43.2V nominal @ 3.6V per cell
15,984 cells (!)
Inverters: 8x Outback Radian GS8048A
240VAC @ 60Hz w/neutral
64kW continuous AC output
30 minute surge: 72kW; 5 second surge: 96kW; 100ms surge: 135.76kW
Grid->Battery Charging Capacity: 57kW
Expected AC output from pack after safe SoC window and efficiency considerations: ~160 kWh usable AC power
PV: 102 Sunpower Commercial Panels @ 435W (20% efficiency) for 44,370 Watts DC
Split into 17 sets of 6 panels (3 parallel of 2 in series)
17 individual MPPT charge controllers (Midnite Solar Classic 200)

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EcoSolarCool new Solar Refrigeration

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EcoSolarCool, Solar Refrigeration,Refrigerator, Solar, Off-grid,

Stay cool with the new EcoSolarCool’s refrigerator models

EcoSolarCool have kick-started 2017 with the release of two new Solar Refrigeration models. The new additions to the upright product line aim to minimise the daily power consumption of cooling appliances. Refrigerators are one of the most energy consuming appliances in the home, accounting for up to 25% of household energy cost. EcoSolarCool want to change this, “providing constant, reliable and energy efficient cooling at great value.”

Two New Models

Both of EcoSolarCool’s new models are approved by UL250 and CSA to US and Canadian standards. These are the only solar refrigerators in the world to hold this approval. Plus this is for the whole unit and not just the compressor. Both models have the most up to date and advanced Danfoss DC compressor and are manufactured in Europe. The power consumption for the models is also at a record low for the solar/DC appliances industry at 201 kWh per annum! This is also amongst the lowest in the AC refrigeration appliances market.

The ESCR260GE Metallic Grey model has a total capacity of 260 litres (9.2 cubic feet). The refrigeration compartment is larger in comparison to the freezer compartment at 235 litres (8.3 cubic feet) to 25 litres (0.9 cubic feet). The freezer is located at the top of the unit and the refrigeration compartment at the bottom. This model weighs in at 121.3 lb (55kg) and is 23.7 x 25.2 x 57.1 inches.

The ESCR355GE Stainless Steel model has a total capacity of 354 litres (12.5 cubic feet). The larger refrigeration compartment (258 litres/9.1 cubic feet) is located at the top of the unit, and the freezer compartment (96 litres/3.4 cubic feet) at the bottom. This model weighs in at 163.2 lb (74kg) and is 23.7 x 25.2 x 78.8 inches in size.

Features of Both

Both models have adjustable internal temperatures and reversible doors. The temperature range for the cooling compartment is between 0°C/32°F to 10°C/50°F. Whereas, the freezing compartment temperature can reach as low as -18°C/-0.4°F. For operation, both models need a solar panel, a 12 volt AGM, lithium or deep cycle battery and a 15 amp 12/24 volt solar charge controller. The battery ensures the refrigerator will continue running through the night and on not so sunny days. Whereas, the solar charge controller regulates the electric charge from the batteries and the solar panel(s). To find out how many solar panels/batteries needed to run your solar refrigeration appliance, check out EcoSolarCool’s blog post.

The refrigerators are perfect for a wide variety of situations from RVs, to cabins to on and off-grid homes.

Both refrigerator models can be bought from a local dealer or the Solar Power estore. Prices advertised on the EcoSolarCool website are $1,299.00 for the smaller Metallic Grey model and $1,650.00 for the larger Stainless Steel model.

EcoSolarCool Products all have these…

All the solar powered refrigeration and freezer appliances sold by EcoSolarCool have a 4.4 inch thick lining of polyurethane insulation. All products also have a built in energy-saving mode feature to make sure the units don’t guzzle more energy than what it needs. Plus, they also have an automatic shut off to ensure the appliances have a long service life. All units have a two year warranty and operate at an input voltage of 12/24 volts.

If you want to find out different methods of keeping food cool then check out this post.

You may also like to find out more about how solar refrigeration works in more detail, check out these articles:

What is a Solar Refrigerator?

Low Energy Refrigeration

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10 Steps To Plan And Install A Solar Well

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In spite of their limitations, well planned solar systems can partially or completely remove you from the grid.

One such system is a dedicated solar well. A solar well can be used to supply water for your home or for your livestock. In fact, solar wells are a great choice for providing water to livestock […]

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Ex-Tesla Exec mulls Europe’s Biggest Battery line

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Battery factory, gigafactory, Tesla, automotive, electric, renewables,

The revolution – battery factory coming to Europe

Swedish company NorthVolt, which was co-founded by an ex-Tesla executive, has outlined plans to build Europe’s largest battery factory. The project would rival Tesla’s Gigafactory which is based in the Nevada Desert. It would also enable European businesses to move away from Asian battery companies which currently dominate lithium ion battery manufacture for electric cars.

The facility will produce 8 gigawatt hours of batteries per year initially when manufacture begins in 2020. This will rise to 32 gigawatt hours when it is fully operational by 2023. Location is yet to be decided, but a shortlist of possible sites is set to be released in a month. The front runners so far are Sweden and Finland, which would enable the factory to run on renewable energy.

A solid business plan

To meet emission reduction targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement, vehicle efficiency needs to double in the next 5 years. Manufacturers are therefore, turning to battery powered versions of their cars – Volkswagen plans to have 30 different electric car models by 2025. Electrification and battery storage is the key to becoming a zero-carbon economy. Batteries help to plug the gaps from intermittent renewables like solar and wind. Paolo Cerruti, the chief operating officer and another former Tesla executive stated, “The project resonates commercially, since the demand from automotive and energy storage sectors will be huge.”

But co-founder Peter Carlsson sees openings in energy storage and heavy industry too – not just automotive. He said, “We have a solid business plan in place that enables us to produce high quality batteries at an affordable cost.” He aims to supply local manufacturers rather than his previous employer Tesla. If nothing was done, then Europe would be “completely dependent on an Asian supply chain” he told the Financial Times. This is what he hopes to prevent with the gigafactory project which is planned to begin construction in late 2018.

The project needs a €4 billion investment to come to fruition. Currently funding agreements are in place with Stena, Vattenfall, InnoEnergy, the Swedish Energy Agency and Vinnova. Plus, NorthVolt will be applying for a loan from the European Investment Bank. However, Carlsson admits that raising the required funds whilst still maintaining a meaningful stake will be a challenge. But he is clear on one thing, “it is hugely important to accelerate society away from its fossil fuel addiction”.

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Apocalypse Survival Tips

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Post-apocalypse, survival, tips, billionaire, New Zealand, Boltholes, energy, food,

How the 99% can live thru an apocalypse

Recent panic-buying of land in New Zealand has been sparked by worries of a Trumpocalypse. Concerned billionaires, headed up by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, are apparently preparing for a catastrophic Apocalypse. Which catastrophe? Well, depends who you speak to – an earthquake, societal collapse, pandemic, World War III. One thing’s for certain, they want to be prepared.

 

Billionaire Boltholes in New Zealand

New Zealand is the location of choice for these panicked moguls. Why? A developed nation, capable of being self-sufficient and conveniently located as far from potential human made catastrophes as possible.  Plus, New Zealand is a pretty politically safe country – it’s not exactly on anyone’s nuclear hit list! It seems to be these reasons that lead to Peter Thiel forking out over $10 million for a 477 acre lakeside estate.

But what about us non-billionaires? The ordinary folk who can’t afford boltholes in New Zealand? What does the common man need to know to survive and ultimately rebuild society?

In his book, “The Knowledge”, Lewis Dartnell lays out the key things you need to know for rebuilding society from scratch. Essentially a quick guide on how to reboot human civilisation. Here, are some of the key messages from the book, from short term survival to long term society building.

 

Water Purification

Purifying your drinking water is very important so as not to contract disease from lurking bacteria. Disease such as cholera could well become prevalent in more developed countries once more in a post-apocalyptic world if drinking dirty water. Boiling may seem like the obvious go to option but this uses a lot of fuel, which will become very valuable.

The method recommended by the World Health Organization for those living in developing countries is solar disinfection. UV waves and other forms of the suns radiation cause DNA damage and photo-oxidative destruction to bacteria and other disease causing organisms.  The method is simple: fill plastic bottles with water (of a low turbidity, this method won’t work with very turbid water) and leave them outside for a period of time. The length of time is dependent on the weather conditions: sunny conditions only needs six hours, compared to cloudy conditions which would require up to 2 days.

The benefits of this method are that it is cheap, easy AND it works. Using this method there is a significantly lower instance of diarrhea related disease compared to drinking untreated water. However, if water is very turbid then it will need to be filtered prior to treatment. Also only a limited volume of water can be treated at one time (i.e. the amount the bottles will hold) and a long period of time is required for treatment.

 

Infection Prevention

Things we take for granted like keeping clean help us to prevent infection. It is important to carry this forward in a post-apocalyptic earth – once again to ensure your survival. Something incredibly simple, like soap helps to protect against gastrointestinal and respiratory infection. There are many links online about how to make your own soap, like this one. Ethanol is also good for disinfection when you have a wound. This can be made from fermented food or grain.

 

Power Generation after Apocalypse

Coming from pre-apocalypse earth where we have a great reliance on power for practically everything, power generation will be very important post-apocalypse. Initially, scavenging diesel generators may provide enough power short term. But longer term power generation will be an important consideration. Renewables would be the way to go post apocalypse, generating electricity from water wheels and similar contraptions, using an alternator from abandoned cars. Excess energy could then be stored in batteries. Car batteries aren’t the best battery for energy storage, but they would be a starting point and would no doubt be in quite good supply! Check out this article for more information on the best batteries.

 

Growing Food

Food, the human energy source, is obviously a very important consideration. Sure to begin with you can scavenge from supermarkets and corner shops, but what about longer term? The store of food from pre-apocalypse earth won’t power the rebuilding of society. Luckily, there is a “back-up plan” in place for rebuilding agriculture and the variety of food as we know it today.

The Svalbard Seed Vault is a stockpile of over 880,000 samples of seed from seed vaults across 233 countries. The bank holds the staples of food security such as wheat, maize and rice. Despite being in a remote location surrounded by beautiful landscape, the Svalbard Seed Bank is anything but Bond villain-esque. It is essentially a hole in a mountain side, culminating in three chambers behind a set of five locked doors. It is built to last 1,000 years, with the permafrost and thick ice ensuring the precious seeds remain frozen without requiring any power. This mountainside storage facility essentially holds a starter pack of viable seeds to help rebuild agriculture and food security.

 

Power Cars – with trees

We have grown very accustomed to easy travel and the need for getting cars and other vehicles working will no doubt be an important factor in survival. But with a lack of fuel for diesel and petrol cars post-apocalypse, thinking back in time may help. During the Second World War millions of cars in Europe were run on fuel from wood. Modifying a car’s internal combustion engine to run on flammable gases produced by incomplete combustion of wood has been done before – it can be done again. Check out this article to find out more on gasifier engines.

 

Learning to Relearn

So we have the beginnings of initially being able to survive in post-apocalyptic earth, but surviving and rebuilding society are different things. How can we rebuild human society? Dartnell points out that “society has an immense collective capability” but alone, we are ignorant. Therefore, the preservation of the scientific method is the key to rebuild and reboot civilisation. We need society to develop and progress through generations and we do this through relearning what we know. “Science built the modern world and science will build the world from scratch again.”

To watch Lewis Dartnell explain the basics of surviving in a post-apocalyptic earth, view this TED conference video.

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Musk offers Australian energy fix

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Energy, Tesla, South Australia, Energy, Battery Storage,

Oh, Twitter is now the place to do business!

Elon Musk bold claim

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a bold claim – he could fix South Australia’s power crisis. Better still if he couldn’t do it in 100 days, it would be free. The region has been suffering from blackouts which have been more severe since closure of North Power Station in Port Augusta last May. These blackouts and spikes in energy prices caused a number of farmers in South Australia to off-grid solutions.

It all began with a tweet…

A tweet from the co-founder of Atlassian Corp, a software development company, Mike Cannon-Brookes began the whole conversation. He sent out a plea, offering to fund and support a project for battery storage if Elon Musk could supply the technology to solve the blackout crisis. A short time later and Cannon-Brookes had his reply:

“Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. Serious enough for you?”

Of course Mike sent an excited reply back, “You’re on mate.”

This exchange came just a day after the launch of the Tesla Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2, which are for grid and industrial scale application, respectively. Lyndon Rive, who heads Tesla’s battery division, was at the launch. He commented that Elon Musk has many big pipeline battery storage projects aimed for grid applications. These would help to manage peak demand and would help to solve South Australia’s current grid stresses. By using the existing infrastructure and adding battery storage, the problem is solved. Elon Musk considers there is no need to go down the “clean coal” path that the Australian government have been considering, he added.

The Financial Review reported that Rive also said that by coupling together large centralized storage with residential and commercial solar and battery storage it would be “near impossible to take the grid down”.

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Australia Battery Storage Battle

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Battery storage, Battery, solar, Australia, energy, blackouts,

Could big batteries solve the blackouts?

After Elon Musk’s recent Twitter claim to solve South Australia’s energy problem in 100 days, Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister, seems to have sat up and taken notice. According to reports, Turnbull phoned Musk and had a positive conversation about the storage technology Tesla could offer. This has led to prominent figures in Australia’s energy sector encouraging Turnbull to give Australian companies a chance before turning to Tesla’s project.

Several Australian solar and battery companies have ongoing projects at various stages of completion, which are similar to Musk’s proposal. Zen Energy has recently unveiled its “Big Battery Project” which is being worked on ready for summer time when there is the greatest stress on the grid. The project is one of several taking place in the Upper Spencer Gulf region in South Australia. This area has been hit especially hard since the closure of the power station at Port Augusta. The large scale solar developments and storage at various places throughout the region aim to lower energy costs and improve energy security.

The Big Battery Project

Located at Port Augusta, funding has already been secured for the project. A battery with 50 megawatt hours of energy will not only stabilise the grid but also wholesale electricity prices. Owned by external investors, the battery and its interaction with the grid will be managed by Zen Energy. It will absorb electricity from the grid when cheap and abundant and then be a supply source when scarce. Professor Ross Garnout, Zen Energy chairman, said “The blackouts that we’ve had in the last year would not have happened if this was in place.”

Zen Energy is also looking into larger battery options to provide greater security in energy provision. An additional 100 megawatt battery which would act as a buffer supply interruption as occurred in the recent February heatwave. Whereas, a 150 megawatt battery would stabilise grid power and voltage during sudden outage situations, such as the state-wide blackout in September.

Lyon Solar also have projects up their sleeve

Zen Energy isn’t the only company working on large scale battery storage projects. Lyon Solar is developing the Kingfisher Project – a combined solar and battery storage plant to be located in Roxby Downs. Being connected to the National Electricity Market, the aim is to deliver 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power. Initially plans were for a minimum of 20 megawatt hours of storage. But this has been upped to 100 MWh, providing energy security across the region. It is planned to begin operating commercially before the end of 2017.

Although receiving no funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Lyon has unveiled a second solar plus storage project. This will be located in Lakeland, Queensland and involve a minimum of 20 MWh battery storage. David Green, Lyon co-founder, commented that they were using battery systems developed by AES, “the world’s most experienced storage providers”. The units are delivered to Australia disassembled, which will mean new jobs, knowledge and expertise will come to the region.

Price competitive with Tesla

It is clear that Australian companies are well on the way to battery storage solutions. Therefore, Chief executive of Australia’s Energy Storage Council, John Grimes seems a bit irked by Musk’s ability to grab the Prime Minister’s attention with one tweet. He told the Guardian, “I’m not saying Tesla should be excluded, but don’t fast-track a discussion with an overseas company when you have the capability right here, right now, in Australia”. Grimes advocates a transparent bid process, allowing Australian companies a fair chance in the “revolution of energy.”

Changing economics have enabled this turn to battery storage. Cheap battery and solar technology coupled with smart energy systems means the price of these projects is now much lower. As Grimes pointed out, “If you thought about doing this even three years ago the price would have been something like four times higher”. The government now needs to ensure market settings are right so these projects are commercially viable without needing government subsidies.

Even though it may have been Musk that caught Turnbull’s attention, it has raised awareness of the solutions available. Australia is now onto something big – and those are big batteries!

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Solar Power Photovoltaic Components Explained

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Photovoltaic system convert sunlight into usable electricity. The system that does this has just a few basic parts: the solar panels, a mounting structure to hold the panels in place and aligned for maximum solar radiation exposure, an inverter the convert the power into a format usable in your home and a storage system. There […]

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Rising Electricity Prices cause Farmers to go Off-Grid

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Solar, Farmers, Off-grid, solar panels, bills, charges

Australian farmers face utility bill increases of 300% and US farmers face spiking charges

Australia’s farm exports have been increasing consistently for the past 6 years and agriculture contributed the most to the country’s economic growth during the last financial quarter. The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said that a rise in the cash income of South Australia’s farms will be head and shoulders above the 10 year average for the region. But despite this, farmers are being faced with huge electricity bills which are becoming impossible to absorb.

The National Farmer’s Federation are calling for a transformation of the national electricity market. Currently farmers are facing tariff increases of up to 300%! This has been especially sobering for dairy farmers who are predicted to have a fall in cash income. This is due to falling prices for products such as milk.

Fiona Simson, president of the NFF, said, “We need affordable, secure and reliable and low emission electricity.” She spoke of how farmers are turning to off-grid solutions, dusting off diesel generators to avoid a “crippling overnight electricity bill”.

It is not just Australia’s farmers turning to off-grid energy.

US farmers are also beginning to show signs of a solar revolution, to avoid fees for electricity spiking. Even though the start-up costs for solar energy are still more than fossil fuel, with a combination of state incentives, a demand for energy and higher electricity prices in some states, the initial investment starts to pay off.

For the moment solar energy seems to be a supplement for activities such as water pumping and charging electric fences. Farmers in some states have been quicker on the uptake than others. For instance, a five year drought in California has meant farms having to use more electricity to pump ground water. When electricity intensive activities like this take place, it draws a high amount of energy from the local grid all in one go. This leads to a large “spiking” charge for the farmer.

Not only this, but some electricity companies like Pacific Gas and Electric charge more during day time summer hours. This is when there is more demand on the grid. Therefore, turning to solar during this time makes financial sense to avoid higher bills. Using batteries to store excess solar energy to avoid using grid electricity is also a good option for lowering bills. However, the main limitation for many farmers is the cost and storage size of the battery packs they would require. For a lot of farmers with solar power, its use stops when the sun goes down.

In some states like Washington, where electricity prices are low, solar panels are few and far between. However, as electricity prices continue to increase, this easily deploy-able green energy source is likely to become a popular solution.

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Battery Farms – Legal issues and opportunities

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Collins stnading next to his lead acid batteries

Energy storage is a HUGE business

You’ve heard of Server Farms where vast numbers of computers house information served onto the internet? Well get used to Battery Farms – where huge arrays of batteries store solar or wind energy and serve it to local homes and businesses. States like Hawaii, which has to supply all its own power are investing heavily in the idea.

Federal and state government mandates and incentives, combined with technological advances, have dramatically increased renewable energy sources during the past decade. Variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind have demonstrated great potential for meeting electric power demand but remain limited from a grid integration standpoint due to intermittency when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.

As a result, state governments and independent system operators are placing increased emphasis on utility-scale energy storage systems and several states, including California, have adopted mandates and incentives for rapid deployment. While several different storage technologies exist or are in development – including pumped hydropower and thermal storage – increasing focus is on battery storage systems to meet energy storage needs. As with any energy project, however, utility-scale battery storage projects present land use, permitting and environmental and health and safety issues, and developers need to anticipate and address these issues to successfully meet project development timelines and goals.

Emerging Trends in Energy Storage Development

California led with government-mandated renewable energy goals, enacting AB 32 in 2006, which requires 33 percent of the state’s retail energy to be from renewable sources by the end 2020. Other states have followed suit. Hawaii, a state that is “off the grid” and entirely dependent on its own generating capabilities, has adopted the most ambitious goal to date, with 100 percent of its electricity to be supplied by renewable sources by 2045.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind turbines have the potential to meet the demand for energy in many states and throughout our nation. These are variable energy sources, however, and electricity from fossil fuel combustion and other energy sources must be used to provide base load to balance the grid, as demonstrated by the California Independent System Operator’s well known “duck chart.” Last year’s massive leak at California’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility underscored the need for alternatives to reliance on fossil fuel generation and led to California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) Resolution E-4791, ordering the expedited procurement and development of energy storage resources in the Los Angeles Basin.

As a result of these policy and economic forces, there is increasing emphasis on developing and implementing energy storage systems, both “behind the meter” and on a utility scale. Once again, California has led the way with enactment of AB 2514, which calls for 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage capacity from the state’s three large investor-owned utilities by 2020, and adoption of legislation earlier this year accelerating and expanding deployment of energy storage systems. Oregon and Washington have similarly enacted legislation to promote energy storage capacity and, just four months ago, Massachusetts became the first East Coast state to adopt an energy storage mandate.

Energy storage technologies are not entirely new. Pumped hydroelectric storage facilities have been used for decades to supplement generating capacity during peak energy demand, and a number of evolving mechanical, chemical, and thermal technologies are in use or development. Due to its ready availability, however, the principal focus to meet current energy storage needs is on battery energy storage systems (BESS), and lithium ion-based systems in particular. These systems offer very fast response times and high cycle efficiencies, can be used for utility-scale as well as residential and commercial applications, are relatively easy to deploy, and continue to experience a dramatic drop in costs. There is little doubt that utility-scale BESS are and will in the near-future continue to be the technology of choice to meet energy storage requirements in California and other states.

Utility-scale battery farms or energy storage projects present great opportunities for developers, investor-owned utilities, and state governments to meet renewable energy goals, make better use of solar and wind resources, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. However, as with any energy project, consideration should be given to land use, permitting, and environmental and health and safety issues in formulating effective strategies for development of utility-scale battery storage projects.

California Permitting Issues and Strategies

Development-related concerns for utility-scale BESS projects include site consistency with land use and zoning laws, worker safety, security and community safety measures, hazardous waste management and disposal, potential impacts on species and habitat, visual impacts, storm water management, and coordination with generation and transmission facilities. As with any new project-based technology, the myriad of issues relating to BESS projects are still evolving. Nonetheless, below we highlight some of the key emerging considerations.

There are three distinct permitting regimes that may apply in developing BESS projects, depending upon the owner, developer, and location of the project.

For BESS projects developed or owned by the state’s investor-owned utilities, the projects are subject to CPUC jurisdiction under General Order (GO) 131-D. GO 131-D governs permitting for utility-owned infrastructure including the potential need for a Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience (CPCN) or Permit to Construct (PTC) and related environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For BESS projects approved to date, the utilities have invoked an exemption from GO 131-D qualifying such projects as “distribution” facilities falling below applicable 50 megawatt (MW) and 50 kilovolt (kV) thresholds, thereby avoiding CPCN and PTC compliance and associated CEQA review. While the utilities must still coordinate with local authorities regarding land use matters and obtain non-discretionary construction and operational permits, so long as the project qualifies as utility-owned and meets the applicable GO 131-D exemption thresholds, permitting can be streamlined.

For BESS projects not qualified under GO 131-D, permitting jurisdiction is dependent upon the location of the battery fatms, typically either on private, federal or state land, and governed by the applicable governmental agency with jurisdiction over that land. The majority of BESS projects falling outside CPUC jurisdiction to date are located on private land and subject to the applicable county or city zoning and land use ordinances and, if necessary, associated CEQA or National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review. The analysis of any required discretionary permits and approvals in each instance is highly fact-specific, depending upon the zoning of the relevant parcel(s) and the permitted and conditional uses under the applicable code for that zoning designation. Co-locating BESS facilities with the solar or wind generating source may streamline the process and provide economic advantages. Additionally, in some instances, BESS projects may fall within permitted uses for electrical substations and transmission and distribution facilities, thereby avoiding discretionary review; in other instances, BESS projects may be allowed as conditional uses requiring a conditional or special use permit and triggering associated CEQA or NEPA review. For those projects located on federal or state land, jurisdiction will fall under the jurisdiction of the applicable agency and its associated permitting regime (e.g., the Federal Land Policy and Management Act for BESS projects falling under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction).

Where BESS projects trigger discretionary permitting and CEQA or NEPA review, there are a variety of means for proponents to address compliance ranging from a Negative Declaration to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Environmental Assessment (EA), or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In instances where the project is associated with an existing power generation project, an addendum or supplement may be tiered off existing CEQA or NEPA documentation, as was the case with the Campo Verde Battery Energy Storage System project in Imperial County based on co-location with a previously-approved 140 MW solar project.

Given the relatively small footprint of typical BESS projects or any kind of battery farms, and location closer to urban load centers, the environmental and natural resource issues emerging to date tend to focus on technology-specific impacts including fire risk, noise impacts and hazardous materials transportation, use, and disposal. That said, depending on the location and scale of such projects, many of the typical environmental and natural resource impacts encountered in developing other energy projects may come into play, including potential protected species, cultural resource, and hydrological impacts.

Conclusion

Deployment of battery farms, whether they are utility-scale BESS projects or other kinds of battery farms, can be expected to rapidly increase in California and other states that have adopted renewable energy goals. These projects present great opportunities for developers, investor-owned utilities, and government to meet these energy goals and make better use of variable solar and wind resources. Developing strategies for addressing land use, permitting, and environmental and health and safety issues early and effectively will facilitate the cost-efficient and successful deployment of utility-scale BESS projects.

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Fire Away: Gasifiers for Off-Grid Living

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Off-grid, gasifiers, heating, electricity, green energy

Fire Her Up: – Gasifiers are not new technology, having been used well before the world wars

Located in Northern Finland just inside the Arctic Circle lies the village of Kempele; a small community of ten families living completely off-grid. However, their lifestyle may be somewhat different from what is considered the “conventional off-gridder”. The homes have fully equipped kitchens, an abundance of low energy lighting – some have Jacuzzis! So how do they provide enough electricity and heat to sustain them throughout the year which can include a very cold Finnish winter (-30°C kind of cold)?

The answer is a Volter Gasifier plant. Using wood chips from the local area, the gasifier burns this fuel incompletely to produce wood gas, which is then burned to provide electricity. The thermal energy produced is used to heat a huge water tank, which then pumps the warm water through a series of pipes making up an underfloor heating system for the houses. By using the thermal energy to heat water the community is reducing its electricity usage. Any excess electricity is stored in three large battery packs for later use.  The Volter is able to power and heat the ten homes for the whole year, even through the cold winter. Each family pays €1,500 ($1580) per year for both their heating and electric.

The Volter system starts at €150,000 ($158,000) which the community paid for collectively, by pooling their resources. Although a steep initial investment, it’s taken only seven years for the community to see returns. In locations where the cost of electricity and heating is higher than Finland, returns on the initial investment could be seen in as little as three years.

After the success of Volter’s initial pilot project in Kempele, the product design has been adapted and streamlined to look more aesthetically pleasing and is being rolled out across a wide range of countries, including Canada, Australia and the UK.

But what exactly is a gasifier and how does it work?

Gasification is the process of using heat to transform a solid fuel, like wood, into a flammable fuel, normally gas. Initially the solid fuel is burned without enough oxygen, a process called incomplete combustion. The output gases produced (including carbon monoxide and hydrogen) are still combustible and so can be burned as a fuel. This is basically a process which involves controlling the stages of combustion. You can find out more details on the staged combustion process here.

Gasifiers are not new technology, in fact far from it. During the Second World War over a million vehicles in Europe had on board gasifiers due to a rationing of fuel such as diesel. They have also been used in agricultural machinery such as tractors.

In more recent times however, gasifiers can be used to power whole communities, such as in the example above or can be more small scale.

For example, the BioGen Woodlog Power and Heat Unit produced by Microgen. This on or off-grid unit is a combination of wood gasification and Microgen free piston power generation, providing both a power and heating solution. Wood is placed in the primary fire box which produces wood gas by being heated in low oxygen conditions. The wood gas is then sucked into a second fire box with higher oxygen conditions where it is fully combusted. It is in this second firebox that the head of the Microgen biomass stirling power unit is located. When this reaches a certain temperature the unit starts to produce power which can be in either AC or DC. The heat of the fire boxes is absorbed by a coolant through heat exchangers on the walls of the boxes.

The thermal output is a maximum 20KW, with a water capacity for 100 litres and temperatures reaching up to 90°C. The 180cm x 60cm x 85cm unit weighs in at 450kg and has 80% efficiency.

For other suppliers of small scale domestic gasifiers, including All Power Labs and Northern Self Reliance, visit this site.

There is also the option to build your own gasifier and there are many instructions available online for various models. However, working with flammable materials and toxic gases can be very dangerous and should you decide to go down this route, it is very important to do lots of research and take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe.

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Micro-nuclear lobbies Trump

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Caroline Cochrane, boss of OKLO

Cochrane – “Industry shouldn’t pay 90%…”

Advanced nuclear developers are calling on President Donald Trump to continue government support of the disruptive technologies which could enable off-grid settlements to spring up all across America.

“Industry shouldn’t have to bear 90% of the regulatory burden. The government should fund the NRC in a more effective way,” said Caroline Cochran, founder of OKLO, a California nuclear technology startup seeking to build a single megawatt advanced reactor to replace diesel generators in largely off-grid markets. Cochran said the current user fee structure should instead resemble that of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where the government evenly splits the regulatory costs with pharmaceutical firms for medical devices and drugs.

In June 2016, the DOE awarded OKLO and seven other advanced nuclear developers, including Transatomic Power, a total of $2 million in vouchers as part of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear, or GAIN program. Under GAIN, OKLO is working with DOE national laboratories to model the simulated use of depleted uranium as a fuel and study legacy data of metallic fuels as the developer works toward filing a design certification application with the NRC.

“None of this is possible without the continued government support,” John Hopkins, chairman and CEO of NuScale Power LLC, reminded attendees at Third Way’s annual advanced nuclear conference in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 21. “With other so-called new technologies: jet engines, everything; it has always started with state funding. We’ve got to continue to have that moving forward with this administration.”

Hopkins called on the new administration to continue support of public-private partnerships and U.S. Department of Energy-funded research and development initiatives, including an Obama-era DOE program to help advanced nuclear reactor developers and manufacturers. Hopkins also said the nuclear industry needs to push to preserve loan guarantees of up to $18.5 billion and figure out how to use production tax credits for new reactors from the Energy Policy Act of 2005 before they expire at the end of 2020.

NuScale recently submitted the first-ever design certification application for small modular reactors (SMRs) to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, after more than half a billion dollars in investment and what the company described as 2 million hours of work. The company, majority-owned by Fluor Corp., itself benefited from DOE support, with the agency in 2014 awarding it $217 million in matching funds to develop the reactor design. NuScale has invested more than $300 million on its own.

Hopkins said NuScale is hopeful that its design will be docketed by the NRC within the next few weeks. The first of NuScale’s commercial 50-MW factory-built SMRs are slated to be installed at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho, in partnership with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS. The proposed 600-MW plant will consist of up to 12 SMRs, and will be operated by Energy Northwest.

Costly NRC and consultation reviews paid for by developers, along with insufficient funding for the agency itself, were repeatedly cited as barriers to commercialization by speakers at the conference.

Cochran said she is confident that OKLO will make it through the regulatory process and has found NRC staff to be “amiable” to making changes to accommodate advanced nuclear designs in a review and certification process intended for existing light water reactors. “Not saying it’s going to be easy but we do believe it is possible and we are moving forward on that,” she said.

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New rules damage UK energy security – help big producers

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Big Utilities need backup power

British energy regulator Ofgem has moved a step closer to removing a significant revenue stream for off-grid electricity production, which could impact the quantity of new large-scale generation in future.

Ofgem says it intends to accept a proposal from two huge Utility companies to reduce payments made to small-scale distributed generators by suppliers for providing off-grid electricity during peak winter hours. Suppliers can save on system transmission charges as a result.

The so-called triad payments, which off-grid generators receive for providing electricity during three half-hour periods of the highest demand across winter, will drop from the current level of approximately £45/kW to around £2/kW. The reforms will be phased in over three years from 2018 to 2020.

Previous forecasts had been for the payments to increase to £72/kW over the next four years.

Last year, a report by global advisory KPMG warned that just over 2GW of new embedded generation contracted by the UK government under its capacity market could fail to deliver if off-grid financial benefits were removed. The report, which was commissioned by off-grid generator UK Power Reserve, argued for transitional arrangements to be put in place.

However, Ofgem disagreed in a statement last week. “We believe the proposed reforms would not have a material impact on security of supply,” it said.

While a potential reduction in consumer bills is the main motivation behind Ofgem’s proposals, concerns have been raised that the level of so-called ‘embedded’ benefits has distorted the market in favour of small-scale generation.

As a result, developers of larger new gas-fired generation – some of which are also subject to system transmission charges that off-grid generators escape – have been unable to compete in capacity market auctions and bid in low enough to meet the clearing price awarded for capacity contracts.

The reforms proposed by Ofgem were sparked by network code modification proposals submitted by utilities Scottish Power and EDF.

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2017 ASCE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT CARD

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Last spring, an article in The New Yorker stated…

“From the crumbling bridges of California to the overflowing sewage drains of Houston and the rusting railroad tracks in the Northeast Corridor, decaying infrastructure is all around us, and the consequences are so familiar that we barely notice them—like urban traffic congestion, slow-moving trains, and flights that are often disrupted, thanks to an outdated air-traffic-control system. The costs are significant, once you reckon wasted time, lost productivity, poor public-health outcomes, and increased carbon emissions.”

 

You may not think about it much, but America’s aging infrastructure is what allows us to live the lifestyle we are so hopelessly addicted to here in the United States. Thinking about our national infrastructure is probably not high on your list of every day priorities, but there are people that take it very seriously. And they are concerned.

 

Every 4 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers releases a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure that depicts the condition and performance of the nation’s infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report card by assigning letter grades to each type of infrastructure. The news was not good when the last report card came out. The ASCE gave the US infrastructure an overall grade of D+, estimating that it would take an investment of approximately 3.6 trillion dollars just to get to a grade of B. You can read the full report for yourself in the 2013 National Infrastructure Report Card.

 

Interactive 2013 Report Card

 

In 2016, the ASCE released FAILURE TO ACT: The Impact of Infrastructure Investment On America’s Economic Future, which laid out what is at stake if the United States does not take action and make the investments needed to bring our aging and crumbling infrastructure back up to standard.

 

The 2017 ASCE National Infrastructure Report Card will be released on Thursday, March 9th at 9:30 am EST. That’s when we will get an up to date assessment by the professionals about the current state of our national infrastructure. You can follow along live with the release of the report card HERE.

Count me among those that are very excited to see what, if any, progress has been made since the last report was issued.
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Build a Hand Crank Generator Out of a Dish Washer Motor

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If the grid goes down, generating power is going to be a top priority. The question is, how can everyday joe living in an urban area generate power without drawing unwanted attention? Gas generators are too loud, and solar panels only work on sunny days. Well, electronicsNmore came up with another option. In this video, […]

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Surviving Off-grid: Hot Water From Your Wood Stove

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Survivopedia_Hot_Water_From_Your_Wood_Stove

Whether we’re talking about off-grid survival or just having the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of living in the 21st century in our cabin in the woods, having hot water for taking a shower, shaving, or taking a nice long bath is one of the yardsticks of well-being.

What can be nicer than enjoying a hot shower after working all day outside in the cold? And even better, if that hot water is completely free of charge? It doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Moreover, it would be pretty nice to have hot water at your disposal without being dependent upon a utilities company, whether we’re talking about electricity or gas.

We’re Reviving Ancient Techniques

What I am trying to tell you is that nowadays, heating water is one of the most overlooked functions when it comes to the archaic wood stove.

Just a few decades ago, many wood stoves were built with a water tank (it was called a range boiler) behind/beside the respective wood stove, for producing free and virtually limitless amounts of hot water. A two for the price of one kind of a deal.

Basically, whether you’re looking to save some dollars on your utility bills or get hot water in some place remote without breaking the piggy bank, the main idea is that you can use your wood stove for more than warming your homestead, cooking and whatever else wood stoves are usually good for.

Truth be told, domestic wood stove-based water heating systems are not new; they were invented centuries ago.

The Romans constructed incredibly clever central heating systems for public buildings (and the rich also had them, because they were too expensive for plebes) in an era sans electricity, and we’re talking 2000+ years ago. I know it sounds incredible, but yes, they actually had central heating through the floors 2 millennia ago; that’s how smart Romans were.

The Roman system was called Hypocaust and it worked by producing and circulating hot air below the floors (even walls in some cases) using a network of pipes. Hot air passed through those pipes and heated the floors/walls and obviously, the air was heated via furnaces burning wood and/or coal, because there was no electricity or piped gas back in the day.

In the event of a grid-down situation, how many of you are planning on heating their home with wood?

Learn from our forefathers how to install an emergency wood-burning stove!

How the Heater Works

Hence, getting hot water using a wood stove uses the same basic principle as a Hypocaust, but with a twist: water is used in our case instead of air, because it’s difficult to take a shower without water, right? I know – there’s an invention called dry cleaning, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Joking aside, to keep it simple: a regular water heater is nothing more than a tank of sorts, sitting on top or next to your wooden stove. As water rises when heated, hot water is drawn from the top and cold water is piped at the bottom via a piping system, obviously.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses heat exchangers for transferring heat from the stove to the water. Depending on the design, the heat exchangers can be mounted inside of the stove, on the outside of the stove, or in the stovepipe.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when a fire is burning in two ways: naturally, via the thermosiphon principle which relies on water rising when heated or by using a pump.

The heat exchanger device is available in 3 main varieties:

  • a serpentine coil made of, in most cases, copper pipe
  • a small absorber, like a solar-collector
  • a box-like mini-tank. Most heat exchangers are mini-tanks or coils mounted inside the stove.

The heat exchanger can be built using copper, stainless steel, or galvanized iron, and they’re commercially available or they can be built in local shops or DIY-ed depending on your skills. For our intents and purposes, we’ll have to rely on the thermosiphon system, because this system works wonderfully off the grid and it doesn’t require fancy stuff like pumps and all that jazz.

The Tips that Lead to Success

“Keep it simple stupid” is the name of the game in a survival situation. As things get complicated, the probability of something failing rises exponentially.

Whenever the stove is used, water must circulate through the heat exchanger in order to prevent it from boiling. The storage tank must always be located higher than the heat exchanger and as close as possible to the stove.

Thermosiphoning-based systems are better than electrical-pumped ones not only because of their simplicity and availability, but also because in the eventuality of a power outage, the pump will stop working, leading to overheating the water in the heat exchanger.

This is a DIY project that can provide you with endless hot water without requiring electricity, as it’s based on the thermosiphoning process. This one uses a therma coil – a homemade unit – which consists of a serpentine made of copper, which is put inside the wood stove and connected via plumbing to a water tank.

This is a hot water-on-demand heater which can help you in a variety of situations. And best of all, everything is made using scrap materials, more or less (except for the copper piping, I guess).

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

As a general rule of thumb, for best results, you should isolate all your hot water lines more than 3 feet away from the wood stove using slip-on foam insulation, which is designed for temperatures up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t forget to spend 10 bucks on a thermometer; it’s well worth the investment and it will help you with eliminating all guesswork with regard to determining water temperature.

Copper is one of the best piping materials out there, as it’s very easy to work with when building coils (the heat exchanger gizmo), but remember that when used with iron, the latter will corrode.

The second DIY job is made by the same guy but this time, instead of a copper serpentine placed inside the wood stove, he uses a simpler water coil made of stainless steel. The rest is basically the same, check out the video.

Video first seen on engineer775 Practical Preppers

The third project also uses the thermosiphoning principle (hot water rises) and copper tubing for making the serpentines, but this is a “larger scale job” compared to the previous two, and more complex.

Video first seen on convectioncoil.com.

The fourth and last DIY project uses an interesting design, i.e. a double-walled water heater (a double-walled 6-inch pipe, basically) and between the walls there’s copper water pipe circling the inner wall, thus transferring the heat from the wood stove to the water circulating through the piping.

Video first seen on thenewsurvivalist.

That about sums it up for today folks. There are still many lessons to be learned.

Remember that knowledge is everything in a survival situation and take our ancestors’ example – they survived when there was no electricity.

Click the banner below to uncover their lost secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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“THANKS, OBAMA!” THE 44TH PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON SPACE WEATHER

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You’ve probably heard of something called a coronal mass ejection (CME), otherwise known as a massive solar flare, and you probably know it could be very bad for the United States if the we happened to be facing the sun when it impacts earth. A large CME has the potential to have devastating impacts on everything from our global positioning systems (GPS), satellite operations, space operations, aviation and even our power grids, knocking them offline in an instant and destroying critical power grid infrastructure. A CME is one of several extra-terrestrial events that could possibly impact earth that are collectively referred to as space weather. Although much less likely, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) can produce the same impacts, most commonly seen as a result of a nuclear explosion. In a world where international terrorism is a real threat, the possibility of an EMP weapon being used against the United States is a real concern. Experts agree that a direct impact from a large CME or a successful EMP attack is an existential threat to the United States that could instantly bring an end to our modern civilization.

 

A silhouette of the New Jersey.

 

On October 13, 2016, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order — Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events that outlined the country’s contingency plan in the event such weather events lead to significant disruption to systems like the electrical power grid, satellite operations or aviation, stating “It is the policy of the United States to prepare for space weather events to minimize the extent of economic loss and human hardship.”

 

 

With this EO, President Obama ordered that the federal government takes steps insure that the national infrastructure is secure in the event of a space weather event. The National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan ( PDF ) was announced a few days later in conjunction with President Obama’s executive order, along with a PDF of The Implementation of the National Space Weather Action plan, complete with a White House official summary. The official pages aren’t up on WhiteHouse.gov, but here is the latest information I could find on those too.

 

 

After years of Congress knowing about the problem and failing to take action, I was pleased to learn that the President did what he could through the executive office to try and protect the critical infrastructure of our nation.  However it is still up to Congress to set aside the funds to follow through and take action in support of the specifics laid out in this order.

 

So what does this mean for me and every one of you concerned about national security and the protection of our extremely fragile power grid infrastructure? The phrase “Within 120 days of the date of this order…” is used repeatedly in this executive order. If you take a look at the calendar, we are at that point right now. I’ve read for years about how everyone knows this is a threat, yet no one is willing to take action. Well, the former President did what he could do in response to a lack of action by Congress and now it’s our turn. Call your United States Representatives and your United States Senators and ask them to take action on President Obama’s executive order to coordinate a national response and strengthen our national power grids against the possible catastrophic impacts of a massive CME or electromagnetic pulse attack. Find your US Representatives and your US Senators and urge them to take action on this very important initiative today.

 

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Brussels Grid Collapses – Solar Batteries No Help

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EU regs stop solar backup during brownouts

Large parts of Brussels are without power tonight after the City Grid ceased to function at about 10.45pm local time.

But buildings with solar panels on rooftops were not able to maintain their own power supply because the panels are all feeding into to the grid. Even solar panels with battery backup were unable to maintain a supply because EU regulations require a cutoff of the battery supply in the event of a grid outage.

Brussels is home to the HQ of the European Commission – the Berlaymont Building – which has its own petrol powered generators in the basement, so it is still functioning on skeleton power at time of writing.

The health and safety rules were introduced 10 years ago, even though a simple cutoff switch between the grid and the panels or batteries in individual buildings, would solve the problem by removing the threat to power workers as they tried to restore the supply. Lobbyists from the large power companies and grid management companies are responsible for the restrictive regulations.

It is believed the northern part of the EU capital has been affected the worst with the cause still to be identified.Residents have been forced to use candles and have posted pictures of their efforts to restore light on social media.

An earlier power cut is understood to have hit a smaller part of the city earlier in the evening but was ‘resolved by 8.30pm’.

Power firm Sibelga, which handles gas and electricity services in the city, and power network operator Elia have confirmed there is a fault in the grid, with repair teams on site.
Sirens have been heard across the city, which was the victim of a terrorist attack last March.

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7 Ways You Can Generate Power After a Disaster

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Whether it’s a nuclear holocaust, a deadly plague, the perfect storm, or a large-scale terrorist attack, when a cataclysmic event goes down you can guarantee one thing: the power will go out. And while you don’t need electricity to be a hunter-gatherer for the rest of your life, if you want to help return human […]

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Powerwall 2 takes homes off-grid

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Tesla, Solar, Batteries, Powerwall

Powering through, Tesla are expanding from cars to batteries

The sun is a huge energy source that can be taken advantage of using solar panels. But how to store the excess energy that solar panels capture has been a little tricky…until now. Tesla has come up with the solution – the Powerwall 2.

This wall or floor mounted battery pack stores excess energy captured by solar panels to be used anytime. This gives the consumer a reliable, available power source 24/7. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, cited climate change and the need to move to a sustainable energy source at the product launch, claiming the Powerwall 2 could power all the sockets, lights and fridge of a four bedroom house indefinitely with solar power. The 14kWh battery would also provide a back-up energy source if there were a power outage, allowing peace of mind.

Each pack has up to a 7kWh power output, with an average 5kWh continuous power output. A liquid thermal control (coolant) system helps to regulate the internal temperature of the battery, maximising its performance. Whilst the water resistant, dust proof casing allows for outdoor or indoor installation.

For those who do not have solar panels, the Powerwall 2 can be charged at night (when energy is in less demand and less expensive). Then it can be used as a power source during the day time. Tesla is also in the process of bringing out their range of solar tiles. These come in four styles, from Tuscan to slate glass. They are opaque from the street but transparent from above, allowing the suns rays to penetrate the tile and the solar panels within to capture energy.

The use of a Powerwall 2 pack with solar panels enables homes to become self-sufficient in providing their own energy. Musk has a clear vision of an affordable, integrated power generation and storage system which can be rolled out across whole neighbourhoods, allowing whole streets and communities to be off-grid.

One 755mm x 1150 mm x 115 mm 14kWh Powerwall 2 battery costs $5,500 (£5,400) with installation costs starting at $1,500 (£950). The first installations are due to begin in early 2017. Prices of the new Tesla solar tile range are yet to be released.

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Free Home Batteries Trial Increases Grid Capacity

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Solar panels, smart battery, electricity, Yorkshire, grid,

Solar & batteries: the clever way to cut energy costs

A small community in South Yorkshire, UK has been targeted for a trial involving solar power and smart batteries. Forty homes in near Barnsley are having smart batteries installed at the end of January. Moixa, Northern Powergrid and Energise Barnsley are all collaborating on the £250 million ($308 million) project.

Moixa Batteries USB port

The Moixa batteries are smaller than a boiler (50cm x 30cm x 20cm), wall mounted with a 20 year lifespan. They even have a USB port so phones and other devices can be charged direct from the battery. Normally costing above £2,500 ($3,000), the residents received their batteries free of charge, with distributor Northern Electric footing the bill. 30 of the homes had solar panels, allowing them to be further independent of the grid. The batteries have good saving potential, giving the residents another reason to be positive about the trial.

The batteries allow residents to use the excess energy their solar panels generate during the day, at night time. They store the energy produced instead of transmitting it to the grid. This will relieve pressure put on the electricity network during times of high output but low demand. It is this reason that prevented the energy company Energise Barnsley placing more homes with solar onto the trial. Without expensive upgrades it is infrastructure which is limiting the number of homes that can have solar power. A project in Carmarthenshire, Wales, faced a similar problem, with only 37% of homes being able to connect with solar energy.

Lower Carbon

As outlined in Moixa’s press release, CEO Simon Daniel stated, “Batteries will allow the electricity system to support much higher levels of low carbon renewable power and increase UK energy independence.”

Linking the batteries in a virtual power plant system allows Moixa to make the wider grid more efficient, causing less need for back up from non-renewable sources. If rolled out across the country, millions could be saved by reducing the peak solar output onto the electricity network.

If the trial is successful, batteries could hold the key to UK energy independence.

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I know a lot about solar – I love solar

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trump

President Elect Trump is quoted in saying “I know a lot about solar, I love solar…”, it gives me hope that Trump will work with the powers that be to encourage more alternative energy resources. The next part of Trump’s statement was about solar being so expensive, that might give pause to the solar power companies, but I hear that a bit differently, I don’t hear Trump trying to stop alternative energy, I believe he is interested in bringing the costs down even further than they have come down in the last 5-10 years. I interpret his statements as wanting to do something about the costs, making it more affordable as opposed to shutting it down. As a business man, he would be interested in getting goods and services at the best possible price, being our president, I can see him doing that for the whole of the country.

I listened to a quick podcast on NPR on this subject

The original story can be found here
http://www.npr.org/2016/12/22/506531165/renewable-energy-sector-remains-optimistic-amid-trump-policy-outlook

What do you think?

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analytics

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Build a Stealth Fire Pit That Won’t Draw Unwanted Attention

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I’ve gotten several messages from people expressing concern that if they try to cook over an open fire during a widespread disaster, they’ll attract hungry and dangerous people. One thing you can do to keep down the smell is avoid cooking with spices (add them after you’re done cooking), but obviously people will still see […]

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Grid is over for least-developed nations

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Old hub and spoke model is dying out

Old hub and spoke model is dying out

The cost of solar equipment is declining at ever-steeper rates, threatening a meltdown in Utility companies share prices and catalysing new projects and driving growth in developing countries.

That’s among the key findings from this year’s Climatescope, an analysis of 58 emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.  Conducted by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it reports investment in utility-scale solar in the Climatescope nations spiked 43 per cent to $71.8bn in 2015.  The countries covered include China, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

The report stresses that the 58 countries “are not waiting to get started on adding renewable capacity – between them, they added 69.8 GW of new wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable power generating capacity in 2015 – the same as total installed capacity in Australia today”.

China accounted for the majority of activity in Climatescope countries, but smaller nations also played important roles. By comparison, wealthier OECD countries built 59.2 GW last year. Climatescope also found that cheap solar, innovative business models and a new breed of entrepreneurs are revolutionizing how energy access issues are addressed in least developed nations.

“New players focused on off-grid or mini-grid solutions are challenging the assumption that only an expanded hub-and-spoke power grid can meet the needs of the world’s 1.2bn with inadequate access to power. A slew of these start-ups are privately-funded and between them had raised over $450m cumulatively through year-2015.”

And the report highlights how private investors, lenders, and development finance institutions in OECD countries accounted for nearly half of all capital to the Climatescope countries, with the exception of China, where virtually all capital was provided locally.

This is up from the roughly one third of capital provided in 2012. But the report also notes that some Climatescope countries with the highest rates of clean energy penetration are beginning to encounter integration challenges. “Some have seen projects completed before sufficient transmission could be built. Others have not prioritized clean electrons from wind or solar projects in their grids over those from coal-fired plants.”

But the writing is on the wall for fossil fuel companies (and share prices) – with the report noting that “tenders held for power-delivery contracts have highlighted that photovoltaics can now compete against and beat fossil-fuelled projects on price in some nations”.

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LuminAID Solar Inflatable Light, Semi-Transparent

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LuminAID Solar Inflatable Light, Semi-Transparent I have to say this piece of kit is awesome! It requires no batteries and can light up an area better than a flashlight! I know you can make a similar one of these yourself with a headlamp and a milk jug full of water but if you were bugging …

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Power from Tap Water

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Greek TV has made Petros a star

Greek TV has made Petros a star

PBS News Hour just ran this report on an inventor who wants to extract the power from H20:

HARI SREENIVASAN: Imagine a mini power supply in your house or car that made it possible for you to be off the grid. What if that source of energy was totally clean and powered by simple tap water?

Well, a Greek scientist claims to have created a machine that converts water into power.

As part of our occasional innovation series, special correspondent Malcolm Brabant traveled to the inventor`s island home.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Physicist Petros Zografos spent 30 years trying to work out how, using minimal energy, he could break down the water molecule, H20, into its component parts, hydrogen and oxygen. Now he thinks he`s cracked it, with this, his mini power station, which he hopes will help reverse global pollution.

PETROS ZOGRAFOS, Physicist (through translator): Since I have children and grandchildren — my son has just made me a grandfather — I cannot go on watching this planet being so violently abused.

MALCOLM BRABANT: George Schoell, from Southern Germany, whose company makes solar panels, is interested in helping develop and market the invention. He headed out of Athens for a nearby Greek island to inspect it for the first time.

GEORGE SCHOELL, Businessman: For the people, this would be exactly what they want, exactly what they can use at home. But for the big energy suppliers, this will be a problem, because if anyone takes his own energy, no one will need the grid anymore.

MALCOLM BRABANT: In the inventor`s modest home, there was a last-minute technical briefing beneath a bust of Zeus, the ancient Greek god who dispensed power through thunderbolts.

Then colleague Pantelis Kotsianis gave a demonstration.

PANTELIS KOTSIANIS, Scientist: We have no wires, no external wires from the grid connected to the system, stand-alone, and reconnect later on to the mains, get off the grid, and then we will put the water from the glass into this tube, and within 40 seconds, we will have the power to power the whole house.

Right now, we`re off the grid. We have turned off the switch. We will prove that this connector has no power at all. Look, there`s no power on this connector.

So I`m putting some water slowly right now, and we just connect the mains right now to the machine. And, basically, you can just — well, basically can run the whole house and can turn on the TV and anything else you want right now.

MAN: How much power do you have? How much power do you have?

PANTELIS KOTSIANIS: We`re producing right now? It`s about 800 watts.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Which was enough to enable the inventor`s wife to prepare lunch. The average American house needs about 30,000 watts per hour.

PANTELIS KOTSIANIS: It`s a very brand-new technology, never existed before. We`re using frequencies. And with frequencies, you don`t have to use high power. You don`t need to use excessive energy, or really any energy at all, in order to get the fuel that you need, hydrogen.

Every rock or every bridge has a very specific resonance. When you vibrate a system at the specific frequency, which is the system`s frequency, that system would break. So, you don`t need force to do that.

MALCOLM BRABANT: It`s similar to the biblical story of trumpets destroying the walls of Jericho. This is the Acropolis in Athens, not Jericho, but the temples date from the same era.

It wasn`t a religious miracle that brought down Jericho`s walls, but sound waves from the trumpets. The inventor claims water can be unlocked in the same way.

There are three stages to this machine. The first is motion. The act of pouring of the water generates energy to start the resonance process. The second is oscillation. A new compound created by the inventor helps produce the hydrogen. The third is the exhaust system, where the only byproduct is room-temperature water vapor.

Despite having rich potential for renewal energy, Greece is heavily dependent upon fossil fuel. Much of its electricity comes from lignite, a peat-like substance, transported along conveyor belts from vast open cast mines.

Lignite is one of the world`s most polluting fuels, and, according to environmentalists, these plants are responsible for ailments, such as cancer, that cost the Greek health service up to $4 billion a year.

PETROS ZOGRAFOS (through translator): The sea used to provide us with all the fish we needed, but now I can see that life is diminishing on the planet, and it`s human beings are responsible for this. So I would really like this invention to be made available worldwide, so that it may halt further destruction of the planet as much as possible.

MALCOLM BRABANT: The science employed by Zografos has been validated by a committee of Greek physicists. Independent engineer Lampis Tomasis was a skeptic, but is now a believer.

LAMPIS TOMASIS, Engineer: I used spectrum analyzers. I used analyzers for the exhaust fumes. I used oscilloscopes and the other instruments as well. And I am convinced now that the instrument is working perfectly, doesn`t produce any dirt to the environment, and the only product produced is hydrogen, which is very clean for the environment.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Two hours after the machine was started, it needed topping up.

PANTELIS KOTSIANIS: We added some fuel to our system, so we depleted it with running everything in the house.

MALCOLM BRABANT: The team behind this project has rejected several multimillion-dollar offers to the rights to the invention, because they want to control what happens to it.

But they are fairly optimistic, and they are talking in terms of this possibly being the start of a new age. But there has to be a word of caution, because there have been several great Greek innovations in the past that have died at birth. They have been strangled by red tape and vested interests.

To obtain an independent assessment, we went to the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, named after one of the most important contributors to modern physics and the atomic age.

JACOB TRIER FREDERIKSEN, Niels Bohr Institute: I`m extremely skeptical of the way that it allegedly is functioning. I seriously doubt that there is excess energy from this device.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Jacob Frederiksen says the invention would be fantastic, if true. But first, he says, the science must be subjected to peer review, and that other experts need to be able to reproduce the results.

He believes that using frequencies to split hydrogen and oxygen is valid, but doubts the process can yield sufficient extra power.

JACOB TRIER FREDERIKSEN: Let`s assume we have this huge molecule of water, right, oxygen and hydrogen bound together in the water molecule. In order to split this, you really need to pull it apart, I mean, split these atoms apart. Now you have spent quite a lot of energy to split them. You can regain part of that energy by combining them by combustion processes.

You already spent the energy to split it, and you only get part of that energy back when you recombine it by burning the hydrogen. And that difference will not be a positive one.

MALCOLM BRABANT: In response, the Greeks say they will happily agree to a peer review once they have obtained a worldwide patent. They also insist their system doesn`t conform to the standard rules of electrolysis, or separating of hydrogen and oxygen.

George Schoell, the German businessman, headed towards home, satisfied with the Greeks` claims that their process uses minimal energy and is highly efficient. He predicted that, if all went well, mini home power stations could go into production within a year.

GEORGE SCHOELL: I was really kind of — about this invention, and it was 100 — or over 100 percent fulfilled. And I`m really satisfied that I did this trip, because I didn`t expect that the machine runs as we have seen as it runs.

PETROS ZOGRAFOS (through translator): I want this invention to spread as far as possible, to the last village in Africa, where the children don`t have electric light to read and study by.

MALCOLM BRABANT: The next test for Petros Zografos and his team will be to build a 200-kilowatt machine, about the size of two fridges, to light up a small Greek island fueled by the surrounding water. He hopes to stage a trial within the next six months.

For the “PBS NewsHour,” I`m Malcolm Brabant in Greece.

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GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power!

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GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” Audio in player below! What do you know about living with Solar Power? On this episode of Prepping For Tomorrow we have a technical expert on solar energy joining American Preppers Radio aka “Prepper Broadcasting”. If you have ever thought about solar power or even if … Continue reading GRID DOWN Part 2 Solar Power!

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Kerosene vs Propane Heaters – The Best Solution For Survival

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kerosene vs propane heatersToday let’s tackle that age old question of Kerosene vs Propane? Which is the better investment for heating? Which is best for long term survival? What are the pros and cons of each?

Right now, (the morning I’m writing this article) it’s currently a bitter 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside (with a low of 3 degrees Fahrenheit).

colorado-current-weather-snapshot

And it’s just the first frigid day of the upcoming winter season. So there will be more brutally cold days yet to come.

It was so cold this morning; my labrador retriever refused brave it. Deciding to take a pass and “hold it,” in hopes for a warm up. He’s going to be disappointed.

At this very moment, I’m comfortably typing away at my computer keys and sipping a warm coffee in my warm 71 degree home.

It’s times like these that I realize just how fortunate we are in modern society. Heating, indoor plumbing, motor vehicle transportation, refrigeration…it’s amazing. I try not to take it for granted…

That’s why I often wonder what life would be like without these modern conveniences. The easiest way is to imagine this is to think about our electrical grid going down for an extended period.

Let’s just pretend it goes down for a week in the dead of winter. What would that be like? How would you handle that situation? What’s your plan B?

And it’s not that hard to imagine because every winter it happens to millions of people around the world.

So it’s your responsibility as a self-reliant adult to have a backup heat source strategy. Now, maybe you already have a fireplace or a wood stove. Great!

If this is you, then you already have an excellent backup heat source as long as you have a large pile of seasoned firewood. But not everyone has an expensive wood stove, or maybe you’d prefer to have multiple backup options.

Also, with propane or kerosene heaters you’ll be able to supplement a mobile heat source for special situations such as heating specific rooms that tend to be cooler, or heating garages when working on a vehicle in the winter, etc.

Another use for mobile propane or kerosene heaters is to use them to heat an RV or your tent for camping in the cooler seasons.

Finally, running a supplemental heater on cold days can is often more cost effective when heating your home as opposed to cranking up your fancy thermostat.

And the two best fuels to consider for backup heat generation are kerosene or propane.

Now, some people will argue the merits of electrical heaters, but those rely on the power grid, so I tend to immediately discount that option. You want to diversify your heating fuel sources for emergency situations, and that’s propane or kerosene.

But which is best? Which type of heater should you buy? The honest answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish. So before we can figure out which ones the best for you, we need to break down the pros and cons of each fuel.

To do that, let’s cover the following three categories:

  1. Availability
  2. Price
  3. Storage / Safety

kerosene tankPropane Vs Kerosene Pros and Cons

1 – Availability Of Propane Vs Kerosene

If you can’t find where you live, then what’s the point?

Kerosene

You can purchase small tanks of kerosene from places like home improvement stores and camping stores, but these small tanks are a poor financial deal. To find the best deal (i.e. best price) on kerosene, you should look for a nearby gas station with a kerosene pump.

In some locations in the States, this might not be a readily available option. So do some research online using google maps or forums and find out where your nearest kerosene pump is located. If you’re a long way away from a kerosene pump, you can either stock up next time you’re there or choose a propane heater instead.

Propane

For the most part, propane tanks are more readily available for purchase or rental than kerosene. The main reason is due to the popularity of using propane for gas grills. So many home improvement, grocery stores, convenient stores, etc. have propane tank rental programs. But this option is not ideal for a large scale storage.

Plus, to get better pricing on propane, you’ll want to buy your propane in bulk. To do that you’ll need a large propane tank to store it (more details shortly).

So you’ll want to call your nearest propane delivery company and see if they service your area. Oh, and while you have them on the phone, get an updated bulk rate price….

dollar bill2 – Kerosene Vs Propane Prices

In general, the economic laws of supply and demand determine the price for fuels. They are not stable and go up and down. The current price of these fuels in New Hampshire on the date of writing this post are as follows:

  • Kerosene – $2.81/gallon
  • Propane – $3.05/gallon
Note: Click here to check updated New Hampshire prices. Also, prices will vary based on your local, so make sure you check your residential prices for accurate comparison information.

So on a per gallon basis, propane seems like the obvious winner. But that’s only the first part of the story. The price per gallon matters but what REALLY matters is the Cost Per BTU.

This is because 1 gallon of kerosene has a different amount of potential energy than 1 gallon of propane. So we must take this energy potential into account to figure out which one is the better value.

So now we can figure out the figure that matters; Price Per BTU. So with simple math (divide the price by the BTUs and times that by 1000).

  • Kerosene – $0.0208 per 1,000 BTU’s of energy
  • Propane – $0.0334 per 1,000 BTU’s of energy

So there we have it; currently (on 12-6-2016) you get 37% more BTU’s of energy for your dollar with Kerosene than you do with Propane. But again, prices vary, and you should check the local kerosene pump prices and call your nearest propane vendors to get actual per gallon prices for your specific area.

Having a backup fuel source to generate heat is great, and if you can get the fuel cheap enough, it might be better to use your kerosene/propane heaters and turn down your home’s thermostat. But you’ll need to do that math on that yourself.

3 – Storage Life / Safety Of Propane Vs Kerosene

Kerosene is one of the safer liquid fuels to store and use. The biggest reason for this it’s much less explosive than other popular fuels (i.e. gasoline).

In general, Kerosene requires a wick for it to ignite. So if you light a match and drop it directly into a bottle of kerosene, it won’t ignite, unlike gasoline which will explode.

Another benefit to kerosene is how long keeps in storage. When it comes to a backup fuel source, I’m a fan of stockpiling. But with many fuels, it’s a challenge to store them long term. Which means you have to annually add additives or rotate. But with kerosene as long as you store it in a quality container and it will be useful for years or even decades.

The best way to store a large amount of Kerosene is to get a few large 50-gallon drums (like this one) with good clamp seals. You may also want to put these drums into a secondary containment trough for any drips or leaks.

Another consideration with kerosene is that even in 50-gallon barrels, you’ll still be able to haul it. If you plan bug out, this might be an important aspect. Sure, you’ll need a truck bug out vehicle or a survival trailer, but it CAN be done.

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If you only plan on storing a limited amount of propane you might be able to get away with purchasing a few smaller 11 lbs propane tanks.

However, if you want to store large amounts of propane, then you’ll want a large propane tank. That’s what those large metal tanks are you often see in the yards of many old farm houses in the Midwest.

propane tank

They are bulk propane storage tanks and they are an excellent way to storage a lot of propane safely.

While propane is a gas and its fumes are very flammable, if it’s stored in a large propane tank then its safe. The tank and valves are designed to store large amounts of propane above ground in your backyard. It’s low risk.

And the propane will keep indefinitely as long as the tank and valves are in good shape. But that’s the rub; large-scale propane tanks are not cheap. And used tanks may or may not be in good enough shape to trust.

Here’s a screen shot of one website with propane tank prices.

propane-tank-prices

Another downside of a large propane tank is that it’s not mobile. If you plan to bug out when things go south, then a large propane tank would not be a good investment for your long term survival plan.

So again, it depends on what your survival goals are, but both kerosene and propane are solid long-term options for survival.

Kerosene vs Propane Heaters

So next I’m going to try to steer you in the direction of what your best emergency heating fuel is and then share with you one kerosene and one propane heater I recommend.

If your goal is to have a backup heat source for prolonged power outages (or supplement heat) for your home (and don’t already own a large propane storage tank), then I believe you should go with kerosene.

It’s relatively straightforward to store; it lasts a long time; it’s a safe fuel to use, and it’s reasonably priced. Even if it’s not readily available near your location, you can plan an occasional trip to a kerosene pump and load up as needed.

However, propane is also an excellent choice for prolonged power outages energy backup. But you’ll need to invest in a large propane tank to store it at scale. But if you already own one, or can get one at a good price, then propane is a solid way to go.

The bottom line:

You should investigate your personal availability of both fuels and your storage options. The good news is whichever you ultimately decide you really can’t go wrong.

For some, kerosene will make more sense, but for others, propane is the way to go. The key is for YOU to do a bit of research to decide which is right for YOU.

Best Kerosene Heater For Your Money

home safe kerosene heater unitFor a home kerosene heater, I like the Dyna-Glo RMC-95C6B Indoor Kerosene Convection Heater. It’s a proven design, the ideal size for home heating and has all the following features:

  • Heats up to 1,000 square feet
  • Dependable – Ideal for emergency use or daily use
  • Economical – Cut heating bills by warming only occupied areas
  • Convenient – Easy to use automatic ignition and one-touch shut-off
  • Safe – Built-in safety switch shuts power off if unit is knocked over

This kerosene heater will heat up to 1,000 square feet for 8 to 12 hours using less than 2 gallons of kerosene. It’s a top of the line kerosene heater that’s hard to beat at this price.

Here’s some more information on this kerosene heater:

Best Propane Heater For Your Money

propane-heater-unitFor a home propane heater, I like the Mr. Heater MH18B, Portable Propane Heater.

While a single one won’t heat as much square footage as the kerosene heater above, it puts out good heat for home use propane heater. Perfect for single room heating as appose to heating an entire home. Here’s a few more of its key features:

  • Swivel regulators and single control, Length 19.00, Width 12.00
  • Automatic low oxygen shutoff system
  • Accidental tip-over safety shutoff
  • Heats up to 450 square feet
  • Low, medium, and high control knob for steady temperatures
  • Easy-carry handle with built-in blower fan to circulate heated air for higher heating efficiency
  • Heavy-duty wire guard for added tile protection and rugged durability when traveling
  • Four-position heat control with built-in Piezo ignition –pilot/lo/med/hi
  • Low-oxygen safety shut-off (ODS) and tip-over safety shut-off
  • Dual ceramic burner tiles with shock absorbing insulation
  • Hose storage bag for convenient storage of optional connection hoses up to 12 feet long
  • Blower fan operates on 4D-cell batteries or with optional 6-volt A/C adapter (Not Included)
  • Porcelain coated reflector added for extended life
  • Swivel regulator mount
  • Attached swing-open cylinder hatch doors

The bottom line is this is a top of the line propane heater at this price.

Here’s some more information on this propane heater:

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
Remember: Prepare, Adapt, and Overcome
“Just In Case” Jack

The post Kerosene vs Propane Heaters – The Best Solution For Survival appeared first on Skilled Survival.

8 Features To Look For in a Portable Generator

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With a good generator, you can run important appliances in your home like refrigerators, heaters, and air conditioners during power outages. Generator dealers record the most sales when there are massive storms in surrounding regions, which means most people don’t buy generators until they urgently need them. Waiting until the last minute forces you to […]

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EMP Survival: 3 Ways To Build A Faraday Cage

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DIY Faraday Cage

Storing a few key electronics that would be of use in a protracted power grid failure will ensure that you’ll still receive information, communicate and carry out other critical functions in the event of an HEMP. It’s common knowledge that a Faraday cage is the safest way to protect them.

Faraday cages shield their contents from electromagnetic energy. If you have ever had a magnetic resonance imaging or you have been inside one, though you may not have even noticed.

How hard is it to build this device by yourself? Read this article to see three simple Faraday cage designs you can build at home!

A HEMP is a multi-pulse of strong electromagnetic fields generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated high in the atmosphere which could cripple the power grid of a city, or even the entire lower 48 states if more than one weapon is used, or a weapon is detonated at sufficient altitude.

Faraday cages are not necessary to protect most electronics from the type of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) caused by solar storms (magnetohydrodynamic EMP.) To protect most electronics from that EMP, you just need to make sure that your equipment is not connected to the grid and then have a renewable energy source to power it without the electrical grid.

I hosted a series of EMP Q&A sessions at PrepperCon 2016 for Survivopedia and a lot of people asked questions this subject there too. Given the importance of EMP preparedness, I would like to get as many questions answered as possible.

Faraday Cage Construction

One common thread throughout many readers’ questions is that there is conflicting information online about Faraday cages. While building a Faraday cage does not have to be a complicated endeavor (if you keep it small and simple with no penetrations in the shielded envelope), there are some gaps in the public sector knowledge on the subject and quite a bit of conflicting information online.

Faraday cages are EM (electromagnetic) shielding and must be properly designed and implemented or they can cause more harm than good by acting like an EMP antenna instead of an EMP shield.

How to Build a Faraday Cage

Building a Faraday cage can be very simple. Here are a couple of designs to build by yourself:

1. Aluminum Pressure Cooker Faraday Cage

Line an aluminum pressure cooker with a large heavy duty freezer bag. You’re done! Equipment goes in the bag. Secure the lid and you are good to go.

This cage is compact and an aluminum pressure cooker provides more shielding than any other object you are likely to have in your home that I can think of.

I like this cage because it is very simple and provides so much shielding that it should protect the contents against even a super EMP weapon even if sky zero was close by. Second hand stores such as Good Will, Salvation Army or Deseret Industries are great places to find an aluminum pressure cooker cheap.

Pressure cookers are also very useful multipurpose survival items long after a nuclear HEMP or should you experience some other catastrophe as opposed to HEMP:

  • Pressure canning: Pressure can food to store until the next growing season or future years.
  • Sterilization: Sterilize bandages, sutures and instruments for medical procedures.
  • Cooking: Loosen the lid and use a pressure cooker as a stock pot to create stews. Stews preserve more nutrients and caloric content than grilling foods and having fats and oils that are difficult to replace under survival conditions drip into your cooking fire.
  • Distillation of water: You can make a number still designs with a pressure cooker and some designs using pressure cookers are more efficient than with a simple stock pot if you store a little copper tubing and a collection vessel will be cooled.

2. Locking Lid Trash Can/Faraday Bag Faraday Cage

I like this build and use it often. Faraday Cage

It is easy to access the contents and they can store quite a bit depending on the size of trash you can get.

Step 1: Line a new locking lid, galvanized steel trash can with a tight-fitting lid, like the rodent-resistant cans made by Behren’s (often used to store feed or protect the contents form animals) lined with a rubberized, waterproof pack liner or dry bag.

Step 2:  Line the pack liner or dry bag with a large Faraday Bag. The pack liner or dry bag is a non-conductive layer which will insulate the Faraday bag from the conductive trash can and provide an added measure of waterproofing and dustproofing in case this is an outdoor Faraday cage or in case indoors becomes outdoors in the course of a catastrophe.

General preparedness will serve you better than the reality TV negative stereotype of preparing for a single calamity to the exclusion of all others. You should be able to find waterproof pack liners or dry bags any place that sells military surplus or sporting goods.

Step 3: Line the pack liner or dry bag with an XL Faraday Bag and place the gear you want to protect inside the Faraday Bag. The Faraday bag provides about 45 dB of shielding by itself, protects the contents from water and provides a non-conductive layer to insulate the contents of the bag from the conductive layers so lining it with another layer of non-conductor is not necessary.

Alternating layers of conductor/non-conductor is more effective than a single layer of the same thickness. Alternating conductive and non-conductive layers prevents the Faraday cage from re-radiating EM energy into the space you are trying to protect. Good Faraday bags such as the one I recommended incorporate alternating conductive and non-conductive layers.

Step 4: Button everything up tight. Zip up the Faraday Bag. Tie a goose neck in the pack liner or fold and buckle it, depending on the type of bag. Place the lid on the trash can, making sure that it seals tightly all the way around and raise the locking bail/handle. You’re done!

3. Ammo Can/Static Bag Faraday Cage

People use ammo cans every day and most survivalists have plenty of them knocking around. They are also frequently used to house battery systems and radios, so it sure would be handy if they could count on them to protect their radio equipment from EMP.

This would add a whole new dimension to some popular product lines so I’ll give them a few pointers. This is a slightly more involved, but still relatively simple build, if you have a few tools on hand.

tools-and-supplies

Step 1: Remove the rubber gasket from the lid of the ammo can. It is held in place by 4 metal tabs. Use a hooked tool (like the one you see in the picture above) to remove it.

If you do not remove it, the rubber gasket is not conductive and will impede the free flow of electrons through the shielded envelope, re-radiating EMP into the interior you are trying to protect.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket

Step 2: Remove paint along all surfaces of both the lid and body of the ammo can where the lid will mate to the body of the ammo can and where you will install a conductive gasket to replace the non-conductive rubber gasket.

I used a rotary tool, some diamond coated bits and a small sanding drum. The corners are the most time consuming but it didn’t take long.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket-pulled-from-ammo-can-lid-paint-removed-from-now-conductive-mating-surfaces

Step 3: Repaint mating surfaces with conductive paint if desired. If you don’t want to go to the expense, don’t. Government agencies and police departments pay big money for rugged Faraday cages installed in vehicles and the mating surfaces are unpainted and have no conductive paint or coatings so I am going to skip this step in my build.

Step 4: Install a conductive gasket. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying conductive gasket material, you can just layer aluminum foil or sheeting and cut it to the shape you desire.

making-a-conductive-gasket

conductive-tinfoil-gasket-cut-to-size

installing-the-conductive-tinfoil-gasket

While a little harder to procure and more costly, a conductive metal gasket would be more durable and a nice touch.

conductive-gasket-installed-under-gasket-retention-tabs

Maybe I’ll build some ammo can Faraday cages for radio and battery kits with conductive gaskets but since most of you will use tin foil, I will demonstrate the technique in this build.

I used about 24 layers of heavy duty tin foil. If you use thicker foil sheeting, you will use fewer layers. I used a box cutter and a ruler the first time, but a pair of tin snips or multipurpose shears made future jobs a lot easier.

If you cut or bend the gasket and it doesn’t go in beautifully, you can either redo it or just patch it with some tin foil. The electrons won’t care, but you might. It may not hold up for as many opening/closing cycles of you patch it and you should check the gasket every time you close it.

The cage will be just fine as long as there are not any gaps greater than ¼” in any direction. If you use an adhesive, be sure that the adhesive is a conductive adhesive, or just don’t use adhesive if you use tinfoil. A tinfoil gasket will stay in place without adhesive thanks to the tabs that held the rubber gasket in place.

Step 5: Line the ammo can with a non-conductive layer such as a small pack liner or a 2-ply zippered-seal freezer bag to protect your gear from the conductive shielded layer.

If you have the space, this could in turn be lined with a Faraday bag, but for tight builds like radio kits, you may have to shave down some pieces a millimeter or so in order to nest the kit inside the non-conductive layer and still fit the assembly inside the ammo can, so you may not have enough extra room to line it with a Faraday bag.

now-conductive-mating-surfaces-tools-used

Step 6: Seal it up tight. Close up the lining and lock the lid down, making sure that there are no gaps greater than ¼”. Pay special attention to the tinfoil gasket.

finished-ammo-can-faraday-cage

There you go!

Three easy Faraday cage builds are available at once!

A Note on Grounding

You may have noticed that these small, simple cages are not grounded. That is intentional. For a simple cage like this, built by a novice, grounding would cause more problems that it would solve. There is no need to ground a simple cage like this and it will do its job without being grounded.

There are some applications where Faraday cages should be grounded, so I am not saying never ground.

Large cages that could have their integrity damaged by lightning, and cages that have penetrations in the shielded envelope or which run mains power inside may indeed benefit from grounding, but those are more complicated builds well beyond the scope of this article.

After studying what our enemies, leaders and strategists have said on the subject and exactly what it would take to get the job done, for many years now, it is a wonder and blessing that we haven’t had an HEMP attack occur already.

Please do not waste the opportunity to protect yourself against this threat!

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Be aware that protecting some basic electronics will make a huge difference for you after a nuclear HEMP attack. If you still have questions about your specific situation, please ask in the comments below!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes 

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DIY Fuel

Let me start today’s article with an axiom: despite the fact that DIY-ing briquettes is a hard and messy job, if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can make a reasonable income by selling (your extra) charcoal/wood briquettes.

The idea is that you can make DIY briquettes for your homestead provided you’re fine with “dirty jobs” whilst making an extra buck by selling some of them to your neighbors.

The demand for these babies is pretty high, so there’s definitely money to be made from briquettes.

Just remember that the coal industry in the US is expected to boom under Donald Trump‘s administration after it was eviscerated by the global warming cabal. Let that sink in real good folks.

So, not only you can save a lot of money on your heating bill by DIY-ing briquettes for your homestead, but you’ll be able to supplement your income by selling what’s extra. I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like a definite win-win situation.

Now, as per the dirty part of the job, the hardest and dirtiest part of DIY-ing briquettes is represented by the charcoal dust, which must be crushed and mixed.

To begin with, briquettes are blocks made from compressed charcoal dust, coal dust, wood chips, sawdust, biomass etc, which are used as a fuel in boilers, stoves and what not.

Basically anything that burns can be used in making briquettes, but some materials are better than others with regard to their caloric output. In other words, some burn better and give more heat than others.

Today we will concentrate on the best stuff around for DIY-ing briquettes, which is wood and its derivative (charcoal).

How to Transform Wood into Briquettes in Three Easy Steps

Of course, I am not talking about getting out in the forest and chopping wood like an old school lumberjack. The idea is to use wood shavings, wood chips or sawdust which are byproducts of wood processing factories. Also, these materials are almost the ideal stuff for making fuel briquettes.

Actually, many of these factories (furniture/woodworking businesses) are buying wood briquette machines for processing the wood residues and making a few bucks from what others may consider waste.

Now, if you’ve got what it takes, i.e. the will power, skill, the briquette-machine, and the aforementioned raw materials, let’s talk about the specifics of DIY-ing briquettes from wood residues.

1.Prepare the Raw Material

First things first: you’ll have to take your wood raw material and get it ready for the manufacturing process. You’ll have to transform the big chunks of wood chips and/or wood shavings into sawdust, which is much smaller and thus more malleable. If you’re already in the possession of sawdust, you’re all set.

Generally speaking, sawdust can be more or less humid, depending upon how it was transported, stored and so on.

If there’s too much moisture trapped inside, you’ll have to dry it with a the dryer or whatever means you have at your disposal, as moist sawdust is not suitable for making briquettes. You’ll have to do this if the moisture level is over 16 percent. The lower the moisture, the better.

Truth be told, dryers are regularly used in large scale briquetting operations, but you can always air-dry your sawdust by spreading it out on the ground and letting it dry.

Obviously, the weather is key in this endeavor, so you’ll have to choose a sunny period that’s as close to dry as the Sahara desert as you can get. Just find a piece of smooth, clean ground and have patience. Drying your sawdust indoors would be the best idea, provided you have the means.

2. Put the Raw Material Inside the Briquetting Machine

Now, for the second part, you’ll have to put your nice and clean sawdust inside a briquetting machine. Usually, the feeding mechanism is an elevator, but you can feed the machine yourself, though you’ll have to be cautious and take care about the feeding-speed, so you don’t block the machine.

Video first seen on Rajkumar Agro Engineers Pvt Ltd.

There are basically two main types of wood briquetting machines: the screw briquette machine and the mechanical stamping wood briquette machine.

The latter can be used for making both thick briquettes and thin pellets while the former is regularly used for charcoal briquettes and/or barbecue briquettes. These are the droids you’re looking for. More about charcoal in a moment, right after the break.

3. Prepare the Briquettes for Storage

In the last step, after you’ve already made sawdust-briquettes, they must be cooled for storage and stored or sold, or whatever.

The idea is that if you have plenty of wood residues available, spending some money  on a wood briquette machine would be a clever investment, as you will become more energy/fuel efficient, get off the grid in small incremental steps.

Also, you’ll be able to make some extra money selling your excess briquettes to your friends and neighbors. Go in together with a friend on a second-hand piece of gear if you need to. Ideally, you should go for a briquetting machine which can build both wood and charcoal briquettes.

How to Make Briquettes from Charcoal

If you were wondering what’s up with the charcoal briquettes, well, charcoal is made of wood, alright folks? Hence, charcoal briquettes are basically the same thing as wood ones, just better.

The only messy thing about making charcoal briquettes is the crushing and the mixing of the charcoal dust itself, which is a dirty job by any measure.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

Transforming the charcoal dust into fuel briquettes will require a binder – something like the Force, which binds the universe together. I am talking about an agglomerating material which must be added to the charcoal dust to keep it together after enough pressure is applied to transform that dust into a solid and stable briquette.

Video first seen on roonymanfo.

Charcoal briquettes have higher caloric power than wood briquettes; they burn for longer and they produce more heat and less (almost zero) smoke. Also, they’re lighter.

In order to DIY charcoal/char, you’ll require wood scraps. The best material for making charcoal is hardwood such as birch, beech, hickory, maple and oak.

Charcoal briquettes are basically 90% charcoal/char dust and 10 percent “minor” ingredients, including the binding agent I already told you about above, which is typically starch made from wheat or corn, an accelerant (sawdust or nitrite for hard-core chemists), and lime as an ash whitening agent.

Here are some recipes for making your own charcoal briquettes:

  • 10 kilos of charcoal/dust fines and 0.3 kilos of starch or
  • 40 kilos of charcoal/dust fines, 4 kilos of sawdust, 2.5 kilos of starch, 1 kilos of lime (or calcium carbonate) or
  • 100 kilos of charcoal/dust fines, 3 kilos sodium nitrate, 7 kilos starch, 2 kilos of lime.

Video first seen on fireman7753.

The accelerant is important because charcoal briquettes need the stuff to burn faster because, due to the compacting process, the briquette cannot absorb enough oxygen for a proper combustion, unlike a lump of charcoal for example. Here the accelerant comes into play.

You’ll require 3-4% of sodium nitrate (this is an oxidant which releases oxygen when heated and accelerates the burning process)  in your charcoal briquette or 10-20 percent sawdust.

Keep in mind that if you’re using uncarbonized sawdust, your briquettes will be smoky; hence if you’ll be going for sawdust as an accelerant, it would be ideal to ferment it for 4-5 days by keeping the sawdust in water in order to reduce the smoke.

The ash whitening agent is an indicator in charcoal briquettes. When the briquette are burning inside your stove turn white, it means that they’re ready. The white ashes are very appealing in briquettes especially if you’re going to sell them.

To use starch as a binding agent, you’ll have to gelatinize it first, which in laymen’s terms means that you’ll have to make a porridge from your starch and then use the porridge to bind the charcoal dust together. You can also use mashed waste paper pulp as a binder if you don’t have starch or it’s too expensive.

Now that you have enough info to start making your own briquettes, it only takes some will to proceed with this project. Or maybe you already have any experience in making this type of fuel? This is a great skill that you would need for surviving an energy crisis or even an EMP.

Click the banner below to find out more about surviving this disaster, and even much more than that!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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9 Ways To Harness Solar Energy

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What would happen to you if the power grid went down? Would you be in a panic as the batteries in your flashlight and radio slowly die, or would you have all the electricity you need to run your devices until power is restored? For a very long time, solar panels and solar-powered devices were […]

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How To Make Briquettes From Daily Waste

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Briquettes

Do you remember that old saying that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure? The same principle applies to our daily wastes.

In case you did not know it, Americans are among the most wasteful civilization in history. Actually, I would dare to say that we are the champions, my friends, and that’s nothing to be proud of.

We waste at an incredible rate: absolutely anything, including food, where we lead the world by a wide margin. Also, as a nation, the United States generates more municipal solid-waste per person/per day than any other developed/industrial country in the world, boasting 7.1 pounds of solid waste a day, per person.

If you crunch these numbers– 365 days a year x 330 million people x 7.1 pounds of solid waste – you’ll come up with astonishing numbers.

Putting Waste to Work for Energy

It was a Greek philosopher who once said 2000 years ago that nothing gets wasted – everything gets transformed, or something along these lines. To follow this guy’s axiom, we can transform waste into an excellent and basically perpetual source of energy.

We, the preppers, can help mitigate the “disaster” and put that amount of waste to good use, by making briquettes using daily wastes.

Briquettes are traditionally defined as compressed blocks of combustible material – usually coal dust, wood chips, paper, peat or sawdust – that are used to start a fire. The terms derives from the French language and it means “brick.”

Biomass briquettes are starting to become all the rage nowadays and daily waste is basically biomass. Traditionally, biomass briquettes are built from agricultural waste and they’re used as a “green” replacement for hydrocarbons (coal, oil etc) in all sorts of applications, including industrial stuff like heating boilers and whatnot.

Currently, almost half of the world’s population is using charcoal and/or wood for heating and cooking purposes.

Cutting the forest for subsistence farming or for cooking your food or heating your home is not a great idea if you have better alternatives, and that’s the whole purpose of technology: making the world a better place and improving the quality of life for humans, right?

Any household can reduce their need for charcoal and wood by creating their own fuel so to speak, by making “fuel briquettes” using waste plant material which is readily available in their own environment.

How to Make the Briquettes

So, what type of wastes can be re-used for making fuel briquettes?

  • Paper
  • Sawdust
  • Leaves
  • Husks
  • Charcoal fines
  • Any other type of agricultural waste.

It’s important to realize that not all waste is created equal, and this is where the calorific value of each type of waste comes into play.

As a general rule of thumb, the aforementioned materials are the best when it comes to DIY fuel briquettes (sawdust, paper etc), but you’ll have to use a home-made press for achieving legendary status, i.e becoming energy self-sufficient as much as humanly possible.

There are also commercially available presses. You’ll just have to look for them on the internet or in your local hardware store.

The fuel briquettes are being made around the world using mini Bryant and Peterson presses. You can also make them by hand or using a plastic mold.

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

You can also use a plastic mold.

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

Basically, you can use a plastic bottle or any other type of plastic container in order to shape the briquette. You’ll also need something that you can use as a piston that fits into the respective container to press it, in order to get the water out of the mix. You can use something like a tin can or a piece of wood as the piston along with a plastic bag, a knife and some wire.

Here’s a cool idea about DIY-ing a mold-press biomass fuel briquette using an old DVD container. The possibilities are basically endless.

Video first seen on nobodyprepper.

How to Make Briquettes in Easy Steps 

Step 1 – preparing the briquette mix

For example, if you’re going to use waste paper and sawdust (the simplest to DIY and very efficient and cost effective), you’ll have to soak the paper in water for a couple of days in order to soften it and to allow the fibers to be released, as these fibers will later bind the materials together.

In the next step, you’ll have to thoroughly homogenize the soaked paper using your hands until the stuff reaches the consistency of porridge or mashed potatoes, i.e. no pieces are evident in the “soup”. This step is very important but it takes some time and you’ll have to do it well.

To speed up the process, you can use tools such as a mortar and pestle or a dedicated pounding tool for processing the paper mix quickly and more efficiently.

The simplest mix for homemade briquettes consists of one part soaked paper and 3/4 parts sawdust. You can also add pine needles, rice husks, chopped leaves/grass, charcoal fines and any other flammable materials you can think of into the mix, as they’ll add to the flavor. You’ll have to use roughly 20% paper though – that’s the lesson to be taken home.

You can alternatively swap paper for cassava peels/flour, which can replace the paper’s binding properties into the sawdust-mix. You’ll have to boil the cassava until it gets very soft, but in sufficient amounts, the cassava paste will successfully replace the paper for the purpose of binding the sawdust together.

In the next step, you’ll have to mix the paper or cassava mixture with the sawdust along with enough water. The mix must hold together if squeezed; that’s how you determine the ideal consistency.

Step 2 – prepare the press

This step depends on whether you’re using a cool home press or an improvised device. Let’s say you’re on the low-tech side and you’re using a plastic bottle mold as an improvised briquette-making device.

You’ll have to cut the upper quarter of the plastic bottle (a soda bottle will do) and perforate the bottom, making 10-12 drainage holes. You can use a hot wire to burn the holes.

Then you’ll require a thin plastic bag to be used as a liner to help you remove the finished briquette from bottle. Don’t forget to punch drainage holes in the plastic bag too, both on the sides and in the bottom, so the water can be expelled during the pressing process.

Obviously, you can use something bigger than a plastic bottle, like a plastic bucket or a plastic flower pot. Ideally you’ll have two of each: one for playing the role of the mold and the second to act as a piston.  Don’t forget to put drainage holes in the plastic liner though – otherwise, the water won’t drain and you’re wasting your time.

Step 3 – press the mix

In this step, you’ll have to put a quantity of briquette-mix inside the plastic liner (bag) and then insert the bag into the mold. Then you’ll have to add more mix to the bag and press it with the improvised piston (a can, the other bucket/another bottle or whatever fits into the mold) so the water gets pushed out of the mix.

Push as hard as you can – the harder the better. Then you’ll have to pull the bag out of the mold and here’s your first briquette, folks.

Step 4 – dry your briquettes

But it’s not over yet. You’ll have to dry your briquettes for about a week outside in the sun. If they’re not properly dried, the briquettes will smoke when burned and that’s unpleasant to say the least.

If you can’t improvise a mold and/or a press, you can always make fuel-briquettes with just your hands, squeezing the mix in your bare hands and building fuel balls and you’ll have to dry these out too, obviously.

There are so many survival things you can do by yourself. Click the banner below to discover how to make your own wood creations.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™ 5000HD Solar Electrical Generator

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I’m a pretty jaded type. I don’t often get excited, but I was all “a-tingle” when I got word of what was heading my way for review.  Most of my reviews are of small items, handheld radios, machetes, hand axes, not 200 lbs. of high-end, high power solar generator.

Needless to say, I was as giddy as a little school girl.

You see, any serious prepping plan needs a foundation based on sustainability. You need to work from a sustainable supply of anything to hold your own, whether it’s a supply of beans, bullets or banjo strings. This applies especially for electricity.
The ultimate goal is to live comfortably “off grid”.  Unless a life of a wilderness mountain man with flint & tinder is your bag, if you want electric lights, air conditioning & internet, you’ll need a powerful electrical generator.

The HomeGrid™ 5000HD Solar Powered Generator.

Just like it’s name, this solar-powered electrical generator is made to supply a entire household with clean, continuous electricity, for totally off-grid living.

Four heavy boxes arrived from Point Zero Energy by ground freight, with two large deep cycle 12V DC batteries, the inverter/generator unit, unit base, cart wheels & handle. Plus two pairs of solar panels, with two 100 watt panel built into sturdy frames with hinged supports & carry handles. Total capacity of the included solar panels came to 400 watts. Also included, was an assortment of parts including a heavy duty battery charge controller, three heavy-gauge jumper cables & connecting cables for the solar panels, along with an illustrated manual & instructional DVD.

Assembly was straight forward… the generator  bolts to the flat metal base with welded axle for the two wheels. At each side of the generator sits the two 12VDC batteries, on top of the generator a heavy duty handle is bolted on. Everything can be pushed around like a hand truck. The two batteries get wired in series to the generator to supply 24 Volts DC. On the front face of the Inverter/Generator are four 110VAC outlets, two USB outlets & One 220VAC outlet. There’s also a power & standby toggle switch and an LED Display that shows battery status & output voltage.

With the large capacity deep cycle dry cells & heavy duty inverter, the Homegrid™ 5000HD is capable of 5000 watts of continuous 110 & 220 AC Power, and a whopping 22,000 watts of peak surge power. Read that again…TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND WATTS Surge power.  Meaning the generator can easily power multiple home appliances simultaneously including refrigerators, freezers, microwave ovens, and cooking appliances. It’s pure sine wave power output will safely run power tools, electronics, and medical equipment.

A “Mac-Daddy Cadillac” Solar Generator, perfect for off-grid living. Two things make it deliver… Massive Dry Cell Batteries with tremendous capacity & a robust DC/AC inverter, built to take tremendous demand. The 220 Volt output, wired to a household circuit breaker system can give household appliances clean dependable electrical power day & night.

For my test, I plugged into my house transfer switch circuit, specifically to isolate my home off the Utility Company power meter, (and avoiding back feeding). There was no noticeable difference to the house load. The TV worked fine, my computers booted up, lights came on through the house, the refrigerator & microwave ran without a hiccup. Even my water well, with it’s 220V AC motor did it’s job. Then I ran some power tools… my chop saw & band saw in the shop, they all cut wood with no telltale difference in performance.
Overall, the power draw on the generator was usually less than 2500 watts, most often less than a thousand watts. It was when the refrigerator compressor came on, or when the well pump kicked on that power surged. Throughout my test, the generator was loafing along, operating well under capacity all day & even all night. One exception though, my house AC unit wasn’t in the transfer circuit. When I wired up my transfer switch, I didn’t include it in the circuit so I couldn’t put it to test. Still, the AC is rated to draw 1500 to 3000 watts when operating, the HomeGrid™ 5000HD has the capacity to handle the load.  Through the night there wasn’t much demand, just the few lights I had on, my computer & TV, and the refrigerator… altogether, no more than 1000 watts. By next morning, the battery status indictor showed less than one quarter depletion, and within the first hours of daylight, the system had regained a full charge by the solar panels.

Using the 400 watt solar panel array, the generator’s batteries can easily be topped off throughout the day letting the system handle the heavy lifting alone only during the night. The generator can also accommodate a second 400 watt array as well.  Typically the deep cycle battery service life offers 7 to 8 years of reliable service.

Granted, my review was a weekend of use test, and in the long term, my energy demands would widely vary from day to day & seasonally. However, with some reasonable budgeting on the amount of power use, the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™5000HD could give me a totally off grid existence right out of the box. Just by adding additional batteries & solar cells, the well of electrical power I’d have on tap would be far more than my modest needs. The great news is the HomeGrid™ 5000HD is easily expandable & PORTABLE.

My only gripe isn’t really a gripe at all.
I was staggered by the weight the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™5000HD.  Although designed & built to be portable, you’d be smart to have a couple of stout helpers to pitch in moving the generator & battery unit. By myself, it was a task. The solar panels are not a problem, but you certainly work up a sweat horsing the generator unit & batteries around. Imagine taking a hand truck and deadlifting a small refrigerator up some stairs.  Again, this isn’t really a gripe against the gear, more it’s against my own lack of strength. The weight is actually a good testament of the sheer ruggedness built into the unit. Point Zero Energy isn’t building wimpy gear here, it’s high quality, high capacity & highly reliable power generation equipment. It’s well worth the sizable investment to insure safe, reliable, & dependable electrical energy to live totally off-grid, yet still enjoy modern electrical appliances in your household.  Until Doc Brown & Marty McFly shows up with a Mr. Fusion home reactor, the Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™ 5000HD is anyone’s ticket to an off-grid lifestyle. Now that I’ve experienced life off-grid, I’m striving for more.
Pay a visit to Point Zero Energy’s website to learn more about the complete line of HomeGrid™ Solar Powered Electrical Generators.

The post Point Zero Energy HomeGrid™ 5000HD Solar Electrical Generator appeared first on American Preppers Network.

8 Things To Keep Under The Radar During A Blackout

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Things To Keep Under The Radar

Major blackouts are becoming more and more common, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

Our aging power grid, along with ever-increasing demands for electric power are taking their toll on the electrical industry’s ability to keep us all supplied with power.

Currently, the number of major blackouts per year doubles every five years. At that rate, we will soon find ourselves catching up with some third-world countries. We have an answer to help you out with this challenge.

While the major reason for this is our aging power grid, the problem is much more complex than that. Replacement of aging equipment is extremely expensive and the process filled with red tape. Energy companies find themselves bogged down for years in the quagmire of conflicting government requirements, on both a state and national level.

This problem is becoming worse, with the massive amount of regulations that the Obama Administration has promulgated through his presidency.

The EPA especially, has attacked the energy sector ruthlessly, especially the coal industry and coal power plants.

But even this isn’t really our biggest issue with the grid, although it is an important issue. The biggest issue is that the grid is highly vulnerable.

As a large, decentralized network, spanning the country, it is virtually impossible to protect. Even the minimal protections that are in place, have been proven to be ineffective.

The fact is, our electrical grid is highly susceptible to damage, and it’s common knowledge that it is.

Any number of enemies could take out the grid, or larger portions of it, either through direct, kinetic terrorist attacks, cyber-warfare or a high-altitude EMP. Even the sun could take it out, with a Coronal Mass Ejection. We had a near miss on that as recently as last year.

With so much risk to our aging power grid, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to be faced by a major blackout or even a semi-permanent one, but when we will be faced with it. Odds are catching up with us, bringing us to a place where we can all count on that happening to us sometime in our lives.

Clearly, preparing for such an event, regardless of how it happens, has to be part and parcel of our disaster preparation.

Anyone who chooses to ignore this possibility is merely putting themselves and their families in the massive group of people who don’t prepare, because they expect the government to take care of them. In other words, they are planning on becoming victims of the blackout, rather than becoming ones who overcome the blackout.

Blackout

Blackouts instill fear in people, as we all have a little bit of natural fear of the dark. Mankind was created to live and function in the daylight, not the night.

While we have learned and adapted to doing many things in the dark, a lot of that has been by overcoming the dark with artificial light. We simply function best, when we can see what we are doing.

But what if you’re the only one in your neighborhood who can see what you’re doing? What if the lights go out, in a major blackout, and they stay out long enough that batteries in your neighbors’ flashlights go dead?

When they are sitting in the dark, cold and hungry, how are you going to protect yourself?

When the lights go out, so does everything else too. We depend on electricity for so many different things, that without it, society comes grinding to a standstill.

Not only do we lose the ability to do things at night, but we also lose our entire supply chain, because it depends on electricity for the flow of information, control, and even pumping the gas into the trucks and airplanes that make the deliveries.

So losing power means losing pretty much everything we depend on in our modern, technology-based lives.

We must always keep in the back of our minds that desperate people do desperate things. When the lights go out and the heat goes off, that feeling of desperation will begin to take root in their hearts. Bit by bit it will grow, fed by each and every thing that they find missing from their lives.

When they can’t get gas for their car, the desperation will grow a bit more. When they can’t buy food, because the grocery store shelves are empty, the desperation will increase. And when they turn on the faucet and nothing comes out, because there isn’t any electricity for the pumps, their cups of desperation may very well overflow.

The best thing that any of us can do in such a situation is ensure that we don’t let anyone around us know that we’re better off than they are.

OPSEC will have to become our byword, as we quietly try to survive in the midst of them. Specifically, there are a number of things we will want to hide from those around us.

1. The Means to Create Light

The first thing that people will notice is also one of the hardest to hide… light. That’s the first thing that anyone is going to turn on, when the power goes out. Whether it is flashlights, candles or oil-burning lamps, they’re all going to turn on some light.

The problem is, their light will go out after a short time, perhaps a day or two. After that, any light you have will be extremely conspicuous.

If the windows of every house on your street are dark and even a little light is coming out of yours, your house will seem like a lighthouse to those around. Their lack of light will make yours seem even greater.

Extreme light discipline will have to be the order of the day. You’re going to have to hide your light, and avoid using it in places where they can see. One key component of this will have to be blackout curtains on over all your windows.

Regular curtains won’t be enough, because they will look like they are lit up to people on the outside. You need curtains that are dark enough and heavy enough to block the light, so that your windows appear  dark, like theirs.

2. Power Generation

Power Whisperer

Many of us have invested in either solar power or wind power, both to augment the electrical power we buy from our local utility company and as a means of producing power in a blackout.

But a roof full of solar panels or a wind turbine sticking 30 feet up in the air in your backyard are easy to see, letting everyone know that you have power, when they don’t.

That’s going to attract people like moths to an open flame. About the only thing that could be worse is a gas powered generator.

Even those who aren’t looking for your solar panels will hear that, especially considering how quiet it will be without cars running down the roads and entertainment systems blaring out music.

While I wouldn’t want to dissuade you from investing in solar or wind power, in the midst of a blackout you’ll actually be better off with something stealthy. A portable system, with the solar panels at ground level would fit that bill, as a fenced backyard would hide it pretty well.

You can quietly provide power and keep your family safe during an outage with the right power generator. Hurry up and grab this offer right now to pay in monthly installments!

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3. Solar Powered Anything

Speaking of solar power, pretty much anything that is solar powered is going to be in high demand. Even if all you have is a solar charger for your phone, you can count on everyone around you wanting to use it. More major solar powered devices, such as a solar oven, will become very high on the list of things that people will want to steal.

Of course, the longer the blackout lasts, the more people there will be who will be willing to turn to stealing. So the threat for your solar oven being stolen will actually increase as time goes on, requiring more and more diligence to protect it.

4. Food and the Ability to Cook that Food

FoodAs I already mentioned, the supermarket shelves will be bare, which will force people to use up whatever food they have stored within their homes. But what will they do when they’ve eaten the last of the popcorn and scraped the peanut butter jar dry?

Most preppers believe that people will turn to attacking one another and raiding other’s homes in search of food at this time. Small gangs will form, either neighbors working together or people who are friends who decide they can help one another.

In either case, these gangs will be looking for food, more than anything else, and they won’t be reluctant to break into homes and hit the residents over the head to get it.

Not only will they be searching for food, but for the ability to cook that food. A large portion of the things we eat need to be cooked in order to be edible.

But cooking in modern times is done with electricity or natural gas, both of which will be conspicuous by their absence. Barbecue grills will become the number one means of cooking… at least until people run out of propane or charcoal.

That’s when the solar oven is going to become popular. Even without knowing how to use one, people will be quick to steal an unattended solar oven, thinking that they can figure it out.

One of the problems with hiding your food is that cooking creates odors which will attract attention.

You’ll need to be careful about this, avoiding cooking in ways that create odors. Meats are the worst for this, as they produce the most odor when cooking. But by cooking them in soups, you reduce the odor that passes through the air.

5. Water and the Means to Pump it Out of the Ground

We really can’t talk about food, without talking about water as well. Water is a higher survival priority than food is, so people will be desperate for it much quicker.

If you’ve got a river, lake or canal near enough to draw water out of, you’ll probably be safe. But if not, and people find out you have a well, they’ll be knocking on your door.

At that time, you’ll have to make a decision. Will you provide water to your neighbors or not. A lot of that will depend on how good your well is and how effective a pump you have.

Sharing water might be great for public relations, but there’s a danger there too. Some will thank you, while others might see it as an opportunity to take over your well.

6. Heat for Your Home

One of the worst times to have the lights go out is in the wintertime. Then, light isn’t people’s biggest concern, heat is.

Every year people die during the cold northern winters, either because there is no power to heat their homes or because they can’t afford to pay for heat. Sadly, this mostly happens to the elderly, who are the most vulnerable people in society.

When the power is out and people get cold, there’s a natural tendency to gather together, seeking to share whatever heat they have, even if it’s only body heat. That means that they’ll come knocking on your door, if they think you have heat.

Depending on how you are heating your home, doing so might be difficult to hide.

Burning wood, which is what most of us are planning to do, produces smoke, as well as the smell of burning wood. Just like the steak cooking on the barbecue grill, that smell will attract attention.

One thing you can do to help alleviate this is to buy firewood that produces little smoke and odor. Different woods burn differently, producing different amounts of heat, as well as smelling differently.

You’ll need to experiment a bit, but if you can find a low-odor wood, it will help.

7. Fuel for Your Car

As the blackout progresses, one thing you can be sure of is that people will begin to migrate. The lack of news about what is happening elsewhere will cause people to wonder if things would be better, if they could just get out of the area where the blackout is. So, some will leave, trying to find a better place.

Of course, that means leaving in their cars and trucks. But without the gas pumps working, that’s going to be hard to do. Even so, they’ll try… mostly by stealing gas from others.

Some will siphon it out of gas tanks and others will try to pump it out of the gas station’s tanks with a manual pump.

The best thing you can do to keep from losing your gas and even your car is to hide them. If you don’t have room in your garage, then put them in the backyard.

If you can’t do that, then drain out the gas yourself and disable the car. Removing a tire and the battery, as well as allowing the car to get covered with a layer of dust, will go a long way towards making it look unusable.

8. Guns & Ammo

Finally, it would be a good idea to keep your guns and ammo out of sight. Some might think that being obviously armed would be a deterrent to attack.

While that might be true for the more timid in society, it would be just as likely to make others think that you must have something in your home worth protecting. For those people, your guns would be an advertisement, not a deterrent.

That doesn’t mean that you should be unarmed, merely that you shouldn’t advertise the fact. Those will be dangerous times and you may very well need your guns to protect yourself. So, keep them close at hand, but keep them hidden at the same time.

Most people who carry concealed are actually against open carry of firearms. That’s not because they don’t agree with the implied right under the Second Amendment, but rather that they want the element of surprise.

If someone doesn’t know what you’re carrying, they can’t prepare effectively to counter it. That gives you a huge tactical advantage, when the time comes and you bring your guns out of hiding.

 

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: About Living Off-grid

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Living Off grid

People today have become overly dependent on energy and this is the main reason why starting living off-grid seems difficult. But it is not. Think about the fact that people lived before the grid even existed.

As we all know, an EMP attack is a disaster most of us are preparing for. When our electricity driven society will suddenly fall, how long will you survive?

From today’s Prep Blog Review you will find out how it is like to live off-grid for 37 years, how to build a faraday cage or how to build your off-grid cooking stove.

  1. Confessions Off A Man Who Lived 37 Years Off-grid

Living Off Grid

“Imagine if you can, a homestead nestled deep in the forest, fronting a beautiful lake. Oh sure… that sounds dreamy and might be reality for a lucky few.

But now let’s take it a step further. The homestead sits on the shore of a remote, pristine lake which is located 100 miles in the wilderness.

No roads, no trails, no neighbors. Only forest, water, animals and silence. Float plane is the only way in and out. When the float plane drops you off, accelerates down the lake, lifts off the surface and becomes a speck on the horizon, you then realize your last physical connection with humanity just left.

Standing on the dock, you have the overwhelming sense you are the only person left on the planet. Exciting!”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. The Smokeless & Easy-To-Build Off-Grid Cooking Stove

Off grid stove

“Outdoor cooking is a major part of my off-grid experience, and so a reliable outdoor stove was a must-have. And with many options of wood-burning stoves out there, fuel-efficiency and minimal smoke were at the top of my list.

After much research, the rocket stove because our outdoor stove of choice. In this article, I will share with you the concept of the rocket stove, how we built two of them, and its advantages and disadvantages.

A wood-burning smokeless stove sounds impossible, right? Let me explain it this way. Smoke is un-burned fuel. The rocket stove makes use of all the fuel. Everything gets burned in the combustion chamber before leaving the chimney. This concept is also seen in the Dakota fire pit.

The rocket stove, when fired up, sounds similar to that of a rocket taking off – hence, its name.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How To Build A Faraday Cage To Protect Your Electronics

Faraday cage “One of the things that gives us the most troubled sleep of all is the risk of, and outcomes from, an EMP attack on the US.  In case you’re not fully up to speed on this draconian danger, we discuss EMP attacks – what they are, how fearsome their impacts would be, and how easy they are to stage – in several articles here.

Our sense is that the danger of an EMP event is steadily increasing.  To be blunt, the world is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place, and with growing sophistication of both nuclear weapons and their associated delivery systems (ie missiles) by both North Korea and Iran (as well as other countries that aren’t being quite so public about their actions) and some threats that translate quite clearly to ‘if we need to, we’ll use an EMP device to bring your country to its knees’, the thought of an EMP attack is far from impossible to countenance.

At the same time, our lives continue to become more and more dependent on electronics for everything we do.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 10 Widespread Disaster That Could Happen At Any Time

Disasters

“When preparing for a widespread disaster, it’s helpful to have a specific type of disaster in mind. Envisioning a particular survival scenario helps you to be more focused and think of preparations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.

How would a pandemic play out in your town? Or a terrorist attack? Or an economic collapse? What specifically would happen to your community, and how would it affect you and your family? And based on that, are there any other preparations you could make to ensure your family’s safety?

As you can see, mentally walking yourself through various types of disasters will help you to be more prepared. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 most likely widespread disasters. You should seriously consider the possibility of experiencing these events. I’m not saying you should obsess over them–don’t spend your life in fear–but you should do your best to be ready for them.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. Starting Your Off-grid Living With Solar Power

starting-your-off-grid-living-with-solar-power

“Harnessing the sun’s power has become a popular trend in the last ten years and we now have a large array of options for powering our homes using solar power.

Living off the grid requires a lot of work and innovation in order to reach a certain level of self-sufficiency. Things get easier if you are able to harness the power of the sun and use it for all your needs.

From passive cooling to batch solar water heaters, everything is now available when it comes to DIY solar power projects.

People are beginning to understand that solar power is not as complicated as certain individuals would want you to believe.

This is a technology that has become extremely accessible in our modern times and you just need a few basic skills in order to make your own project.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

You can generate power and keep your loved ones safe with the right power generator. You can choose your right now.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order: What Does It Mean?

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order

Does the government know something that we don’t about what is going to happen to our power grid?

The latest executive order on cosmic weather certainly has some folks in the survival community scratching their heads. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t help you much, but leaves you survive on your own.

President Obama says he recognizes that naturally occurring EMP’s “could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation.

First off, understand that the type of EMP caused by cosmic weather would only affect equipment connected to the power grid, land lines or other very long conductors, so it would not affect your car … until you need to buy gasoline or you phone … until you need to connect to the internet or a cell tower.

What we are most concerned about with this type of EMP is damage to the infrastructure that we all depend on, specifically the large transformers in the power grid which are custom built (mostly overseas) and have lead times measured in years.

Why only address naturally-occurring EMP and not nuclear high-altitude EMP?

I think the answer to that is simply that existing executive orders, COG (Continuity of Government) and NIPP (National Infrastructure Protection Plan) already cover protection of key infrastructure in the event of acts of war or terror attacks, so that train has already left the station – no power or budget to grab or rights to infringe upon there.

Why is important, other than that your internet will be down and credit and bank cards won’t work, is that a severe space weather event could knock out the US power grid and reshape the balance of power in the world.

Russia claims its grid is hardened against EMP and China runs major EMP-response exercises. Every former superpower is making preparations in case of EMP attack and virtually all substantial enemies of the US either are in the process of developing or already have EMP weapons.

The US has EMP weapons programs and we have upgraded a few key segments of our communications infrastructure, so it is clear that our leadership is aware of the threat EMP poses, but we haven’t funded any significant national preparation.

Scientists have been beating politicians over the heads with EMP scenarios for decades now, but they don’t seem to care much about it.

Why hasn’t the US already made preparations in case of EMP?

According to Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, the power industry is afraid of over-regulation.

That is why it is using its considerable power to lobby against any EMP preparation and crank out junk science a la “lead is good for you because it occurs naturally,” “smoking is not harmful to your health,” and “we would starve without GMO foods and high fructose corn syrup” only this time it’s “EMP only affects the power grid in movies.”

Don’t let the fact that the rest of the world is united on the matter that the EMP is a threat fool you. Here in the USA, we reserve the right to be ignorant and listen to K Street lobbyists and the best scientists they can buy instead of our best scientific minds.

Warning have yielded both grassroots and congressional efforts, such as the Shield Act, which have been blocked at every turn by the power lobby for well over a decade now. This opened the door for Barrack Obama, who claims not to need congress because he has a phone and a pen, to step in an issue the executive order.

In October of last year, the White House published the 2015 National Space Weather Plan, which sets two goals: to improve our detection capabilities (warn us a few hours before the EMP), and to strengthen our capability to respond to the needs of the people after an EMP has damaged the grid.

Why not a comprehensive EMP plan to harden the grid against both types of EMP?

Because existing executive orders already cover EMP of the nuclear high-altitude variety under war and terrorism, so there wasn’t any additional power or funding to grab.

At a glance, the plan seems like perhaps a step in the right direction, but dig deeper and its more social programs and less privacy, thinly disguised as a preparedness plan. About the only thing that could make this plan worse is if it was truly this president’s best effort to protect the nation from EMP.

Cosmic weather

Why am I not excited about the government finally creating a plan to deal with EMP, even if it is only naturally-occurring EMP?

  • The Obama regime used this as pretext to violate privacy rights by making GPS constellation data publicly available.
  • Obama’s plans for EMP preparedness don’t mean boo unless they are funded and they will not be funded without congress. Simply passing an executive order does not change that. Most of page 2 of the White House plan is basically a disclaimer that the plan is not a budget document and that funds to carry out the plan would granted through the budget process. An effective POTUS does not simply throw out an idea and then blame congress for not approving funds that don’t exist to implement a plan when there was already another, better plan on the table.
  • Instead of the one-time investment of $2 billion to fix the problem and harden the US electrical again against BOTH kinds of EMP that the Shield Act asks for, it would invest in capability to warn us a few hours ahead of an EMP and then attempt to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after our large transformers have melted. This is a reactive, “social aspirin and Band-aid” patch job that invests in social programs instead of a proactive permanent fix for the chronic problem.
  • No funding for joint DOD – FEMA Training Exercises. Instead he directs the heads of agencies to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities” referring to the 2015 National Space Weather Action Plan.

Somebody needs to tell the White House that it won’t matter if people have health insurance if they are going to be without electricity for up to 4 years. Maybe that is a length of time they can get their heads around.

The US has been operating in an utter leadership vacuum for nearly two terms now, arguably much, much longer. We could permanently fix the EMP threat to our grid for about what we spend on climate change research in a year.

The US could have long ago joined the growing list of nations making earnest preparations against EMP, but is not course our benevolent leader has chosen.

The FEMA – DOD turf war is going to cost untold millions of lives in a severely damaging EMP

Hurricane Katrina was a minor event when compared to losing the US electrical grid for years, but it serves as an example of the consequences of the FEMA – DOD turf war. The states tried to handle the disaster themselves to capture Federal funding and everyone had to sit on their hands until they asked for help.

But by then, they had trouble even contacting the Federal Government to ask for help, so precious time was lost, which translated to lives lost. Then the Federal government sends in FEMA, who sealed off the disaster area and takes its shot at the prize budget money.

The military still couldn’t do anything until they were asked. FEMA ended up running around like a chicken with its head cut off because it was also outclassed by the scope of the event, losing more time and lives until FEMA finally asks for DOD.

Why did the DOD need to be involved in Katrina and will they inevitably need to be involved in a large-scale EMP?

Because FEMA has thousands of employees where DOD has millions. FEMA can call subcontractors and pay them to deliver trailers or loads of supplies. DOD can coordinate colossal airlifts and entire fleets of ships. We cannot handle an emergency of this magnitude without the DOD, so FEMA needs to get let that sink in now, BEFORE an EMP.

The FEMA budget is not going to matter. FEMA is going to go down in history as crewing the Titanic in this scenario and the post-EMP agency that replaces FEMA will not resemble the pre-EMP FEMA, that is, if the USA even still exists as such after China lays down the terms for the replacement of our large transformers.

What would a competent leader would have done

  • Fund NASA and the National Foundation of Sciences Studies that would debunk the junk science funded by the power industry lobby.
  • Educate the public about the threat.
  • Pass the Shield Act and harden the grid against space weather and nuclear EMP alike instead of an unfunded plan followed by an executive order.
  • Get the DOD and FEMA working and training together before the catastrophe and give them funding to do it instead of just telling the directors to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities.”

So what does Obama’s executive order on cosmic weather mean for you?

It means that, as usual, you are largely on your own. The only preparations that you can count on are ones you have made yourself and with those you trust in your local community. This may actually be better for you than being lied to that your government has everything under control.

You are better off preparing independently as opposed to believing that Uncle Sam, or someone else, is going to bail you out.

Be prepared! Get your power generator. Click the banner below to grab this offer and pay in installments for the right power generator for your EMP survival!

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

References:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/13/executive-order-coordinating-efforts-prepare-nation-space-weather-events

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Product Review: Power Whisperer Pro Version

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survivopedia-power-whisperer-pro

The folks at Independent Living have done it again. They’ve taken their popular Power Whisperer emergency power generator and done a second upgrade, making it even better than before.

This new upgrade essentially doubles the capacity of the original unit, meaning that it will provide power to meet even more of a family’s needs, for an even longer period of time.

I’ll tell you more about this update so keep reading the article below!

One of the biggest risks we face today is that of an EMP attack. As a nation, we have enemies who are working hard to develop the technology necessary to allow them to hit the United States with such an attack. If they ever get to that point, a successful attack will set this country back over 100 years. Most electronic devices will be destroyed, but worse than that, the electrical power grid that we all depend on will be out of commission; probably for the rest of our lives.

The only electronics which will survive such an attack are those which are shielded from EMP. Outside of the military, there is little that is made, which is shielded in such a manner. Yet the Power Whisperer has been designed with this possibility in mind, and is encased in 5052 aluminum. That’s more than enough to stop the EMP from touching the unit, ensuring that you’ll have electrical power, when everyone else’s lights are out.

I was impressed with the quality of the original Power Whisperer and the M model. These are well-built, rugged units, designed to, as Timex says, “Take a licking and keep on ticking.” But I don’t think even the designer of the Power Whisperer realized how rugged a unit he built.

See below a video of a Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) that had a disagreement with a truck. Apparently the unit was being shipped when this happened. I don’t know if the truck was trying to take the unit to the wrong address and it refused to be shipped there or the two of them got into a political argument.

All I know is that the truck and the Power Whisperer tried to break a law of physics and occupy the same place at the same time. To be fair, the Power Whisperer was there first, and I really can’t say that the truck had any excuse, like not seeing the unit, after all, it hit it head on.

Well, the results of that altercation left the Power Whisperer looking like a pile of scrap. In the video, someone in the Independent Living warehouse decided to unwrap the pile of scrap and test it out. Amazingly enough, it still provided power. That’s after being hit by a truck, all but torn limb from limb and then sitting in the warehouse, being ignored for a couple of months.

I hope my Power Whisperer never has to be tried by fire like that, but it’s nice to know that the one that was survived its trial. Granted, it doesn’t look too good now, but at least it works. In an emergency situation, that’s what’s important.

So now they’ve decided to go ahead and upgrade this rugged beast. That intrigued me when I heard about it, because I really wasn’t sure what they’d upgrade. But I’ll have to say, they did it right. They didn’t add whistles and bells that you don’t need, they increased the capacity.

Let’s Upgrade!

As far as I’m concerned, electrical power in a grid-down situation is like memory in a computer… you’ve never got enough. While the Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) had enough power to make it through an emergency caused by a power outage, the new one – PowerWhisperer PRO, has double that capacity but also some other features that I’m going to address in seconds.

The Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) comes with a 100 amp-hour capacity. That means that it can run an electronic device that requires 100 amps of 12 volt power for 1 hour or that it can run a device that requires 1 amp of 12 volt power for 100 hours, or anything in between. There’s also a Power Whisperer M-Plus model that comes with an extra solar panel and battery that literally double your power, while all the specifications are the same.

The Power Whisperer PRO model comes with the same voltage inverter, so you still have 2000 watts of 120 volt power available at any one time. In addition, there is a 12 volt outlet, so that you can power devices which are intended to run off of 12 volts.

pwpro

Do you have any camping equipment, tools or electronics which are intended for running off your car’s cigarette lighter/accessory connector? They’ll all plug into either the M model or the new Pro model as well.

To help with recharging the larger storage capacity, Lee Bellinger, the designer of the Power Whisperer has also added a second, 100 watt solar panel, increasing the charge capacity as well. You can either recharge the Model M in half the time or recharge both the M model and the extra power pack at the same time. With this extra solar panel, you can charge both in the time that it used to take to charge the Model M alone.

And the unit is expandable beyond that as well. The M model generator has enough connectors to attach up to four solar panels, increasing the recharge rate and total power available from the unit. You can also add another auxiliary power pack if you desire, increasing the overall power you have available in an emergency situation even more.

These units are totally safe, using proven battery and battery charging technology which avoids “thermal runaway.” I’m sure you’ve heard of the problems that people have been having with the Samsung phones, well the charge technology used in the Power Whisperer prevent the possibility of that happening. The unit is not only safe from being hit by a truck, but from exploding as well.

Seeing as the Power Whisperer was inspired by military technology and intended for survival use, it even comes complete with a camouflage net system, so that you can keep your unit away from prying eyes, whether you are using it for a bug in or you’re providing power to your survival retreat in a bug out.

This is a well thought out unit, which will provide the electrical power your family needs, when you are faced by the next disaster. Built in America and built to withstand whatever is thrown at it, the Power Whisperer Pro gives your family a level of security you won’t find just anywhere.

Now is the moment to get your power generator and solve your energy problem for years. You’ll also get 3 exclusive Survivopedia bonuses worth $150 when you invest in your Power Whisperer.

Click the banner below and grab the opportunity of paying in monthly installments instead of paying for it all at once!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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12 Reasons Fire Is Crucial For Disaster Survival

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During a major disaster, you probably won’t have the convenience of modern utilities such as gas, electricity, and clean water. Whether you’re in the city for work or in the wilderness on vacation, you’ll need to turn back to the basics of survival if the SHTF. Your immediate priorities should be shelter, water, fire, and […]

The post 12 Reasons Fire Is Crucial For Disaster Survival appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How To Use Saltwater To Charge a Battery

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If you use rechargeable batteries, then you need to know about this device: A battery charger that uses saltwater to charge batteries! All you have to do is get some saltwater (or make a saltwater solution), pour it into the charger, and it will charge six AA batteries in just a couple of hours. In […]

The post How To Use Saltwater To Charge a Battery appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How To Choose The Best Batteries For Prepper Solar Systems

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Batteries For Solar Power

No matter what device you use to turn solar power into electricity, a storage system for the electricity is absolutely essential. Without batteries or some other form of storage, you will not be able to produce an even flow of current or span time gaps when the system produces too little power or none at all.

While there are many different kinds of batteries on the market that can be used with solar systems, they may not be best for preppers.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when buying pre-fabricated batteries.

Understand How the Batteries Will Be Used

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out your average household electric consumption, simply go back to your electric bills for one year. Pick the highest bill and look at the amount of electricity you used. Multiply that by about 30% to take into account higher energy drains for unusual weather patterns and you will have some good ideas about how much power the batteries will need to produce per year.

While power output is a very important part of understanding battery use, it is also important to keep the following factors in mind:

  • Aside from computing average yearly and daily use, it is also very important to know how deeply you can cycle the battery, (essentially how much you can let it drain to almost empty before recharging it) and how often you can do so without damage. Even though modern batteries are connected to systems that reduce the risk of overcharging, there is no way to prevent the battery from being cycled too deeply or too often other than to have more batteries in the system.
  • Make sure that the batteries can safely withstand charging and discharging at the same time. Do not just go by the battery type when making this assessment. Rather, look for testimonials and consumer reports on the actual models of interest to you. If you do not feel confident that the battery can truly handle this type of use, then create a system with two battery banks so that one can be used for powering your home while the other is charging back up again.
  • Aside from the amount of power being drawn from the battery, some devices draw it faster than others. When evaluating batteries for a solar system, make sure you know how quickly they can be discharged without causing damage. You may find cheaper batteries that cannot be drained as quickly, however you may have to switch between devices so that you do not ruin the batteries.

Long Warranties vs. Stockpiling

Right now, our nation and world are facing some very serious catastrophes. For the first time in decades, we have a candidate for president “playing chicken” with nuclear armed Russia to the point where Putin says war with the United State is inevitable.

If that isn’t bad enough, we’ve essentially got all four of the Biblical horsemen of the apocalypse in play:

  • Famine (in the form of crop failures caused by floods, bee shortages, and soil depletion)
  • Disease (super bugs on the rise, deadly vaccines that leave us vulnerable to cancer yet allergic to common foods such as peanut butter and dairy, and food borne illness that may be enhanced by “undocumented citizens” that tend to work in food production)
  • Warfare (terrorism aside, civil war might erupt right beneath our own feet)
  • A pervasive sense of some kind of death march that most don’t even recognize because they have been so heavily brainwashed and bound up into a system of lies, corruption, and greed.

With all of this going on, it is entirely too easy to disregard warranties because the companies that offer them may not be available to meet their end of the bargain once society collapses past a certain point.

That being said, neither we, nor these companies actually know when a major disaster will come along. It would be foolhardy, at best for a company to give a longer warranty on something that will fail much sooner, and then have to take  a loss on all those repairs.

As long as the company itself is in good financial health with a stable board of trustees and executives (you can research this through publically available business portfolios, SEC filing, and other materials designed to attract investors), then there is a good chance the confidence the company displays through the warranty is valid and worthy of consideration.

It is fair to say that many preppers who don’t believe in the value of warranties prefer to stockpile extra items so that they can replace broken or worn items with new ones.

In this case, if a battery has an average life of 5 years, some preppers might store way 3x the number of needed batteries thinking they will get 15 years out of them.

Sadly, as soon as batteries are assembled, they begin to break down inside. No matter how you try to rotate them in and out of service, store them, or baby them, they will all become useless at around the same time.

Overall, you will be better served by giving more weight to the manufacturer warranty for each battery instead of how many batteries you can store away for future use.

Video first seen on LDSreliance.

Batteries You can Choose From Today

In earlier articles, I discussed the main kinds of batteries that you can use with your solar power system, as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each one.

Please use the following links for more details about some of the more common batteries on the market. Then, as now, I still have no particular favorite in this industry and feel that it is up to each person to weight their personal needs carefully in relation to each battery type.

Batteries that May be Available Soon

In the last year, some absolutely amazing batteries came one step closer to being available to consumers.

Here are my 5 favorites:

Gold Nanowire Batteries – these batteries make use of ultra thin gold wires suspended in an electrolyte gel. During testing, they were deep cycled several thousand times without being ruined or breaking down.  Of all the emerging batteries, this one has the potential to last for decades and beyond. Since they can also be scaled to a size suitable for automobiles, they may also be the perfect battery for preppers.

Video first seen on UPHIGH Productions.

Graphene batteries – basically, graphene batteries make use of carbon arranged into honeycomb like lattices to store energy. The are lighter in weight, last longer, and are much safer than lithium ion batteries.

At this time, you can purchase graphene batteries and give them a try. I recommend trying out the smaller ones for portable devices before moving on to larger ones to integrate with a solar power system.

It will also be of some help to keep an eye on emerging technologies that combine graphene batteries with super capacitors and other materials.  As innovative as graphene batteries are, there is still plenty of room for even better batteries to be developed in the next year or so.

Aluminum Air Battery – these fascinating batteries literally run on water and can deliver several times the power of a lithium ion battery. Current models will run for about 14 days before you have to top them off again with tap or salt water.

Some models of these batteries are supposed to be available in 2016, however it may be some time before you can buy ones large enough to power a household.

Titanium Dioxide Battery – instead of using carbon, these batteries make use of titanium dioxide. The NTU battery will charge up much faster than conventional batteries, and will last well over 10 years.

If these batteries come out in the next year or so, I would recommend them over current battery designs.  Since these batteries still don’t last as long as some other emerging designs, I’d call them an improvement, but would still keep some money aside for nanowire and other battery types.

Organic batteries – did you know that a molecule similar to the one found in rhubarb may hold the key to durable batteries that are safer, charge faster, and last longer? While organic batteries are very much in the early stages of development, they deserve some attention from preppers.

Aside from purchasing pre-made batteries, some of the ideas presented may lend themselves well to creating your own batteries from household or natural materials.

Without a  question, if there is a battery that appeals to preppers, this would be it because of the potential ability to make them at the consumer level.

While it may still be some time before these batteries are offered for home energy use, they have the capacity to work better and last longer than anything else on the market right now.

Tip:

If you must buy batteries for an existing solar power system, then buy what you need to get running now. Just try to set some money and resources aside so that you can purchase these newer designs when they become available.

Other Ways to Produce Even Power Output

Today, batteries aren’t the only way to provide a steady flow of electricity. Because modern batteries charge slowly and cannot manage sudden spikes in power demands, they are often teamed up with ultra or super capacitors.

Aside from reducing demands on batteries, these capacitors can also recapture energy that would be lost. Regardless of the battery you choose for your solar power system, it will be well worth your effort to include super capacitors to increase efficiency and stability of power flow.

Just about all technologies today focus on using various materials to store electricity. But what if we could store heat from the sun, and then convert it to electricity on an “as needed” basis?

If you are interested in DIY power storage solutions, give some thought to storing heat instead of electricity.

You might also want to look into ways to store energy into springs or even use motion as a means to keep the energy readily available.

Take the time now to learn more about how different kinds of energy are translated from one form to another, and also how they can converted to electricity at any stage in the process.  Even though every system will lose energy as it converts from one form to another, that option may still be better than having no power storage options available at all.

Preparing for Social Collapse

Over the years, I have experienced a good bit of frustration as I have searched for answers to the thorny question of how to produce electricity, and then store it.

Each time I look at emerging technologies, I seek to test them to see if I will wind up relying on organizations that will charge a fortune for maintenance and equipment replacement.

Needless to say, I also find it quite vexing when I cannot find all the answers in one place, or one answer does not meet all my needs.

From that perspective, it seems best to not focus exclusively on just one battery or power storage technology. Here are some steps to take:

  • Try to obtain small versions of different battery types for testing purposes. Instead of using them with a conventional power charger, see how they respond to mini solar panels, body power systems, or anything else you may be working
  • Choose a battery type that seems to work best ,and purchase one or two units that would be suitable to integrate with your solar power system. If they work well, you can opt to purchase enough batteries to power your home, and then wait to see what else becomes available.
  • As newer battery types become available, try to obtain small versions so you can test them out. For example, right now you can purchase graphene batteries and connect them to any number of different systems.
  • If you happen to find a battery that works really well in the smaller sizes, then keep an eye out to see when larger ones become available.  Gradually, you can replace older technologies with newer ones and hopefully come out with a better system in the end.
  • For the best long term options, think for yourself and do what you can to explore power storage options that may not be as popular. If you can find something that you can build for yourself, you will be that much closer to the goal of complete and sustainable energy independence.

As you can see, purchasing batteries for a solar energy system as a prepper isn’t exactly the same as it is for homesteaders and off gridders. While these people still have an interest in good quality batteries that will be reliable and durable, preppers must always take into account what to do in the event of social collapse.

Therefore, when it comes to choosing the best batteries, you will always need to think past the current time frame and look to future technologies as well as developing your own innovations.

And be prepared to survive an EMP – an upcoming disaster which we can’t stop. Click the banner below and prepare yourself for this disaster.

EMPCover1

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

Further reading:

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/130380-future-batteries-coming-soon-charge-in-seconds-last-months-and-power-over-the-air

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How I reduced my home energy use, and costs, by 60%

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A few years ago, I went about making my family home of about 1,500 square feet more energy efficient. Some of the things done included:

     1.  Repairs to the shell of the home
     2.  Repairs to the insulation under the house
     3.  Replaced old appliances with energy efficient models
     4.  Replaced old windows with energy-efficient windows
     5.  Switched most indoor lights to CFLs*
     6.  Replaced shower heads w/ low-flow shower heads
     7.  Filled in gaps where pipes & wires come into the house (kitchen, bathrooms, utility room) with a can of spray foam insulation.

As a result of these repairs, I was able to reduce my home’s energy use by about 60% on a monthly basis compared to the previous year. Please note that this was achieved without any change in lifestyle or personal behavior, but rather through energy efficiency only.

The total cost of all this was about $6,800. Between the lower monthly energy bills and the tax credit for the new energy-efficient windows, the break even point on this investment was slightly less than three years. 

The really great thing is that electricity prices could literally double and my monthly power bill will still be lower than it was before these improvements.  How is that for a hedge against higher energy taxes and inflation?

I feel certain that most American homes, and businesses for that matter, could probably achieve similar energy savings by simply making their buildings more energy efficient.

Of course, wasteful actions (usually due to simple thoughtlessness) should be stopped as part of achieving energy efficiency. Again, this can be done without major changes in lifestyle or personal behavior:

     1.  Turn off lights when not in a room
     2.  Turn off radios, TVs & other electronics when not in use
     3.  Unplug battery chargers when not being used
     4.  Unplug unnecessary clocks, kitchen gadgets & so forth
     5.  Set thermostats lower in winter (wear sweaters, use extra blanket)
     6.  Set thermostats higher in summer (electric fans make you feel 5° cooler)
     7.  Take quick showers (less hot water used = less energy used = more money saved)

Remember, the more energy you save, the more money you save. Good luck, and good savings…

*Notes on CFLs

1- CFL bulbs have gotten a bad rap in recent years due to their mercury content.  The fact is that modern CFLs contain less than 30% the mercury contained in the CFLs that first came on the market. Unbroken, CFLs pose no mercury danger. And it would take 125 broken modern CFLs to equal the amount of mercury contained in that old thermometer that is probably sitting in your bathroom cabinet.  

2- CFLs are also controversial because many governments are mandating their use. I am a free market guy, therefore I am against laws mandating their use. In a free market system, people should have choice in products they purchase.

3- Still don’t want CFL’s? Consider LED lighting. LED lights are more expensive, but even more energy efficient than CFL’s. 
 

Park City commits to 100% renewable

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Mayor Jack Thomas committed to the pledge this Tuesday (11th October)

Mayor Jack Thomas announcing his commitment 

 

Park City, Utah is the latest American city to pledge to turn to 100% renewable energy (you can view the whole list here). The promise was made under the 100% Committed Campaign and Park City has set 2032 as its deadline. Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco and San Diego, California, Georgetown, Texas Grand Rapids, Michigan and others have already committed to the cause.

 

This is great news, but why has it taken them so long? The campaign seems to have emerged as an attempt to push local councils toward sustainable energy, as climate change becomes a leading issue in national politics.

 

Last month, in September, when Boulder announced its commitment, Mayor Suzanne Jones, took to the mic to state that: “[It] is increasingly clear that Congress is not going to address climate change; cities like Boulder need to take the lead.”

 

Mayor Jack Thomas pushed a similar messaged in Utah and urged other cities to follow suit: “Park City’s commitment for 100% renewable electricity is driven by our community” he said. “The passion for the natural environment and our responsibility to take care of it is part of the fabric of what makes Park City a very special place to live. Park City can’t do it alone.”

 

Mountain communities have proudly pledged to change their energy source as they understand the risk they face if global warming is allowed to continue at the rate that it is at. “Park City recognizes that without snow, they cannot grow,” Talya Tavor, I AM PRO SNOW program manager, said. “At Climate Reality we bring together the passion to fight climate change with the passion to protect our mountain communities to make an unstoppable force for change. That’s why it is no surprise that mountain cities are leading the way on renewable electricity.

But that’s not all, national businesses like Ski Butlers, Ikea, Adobe, Facebook Apple and more (full list) have made the commitment to switch to 100 percent renewable electricity, under the RE100 plan to get the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power.

This  shows that business and government leaders recognize the urgent need to address the very real issue of climate change, and it also shows that practical solutions are actually being put in place to do so.

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An Emergency Candle That Can’t Possibly Start a Fire

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Recently I was contacted by Kevin’s Kandles about a product called Safer Emergency Candles. Unlike regular candles, these can’t possibly start a fire since they were designed for use in a glass of water. If you leave it unattended, eventually it will go out. And if you knock over the glass, the water will extinguish […]

The post An Emergency Candle That Can’t Possibly Start a Fire appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Heard of a Walker stove?

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walker01

Me neither, but once I discovered it, I am definitely intrigued, it takes the best of rocket stove, thermal mass heaters, masonry heaters and the such puts it together. I have been trying to interest PB into doing a thermal mass rocket stove but I have had very little luck peaking his interest to even consider trying it. His main complaint has been the thought of having to use and continually add small sticks to the combustion chamber, which is one of the hallmarks of a rocket stove. Watching Matt start a fire in his Walker stove/oven, he barely seemed to have the fire going and he packed the combustion chamber with lots of larger wood logs and it took off like crazy. Being able to load the combustion chamber with that amount of real logs, and not just twigs means not having to continually add wood to keep things going.

There will be 3 videos here, one is essentially a commercial for the Walker stove, the other two are about the build of the stove. If you go to his website http://walkerstoves.com/ you will learn more about the Walker stove and discover that he is using a Creative Commons license on at least one of his designs, meaning you can build these for yourself, see the whole licensing agreement here (scroll down to the bottom of the page) http://walkerstoves.com/walker-riser-less-combustion-core.html
Let me know what you think about this… Enjoy!

http://walkerstoves.com/

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Micro-nuclear power plants gaining acceptance

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Dan Stout, TVA senior manager for small modular reactors

In the near future off-grid communities of ip to 20,000 population might be powered by a nuclear reactor the size of a container that is swapped out every 20 years.

Existing plants emit no emissions but overall are just too risky for some. There’s also competition now with low natural gas prices and wind and solar projects, which has allowed the small reactors to emerge. The Tennessee Valley Authority has become the first utility to apply for a permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build a small reactor.

Others are following suit, there is a plan by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to build one about 100 miles southwest of Yellowstone National Park; it is said to produce electricity like no other.

Small nuclear reactors may be a safer and a cheaper alternative to nuclear power plants. They can be manufactured in a factory and hooked-up on-site, potentially avoiding the huge upfront capital costs and the overruns that have plagued many nuclear plants. They are theoretically safer, reducing the need for huge containment vessels and other expensive protections.

Unlike other nuclear reactors that usually produce about 1,000 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, the small modular reactors, are designed to be a fraction of the size at 50 to 300 megawatts. Rather than using electrically operated pumps and motors to circulate coolant and keep the core of the nuclear reactor at a low temperature, as happens in traditional plants, small reactors use no pumps and motors and instead rely on passive means such as gravity and conduction ­­to cool the reactors. The size also means that it is cheaper to produce, as opposed to the $10bn and up to a decade in planning to secure permits and build of conventional nuclear.

The group wants to replace their old coal-fired plants and it won the approval from the US Department of Energy earlier this year to analyze the environmental and safety impacts of the small nuclear reactor. If it passes the test, the consortium plans to build a power plant there with 12 reactors totaling 600 megawatts in capacity.

 

The Utah consortium will hire Washington state-based Energy Northwest to operate and maintain its 12 reactors in Idaho if they are built. The Utah group expects the project to come online by 2024.

Gene Grecheck, a former president and the current co-chair of a policy advisory committee at the American Nuclear Society, which represents engineers and scientists. Grecheck says that scientists are studying other ways to improve nuclear technology. “There is also a lot of research going on for advanced reactor concepts to take used fuel and reprocess it to reduce [the spent fuel] even more dramatically,” he said.

 

Startup companies are working on using spent uranium fuel include the Bill Gates-backed TerraPoweras well as Transatomic and Terrestrial Energy. Another start-up, Oklo, seeks to create 2-megawatt reactors that fit inside shipping containers to provide electricity for remote off-grid locations. Toshiba has worked on a micro nuclear reactor that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbours who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

 

new report by the U.K.’s government-backed Energy Technologies Institute outlines what it considers to be a reasonable timeline for the country to also adopt the new smaller reactors. It has been estimated that they could be in use by 2030. For that to happen, talks between operators, developers, and the government would have to begin next year. But fears about the safety of nuclear plants have made them so costly as to discourage investors. “Creating the right environment for increasing investor confidence is critical if this schedule is to be met,” says Mike Middleton, the author of the report.

 

Even if it does happen in the U.K. they will still lag behind America. If all goes as planned, the facility in Tennessee could be up and running by the mid-2020s.

 

 

 

 

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Prep Blog Review: How To Generate Power Off-Grid

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Generate Power Off-grid

America’s power grid is ancient and in an advanced state of decay. The modern technology allows us to adopt a more eco-friendly attitude regarding energy and also to save money and become more independent and self-sustained.

After an EMP, you will have to know how to use natural resources – sun, wind, water, wood – to produce your own electricity. So, why not starting preparing right now?

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered some useful posts on this topic.

  1. How Future Technology Impacts Energy Saving

“The technology of the future that will allow for a more eco-friendly relationship with our environment is rapidly approaching. In order to better understand the impact of these technologies, we have outlined them into two distinct areas: saving at home, and saving on the road.

It was reported that there has been a 44% increase in primary energy consumption across the globe over the past 16 years (statista.com). As such, we are not likely going to make a drastic departure from our behavior of having high-powered homes and frequent use of transportation.

These technologies will allow us to curb energy usage without having to alter our accustomed style of living.”

Energy Technology

Read more on Save On Energy.

  1. Reasons Why Every Household Must Have A Backup Generator

black-out-300x200“In the recent past, we’ve witnessed extreme weather-related calamities that have caused immense destruction regarding property damage and loss of human lives.

Scientists are warning that massive disasters are not only currently occurring at an increased rate but also increasing in magnitude. To ensure your family stays safe all the time, you must invest in a good electric generator.

An electric generator, other than supporting your lighting systems, will support important appliances in your home, among very many other functions. Loss of electric power brings about many difficulties to homes, more so, households with persons with disabilities.

A generator provides an exceptional way of cautioning your family members against sudden lose electricity.”

Read more on Dave’s Homestead.

  1. Do You Know Why Your Emergency Generator Won’t Start in the Winter?Power Generator

“So, you’ve been diligent about starting your generator on a regular basis, you’ve kept fuel stabilizer in the tank, and then one cold winter day you go out to fire up your generator and it just won’t start.

You might be wondering what you did wrong so let me take a minute and explain what might be going on.

During the 8 plus years that our family lived off the grid our only source of electricity was a generator. Starting certain types of generators in the winter can be a real bear at times.”

Read more on Preppers Illustrated.

  1. Which Batteries Are Best for Survival Situation?

“When it comes to most survival situations, batteries are often overlooked. Too many people assume that all they need to do is make sure their battery operated survival gear is ready to go with new alkaline batteries and that they have a fresh pack of spares. This is an unfortunate assumption!

There are five primary battery sizes in the United States: D, C, AA, AAA and 9 volt. Most batteries fall into three categories: alkaline, lithium and nickel.”

Batteries

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

  1. Relax and Enjoy the Next Power Outage

power-outage“For the past few years, Survival Life has shared valuable information with readers on how to prepare for and survive a major power grid collapse.

The number of power outages continues to grow, and people shake their fingers at the government and say, “Shame, shame”—blaming elected or appointed government officials—for not fixing the shaky electrical grid.

Those experiencing loss of electrical power are quick to condemn utility companies for not preventing these outages, but this may not be warranted.

The federal and state governments have known about these risks for decades, but they are slow to act. Utility companies can’t afford to rip out and replace expensive power lines, substations, and power generation plants.”

Read more on Survival Life.

EMPCover1

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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British supermarket takes one block off the grid

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Paul Crewe of Sainsbury’s: “always looking for new ways to reuse and recycle.”

 

 

British supermarket, Sainsbury has taken it’s first store off-the-grid.

What took them so long?

The Cannock branch, West Midlands has unplugged from the National Grid, says the group chief office. Now it runs on power from anaerobic digestion (that’s wasted food to you and me).

Diagram shows the process of Anaerobic Digestion

Diagram shows the process of Anaerobic Digestion

Although only 10% of Sainsbury’s surplus or waste food goes to charitable causes, it is put to other uses. Some excess food that otherwise would be chucked away, is now delivered to a Biffa plant from Sainbury’s stores around the UK. Then it is turned into bio-methane gas which is then used to generate electricity that is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed 1.5km-long electricity cable.
Paul Crewe, head of sustainability at Sainsbury, said: “We send absolutely no waste to landfill and are always looking for new ways to reuse and recycle.”  He claimed to be the first business ever to make use of this linkup technology.

But that’s not all, Sainsbury’s already has a name for itself in the UK for being eco-conscious. It’s the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough electricity to power 2,500 homes each year. Under its sustainability code, its wasted energy is down 9.4% year-on-year. It was the first grocery retailer to achieve zero operational waste to landfill in 2013, You can view Sainsbury’s code of ethics here if you’re interested in their stance on other issues.

While Sainsbury’s donate surplus food to good causes, including local food banks, but when items can’t be collected they’ll instead be used for other projects such as animal feed, or to generate energy by anaerobic digestion. Leftover bananas from its Prescot Road store in Liverpool go to Knowsley safari park to feed the monkeys.

This is the second time the supermarket has made a conscious effort to be more eco-friendly in its retail outlets. In 2013, a branch in Haslucks Green became Britain’s most environmentally friendly convenience store after opening. For now though, Cannock is one of a kind.

Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability from Sainsbury’s also told us that: “We were the first retailer to be able to take a store completely off-grid, thanks to anaerobic digestion, and our store in Cannock continues to operate well. As a large organisation we consume lot of power, so it’s important that we explore new ways of sourcing this, including off-grid options which help alleviate our impact on the grid.”

Now let’s hope other supermarkets across the globe follow in Sainsbury’s footsteps.

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Survival Watch – It’s Time To Make You Ready

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survival watch

What Is A Survival Watch?

A survival watch can come in two basic forms:

  1. Watches that act like a mini survival tin on your wrist. This style of survival watch has similar features. They tell the time, have a fire starter, whistle, compass and use paracord as the band.
  2. Watches that act as a mini computer for your wrist. These all include features such as a compass, GPS, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, sunrise/sunset times.

In this article, I’m going focus on the survival watches that act as a computer on your wrist. So whenever I refer to a “survival watch” I mean ones that are a mini computer unless otherwise stated.

The reason I’m not going to cover the survival watches that act like a mini survival tin is because I’ve never come across a good one. Without naming names, I’ve tested a few and they’re just not good enough.

It’s sort of like buying one of those pre-made survival tins for $10. Great concept but they regularly lack quality. The fire starters on these “survival watches” are tiny, which makes them easy to break off. Which makes them hard to use, especially without decent tinder. They also tend to have cheap, unreliable 2 cent compasses.

I just wouldn’t put my life in the hands of a product like that.

As far as paracord goes, I carry it with me at all times in other ways. So I suggest you buy a decent paracord bracelet instead, add it to one wrist. Then invest in a high-quality survival watch and put it on the other wrist. That way you’ve got all your bases covered.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

treesHow A Survival Watch Could Save Your Life

So you’ve bugged out, now what? How close to your bug out location will you be at all times, are you doing any exploring?

Perhaps you’re out hunting, wound a deer, and begin the process of tracking it’s blood trail.

Or maybe your picking berries and hear other humans approaching. You have no idea if they’re there to harm you, you don’t know how many of them there are. So you panic and high-tail it out of there.

Or what if you’re in the great outdoors enjoying an off-trail hike.

What do each these situations have in common? You are in the wild and on the move, so you can easily lose your bearings. This is when your survival watch can become a real life saver.

Technology Dependent SocietyShould You Rely On Technology?

Survival watches are high-tech and great quality these days. They do a lot more than just tell the time and are waterproof. Before I go on with discussing all the gadgets and gizmos available on survival watches, I wanted to be clear about my thoughts on technology.

I strongly believe that you shouldn’t completely rely on technology in a SHTF situation. The reason is that technology fails, pure and simple. I have nothing against technology, but I do have a love/hate relationship with it.

Technology is there because it makes our lives easier. The problem is we can’t solely rely on it because if it fails we’re in trouble. We need to have the survival skills, knowledge, and tools, otherwise, we can get in trouble.

The way I look at it is simple, would I rather cut down a tree down with a chainsaw or an axe? A chainsaw, but I’ve got a great axe on hand, just in case. I like using an axe. It’s fun; it’s good exercise, but when I want the job done as fast and efficient as possible, I use a chainsaw.

It’s the same idea with my survival watch. I use it often but I always carry a map and compass with me when I’m out in the woods. I know how to get my bearing using nature. It’s important to practice these skill sets, and I find it fun, but when I want to get things done as easy as possible, I use technology.

That’s why I wear a survival watch.

Useful Features Of A Survival Watch

The first things a good survival watch needs to do is to be able to tell the time and date, have a good battery life (or even better are solar powered), are waterproof and are tough as hell. When you go beyond these basic features, that’s where the fun starts.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

In a SHTF situation and you’re bugging out, it’s easy to get lost. The main reason is because of your psychological state. One word – panic.

Imagine what it will be like in a SHTF situation, you’ll be on edge. You won’t be in your normal psychological state.

When you’re on edge, it will be very easy to make mistakes. A single mistake often leads to another and all of a sudden you’re scared and you panic.

You start thinking to yourself “I know it’s just past that hill” or “I know it’s just past that bunch of trees”. You’re not thinking straight. You don’t mark your trail. You get to where you think you need to get to and realize you were wrong. Then you turn around and think to yourself, which way did I come from?

If you think this is far-fetched, it’s not at all. Most people in real life who get lost do so in innocent circumstances. Day hikers, campers, backpackers, and hunters are the most likely people to become lost. People who enjoy spending lots of time in the great outdoors.

A couple of examples of what could happen is you could wander off from camp for any number of reasons;

For example, you could be out mushroom hunting, you find a nice patch, then see another patch further along. Then you notice another patch just a little further ahead. You’re enjoying yourself, but before you know it, your turned around, and you’re lost.

What if you’re tracking game and you’re so focused your not paying attention to your location. Or you could be out fishing for “just a few hours” so you don’t bother taking much survival gear with you. Plus, it’s only up the river a little ways, but then your boat motor dies.

The most embarrassing story I’ve heard was someone wandered out of camp to answer nature’s call. This guy wanted complete privacy so they ventured out of sight of camp. Not paying attention, he got a little bit lost and couldn’t retrace his steps.

He was too embarrassed to call out for help. Obviously, he didn’t want to look like a clown by getting lost so close to camp. Then when he started looking for camp, he didn’t find it straight away.

Of course, what comes next was panic, and he way off course. Panic and fear can cause a once rational person to make expound their mistakes. He was found the next day a mile from camp. He panicked and started charging in the direction he thought camp was without thinking.

The moral of the story is that it’s easy to get lost in the woods, especially if you panic. It’s even easier to get lost in the woods when you’re scared for not only your own life. And even more so for your loved one’s lives.

In a SHTF situation, it’s unlikely a rescue team is coming. So you’ll have to rely on yourself to get back to safety.

However, if you’ve got GPS on your watch and you know the coordinates of your bug out location, you’ll easily find your way back.

Barometer

Two of the most dangerous and immediate threats in a survival situation is extreme exposure and lack of clean water. But, if you have a barometer on your watch, you can tell a storm coming and you can hunker down before it arrives.

In most cases, by the time you see the rain coming, it’s too late. If you get soaked, you’re in danger of hypothermia, and then you’re in a world of hurt. So you should use the barometer on your watch to better predict oncoming rain. Helping you prepare yourself away from a risky situation.

Another way a barometer can help you survive is to prompt you to set up catchments collect oncoming rain water.

Altimeter

If you live in a mountainous region and don’t know your exact location an altimeter can help. An altimeter on your survival watch, tells you your exact altitude. So if you have a topographical map it helps to narrow down your exact location. And when you know your exact location, you can find your way back to camp or civilization.

Navigation With A CompassCompass

One of the most valuable survival tools around. There are several bushcraft methods to find direction. But for accuracy and speed, nothing beats having a high-quality compass.

Bushcraft methods include understanding that thicker branches on a tree often face towards the sun, which indicates a southern direction.

Moss grows better on the northern side of trees.

You can even put a stick into the ground and use the shadows to get your bearings.

In SHTF, and you’re panicking, having a compass on your watch could save your life. It’s easy to make mistakes when panicking, that’s why having a compass on your watch will result in fewer navigational errors.

Technology can fail, so it’s important to be able to get your bearings using bushcraft. But if the technology hasn’t failed, a compass is a great asset.

Cold Weather Hiker 1Sunrise & Sunset Times

When your focus is on something else, it’s easy to lose track of time. If you’re away from your bug out location you’ll want to get back before sunset. You likely  don’t want to be navigating in the dark because it’s dangerous and difficult. So you better know when sunset is.

What if you’re moving to another location and need to put up a survival shelter or your collecting firewood. If you get sunset wrong and are still using a survival hatchet or a machete at dusk, it’s easy to make a mistake and do some serious damage. Especially if you’re rushing to get the task done or you’re tired. If you know what time the sun is setting from your watch, you’ll be better organized and avoid mistakes.

Thermometer

I like to know what the temperature is at all times, so I admit it, and I’m a temperature geek. It probably stems from the fact that I grew up in a rural farming area. Being a weather geek could save my life in a survival situation. When working hard such as:

It’s easy to lose track of your body temperature.

When you’re working hard and sweating, you don’t realize just how cold it is out. You feel hot and it’s so easy to think to yourself “it’s not that cold, I’ll be fine.” The problem is when you stop working, and you’re still sweating, that’s where the issues can come in.

Maybe it’s cooler than you realized. Perhaps you were going to make your fire after your activities but run into issues lighting a fire. When conditions are wrong, hypothermia can happen fast.

So if you can keep an eye on the temperature, you’ll know if you’re sweating too much. And if it’s too cold and can’t dry off, you’ll have issues, and it would be a good idea to take more breaks.

In the words of Les Stroud, “if you sweat, you die.”

The same principle applies if it’s hot. If it’s hot and you’re sweating but think to yourself, “I just need to get this task done” you could end up with heat stroke. It’s easy to do, to focus so intensely on your activity that you don’t listen to your body.

Instead, use your survival watch to check the temperature often. And if it’s really hot, take lots of breaks and drink fluids to prevent a serious heat stroke.

It’s easy to think that you’ll say to yourself “I’m overheating” or “I’m starting to sweat” so I need to slow down. The problem is that in a SHTF situation you won’t be thinking as clearly as you ordinarily would. So it’s a good idea to have a backup plan, some redundancy so that you don’t succumb to the elements.

The Conclusion

I love redundancy. I’ve got an engineering background, so redundancy is everything to me. That’s why I believe a owning a survival watch is imperative.

It’s still important to learn Bush navigation skills. And nothing beats basic survival skills, compass, and a map, but a survival watch is easy to use, and technology can make life easier. That’s the whole point of technology.

If it makes survival easier, it leads to fewer mistakes.

Here’s a table showing a few of the best survival watch options available on the market today. I included several price points but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Survival Watches Comparison Table

WATCH PRICE SENSORS POWER EXTRA INFO
survival-watch-1
Casio Pathfinder
High – Check Today’s Price Alt
Bar
Therm
Compass
Solar All Around Great Survival Watch
casio-watch-rangeman
Casio G Shock Rangeman
High – Check Today’s Price Alt
Bar
Therm
Compass
Solar Triple 10 – 10 Meter Fall Endurance / 10 Bar Water Resistance / 10 Year Battery Life
casio-watch-mudmaster
Casio G Shock MudMaster
High – Check Today’s Price Temp Only Battery Mud Resistant – Can Withstand Harshest Envrionments
survival-watch
Casio Solar Sport Combo
Low – Check Today’s Price None Solar Budget Friendly Solar Survival Watch

You can find out about even more recommended survival watches at my Survival Watches Guide.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.
About The Author –

I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and spend as much time as I can outdoors. Prepping has always been in my family, being self-reliant is in my blood. – Steve The Survivor

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Top-end batteries for off-grid living

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CEO Elon Musk and the Telsa Powerwall

 

A good off-grid battery can cost you anywhere from $70- $2000 and last between 4-10 years, if you look after it right. And the best buy is NOT a Tesla.

Experienced off gridders know how crucial it is to have good energy storage capacity, to ensure comfortable living. We’ve gone ahead and broken it down for you, so you don’t have to.

 

  1. Deep-Cycle Lead-Acid Batteries
    Lifespan: 4-8 years

    Price: $69.99 for a 35Ah 12V battery.  These are probably the best you can get right now, in terms of price vs quality. This is a battery that you can charge to a significant amount and which can provide a steady amount of useable power for extended periods of time. They are designed to be regularly deeply discharged using most of its capacity and can be stacked. Lasting around 20 hours per charged use and 4-8 years, this battery is a low-cost favorite for the outdoor lifestyle.
  2. Sealed Lead-Acid Batteries
    Lifespan: 2-4 years

    Price: $60These beauties use gelled or absorbed electrolytes and although bearing some resemblance to the ones above, there are a few distinct differences between the two. In some ways, the sealed alternatives are better than deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. They require no maintenance other than charging, work well with small solar arrays and can be charged to lower voltages as lower charge rates, don’t leak or suffer terminal corrosion are easily stackable so will take up less space in a battery bank which is a big plus when you’re pushed. They are extremely sensitive, meaning that they can be damaged easily if they are overcharged, and may not even work if they are undercharged. Also, they are similarly as priced as their competition but their life span is only half as long. So that’s a big thumbs down for reliability and being cost effective.
  3. Tesla, Powerwall
    Lifespan: Over 10 years

    Price: $3,000-$3,500Now this battery was designed to power your entire home using renewable battery power, indefinitely. CEO of Telsa, Elon Musk refers to it as changing the “entire energy infrastructure of the world.” and you can watch him unveil it here. Powerwall comes in 10 kWh weekly cycle and 7 kWh daily cycle models. Both are guaranteed for ten years and are sufficient to power most homes during peak evening hours. Multiple batteries may be installed together for homes with greater energy need, up to 90 kWh total for the 10 kWh battery and 63 kWh total for the 7 kWh battery. The only downside is the price. The 7 kWh model is priced at $3000 and the 10 kWh at $3500. So if you can afford to splurge, this is the battery to break the bank!
  4. LG Chem, New Generation System
    Lifespan: Over 10 years

    Price: $2,000. The South Korean company has released a new battery system in Australia which offers low and high voltage options to your household with its new battery storage systems ranging from a stackable 3.3kWh lithium-ion system to a 9.8kWh system. LG Chem says its battery storage systems are pitched at households that want to store the output of their solar systems for use in the evening, minimising the amount of solar energy that is sent back to the grid, and which no longer attract significant tariffs. The battery is being trailed in Australia and will later be released to the rest of the world. LG Chem Li-Ion 3.2kWh 48V battery expansion pack is retailed at just over $2,000.
  5. Sonnen, Eco Compact
    Lifespan: Warranty for up to 10,000 cycles

    Price: $5,950The German battery company revealed their newest invention in home battery system earlier this summer. The Eco Compact is said to have been designed to increase grid-tied solar consumption and is available at up to 40 percent the cost of Sonnen’s other products. It’s an ‘all-in-one residential solar battery solution and represents the latest evolution of the company’s smart energy management products. Using Sonnen’s proven self-learning software, the eco compact provides various grid-tied functions – increasing household solar self-consumption, managing time-of-use and supporting grid services, not including backup power.’ The fully integrated 4-kilowatt-hour eco compact system retails for $5,950 plus installation, which can range from an additional $500 to $3,000, depending on the customer.
  6. According to UK-based IMS Research,the global market for power storage from solar panels is expected to soar from $200 million in 2012 to $19 billion by 2017 making that a ninety-five-fold increase in just five years time! With demand on the market for batteries that will be compatible with off-the-grid alternative energy systems increasing rapidly we can assume we are going to be positively spoilt for choice when shopping for the best battery.

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Propane-Powered Generators: Are They the Best Choice?

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Propane Powered Generators-Recently I was asked the following question by someone who wants to install a 5000-watt generator to run their home in case of a power failure:

What is the best choice for fuel, propane, gasoline or diesel?

This reader is leaning towards getting a propane-powered generator. The choices are confusing, and a guide like this one can help the newcomer to the world of generators make the best choice.

I have been doing some research on the subject and here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of all three fuels for generators: gasoline, diesel, and propane.

Gasoline:
  • Advantages:
    •  Easily obtained
    •  Portable in small containers
  • Disadvantages:
    • Highly flammable
    • Short shelf life of fuel (approximately 12 months)
    • Storing large quantities of fuel is hazardous
    • May not be available during power outages
Diesel:
  • Advantages:
    • Least flammable fuel source
    • Fuel easily obtained (fuel is easier to obtain during a disaster because it is a necessary fuel for the military, trucking industry, and farming operations)
    • On site fuel delivery available
    • Designed for off-road applications and can operate on dyed or farm/construction diesel fuel which is sold without the road tax and thus is considerably cheaper to purchase.
    • Engines designed to work under a load for long periods of time and perform better when worked hard rather than operated under light loads.
    • In high use situations overall long term cost of operation is much lower than gaseous GenSets.
  • Disadvantages:
    • 18-24 month shelf life, without additives
    • Installing large storage tanks raises cost of system
    • May not be available during power outages.
    • Engine noise is higher on a diesel compared to a gaseous engine.
    • Requires clean moisture free fuel and a bit more maintenance than a comparable gaseous unit;

.

Propane:**See propane notes below.
  • Advantages:
    • Long shelf life
    • Clean burning
    • Easily stored in both large tanks or in smaller 5 – 10 gallon cylinders
    • Home delivery available for larger tanks
    • Quieter engine noise level
    • Less expensive units with air-cooled engines are budget priced.
    • Engine life for liquid-cooled 1800 RPM engines can approach 5,000 to 6,000 hours on industrial quality gaseous GenSets
  • Disadvantages:
    • Pressurized cylinder of flammable gas
    • Fuel system is more complicated (increased possibility of failure)
    • Somewhat expensive fuel, check your local prices
    • Propane can become very dangerous if lines are broken.
    • Initial cost of generator is somewhat higher, 15 to 20% especially in sizes larger than 30 kW.
    • More expensive to operate by as much as 3-times the fuel consumption compared to diesels;
    • Smaller air-cooled gaseous engines are less expensive than comparable diesels but have a short life expectancy as low as 500-hours depending on engine make and use

Propane produces 92,000 BTU’s per gallon, gasoline is capable of producing 114,000 BTU’s per gallon, and diesel is capable of producing 129,500 BTU’s per gallon. This means that it will take more propane per hour that either gasoline or diesel to run a generator.

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How much propane will my generator burn per hour?

    • It requires 2 horsepower to produce 1000 watts of energy per hour under load
    • Under load each horsepower consumes 10000 BTU per hour
    • Propane contains 92,000 BTU per gallon
    • Propane weights 4.2 pounds per gallon

Using these factors how long can a 5000-watt generator run on a 500 gallon propane tank at 50 capacity.

    • 10 horse power at 50% would use 5 HP to generate 2500 watts of electricity
    • 5HP X 10,000 BTU would consume 50,000 BTU per hour
    • 500 gallons X 92,000 = 46,000,000 BTU of energy in a full 500 gallon tank
    • 46,000,000 BTU divided by 50,000 BTU = 920
    • A 500-gallon tank that is full would run a 500-watt generator at ½ capacity for 920 hours.

After comparing the various fuels, I would probably go with propane for a large generator in a fixed setting. I would want a minimum of a 1000 gallon tank. For small generators I would go with a tri-fuel generator. Tri-fuel generators burn propane, gasoline and natural gas.

If you choose to purchase a large generator you need to weight the cost versus the benefits. Is running a generator worth the cost? Another consideration is how much fuel you are able to store. Propane tanks store indefinitely, which is another reason the propane generator is a good choice.

Howard

 

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The War On Coal: Going Green On Energy

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solar panel

One of the left’s holy grails is clean energy; the idea of using 100% renewable energy sources, which don’t cause any pollution whatsoever. That’s a nice dream, if you can accomplish it, but the technology just isn’t there, no matter what environmentalists say.

The thing is, there are only two energy sources which are considered by the left to qualify as green or environmentally friendly; solar and wind. As a former engineer and consummate tinkerer, I happen to know a fair amount about those two. I’ve built both solar panels and a wind turbine for my home, so I have a fair idea of what they can do and what they can’t.

But as we all know, the left isn’t interested in facts, they’re too focused on their ideology. As far as they’re concerned, all they have to do is legislate it and POOF! It will appear. It must be nice to life in such a fantasy world, but I’ve never found how to move there.

Does Nature Have a Back  Up Plan?

Both wind and solar power have the same failings. First of all, they are extremely inefficient. I’ve watched solar power for over 40 years now, hoping that there would be a breakthrough in power production, allowing solar to truly become a viable energy source.

But the only breakthroughs that have been made in that area are to build flexible panels and make some very minor improvements in efficiency. For over 40 years of research, what they’ve come up with is not worth mentioning.

Wind power seems to be doing somewhat better, at least in efficiency. Today, 4.7% of our nation’s electrical power is produced by wind, compared to a paltry 0.6% which comes from solar. While that doesn’t hold a candle to nuclear power at 20% or coal and natural gas, both of which account for 33%, it’s fast approaching the power production from hydroelectric power plants, which account for 6% of our nation’s power production.

In the last 20 years, we’ve seen wind power grow from 6.1 gigawatts to 283 gigawatts globally. That’s an increase of over 46 times. In the same time frame, solar power has risen from 0.6 gigawatts to 100 gigawatts. That’s an amazing 166 times what it was 20 years ago! But it will be a long time until either of these power sources can be taken seriously as a replacement for fossil fuels.

The big problem with both wind and solar is that they are unreliable. Solar power only works during daylight hours and only produces its peak production when the panels are pointed directly at the sun.  Few solar farms have solar trackers installed, so they are rarely running at peak production. Then there’s the problem of clouds, rain and snow, all of which reduce the potential output of any solar power facility.

Wind is actually more reliable than solar, as it can work 24 hours a day. But even then, it depends on constant wind, something that exists in only a very few places. While meteorologists can predict to some degree when there will be wind, they really can’t do a thing to guarantee it.

What this means is that for both of these power sources it’s necessary to have backup. Something has to be ready to provide power to the customers, when the wind and solar power plants aren’t producing. That something is the environmentalists’ enemy, fossil fuels.

In other words, for every solar farm or wind farm that’s out there, producing electricity, there is a coal, natural gas or nuclear power plant running at less than its full potential, waiting to step in and produce the electrical power people and businesses need, when green energy falls short. So maybe those green options aren’t really as green as the left would like us to believe. Maybe they’re nothing more than a chimera being chased by little children.

As long as these green energy sources can’t be relied upon, something else will be needed. Oh, they might build more wind and solar farms, but they won’t be able to eliminate other energy sources, regardless of what laws are passed and what decrees some from on high.

The big problem is one of storage. Energy production has to match energy consumption more or less exactly. Otherwise, we end up with brownouts and blackouts. Under the current system, the power companies, in cooperation, regulate the amount of power produced, so that it matches that which is consumed. That means there is a never-ending dance to increase and decrease power output from the nation’s power plants, in an effort to match what over 300 million people, their electronics, their homes, and their businesses consume.

You see, there’s no efficient means of storing electricity in large amounts. Can you imagine a battery that is big enough to store the electricity that a city consumes in a day?

Tesla’s Powerwall, the biggest, most efficient battery for home energy storage holds 6.4 kWh, for a price of about $3,000. Considering that the average home energy usage in the United States is over 30 kWh per day, it would take 5 of those per household, and that doesn’t take into consideration business, government or industrial use of electricity, all of which are much higher.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

Clearly, it leaves us needing to rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy for the majority of our energy production; at least for now. There are many people researching energy production and storage, hoping to come up with something better than we have now; but they haven’t grabbed the gold ring just yet.

Nevertheless, liberals are hot on the tail of eliminating the dirty energy created by fossil fuels.

We’ve been hearing for some time about Obama’s war on coal, which is being echoed by his protégé, Hillary Clinton. Apparently the two of them are convinced that all they have to do is regulate coal energy out of existence and by some magical means, green energy will appear to replace it.

It would be bad enough if this fantasy was limited to those two, but it’s a common fantasy shared by liberals around the world. I keep seeing articles about European countries that are going green, eliminating dirty coal and converting totally to wind and solar power.

Yet in the midst of all that, Germany, one of the world’s leaders in pushing for green energy, has finally woke up to the realization that they can’t afford to go green. That’s right, after pouring billions of dollars into green energy, they’ve finally woken up to the fact that they just don’t have enough money to totally convert their country to renewable energy sources.

Believe it or not, there are countries out there who are 90% or more green. But there are two things that stand out about those countries. The first is that their overall energy usage is rather low, as most of them are not really industrialized nations. The second is that the vast majority of the green power production in those countries is not from solar or wind, but from hydroelectric dams. That’s where the world’s real green energy is.

Of the 17 countries in the world who produce over 90% of their electrical energy via renewable resources, only one, Norway, can actually be considered an industrialized nation. Yet the U.S. solar power production (which is our lowest contributor) is 127 times greater than their total renewable power production. Oh, and, 98.6% of Norway’s renewable power is hydroelectric, not solar or wind.

So the next time you hear someone on the left bellyaching about how our electric power production is so dirty, and how horrible we are as a country, let them complain.

If you can, get them to talk about Norway, stepping into your trap. You can then tell them that the only reason that Norway is doing so good at green energy is that 98.6% of their electrical energy is produced by big ugly electric power dams. Let them chew on that for a while.

energy consumption

Facts and Figures

Actually, the country which produces the most green energy in the world is China, beating out the United States by 2.4 to 1. But they are also the worst country in the world for air pollution produced by power plants. So, even though they produce a lot of renewable energy, they are contributing more to greenhouse gases than anyone else.

The United States is number one in the world for wind power production. We’re number eight for solar. We’re number four for hydroelectric. So maybe we’re not doing all that bad. Granted, we use more electricity than any other country in the world, except China, but we’re working on producing more green energy.

The other point to make to leftists about green energy is that the advances we’ve made in green energy haven’t been caused by government regulation or by Obama’s war on coal, but rather by the same power companies they complain about. Because, you see, the government really doesn’t produce anything but red tape and heartburn.

So, when states like Oregon create laws that outlaw coal power, they’re not accomplishing much of anything. All they are really doing is raising the energy costs for their citizens and setting themselves up for energy shortages.

Outlawing coal power isn’t going to make wind more efficient. It’s not going to make solar more efficient. Nor is it going to make wave power generators suddenly become a major player in the electrical power generation game. All it’s going to do, is cause people trouble.

As with many other things, the real way to get progress is to encourage innovation. If they want to do something, then they should invest some of that money they’re wasting on fighting global warming in research aimed at alternative energy sources. Maybe then, that money will do some good.

EMPCover2

This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601514/germany-runs-up-against-the-limits-of-renewables/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Norway

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13 year old kid invents free energy device for under $15

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You think of 13 year old kids as playing with their game machines or their iPods, but this kid has invented a real free energy device, he is really harvesting energy from the air, he is modeling his life after Tesla in many ways, I like this kid! It makes me wonder just where he will be when he grows up.

https://youtu.be/yPhRq5r8iqg

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How To Live Off The Grid

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How To Live Off The GridHow To Live Off The Grid Introduction

Figuring out how to live off the grid takes serious long term planning. It also takes dedication and more importantly know-how.

And that’s why I guess you’re here; to begin your research on how to live off the grid. What it takes, where to start, which power setup is right for you.

So this article is going to help answer those questions and to introduce you the best off-grid solutions. The solutions that will allow you to start putting together your “living off the grid” strategic plan.

Specifically, will cover the following topics in detail:

  • Definition Of Living Off The Grid
  • Choosing An Off Grid Shelter (some popular options)
  • Getting Off The Power Grid
  • Heating Your Off Grid Home
  • Supplying Water Off The Grid
  • Storing and Pressurizing Your Off Grid Water System
  • Managing Waste Streams Off Grid
  • Off Grid Food Independence
  • 10 Thing We Wish We’d Known Before Going Off Grid

So let’s get started.

Definition Of Living Off Grid

Before we deep dive into all these off grid topics, it’s worth a quick note about what we mean by living off grid. Because it can mean slightly different things to different people.

However, I think we can all agree that living off the grid means being off of the electrical grid. But to me, that’s just one aspect of how to live off the grid.

I like the idea of getting off all grids and systems, not just the power grid. Working toward the ultimate goal of 100% self-reliant living. Self-reliance includes off grid heating, water supply, sanitation, and food.

By the time you finish reading this article, you will have a full understanding of all your “off grid” options and the pros and cons of each. Helping you take meaningful action to start planning your off grid escape.

Choosing An Off Grid Shelter

First up, let’s go over a few of the most popular off grid shelter options. You could go with a small home, a log cabin, an RV, or a yurt. There are also a few unique options you could consider such as a shipping container or an earth bag home.

Regardless of the option you choose, they all have one thing in common; small. Why? Because were focused on off grid and it’s easy and faster to get off the grid with waste efficiency sided shelters.

Large sprawling mansions take an enormous amount of electricity to power and heat. That equates to more money and resources to get off the grid. So unless money is no object for you, you’ll want to keep your energy and heating requirements as low as possible.

We will deep dive into power and heating specifics shortly, but the bottom line is; smaller and more efficient is the way to get off grid sooner rather than later.

Here’s a short inspirational video of some real off grid homes. There are a few large luxury homes in this video, which are interesting but not practical for most of us. But many of these options are solid ideas and worth seriously consideration.

Any of these shelters will work for an off grid home, but the real key to getting off the grid is power generation, so that’s what we’ll cover next.

Getting Off The Power Grid

Before you spend any time, energy, or money getting off the power grid, you should focus on using less first.

The less energy you use, and the less you waste, the easier/faster you can make the off grid switch.

Heck, if you start using zero power right now, you can be grid power independent immediately. Seriously, think about early frontier homesteads before the invention of electricity. They lived 100% off the grid because there was NO grid.

But nowadays, we’re not forced to that extreme. Due to modern technology, we take advantage of the power of electricity to help make our lives easier. And I’m not referring to easier like TV or video games, but for real beneficial technologies like refrigeration.

Living without refrigeration is a major hassle. Not one most people want to even think about.

So the modern luxuries you should start cutting in preparation for off grid life are TV, video games, evening lighting, computers, clothes dryers, hair dryers, microwaves, etc.

Again, you don’t need to remove all electrical luxuries, but the more you cut, the cheaper and quicker living off the grid will be.

You’ll also want to focus on acquiring energy efficient appliances. The less energy these devices use, the smaller and more affordable you’re renewable off power grid system will become.

So spend serious time putting together your energy usage game plan early in your off grid planning.

To help facilitate this planning, I recommend getting a P3 P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Meter. This meter allows you to track and measure your home’s energy usage device by device. Figuring out what uses the majority of your homes energy helps prioritize your off grid plan.

Plus, recording this data will be essential when it comes to sizing your off grid power system. Helping you plan the size and number of solar panels or the size of your wind turbine, etc.

The bottom line is that lower your ongoing energy requirements are, the easier it is to get off the grid.

Your Three Main Power Options

There are three fundamental ways to generate off grid power:

  1. Solar Panels
  2. Wind Turbines
  3. Micro Hydraulic Generators

Otherwise, known as; Sun, Wind, and Water.

Each of these systems focuses on natural energy sources that surround us every day. We just need the right tools and technology to harness and capture it for our off grid needs.

1 – Solar Panels

Solar panels are what most people think first when they hear the term off grid. Buy a few panels, slap them on your roof, and voila, you’re off the grid.

But not so fast, there’s obviously more to it that than.

First, you need the sun and lots of it. If you live in Alaska where winter months barely see the sun or Seattle where a permanent cloud often blocks the sun, then solar is not going to be in the cards for you.

So assuming you do live in a region that has an abundance of sunny days per year, you’re also going to need to invest in a battery system.

However, solar power does not provide a consistent amount of power. At night when the sun goes down, yo produce zero power and in the mornings and afternoons, they produce less than at the Sun’s apex.

So you’ll need a way to store the excess energy in a battery bank during peak energy production hours so you can use some of that stored energy when production is low (or at zero).

We’ll focus more specifically on your battery options shortly, but for now, just know it’s an essential component to your solar energy off grid plan.

Here’s the ultimate DIY off grid solar panel video guide, it’s a must watch and will explain and answer just about any question you have in regards to off grid solar:

Here’s a good solar panel starter kit you can invest in to start building your off grid solar system.

Let’s recap the pros and cons of using solar for you off grid living needs:

Solar Pros

  • Method That’s Proven To Work
  • No Moving Parts So Relatively Low Maintenance
  • Plenty of Sizing Options – Start Small and Expand Over Time
  • Works Great In Abundant Sun Regions

Solar Cons

  • Depends on Sunny Region
  • Requires Battery System
  • Costs Can Be Expensive (epecially if hired out)
  • Takes Electrical Knowledge If DIY

2 – Wind Turbines

Wind power is another proven natural energy source, but it has similar challenges as solar. The Wind comes, and it goes, so it’s not a consistent source of power. Hence, again, you’ll need to pair it with a bank of batteries.

There are regional considerations and local considerations with the wind. First of all, some regions of the USA get lots of wind on a regular basis. And if your off grid home location is in one of these regions then that’s a major plus.

But you also need to consider your local surrounding land. The less wind blocking obstacles such as hills and trees the better. Otherwise, you’ll need to install the wind turbine relatively high off the ground (above these barriers) to get a clear wind profile.

But higher installs add another level of complexity. Wind turbines require occasional maintenance, so the higher you mount it, the more difficult it is to access for regular maintenance. It’s a significant tradeoff you’ll want to be aware of before you install one on your off grid property.

And that’s the other thing with wind turbines, they are rotating mechanical devices that require regular maintenance and repair. So there will be ongoing costs related to this or if you plan to DIY the maintenance, you’ll need to spend some time educating yourself on your turbine.

And there’s more technologies in these devices than you first suspect. So if you’re not technically inclined, wind turbines might not be your best option.

Wind Turbine Pros

  • Plenty of Sizing Options
  • Method That’s Proven To Work
  • Works Well In Windy Locations

Wind Turbine Cons

  • Depends On Windy Region
  • Needs Batty System
  • Moving Parts Require Maintenance and Repair

Here’s a good wind turbine overview. This guy was able to install a wind turbine and connect it to his bank of deep cycle batteries in a fairly straight forward setup. So it can be done:

Here’s the 24 volt, 1600 watt Missouri Freedom Wind Turbine. This company is known for their excellent customer support to get your turbine up and operational.

3 – Micro Hydro Generator

And now we come to the water turbine, and it’s one my favorite options (if available). The reason it’s my favorite is due to its continuous, reliable power producing nature.

If you can find the right flowing water source, this option is simply fantastic. The key is finding the RIGHT source.

For a water turbine to work, there are a few requirements:

You need a steady and reliable flow of natural water (think rivers, streams, large creeks, waterfalls, etc.) Stagnate water won’t work and seasonal flows won’t work for continuous power either. If a drought can dry up the river every summer, you’ll lose your source of energy during those dry seasons.

The reason is that the flowing water is your energy source. It’s the same idea as a water wheel. The ones created for manufacturing before the advent of electricity.

Nowadays, instead of having to use mechanical energy (water wheels and gears) to create power, we can use a modern water turbine design.

Water turbines are much smaller than water wheels and convert the water flowing energy into electricity. Then you can use wires to transport that electrical power to your home.

Like I said, largest advantage of the water turbine is the constant flow of energy. Again, assuming the water flow is strong and reliable, you may be able to get away without energy storage (aka battery systems).

As we’ll discuss shortly, battery systems are great, but they are an added headache. They are amazing, but it’s always better to not need them at all when possible.

But even if you still must employ a battery system, you’ll be able to wake up every morning to a fully loaded battery system. With solar and the wind, you’ll start off most mornings in an energy deficit.

So what’s the downside? The biggest hurdle to using water turbines for you off grid home is finding a location with a flowing water source and then purchasing it. Properties with water sources such as these are hard to find. And when you do find them, you typically have to pay and arm and a leg for them.

Especially if you buy an already established off grid home.

If you’re able to snag a remote location, you’ll probably pay a little bit less, but then you have to build a house in a remote location and then build a road to access this home, etc.

You’re also out of luck in a situation of a severe drought. You need to fully understand where the water source is starting from and how reliable it is.

For example, if the water source comes from melting mountain snows, what happens during a record low winter snowfall? Will your strong creek turn into a dry creek bed for five months that summer? Not good.

Here’s a good video giving you one way to setup a micro hydro turbine:

Here’s a more advanced DIY option showing you how to make a vertical turbine hydro generator with permanent magnets:

And a final video of using a low flow creek with a steep grade to generate your power from:

To recap:

Water Turbine Pros

  • Constant Power – Batteries May Be Optional
  • No Regional Limitations

Water Turbine Cons

  • Hard To Find  A Good Setup (rare)
  • Land Costs
  • Sever Droughts
  • Moving Parts Require Mainteance and Repairs

So those are your 3 main off grid energy generation options. To complete this section, let’s talk about battery systems for a moment.

Off Grid Battery Systems

A Note About Battery Technology

Battery technology has come a long way in recent years, and I foresee it making more leaps and bounds in the coming years. One of the latest iterations is the Tesla Power Wall. It’s a first step in making large, safe and simple battery bank systems available to the masses.

Sure, dedicated DIY’er have been stringing deep cycle batteries together for years. And this is still the best option today for your money. But sooner or later, battery technology will advance, allowing the masses to start getting off the power grid. And the sooner, the better because it’s a technology that helps increase our society’s self-reliance instead of reducing it.

The Deep Cycle Battery Bank

But for now, the traditionally connected bank of deep cycle batteries is tried and true, and works just fine. This setup will effectively store your excess off grid energy production. The biggest downside is the chemicals and safety issues related to storing these chemicals in or near your off grid home.

Another downside is that these battery systems have a life span. Chemical based batteries only have so many loading and unloading cycles before they are no longer viable.

That is unless you learn how to properly recharge them.

So it’s an occasional expense you’ll need to deal with and if SHTF, battery replacement will become more challenging than swinging into a local Battery Plus store.

Here’s a couple videos giving you some more details related to your off grid living battery options.

First up is information on selecting the right type and size batteries for your off grid systems:

And here’s a small DIY battery system to give you an idea how to get started. Plus, it shares some “what not to do” tips, which are very helpful:

Hybrid Off Grid Energy Systems

I recommend you invest in a couple of these off grid power systems. There’s no reason you can’t take advantage of both solar and wind. Or water and solar. Or all 3.

Backup, redundant systems, make total sense. Especially if electricity downtime is highly detrimental for your specific off grid setup. Like if you’re planning on running a refrigerator and freezer.

Heating Your Off Grid Home

Thus far we’ve only focused on off grid electrical energy solutions but what about heat? Unless you live in a year-round mild climate (San Diego or Hawaii), then you’ll need a to generate heat in the cooler months.

There are several options to heat your off grid home but using traditional electric heaters is not a viable one. At first glance it would seem like using electricity would make the most sense, right? Since we just covered the topic of how to generate our own off grid electrical power, why not just use this electricity to warm your home?

The reason is that it takes a massive amount of electrical energy to convert enough of it into heat. You’ll likely need way more electrical power than you’re willing to invest in these systems to heat your home this way.

For the lucky few, you might be able to get away with this setup if you have a fantastic water turbine configuration generating copious amounts of constant energy. Paired with a small well-insulated home it’s possible to make a setup like that work, but that’s exceedingly rare.

So for this article, I’m going to cover my three favorite non-electrical heating options and let you decided from there.

Again each option has its tradeoffs. The main options I’m going to cover to produce heat are a firewood rocket stove, a geothermal system, and a compost heating system.

1 – Rocket Stove

If firewood is abundant at your off grid property, then you should take advantage of that. But chopping firewood for a traditional fireplace is a brutal never-ending chore. You’ll need to chop down trees and split wood all summer long to prepare for the winter.

And you’ll need to stay a season ahead of the game. Green, freshly chopped, wood doesn’t burn effectively or efficiently. It needs a season to dry out before it’s ready to heat your home. So you need to chop this year’s stockpile for next year’s winter. For our forefathers, it was a continuous, grueling, but essential chore for their very survival.

For the time being, you can pay someone else to do the work. Find a local landscaper selling firewood and get a several cords each year for winter. You’ll just need to haul it and not worry about slipping and chopping.

But in this situation, you’re relying on others which goes against our central premise of getting off the grid systems. So you’ll want to know how to do this chore yourself. You can use a chainsaw as long as there’s fuel available to run it. But if you cannot longer get fuel, then what? Time to get your manual ax out and learn what callouses are all about.

So that’s the tradeoff with firewood. The more self-reliant you want to be, the more work it is. It’s not like electricity where once you set it up all you need to do is maintain it. With a firewood based heat source, it’s always going to be a constant job if you want to be 100% self-reliant.

But even with all that said, I still like firewood systems for generating heat for small off grid homes. Why? Because of the latest iteration of fireplace technology called rocket stoves.

Rocket stoves use firewood much more efficiently. You will get more BTU’s out of each log than a traditional fireplace. This means you need less firewood for the winter. Less wood means less work.

Here’s an excellent introduction to rocket stoves you should watch:

2 – Geothermal Heating Systems

One option that seems to be getting more and more attractive is using geothermal. A geothermal heating unit uses about a third of the energy of an all-electric based heating unit. And the trend is only getting better from an energy efficiency standpoint.

So why does a geothermal system use so much less energy? Because it’s not converting electricity directly into heat, the electrical is only pumping water and moving air via fans. The basic concept is using the constant temperature of the earth (

The basic concept is utilizing the constant temperature of the earth (vs. the air) to exchange heat.

This difference between the ground temperature and air temperature (in combination with using a refrigerant) turns the heat differential into heat for your off grid homes. I won’t bore everyone with all the technical details, check out this article if you want, but the bottom line, this system is a great option for your off grid abode.

So geothermal is moving more from the fringes to a real off grid option to seriously consider:

Here’s a short video of a DIY geothermal install in the mountains of West Virginia:

3 – Compost Water Heater

This option is powerful and works well with the right setups. What I love about this heat source is that you should compost on your off grid property anyhow.

The idea behind using compost for heat is the energy released in the breakdown of organic materials. When organic materials break down, they release large amounts of excess heat in the process. You can then capture some of this heat using water tubes and the principles of heat transfer.

The best example of this process in action is a regular garden compost. When done right, you can see, feel, and smell this heat when someone “turns over” a full functioning compost pile.

Fantastic, so what’s the catch? The catch is that you must continuously supply this setup with fresh organic material to break down. The good news is you can often find free bulk amounts of woodchips. And wood chips are a good organic compost material. You can also use grass clippings, leaves, or anything else that naturally decays. And if you’re raising livestock you can add their manure to the compost heat as well.

Livestock continuously emits a waste stream called manure. This manure is an excellent organic compound for composting.

Here’s several videos covering many more aspects and options related to setting up a compost heat energy source.

Off Grid Water Systems Options

Just like power, focus first on using less and wasting less.

Cut down on the frequency and length of your showers. Wash your dishes by hand and only turn the water on sparingly. Water management becomes even more critical if you start your off grid journey manually carrying water but reduced water use is good practice for any off grid water system.

After you cut down on your water needs, the next key to off grid water systems is having a source of reliable water. If your proposed location doesn’t have this, you need to think long and hard before you purchase any off grid land without water.

During a disaster, relying on shipped water to your off grid home is a terrible idea. Instead, you should focus on having a river, lake, pond, spring or stream nearby. Another possible option is having a water well drilled to tap into the water table.

So I’m going to assume you have a water resource within a reasonable distance from your home, and I’ll go over some options for how to best utilize this natural resource.

Carrying Water / Filling Storage Container’s Manually

It’s not ideal and not something you want to do long term. But it will help you get off the grid quickly. Whether it’s a natural spring, creek or pond. If worst comes to worst, you can always carry your water from this water source to your home. As long as you have a couple of 5 gallon containers.

Just be forewarned manually carrying water will get really old, really fast.

If you’re still in the planning phase of your off grid home location, you may want to take “distance from water source” into the off grid shelter build location.

Ideal Home Water Setup

Before we go into more water source options, I first want to talk about the ideal setup your water system. Ideally, you want both water storage and water pressure for you off grid system.

Why? Because water storage systems act similar to the battery systems we talked about earlier with electricity generation. Water storage allows you to us increasing or decreasing amounts of water “on your terms” and not on the water sources terms.

So you want your water source to fill up your water storage tanks, and then you use water out of your storage tanks.

Ideally, you also want to be able to pipe your water system into your off grid home with pressure. Pressure makes it so water will flow out your taps. Water pressure is a major convenience worth spending time, energy and money to setup up.

The good news is water storage is fairly easy. Just install a few large plastic containers between your water source and your home. The way to get pressure is a bit harder but still doable. You’ll need to raise your storage tanks above your home and use gravity to build water pressure naturally.

The way to get pressure is a bit harder but still doable. You’ll need to raise your storage tanks above your home and use gravity to build water pressure naturally.

So the best situation is to have your water source above your storage tanks so that they can fill up automatically using gravity. And then locating your water storage tanks above your home’s water taps, creating the water head pressure for your showers, kitchen and bathrooms.

Note: If you’re not 100% confident in the purification of the water, then water storage tanks make large scale purification possible.

Drilling A Water Well

This option works well for some property locations. You drill down underground and tap into the water table. At the bottom of this well, you add a water pump and use your off grid power energy to pump this water up from the water table.

Just be aware that it can be expensive to drill a dry well. So the best way to avoid this fate is not to be the first Guinea Pig in your area. Check out the closest neighbors first. If they have successful water wells, then you’re odds also installing a successful well go up significantly.

In some areas with really high water tables, you may be able to get away with digging your water wall by hand using one of these.

But for the majority of water wells, you’ll need a large rig to do the job and drill down hundreds of feet. Which is much more expensive but may be a great investment for the right property.

Using Gravity

If your water source (spring, pond, or creek) is physically higher than your home, then you can use gravity to flow the water to your home (and with pressure).

You’ll need to run a pipe system from the water source to your home water storage system. If you have enough head pressure (difference in height between the water source and your home), then this will automatically fill your homes water storage system.

Different Gravity Setups

Storage Tanks Setup As Personal Water Tower

As we already briefly covered, you’ll want to locate your storage tanks above your point of use water tap locations.

To fill your storage tanks locally without using any electrical power, you should invest in a hydraulic ramp up water system. They are an ingenious solution to using a little bit of gravity head pressure to fill your water storage tanks using check valves.

Once your setup with a hydraulic ramp up, it’s time to build your mini water tower storage system. Here’s a two video series showing a simple DIY water tank storage rack system for an

Here’s a two video series showing a simple DIY water tank storage rack system for an off grid home. They use this setup for their garden, but it creates enough pressure for most off grid home water applications as well.

One note of caution, with an above ground water tank storage system you have to worry about freezing in colder climates. If freezing is possbile for your location, you may need to look at some underground storage options, like a buried cistern.

Buried Cistern

Another option is to bury your water storage tank on a hillside. So instead of building up to storage your tanks, you may be able to take advantage of your natural topography and get pressure by burying a cistern on a hillside.

The primary benefit of doing this is to keep your water from freezing in the winter. Freezing water can be a big hassle for above water storage tanks in cooler climates.

Rainwater Harvesting

If you get a constant amount of rain per year, you should capture it via rainwater harvesting.

However, I have a hard time solely relying on this solution for your off grid water needs. Droughts happen from time to time and if that’s your only source of water your screwed when a drought shows up.

So rainwater harvesting is best used as a water subsidy rather than a primary source of water. If you pair rainwater harvesting with manually carrying water, that setup can work. If you’re in a typical rainfall year, you may get away without carrying much water. But you still have carrying water as a solid backup.

OK, so here’s two videos giving some details on how to set up an off grid rainwater harvesting system.

Managing Waste Streams Off Grid

You have three main waste streams you must plan for. 1) Human wastes 2) gray water wastes and 3) trash wastes.

Human and Water Waste Streams

One solution for both human wastes and gray water wastes is the tried and true septic tank. A septic system is the best route for those who can 1) afford to have one installed 2) can get the large equipment access to your location for installation and to pump out the solids every two years.

Here’s how septic systems work for those who are unfamiliar with their design:

Ok, so septic won’t work for every off grid home. So what are your other human waste and gray water options?

Human Waste – Compost

Turn your human wastes into compost by using a Composting Toilet.

Win, win. Turn your waste streams into compost. Use your compost to heat your water and your small home, then use the decayed compost to nurture and expand your garden.

So you can support your off grid heating needs and food independence using your fundamental core waste stream. Awesome.

Gray Water Waste

The easiest way to deal with your gray water outside of a septic system is to pipe it out away from your home so it can absorb naturally back into the ground. Some people even use their gray water to water their trees and gardens.

Just be cautious about any soaps or chemicals you use and end up in your gray water since those can be harmful to plants and trees in high concentrations.

Trash Waste Options

Non-Compostable Trash Waste

First off, reduce the amount of trash waste you generate.

And for all waste streams that are organic in nature, just add those to your compost heap. Duh!

For remaining wastes such as plastics, you have three options.

Option 1 – Collect these items in a secured, sealed location to keep critters and animals from getting at it. Once you’ve filled up your waste storage location, you’ll take the trash to your nearest landfill for disposal.

Option 2 – Bury it yourself. Make yourself a mini landfill on your property. This setup works well if you 1) have enough land, so you’re not burying your trash close to your actual home and 2) if you have a tractor with a front end bucket. Otherwise, you’ll be digging this pit by hand.

Option 3 – You can burn your trash in a burn barrel or burn pit. Growing up on a rural farm with did a hybrid of option 2 and 3. We used a tractor to dig a burn pit; then we added trash into the pit and occasionally lite it on fire. Then once the ash and soot built up and filled the pit, we buried it and dug a new pit.

Growing up on a rural farm, we used a hybrid of option 2 and 3. We used a tractor to dig a burn pit; then we added trash into the pit and occasionally lite it on fire. Then once the ash and soot filled the burn pit up, we buried it and then dug a new pit. Repeat.

Off Grid Food Independence

Gardening, aquaponics, raising livestock, hunting, trapping, fishing, preserving meats, etc.

Details into each of these food topics are beyond the scope of this article, however, I’d be missing a huge part of off grid living if I didn’t mention it.

Food independence is necessary for your off grid living especially if your reasons for getting off the grid include self-reliance. From purely survival and preparedness aspect, food independence is as important as power independence.

So you should spend some time researching each of these options and including them into your how to live off the grid plans. And if done right, you can create self-supporting systems.

Turning waste streams into compost, using compost for large garden plots. Growing foods that feed your livestock. Using livestock for meats, cheeses, and milk. And then breeding your livestock to replace the ones you use for meat.

Working towards getting your independent food systems in place to reduce your dependence on the food grocery store system.

10 Things We Wish We’d Known Before Going Off Grid

Ok, so to wrap this very long and broad topic, I thought I’d share a video of a couple who made the leap to off grid and what they’ve learned along the way. One of the best ways to learn is from other people’s mistakes and not your own. So asking the question “what would you have done differently” is one of the best questions you can ask to try and mistakes.

So with that said, here’s a video share 10 of those:

Remember: Prepare, Adapt, and Overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack

The post How To Live Off The Grid appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Your daily life with and without power

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Electricity is the blood of our modern world and we can’t function for more than a few hours without power. We take it for granted and we assume that electricity will always be part of our life, and we somehow forgot that our ancestors managed to live well-enough without power. This world will be a … Read more…

The post Your daily life with and without power was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

You may never need to charge your mobile again

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Wearable Solar by designer Pauline van Dongen

Wearable Solar by designer Pauline van Dongen

Imagine a world in which people will never again have to make a conscious effort to charge their devices; they will charge as we go about our daily lives, without being plugged in or resting on a charging pad. This is the industry’s vision for long-range, wire-free charging, but hurdles stand in the way. And even if obstacles, like regulatory approval, are overcome, ABI Research predicts that it will likely be years before these technologies become a mainstream solution.

‘Select retailers, auto manufacturers, enterprises, and mobile leaders like Samsung and Apple are moving wireless charging forward by integrating inductive charging into smartphones and wearables,’ says Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst at ABI Research. ‘But most wire-free charging technologies still need to meet regulatory approval, which could significantly delay product launches or even derail any momentum garnered thus far.’

The standards battle for short-range, inductive charging, and the early steps to resonant charging between the Wireless Power Consortium (Qi branded) and AirFuel is largely mitigated by multi-mode receivers, which are already leading shipments from market leaders like IDT. To supplement wireless charging in the meantime, numerous companies are advancing today’s battery technology through enhancements to existing Li-ion technology. Some, like portable fuel cell leader MyFC, even offer end users added flexibility and portability when charging their devices through methods like off-grid charging. But as wireless charging steps to the forefront of this market, the competitive landscape will focus less on competing technologies and more on the growing number of applications and use cases.

‘Inductive and resonant charging remain the best wireless charging options for now, with shipments clearing one billion by 2019,’ concludes Inouye. ‘Wire-free charging still has many questions to answer in the market. Energous looks like it will be the first company to start commercializing its claims, as it already secured the early critical licensees necessary to bring the products to market. It will debut short-range charging products that targets wearables to help seed the market before it expands to longer range solutions.’

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Forget peak oil – now its peak energy

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WorldEnergy_smallUnited States is leading a decline in energy use amongst advanced economies – with use down 2% last year despite GDP growth. The previous year (2013-2014) EU countries saw a 10% drop in energy use – partly due to economic chaos in Greece, Spain and Italy.

Th uneexpected fall is due to greater efficiency, new materials and the rise of renewables — all the standard projections still predict ever rising demand driven by population growth and the spread of prosperity in emerging economies. That assumption, however, begins to look too simplistic. The reality is more complex. Forget the old debate about peak oil. Now it seems we are approaching peak energy.

The data speak for themselves and are summarised here by Enerdata. It covers the 20 nations which represent more than 80 per cent of global gross “democratic” product.

Economic growth. Energy consumption

2015 + 2.8 % + 0.5 %

2014 + 3.4 % + 1.1 %

2003-13 + 3.7 % + 2.1 %

Within this aggregate data there are a number of different national stories reflecting the influence of different patterns of economic activity and of course the very different resource bases.

In the EU total primary energy demand is down by almost 11 per cent in the past decade. Oil consumption has fallen by 17 per cent; natural gas by almost a fifth.

In China demand growth has slowed in the past three years — as a result of the recession but also because of the changes in industrial structure. Coal remains the dominant fuel but falls in steel and cement production, and in efficiency gains, appear to have decoupled energy demand from GDP. The caution, as ever, is the quality of Chinese statistics.

In the US total energy consumption has been flat for the past decade, with a strong shift in the mix in favour of gas as a result of domestic shale developments.

India is in many ways the outlier. Strong economic growth is fully reflected in increased energy use, and in growing use of coal as the primary source of energy. Coal in India, as the Enerdata commentary puts it, is privileged and low cost. Some 35GW of new coal-fired power plants have been installed in the past two years alone.

Even though coal use fell in almost every other country, Indian consumption was sufficient (along with high levels of use in nations such as Germany) to allow coal to remain the largest single source of primary energy across the G20. The strongest growth in GDP and energy consumption is in areas still heavily reliant on coal in the absence of any readily available low-cost alternative for the production of power and heat. This tempers the impact of the slowdown in energy use on CO2 emissions. The trend is positive — emissions barely increased in 2015 — but not sufficient to meet the targets set at the Paris climate meeting last year.

The stagnation of total energy consumption highlights the fact that demand is not driven by price alone. The standard assumption might have been that sharply reduced prices — for oil, gas and coal — would lead to a rise in demand. The reality is that price signals are often muffled by subsidies (in countries such as India) and by taxation (as in the UK). In most countries factors other than price are clearly more important in determining how much energy we use.

The crucial factor in the shift in the relationship between economic growth and energy use is not price but technology. Those thinking of the future should take note of the fact that the obvious gains in energy efficiency and intensity clearly have further to go. As yet we have barely seen the benefits of smart meters and grids, the application of advanced materials and the continuing gains in areas such as fuel efficiency. There is more to come and an obvious target is the amount of energy that is still wasted.

Stagnation does not mean that we have yet reached peak energy demand. We do not know the details of what is happening in China or the extent to which the emergence of the Chinese from recession will push energy demand back up again. India is now the main driver of energy consumption and unsurprisingly, given the need for basic infrastructure and construction, energy intensity there continues to rise. It is hard to see that trend reversing. Worldwide, population growth continues and in addition there are still well over 1bn people excluded from the world market by poverty. If that number can be reduced, energy demand should grow — but, with OECD demand beginning to fall, the net result could well be that we will see peak global energy demand within the next decade.

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How to Make a Fire Piston Out of a Mini Flashlight

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A fire piston is an ancient device used to create embers for starting a fire. It’s usually made out of wood or metal, though in the distant past people even made them from bones. The principle behind it is adiabatic heating, where air is compressed so much and so quickly that it heats up to […]

The post How to Make a Fire Piston Out of a Mini Flashlight appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

PRACTICAL PREPPING. PERIOD. LAUNCHES ON THE AUTHORS ON THE AIR GLOBAL RADIO NETWORK

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When you choose to live a preparedness lifestyle and building resilience you have to constantly challenge yourself, test and reset boundaries and change the game. Your willingness to do so could prove to be the difference in making your life all it can be or even in your survival some day.

In 2012, we created Practical Tactical. In 2014 I published two books, the Practical Tactical Quick Start Guide and then co-wrote Practical Prepping: No Apocalypse Required. In 2015, my daughter Riley arrived and our world changed forever. What can possibly top that? Well, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Now it’s 2016 and it is time to get back in the ring, keep creating, thinking, growing and prospering. It’s time to change the game…again.

 

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I am thrilled to announce that we are taking our vision of personal preparedness world wide as proud members of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network as I launch my new show, Practical Prepping. Period.

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Practical Prepping. Period. is where preparedness theory meets the real world. We hope to bring you a variety of unique and wide ranging voices in the world of preparedness that will not only help you strengthen your preparedness when it comes to the basics, but also present a broader view to expand your ideas of what personal preparedness can be as we discuss some of the larger concepts, as well as the factors in today’s world that will make you realize why having a family disaster plan and a high level of individual resilience is a good idea. For example, the “three Es” (Environment, Energy, Economy) and how they work together will underpin our view of the world and our discussions. I feel this is important because regardless of where you are on the road to preparedness, the “three Es” will ultimately have an impact on your path. Other topics certain to be discussed on P3 are homesteading, gardening, first aid, firearms and self defense, climate, philosophy, water and food storage, not to mention spiritual preparedness.

I hope you will come along for the ride and make it a point to join us on the first Wednesday of each month at 9pm for our live shows where you will have the chance to call in and speak with our amazing guest. If that doesn’t work out for some reason have no fear, you can always download the podcast from the Authors On The Air Global Radio Network or ITunes and listen in whenever you get the chance.

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Keep up with everything Practical Tactical by subscribing to our mailing list and be sure to LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW us across all of our social media platforms as well.

Generator day

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It’s not exactly a holiday, but every so often you need to crank up the Honda EU2000. There are probably a few things that need to be drilled into everyone’s head at an early age…and one of those things should be ‘take care of your gear’. I’d bet money that almost no one here checks the air pressure in their spare tire on a regular basis.

20160624_084338The EU2000 has been, for my needs, an awesome product. Relatively quiet, it sips gas, is man-portable, and at around $1k isn’t going to break the bank too badly. Last summer when we had our hellaciously bad windstorm I was able to sit here with computer, internet, cable TV, cold beverages, and operational security cameras….all thanks to the little Honda and some foresight.

Speaking of foresight. The generator by itself isn’t enough. Accessories include, but are not limited to:

  • Lock and cable
  • Heavy-duty, contractor grade extension cords.
  • Fuel funnel
  • Extra filters
  • Fire extinguisher for refueling process
  • Dedicated supply of stored gas
  • Printed copy of startup/shutdown instructions fixed to generator
  • Hardigg case to hold everything
  • Flashlight/area light for initial setup
  • And a few other minor things

Everything fits in a happy little Hardigg case to keep stuff clean, dry, and protected. I use Evernote to keep track of preparedness-related stuff, so I’ll make an entry tagged ‘generator’ and set an alarm to remind me to do this again in another month.

The truth about solar

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The truth about solar

A current and interesting look at solar power today,we have truly come a long way. Of course battery technology is still pretty far behind, prices for solar panels have dropped significantly over the past few years making it affordable for more and more people,and the solar panel kits make it simple to get exactly what you want to get started.
https://youtu.be/nabM5MGq_NY

The post The truth about solar appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Portable Power Source Is Like AAA In Your Pocket!

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June 13th, 2016

Video courtesy of OTGN

This week Rich Murphy, a regular writer for Off The Grid News, shares with us some tips on how he uses his new Pocket Power X in his day to day life and also when in an “Off Grid” situation. Over the next few weeks Rich will be sharing with us just a few of the many uses of the Pocket Power X!

Learn More About The Amazing Pocket Power X And Get One For Yourself!

 

Previous Video

How to Get Power From a Phone Line During a Blackout

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If you’re at least 30, you probably remember a time when phones didn’t need to be plugged into electrical outlets. You just plugged them into the phone line and they worked–even when the power was out. That’s because phone companies send a little bit of power through the landlines, and they have backup generators that […]

The post How to Get Power From a Phone Line During a Blackout appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How to Get Solar Panels for FREE

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If you can afford to install solar panels on your roof, you’ll have a huge advantage during any disaster that knocks out the power. You’ll be able to keep running your lights, refrigerator, and possibly even your air conditioner. However, you’ll need a battery backup to make sure your solar panels continue working properly. Unfortunately, […]

The post How to Get Solar Panels for FREE appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

What Are Solar Flares?

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May 30th, 2016

Video courtesy of Science Channel

Solar flares erupt outward into space at up to 4.5 million miles per hour. What forces cause these explosions that can be the equivalent of millions of nuclear bombs detonating simultaneously?

New Special EMP Commission Report By Dr. Peter Pry explains the dangers of solar flares and EMP

 

Previous Video

15 Ways A Prepper Can Use Magnets

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Survivopedia 15 uses for magnets

If you only think about magnets as the things that keep your shopping list stuck to the fridge, then you are missing out on dozens of ways to use them. Both before and after a major crisis, you will be amazed at how much you will need them.

Have a look at this list of applications so that you can see where not having a robust supply of magnets in your stockpile can cause more problems than you anticipated.

Speakers and Radio Receivers

No matter whether you use a foxhole radio or build something a bit more robust, the system will be useless without some kind of receiver that translates the radio frequency back into sounds. Just about every speaker and receiver on modern communication devices rely on magnets.

If you cannot scavenge speaker parts, but you have a few magnets on hand, then you can still build a receiver with relative ease.

For example, this receiver is made of little more than paper, copper coil, and a magnet. It will work as well with a crystal radio as more complex designs that may be in your stockpile. In fact,if you need to replace a speaker/receiver for a phone, CD Player, DVD player, or just about any other device, you can use these crude speakers to gain access to the sounds made by the device.

Video first seen on Plusea.

Generating Electricity

Of all the uses for magnets, this is truly my personal favorite. All electricity generating systems come down to finding ways to get a magnet to cause current to flow in a nearby wire (coil).

Today, most systems set the magnet in the center of a complex, tightly wound coil to form a motor. Motors can be used to generate force to turn other objects, or they can be used to generate electricity. Depending on how the motor is designed, it may or may not be possible to use the motor for both purposes.

When it comes to generating power in a situation where “low tech” requires simple tools and low skill levels, it is my personal belief that it is better to find ways to get the magnet to spin while keeping the coils stationary. Even though less power may be generated using this method, the coils are far less complicated and can easily be wound by hand if needed. That being said, if you don’t believe this, try opening up even a simple 1 – 2 volt DC motor.

Pay careful attention to the coil wound to fit around the main shaft. Feel free to unwind it, and then see if you can rewind it exactly as you found it before. In just about every case, you will find this task impossible to achieve. Winding a coil is not like winding up a ball of yarn. Wire tends to be much stiffer, and it also can be much harder to line up without good quality motor winding tools. You will also need fresh wire on spools made specifically for winding coils.

From personal experience, and more than a few adventures with shorting motors and other assorted mischief, I can safely say that you should not, as a prepper, rely on anything that you can’t replace from scratch.

While there may be people that have the tools and materials available to build more complex coils, others are best served by using simpler methods that still get the job done. When it comes to generating electricity, you will find it easier to develop systems in which the magnets move and then you can replace simpler, DIY winder/hand wound stationary coils as needed.

Convert any Motor and Speaker into a Generator

Remember all those old motors you have laying around that you’ve been told can’t be used to generate electricity? Were you told that it would cost more to “convert” these motors than it was worth? This video reveals an incredibly easy way to attach a magnet to the shaft of a motor so that it can be used to generate electricity.

In this video, the magnet is placed near a speaker so that the vibrations from the speaker generate power. You can use this or other means to generate power. Just make sure that you are able to generate more power than what is consumed by the motor.

Video first seen on Giesbert Nijhuis.

Clean Algae from Hydroponics Aquariums

If you have any kind of aquarium, then you also know that algae is going to form and cause all kinds of problems. While you may be able to use a simple sponge to remove algae from smaller tanks, that is not going to be an option for bigger tanks that have areas that are hard to reach. In the meantime, during a crisis, any chemicals that you may be using to control algae will also be unavailable.

You can get rid of algae easily enough by placing one part of an aquarium safe magnet inside the aquarium. Next, use the other half to move the magnet around from outside the tank. As the magnet moves, it will also take the algae along with it. This option will release algae into the water, where it will be picked up by the filters. Just change the filter media in a few days and you will have solved your current algae problem.

Extend the Life of Your Hot Water Heater

Did you know that corrosion is the single greatest enemy of your hot water heater? Contrary to popular belief, it is not the water itself that causes the corrosion. Rather, it is calcium dissolved into the water that causes the corrosion.

Before producing scale on the inside of the heater, calcium will either form carbonate or aragonite. Even though calcium is not magnetic, strong magnetic fields do have an impact on it. In this case, as the calcium and water pass through a magnetic field, it will form aragonite instead of carbonate. Aragonite will either form no bond or a much weaker bond than carbonate on the inside of the water heater.

To take advantage of this effects, make sure that you have copper pipe going into the hot water heater. Place two neodymium magnets on the outside of the pipe and leave them there. When placing the magnets, make sure they do not interfere with the internal electronic workings of the heater.

The whole arena of magnetic treatment of water remains a controversial topic. Nevertheless, there has been some research done on reducing scale buildup inside hot water heaters. At the very least, adding two magnets won’t harm the heater, and might just do some good.

Extend the Life of an Engine

No matter whether you have a tractor or some other kind of farm equipment, the engines will wear out even if you have good oil and filters on hand.

Some of this wear can be reduced if you are able to keep metal bits from the piston and engine block from getting past the filter and back into the oil. Since many of these bits are magnetic, you can try placing a ceramic magnet in the oil pan.

As the oil flows into the pan, the metallic bits will be attracted to the magnet and trapped by it. When you change the oil, make sure that you clean the magnet before replacing it.

Close off Heating and Cooling Registers

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to close off parts of the house because you didn’t have enough resources to keep all the rooms warm or cool enough?

If you have central heating or any other system that relies on vents, your efforts to close off unused rooms will be of little use because the vents won’t completely close. You can use tinfoil or any other flexible, fireproof material to cover the registers , and then use the magnets to hold the material in place.

Why wait for a bad weather situation to use magnets this way? You can cut back on your heating and cooling bills right now just by finding a better way to close central heating registers in rooms that you aren’t using.

Cold Weapons

Some of the most interesting, and deadly weapons for defense can be made with magnets. There are three basic kinds to consider. If you have enough magnets and power, these devices can also be used for perimeter defense.

Railguns

These devices require two rails, a source of power, and, in the original versions, a projectile that conducts electricity. The projectile serves to close the circuit between the rails and the power supply.

railgun

Once the projectile reaches the end of the rails, it is going so fast that it will continue on its path without using more energy from the power source. There are also newer designs that do not require a projectile. Newer rail guns being developed by the military can use pure energy as the “projectile”. Typically, these guns fire as much as 33% faster than conventional explosive based guns.

Coilguns

Instead of using rails, coilguns are little more than a series of coils that are energized in a sequence that causes magnetic ammunition to move forward at great speeds. This sequence may also include inducing current in such a way that the bullet also rotates in the barrel without the use of rifling.

Coilgun_animation

When compared to railguns, coilguns are much easier to make. You can build a hand held version from magnets, wire, and a few capacitors.

Directed Energy Weapons

Instead of firing a projectile, these devices are designed to emit large amounts of energy at a specific target. Usually, the energy will disrupt or destroy electronic circuits or cause some other kind of damage.

Even though many of the more robust applications are beyond the average prepper, there are others that you may be able to build for the purpose of jamming radar or any number of weapons that use unshielded electronics. If you do decide to try and build magnet based weapons, make sure that you also know how direct energy weapons may be used to neutralize them.

In some cases, you may find that a few simple adjustments to the shielding will be enough to ensure your weapons continue working regardless of the kind of energy beam aimed at them. Other times, you may need to go back to more simple designs that eliminate integrated circuits and other vulnerable technologies.

Find True North Without a Compass

These days, just about everyone uses a GPS and a smart phone with a map app to find out how to get from Point A to Point B. In fact, even if you go camping, hiking, or off the beaten path, you may use a GPS for navigational purposes. No matter how many times you read about adding a compass to your bug out bag, chances are you haven’t gotten around to buying one. Worse yet, you may have settled for a cheap compass that doesn’t even work properly.

Let’s say a major disaster happens and you don’t have an hour or so to chart the position of the sun in order to figure out where North is. If you don’t have a compass, but you do have a magnet, you can make a crude compass with it. Just take a straight pin or a sewing needle and rub it across the magnet around 50 times. Make sure that you always rub the needle across the magnet in the same direction.

Next, push the needle or pin through something that will float easily in water. A cork, or any other buoyant item will work perfectly. Set the needle and the cork in a bowl of water so that the needle lays flat on the surface. The needle will point to true north as long as there are not other large metallic objects in the area to throw it off. As with any other compass, you must be careful about where you take your readings so that you do not wind up going astray.

Locate Magnetic Objects Hidden in Walls

As simple as this one may sound, it is also one of the most versatile ways to use magnets. If you are trying to locate studs, chances are they were nailed into place with nails that will respond to the presence of a magnet.

Why spend all that money on a stud finder when a magnet can just as easily do the job? Aside from that, anything magnetic in the walls will also cause the magnet to be attracted to it. This is a good way to locate magnetic pipes and anything else would be of interest.

Find Missing Magnetic Objects
When you have a homestead, or must maintain your own bug out location, you will wind up building and repairing many things. From building a wind turbine to adding on to your home, nails and other magnetic items are bound to fall and get lost. Instead of taking the chance of getting a nail stuck in your foot, or pulling everything apart to reach a valuable object, you can use a magnet to find and retrieve the object.

To get the most out of the magnet, simply attach it to a pole and then use the magnet end to sweep across the area where you have been working. Not only will you avoid a tedious visual search, you may just find a whole bunch of other magnetic objects that escaped your attention earlier.

Keep Metal Objects in Place 

No matter whether you are building a deck or sewing up some new clothes, you will wind up reaching for things like nails, pins, and other items that will rest in some kind of container. If you want to save time and make your tasks easier, you can use magnetic containers and bands to hold these items. For example, if you pinning a pattern to cloth, just use a magnetic strap around your wrist to hold the pins. You can also use a similar wrist strap to hold nails, screws, or even paperclips if you are assembling paper packets.

Here are some other simple ways to use magnets to keep objects organized and in place:

  • Take a plastic bowl and place a flat magnet under the bowl. Now you can add screws, paper clips, or anything else magnetic to the bowl. As you add items to the bowl, they will be drawn to the magnet and stay in place.
  •  Use magnetic strips on desk surfaces to store paper clips or other items that you use often. You can also use another magnet to hold paper notes to the magnetic strip.
  • If you happen to be driving and need to spread out a map, you can use magnets to hold the map to a flat surface on your vehicle.
  • When making repairs to your vehicle, you can also use magnets to hold diagrams in place while you are working.

Save Space and Organize Your Desk, Walls, and Cabinets

There is no such thing as a cabinet shelf or drawer that can be filled to capacity without creating more chaos. Magnets can be used to reclaim all kinds of wasted space and also help organize areas that you thought were impossible to manage.

Here are a few things to try:

  • Embed magnets in wood or other materials to create shelves that you can hang on the refrigerator. Just make sure that you use strong magnets and that the weight of the rack and items stored on it do not exceed the power of the magnet.
  • Use magnets to keep paper clips, nails, screws, and even keys organized in drawer systems.
  • Use magnet pairs to hold blueprints to walls and other locations where they will not take up space needed for other things.

As Parts of Toys for Children

When was the last time your kids actually built something or engaged in some activity without running off for the smart phone or the video game as quickly as possible?

No doubt, as prepper parents, you are struggling to find ways to keep your children active in the real and tangible world instead of constantly escaping into a virtual world that will disappear and leave them unable to manage even simple tasks in a crisis. Because magnets can be used for so many fascinating things, they can be used as parts in all kinds of projects.

Here are just a few things your children might enjoy building and exploring:

  • Simple experiments that show magnetic fields – just take some paper, a magnet, and iron filings to show your children what magnetic fields look like. For even more fun, try slowly spinning the magnet or seeing how the wave form for a magnet in an electric circuit looks
  • Magnetic levitation toys – your children can make everything from tops and spinners to vehicles that will run on rails.
  • For younger children, DIY versions of Mr. Potato Head, buildable construction sets, and much more can be built at little or no cost using magnets. If you are tired of throwing away all kinds of plastic toys because they break or require batteries, some of these ideas may be the perfect alternative. Try building these items with your kids and give them the chance to improve on motor and logic skills.
  • Science fair oriented projects – children of all ages that love to build things will have a wonderful time using magnets to build linear accelerators and explore other useful topics. This link offers just a few projects that can be built using household scraps and magnets. Take a look at the References section for links to more ideas. Do you see some things that can help you along with prepping or ways to adapt them for use as something more than toys?

As you can see, there are many uses for magnets that go far beyond what you may have thought possible. From weapons to extending the life of key appliances, magnets can help you save money and also make survival in a crisis scenario a bit easier.

If you explore all the different ways to use magnets, you’ll develop a set of tools and equipment that can be used to survive in any situation.

EMPCover1

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/science_fair_projects.php?s_terms=magnets&s_difficulty=&s_category=

https://www.kjmagnetics.com/blog.asp?p=water-treatment

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1099731,00.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_weapon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coilgun

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directed-energy_weapon

http://www.rd.com/home/7-ways-to-use-magnets/

http://www.hellowonderful.co/post/7-FUN-MAGNETIC-TOYS-AND-GAMES-TO-MAKE

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How A Wind Powered Sawmill Works

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Ever wondered how a wind powered sawmill works? Check out this amazing demonstration from Wranglerstar. It looks very much like an old 1800’s water powered sawmill in my area that was shut down in the early 1900’s.

Now, if you want to BUILD your own sawmill you can actually get some kind of plans showing how the sawmill in the video is constructed. Check them out here.

The post How A Wind Powered Sawmill Works appeared first on Walden Labs.

How The World Would Change Without Fuels?

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Survivopedia world without fuels

Are you the kind of prepper that suspects that diesel and gasoline will become unavailable soon after a major social collapse occurs? If so, then you have to read this article!

You may have made any one of the following decisions that can spell absolute destruction once these fuels are no longer available.

Since diesel and gasoline were only invented in the late 1800’s, it will not be so hard to “go back” to a lifestyle without these fuels. Even though there are isolated groups of people throughout the world that survive without these fuels, they also dedicate their entire lives to basic survival. If you are not accustomed to this lifestyle, a few camping trips and survivor practice drills won’t make you ready to live without these fuels.

Knowing that you will need diesel for farm equipment or transport vehicles, you may have decided to store away as much fuel as possible on your homestead. No matter how carefully you store the fuel, or the additives that you use to keep it fresh, there is no guarantee that the fuel will be viable once you have no other choice.

To make matters even worse, storing large amounts of fuel will make you a target for anyone that wants to take it from you. Why bother to defend something in your stockpile that may not even work for the purpose intended?

Convert all equipment that runs on gasoline to biodiesel, methane, or some other fuel you can make for yourself.  This move may sound appealing to many people because it can be practiced now, and it make for efficient use of all sorts of materials.  As with storing large amounts of fuel, rest assured that you will become the target of an attack by anyone that discovers you have fuel on hand and know where to get more.

There is no such thing as a perfect way to address how you will survive once gasoline and fuel are no longer available. Each possibility has benefits and disadvantages that you will have to compare with your on specific skills, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. For example, someone that is handicapped or cannot easily live off the land will more than likely need to consider finding ways to make diesel or be able to defend large stores of it. 

Now let’s have a look at some ways to overcome both the social and tangible survival problems that will happen when diesel and gasoline are no longer available, or they are so expensive that no one can afford them.

5 Things About a Possible Starting Scenario

Instead of one “major” event such as a solar EMP or a major earthquake disrupting the entire planet, let’s say a bunch of smaller, unrelated events converge steadily to create a social collapse that will happen in year 2018.

In our time frame, the scenario might include:

  • Less than 10% of commercial and wild bees remain to pollinate crops (bear in mind that commercial bee hives declined by 42% from April 2014 to April 2015 alone). Food shortages will lead to disruptions in oil, gas, and diesel production and transport.
  • Texas and the mid states remain either chronically under water or crops fail because of constant hail storms and other disasters. Food riots combined with the need to adjust or move in other drilling equipment will disrupt oil production and storage in this vital area.
  • California and the Western states become so hot and dry it is no longer safe to operate solar panels or drill for oil.
  • Russia, India, Japan, and China join currencies and create a situation where the US dollar is no longer the standard for international trade. As a result, the US banks go on “holiday” and the currency is devalued to around 25%. Under these circumstances, the US will not be able to import enough oil for consumer needs.
  • North Korea, Iran, and ISIS join forces to control the Middle East. A civil war across the land effectively shuts down almost all fuel exports to the United States.

Let me be very clear in saying that this “perfect storm” of seemingly unrelated events can easily happen in a 2 year time frame. When these events converge, the United States will run out of gasoline and diesel within 160 days (at the best case scenario, that’s about how long the fuel will last in the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve).

At that point in time, the currency situation, geographic considerations, and other world events will make it impossible for the United States to buy enough fuel or find ways to continue extracting it from petroleum or plant based sources.

crude oil

How Will You Know a Fuel Shortage is Coming?

Aside from watching for events similar to those listed above, you can:

  • Look at the cost of gasoline and diesel in comparison to the actual production levels.
  • Pay careful attention to the availability of food and other common household goods in popular stores. Are milk, eggs, flour, and other staples imported from outside the state running low?  Is inventory of first aid and health supplies on the low side?  How are the prices changing once new shipments come in?  These shortages and price increases may well have to do with actual production problems related to each product, or they may be related to problems with getting enough fuel to ship.  Remember how prices on just about everything jumped when gas prices went up just a few years ago?
  • It is also always important to look at the FOREX exchanges and see how the US dollar (USD) compares to other currencies.
  • I also watch the currency exchange rates and comparisons for key nations/currencies such as Russia (RUB), China (CNY), Hong Kong (HKD),  Japan (JPY), India (INR), Saudi Arabia (SAR), Iran (IRR),  the Euro (EUR), North Korea (KPW), Venezuela (VEF), Qatar (QAR), Iraq (IQD), Syria (SYP) and Israel (ILS).  Even though some of these countries have very little in the way of currency valuation, I still do the comparisons between them and other nations to look for changes.  To me, changes in currency among the smaller nations may indicate changes in trade agreements or something else going on that may not be noted in the news.
  • Gain a sense and understanding of global crisis patterns.  This includes how earthquakes, floods, and other large scale disasters may be increasing in intensity or focusing on areas where it will cause major disruptions that affect prices and availability of crude and petroleum products.

Likely Government Responses to Fuel Shortages

When naive people hear about the Strategic Oil Reserve, they tend to believe that this oil will be  made available to the public until it is all gone. Contrary to that belief is the fact that the government has been making disaster plans for years on end.

In these scenarios, the government and military always take priority and always get primary access to the resources.  Even though your tax dollars pay for the Strategic Oil Reserve, in the end the government will consider itself a priority over the needs of the people.

Before drilling and access to foreign oil become limited, you can expect the government to do the following:

  • They may release some petroleum from the reserves in order to keep prices low and keep the masses from catching on that there is a problem. Nevertheless, there is a point where the release of petroleum to the public will stop even though no new fuel is being obtained.
  • Fuel rationing.
  • Active seizure of fuel stored by preppers so that it can be redistributed to others that did not prepare for the crisis.
  • Attempts to limit the storage of fuel by preppers or find ways to ensure that stored fuel locations are known and under strict surveillance.

What About Your Neighbors and Others?

There are a number of conflicting views about how individuals and groups of people will respond in a disaster. Based on relatively short term scenarios, we can say that there is a mix of good and bad responses. Inevitably, in larger scale disasters such as a complete collapse of diesel and gasoline availability, things may get far worse over time.

On the good side, we saw people work together and help each other in the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. From tornadoes to blizzards, to other disasters, rescue teams and individuals that can help each other are often highlighted in the news.

We’ve also seen national guard, non-profit organizations, and other outside groups do what they can to deliver relief to people living in zones of sudden chaos and disruption. If we only had these responses to a major crisis, perhaps prepping would be much easier, or could even be scaled back.

As many have noted, there is also a very dark side that comes out in people during even a short term disaster. Here are just a few responses that every prepper must think about if diesel and gasoline become limited or completely unavailable:

  • When gas prices rose, we already saw people stealing from other people’s gas tanks or leaving gas stations without paying for the fuel.
  • After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and many other disasters, people pretended to raise money in order to help victims, but then never used the money for that purpose. In a gas shortage, you will more than likely see all sorts of “charities” popping up to help people in the northeast “buy fuel” and so on.
  • As people abandon their homes, looters will come in and look to sell off “souvenirs” or anything else that will turn a profit.
  • Those who are panicked and desperate may start rioting or deliberately destroying any fuel reserves they can find. Contrary to popular belief, the riots may not start immediately or even during fuel rationing scenario. These riots may start slowly and then pick up speed in the weeks and months after fuel becomes more and more restricted. It would take a good bit of additional research to find out what the “magic” shortage level would be to generate a riot in any given city or community.
  • Business owners will raise prices and do what they can to keep a reserve of fuel for “black market” or underground customers. In essence, if you have the money or something else worth trading, then fuel will be made available through these sources, and this includes diesel made from non-petroleum sources. Biodiesel may not be as good as petroleum based fuel, but a trust worthy seller can, and will make as much money off the situation.

diesel

What About the Impact on Society?

On the surface, it is safe to say that the loss of diesel and gasoline will lead to massive social disruption. That isn’t just the general opinion of people that will be affected by the situation, it also appears to be the opinion of government leaders and others that pretend they don’t want to see these shortages happen.

Yes… I said pretend. Why?  Read on.

It is no secret that the rich make their money by selling products at a profit. Up until the last two or three decades, the masses (i.e. customer base of consumers) could afford to buy these products.  In the last two or three decades, consumer debt paired with a lack of jobs has resulted in 99% of our nation’s money in the hands of 1% of the population.

Perhaps I am being a bit jaded or leaning towards a conspiracy theory outlook when I say that 99% of the people in our nation will soon be completely unable to give more money to the rich. What is left to be made must be obtained quickly and at the greatest possible profit.

Remember when Rhett Butler (in “Gone With the Wind”) said that the two best times to make money are during a social collapse and then during the reconstruction? Riots, civil war, and even guerrilla warfare make an excellent disguise for the final tapping of any money and resources left among the masses that must be… eliminated before a new growth cycle can begin.

Consider that we are also a nation filled with obese, sick, addicted, and drone like citizens that are not even suitable for the military. It’s a dire situation to the rich, and the quickest way out is to cut off the diesel and gasoline that people rely on.

In this scenario, chaos will ensue and all the government has to do is pretend to be concerned about local and global converging situations that will lead to a disruption in gasoline and diesel supplies. From there, all they have to do is put up a few token fights (in which they are the only ones with suitable weapons to defend themselves) to try and stop the 99% from caving in and destroying itself.

What Will Happen to the Land?

Contrary to popular belief, the Earth will not suddenly become “healed” just because oil drilling, refining, and usage stop.

Chemicals used for fracking will continue to lubricate rocks beneath the surface and continue to increase the risk of earthquakes. As the rocks under the surface continue breaking apart, water will also continue to be polluted. As equipment and chemicals get left behind, they will cause even more damage to nearby water supplies and land, and it could take decades to a century for these problems to slow down.

Even if you have a homestead or are planning to buy land, make sure that you know everything possible about the petroleum, natural gas, and other mining leases within 250 miles of your land.  The closer a drilling or mining operation is to your land, the greater chances of it becoming impossible to live on in a crisis.

It is no secret that burning gasoline leads to smog and other forms of air pollution. What most people don’t realize is that without gasoline and other fuels, people may burn things that cause just as many problems.

For example, wood also releases large amounts of soot and other pollution into the air. Desperate people will also take to burning plastic and just about anything else that will catch fire, and this will release all kinds of dangerous pollutants that will do more damage than diesel and gasoline.

Some people say that when diesel and gasoline are no longer available, the people will turn to solar and other forms of “clean” fuel. The sad fact of the matter is that commercially available solar panels are just as hazardous as gasoline and diesel. From strip mining for rare earth elements to rooftops catching fire, modern solar power is not a clean let alone viable replacement for diesel and gasoline.

That being said, the individual prepper can still do a lot of good and get away from diesel and gasoline with solar cookers and other products made from household scrap.

In the short term, a lack of diesel and gasoline will cause more damage to the environment than expected. Without finding truly sustainable and suitable alternatives, the damage caused by the production and transport of diesel and gasoline will only be shifted to other fuel sources. And anything commercially built is going to have hidden environmental costs, and this cost may have a heavy impact on your bug out location.

Is Social Collapse an End or a Beginning?

According to recorded history, human societies have been rising and falling for thousands of years.  As ugly as the decline and chaos periods are, eventually people begin forming a new social order and working together again on common goals.  From that perspective, a social collapse caused by diesel and gasoline shortages can be seen as the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.

The problem with this philosophical view of social rise and collapse is that there are millions of people that will not be around to see the new social order. As our society falls apart and decays from within, the greedy are locked into a struggle with those who realize what is coming and want to avert disaster for themselves and their family.

Is it such a surprise that independence, self sufficiency, the right to self defense, morality, and other prepper oriented cultural values are being systemically attacked? Without these values, those outside the elites that do manage to survive will form their own social order. This, in turn, will once again leads to a rise in population that threatens the utopia intended just for the rich or those with the right blood lines.

What Will Your Response Be as a Prepper?

When you think about diesel and gas shortages, remember that medicines and many other goods you take for granted may no longer be available. If you take a survey for just one week, you will be amazed at all the things you use that rely on diesel or gasoline for transport or production. Should you decide to end your reliance on diesel and gasoline, your plans must include the following:

  • Viable and sustainable substitutes for cooking, transportation, farming, and heating fuels.
  • The means to produce or make any product that you currently purchase. This includes shoes, clothes, weapons, medications, children’s toys, light sources, communication devices, tools, and personal care needs.  If you cannot make or produce a matching product, then you will need a viable substitute that does the same thing with an equal or near equal level of efficiency.
  • You must be able to defend all of your production materials, supplies, and output
  • you must be able to barter, trade, or make a profit on products now and in a crisis situation.

Many preppers think of a social collapse as something that will suddenly spring up and catch everyone off guard. Far too many people think about the kind of slow disaster evolving even as we enjoy the benefits of our modern world. A convergence of a handful of events can create a situation where diesel and gasoline are no longer available.

Without these fuels, just about everything you are accustomed to will unavailable. As such, if you are simply trying to stockpile diesel or gasoline, this may be the weakest part in your survival plans.

If you are not focusing on actively replacing diesel and gasoline in every area of your life, the looming social collapse may be something you are far less prepared for than expected.

EMPCover2

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Resources:

https://beeinformed.org/results/colony-loss-2014-2015-preliminary-results/

http://ecowatch.com/2015/05/14/honeybee-population-plummets/

http://energy.gov/fe/services/petroleum-reserves

http://education.afpm.org/refining/factors-affecting-gas-prices/

http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/

http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/index2.php?lang

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3 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Moving Off-Grid

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3 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Moving Off-Grid

Image source: Pixabay.com

Many Americans dream of a simpler life off the grid, but due to work, family commitments or other reasons, not every person can make it happen.

However, for those who do make the move, they often find themselves wishing they’d known more before taking the plunge. Here are some common things many off-gridders wish they’d known more about before making the move.

1. The need for technical proficiency

Most off-grid homesteads rely on an alternative energy source. While the technology for these alternate power systems is continually improving, many off-gridders on a budget have used equipment that’s been around for a while—and these older systems often require some level of technical proficiency to operate and maintain.

One common power source is solar. This technology has become a lot more reliable and affordable over the past 15 years, and is a great choice for off-the-grid power. New systems, properly programmed with sealed battery storage units that require no maintenance, can provide trouble-free power for years. Again, however, many off-gridders have older systems, and maintenance is needed.

Get Free Backup Electricity — That Works Even During Blackouts!

Another common source of power is diesel. But while diesel generators are workhorses, the smallest issue can make them stop running. From a frayed electrical wire to broken belt or the fracture of a small metal component, minor issues can cause the power to stop flowing.

Other alternative power sources, like hydraulic or wind, have not smoothly made the transition from industrial strength to single-home size. These systems have a lot of moving parts, and a good knowledge of them is key to keep them running smoothly.

2. Get to know the neighbors

A lot of people escaping the crowding and fast pace of modern society want to be left alone. While some have the resources to live far away from cities on hundreds of acres, most first-time off-gridders live closer to town on a few acres. This usually means that you’ll have neighbors and possibly be part of a community of like-minded individuals. So it’s important to get to know your neighbors and try to get along with them. And keep in mind that while living off-grid in a rural area is your dream, some of your neighbors may have lived there all their lives, and would like nothing better than to move to a city. However, family commitments or destitution may make that impossible. So many first-time off-gridders wish they’d made more of an initial effort to get to know their neighbors and live with them in peace.

3 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Moving Off-Grid

Image source: Pixabay.com

For example, often others living nearby used the uninhabited land you just bought. Maybe their favorite fishing hole is now on your property, or they’ve always picked the blueberries that grow naturally in your forest. What happens when they want to continue doing this? One option is to just say no, but keep in mind that this may cause some resentment. More important, however, is that as a first-timer, you may need help from those nearby that are accustomed to living a rural lifestyle. There’s no right answer to these types of issues, but like it or not, you’ll probably have neighbors and at some point may need their help.

3. Bartering basics

Closely related to living with neighbors is the concept of barter. Many rural communities use barter just as much as currency. For example, you may trade 30 chicken eggs for one of your neighbor’s raised rabbits. Or a neighbor will give you a pig if you help clear part of their land.

Get Out Of The Rat-Race And Make Money Off-Grid!

The key to bartering is having supplies or skills that others need, and the good news is that a lot of products can be made with sources readily available on the homestead. Examples include making candles, making soap, turning wood into charcoal, or tanning. Many first-time off-gridders wish they’d chosen a skill and incorporated the necessary space and other needs into planning the homestead.

Conclusion

No doubt, off-gridders love the life and would trade it for nothing, even though initially they may have struggled in the early years. They simply know life would have been easier at the outset if they’d known more about what they were getting into before they moved off grid.

What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:  

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

Roof is done

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I could not believe how quickly the roofers got the job done.  From the time the the truck delivered the shingle to when the roofers left about 8.5 to 9 hours. The clean up was good and I only had a couple of plants sort of bent over in the front yard beds.  I don’t know a lot about roofs but what little I picked up everything looks good. The roofers added a couple more vents so this summer things should be cooler in the house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another nice touch is all my gutters got cleaned out so the roof area is pretty much ready for fall. That was the biggest job and all that is left is getting the Kitchen ceiling taped and textured.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The light is good right now and I expect once the ceiling is finished it will get better overall.

Here are a couple of better pictures of the Back yard work so far. After I add the sod next week I will post up a few more pictures.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can see the tree ring I did with a bit of small pebbles around the apple tree. The grass sod will be on the left hand side of the border so the pups will have a nice grassy area in the back yard. The back yard is starting to come together for this summer.

 

 

15 Fuel Storage Safety Tips You Need to Know

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Unless you have a way to generate power, you’ll need to stock up on fuel in case the power goes out—or worse, the entire power grid goes down. However, too many preppers stockpile batteries, propane, and gasoline in ways that not only reduce their shelf life, but also pose major safety hazards. The purpose of […]

The post 15 Fuel Storage Safety Tips You Need to Know appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How to Charge Your Phone With a 9 Volt Battery

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Here’s a great tip that could come in handy whether there’s a disaster or not. In the video below, CrazyRussianHacker explains how to charge a cell phone with a car charger, a house key, and a 9 volt battery. All you have to do is touch the ends […]

The post How to Charge Your Phone With a 9 Volt Battery appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

THE NEXT BIG SOLAR STORM: AN APOCALYPTIC TIMELINE

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Have you ever wondered what might happen in the event a massive, earth directed solar flare were to erupt hurling a powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) at our home planet? What series of events could unfold? What would the impacts be? How do you think we might react? Well, this infographic gives us a look into what that future eventuality may look like.

solarflare-timeline_v3

Courtesy www.futurism.com

 

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Alternative Energy!

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Alternative Energy in Depth! Brett Bauma “Makers on Acres” What are some of the benefits of adding alternative energy to our homes and farms? What are some of the negatives? We discuss many of the different types of alternative energy and the benefits and downfalls of each. From wind power to solar and everything in … Continue reading Alternative Energy!

The post Alternative Energy! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

How To Start Building A Flashlight From Scrap

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SVP big flashlight

In the modern world, flashlights are very common, and therefore some of the most overlooked when it comes to a complete prepping plan. Let’s say you have stored away plenty of flashlights and rechargeable batteries, but what would you do if you won’t be able to use it?

Do you know how to build a flashlight from scavenged parts, or develop something new once the most important parts become unavailable?

No matter where you wind up living in the post-crisis world, there will come a time when you can no longer rely on supplies and tools that you were able to stockpile. Even before that time happens, you and others are bound to wind up scavenging for items that can no longer be manufactured or are not available for other reasons. Once these “waste” materials are gone, you will wind up having to improvise.

That’s why you need to know a few basic things before building a flashlight from scrap. Read this article to find out!

7 Basics for Your DIY Flashlight Project

There are many light sources that would never qualify as “flashlights” even though they may provide needed lighting. Therefore, before you start storing away parts that might be used to build a DIY flashlight, think about the following elements and how they contribute to the success or failure of a flashlight design:

  1. It must be portable

Even though you can turn on a lamp, or use some other means to light up an area, flashlights are novel in the sense that they can be easily transported from one place to another.

If you cannot take a DIY flashlight into a basement or other area without wires dragging behind you, or other inconveniences, then your design will not be successful.

  1. Must be lightweight and compact

Even though there are huge 9 volt lanterns on the market, most people still prefer the smallest design that produces the most light.

For example, even though LED flashlights are still on the expensive side, they are very popular because a tiny USB flashlight takes up less space and weighs less than other flashlights that put out the same amount of light.

  1. Must be energy efficient

Today, many people are converting to small rechargeable batteries and solar chargers in order to save money on batteries for flashlights and many other devices. That being said, there are still many different flashlight bulbs on the market, and some require much more power than others.

  1. Must be easy to power or recharge

There is nothing worse than turning on a flashlight, and then find out that the batteries are dead or very weak. While you may not be able to completely overcome this problem in a DIY survival flashlight, you should still be able to either recharge the batteries or find an alternative means of power.

  1. Design must be scalable

A tiny key chain flashlight may work just fine if you are trying to find the door lock, but it won’t be of much use if your car breaks down and you have to look deep into the engine compartment.

As you develop your flashlight design, always make sure that you have a way to add more bulbs and more power so that you can always have as much light as you need.

  1. DIY flashlights should have a hands free option

When you are trying to climb a fence, need to use your hands to hit, shoot a gun, or carry out some other task, trying to hold onto a flashlight can cause a lot of problems. While most modern flashlights do not have a practical means to make them wearable, your design should give the optimal amount of light when the unit is not in your hand.

For example, you can aim the reflector and bulb so that light is where you need it most while wearing a headband, or even on a cord hanging from your neck or around your waist.

  1. Parts, especially bulbs, must be interchangeable

No matter whether you decide to bug in or bug out, the passing of time after a social crisis will lead to fewer and fewer supplies being available. If your scavenged flashlight only works with incandescent bulbs or even LEDs, you will be at a disadvantage sooner than expected.

Always make sure that you can change the most common parts of the flashlight and still have a working unit regardless of the situation.

The Basic Parts of a Flashlight

Bulb

Of all the parts of a flashlight, the part that actually produces the light will be the hardest to replace. Unlike bulbs in other devices, one sitting in a discarded incandescent bulb flashlight may still work even if other parts of the system have failed.

Even if you find hundreds of bulbs in a pile of trash or laying around in an abandoned factory, there is a very good chance that the filament inside will be broken, or something else will be wrong with them. By the same token, if you find discarded LEDs, they may have been damaged by an EMP or they may have burned out for some other reason.

I have personally seen LED arrays that were supposed to last for 10 years and up burn out in a matter of days. This technology is quite fascinating, however it is still relatively new and there are a lot of bad (yet cheap) knock offs on the market that can lead to problems.

Battery Case

Aside from holding the battery, the battery case may be integrated with the body of the flashlight. These should be available for some time after a major collapse occurs. They will not always be easy to make from scratch if you have to find substitutes for wire, solder, contacts, or anything that controls the amount of power actually flowing to the bulb.

Reflector

Just about anything that is shiny and can be shaped into a cone can be used as a reflector. You will also find plenty of reflectors in discarded flashlights that may have been thrown away because the prior owner did not have batteries, the bulb burned out, or something else went wrong with the flashlight. This is one of the easiest parts to scavenge and upgrade as needed.

Carrying Handle/Shell

There are literally hundreds of shapes and sizes for flashlight carry handles and shells. Some may or may not be salvageable based on whether or not you can get to the internal parts without ruining the case.

For example, a sealed key chain flashlight may actually have a good built-in it if the battery died and could not be replaced. There may also be a usable switch and some usable parts inside, but it is likely that the case will be ruined in trying to access them.

On/Off Switch

When it comes to evaluating a material on-site, the switch can be a culprit that causes you to throw away all sorts of good materials, including a rechargeable battery that has been drained. Regardless of the style, on/off switches may even wear out before the bulb. Before you put a salvaged switch on a new flashlight, make sure that it works first.

Power Source

Batteries can also be very difficult to evaluate at first glance. Always look for rechargeable batteries as they can sometimes be rehabilitated with slow charging or partial charge and usage cycles.

I do not recommend trying to recharge disposable batteries, although some people claim they can do so easily enough without causing the battery to explode. Personally, I’d rather use battery alternatives and save my explosion/fire experiment risks for something with a more tangible benefit.

Unusual Parts

In modern flashlights, you might find resistors or small electronic circuits that either step down or increase the power from the battery going into the bulb.

Pay careful attention to the color bands or numbers on resistors and also any other markings. Aside from their use in flashlights, older basics, usable diodes, resistors, capacitors, crystals, transistors, and coils are worth their weight in gold.

Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.

Alternatives to Consider

Even if you do not need to look to alternatives to the basics listed above for many years, it never hurts to know about some options that will enable you to make better use of materials that may already be on-hand.

Aside from the methods listed here, there are also many other alternatives that may produce the same effects, however they may not lend themselves well to a flashlight because of portability or other issues.

Battery Substitutes

When it comes to battery substitutes, your options are limitless in the sense that many materials can be paired together in order to store electrons and then discharge them at a fixed rate.

For example, something as simple as a potato or a copper penny can act as a battery for a single LED, a Christmas tree light bulb, or other small, low wattage bulbs. That being said, liquid batteries made from acids or even earth batteries may not be practical for a flashlight because they are not portable or may cause other problems.

The best and most viable battery alternatives for flashlights may well be some form of DIY capacitor based “battery”. Just remember that these batteries will still have to be charged, and it may take some effort to find a good set of materials for the capacitor.

For example, there are many sites online that claim you can make a regular capacitor from aluminum foil and wax paper. Even though this may be true, it will take more material than expected. You are better served by looking for other materials that will require less space. You can learn about capacitor “batteries”, and then consider how you can overcome the challenges of making as a DIY project.

Nanotechnologies are moving along rapidly. Even though you may not find many devices on the market that can scavenged yet, they may become available in the next 5 years. Keep track of DIY sites and always be on the lookout to see if any consumer based experimenters have taken any kind of nanotechnology based device and found a way to turn it into a battery substitute.

Magnet Fans

This is another fascinating system that can be used in place of a battery, and you might need to read our article about magnets to find out more about using them for different prepper applications. You may also want to experiment with vertical or shell style blade designs.

Also remember not to overlook some battery alternatives that might utilize a twisting rope to store energy, or anything else that can produce rotation. Never forget that once you have motion, you can use a magnet to induce electricity in a coil of wire.

Shake flashlights may also be of interest. These are especially fascinating and useful because you will never need to replace the batteries.

I would recommend making a coil winder so that the wire wraps in the smallest, and most compact form. Depending on how you construct the coil winder, you can also use it for larger coils that can be used in many devices including wind turbines and gravity fans. Just remember that a simple coil winder is not going to be of much use if you want to make torroid coils or other shapes that might be more useful for other purposes.

Also a DIY coil winder is still not going to be of use if you want to create complex windings for more powerful motors. Still, you can get the 300 and up windings easily enough for this flashlight and other low power applications. Needless to say, if you can get this device to work, then consider using the coils and shaking as a means to power other devices such as radios or other DC powered devices. When combined with a stationary bike or another source of motion, you may also be able to generate larger amounts of power.

Video first seen on Grant Thompson – “The King of Random”.

Bulb Substitutes

In most cases, you are not going to find something as compact as a light bulb that will be able to produce as much light.

Here are some options that you can consider:

  • Glow stick technologies – even though many of these require complicated chemicals, you may still be able to make them on your own. If at all possible, aim for ones that can be recharged, or be on the lookout for new technologies that make them easier to make or allow them to last longer. instructables.com/id/DIY-Glow-Sticks/
  • Phosphorescent materials – even though these “glow in the dark” materials do not provide much light, they can still be of use in time of need. Aside from storing away “glow in the dark” paint and other materials, you should also do some research on how to make urine glow in the dark.
  • You can also try to use glowing wires, however they will not last very long and will burn up quickly.

Wiring Substitutes

Just about anything that conducts electricity can be used as a wire substitute, including necklaces or metal chains and aluminum foil. But even if you have a material that conducts electricity, it may not work very well because there is not enough power being provided by the battery to overcome the resistance in the wire replacement.

Since every “wire” and substitute has some degree of resistance, you can try to mitigate the problem in the following ways:

  • Use as little connecting material as possible. For example, if you are going to use tin foil, use the shortest length and the least amount of material. Do some research on how much current can be transmitted by specific materials so that you will know best how to shape the wire alternative to meet the power constraints of the system.
  • Make sure the material is insulated with a non-conductor.
  • Before you begin searching for suitable wire replacements, do some research on wire free systems that use metal tabs. This includes systems where a metal tab is pushed in order to allow current to flow through the circuit. Aside from solving your wire problem, these methods can also make it easy to replace switches that have worn out or otherwise useless.
  • Always make sure that bare conductors do not touch and create a short circuit. For example, if you are using metal from a chain, make sure that the positive and negative “wires” do not touch each other at the required contact points on the bulb or the switch. This includes making sure that solder contact points are clean and not so close together that they can generate shorts.
  • If you do some research, you might be very tempted to see if there are ways to utilize liquid batteries or even gels in such a way that you can further limit the use of wires. While I am more than supportive of stationary lights utilizing these power forms, I don’t think they will ever be portable enough for a flashlight system. It would be better to remain focused on metals, or even newly emerging nanotechnologies that may make metal wires obsolete.
  • A few decades ago, it is believed that Tesla was able to transmit electricity through the air. At the current time, scientists can transmit small amounts of electricity over very short distances. You can try looking through Tesla’s patents and other information to see if you can come up with ways to transmit electricity in much the same way that radio signals are sent. Since electricity can actually be pulled from the air, research on these methods may also be of interest.

Parts to Look For on Scavenger Expeditions

When searching for parts on scavenger expeditions, it is your choice in terms of how limited or broad your scope is. For example, if you are looking for batteries, you may decide that you only want rechargeable that perfectly fit the flashlight you have on hand.

In this scenario, you will miss out on a number of short term and long term viable places to search. This includes looking in old radios or other portable devices that may have weak batteries that will still work in a flashlight.

You will also overlook very important alternative sized batteries that can still meet your needs. Before limiting your search to pre-existing flashlights, take a look at some videos and instructables on how to convert from one battery type to another. Chances are you will be very surprised at just how many different variations you can use in one flashlight with a minimum of modification. HERE is one simple guide to get you started.

flashlight

If you decide to use a more expanded parts list that includes capacitors, resistors and metal strips, viable materials can be found in just about anything that uses electricity.

When searching for electrical components, however, make sure that you know the difference between high voltage and low voltage circuits. This is especially important if you decide to remove capacitors from a board or if you find them laying around. Even a relatively small capacitor used in a high voltage circuit can deliver quite a jolt.

Never remove parts from a circuit board until you have used a multi-purpose meter to test them out. If you find a charged capacitor on a board, make sure that you know how to discharge it safely before removing the components.

When you read about different ways to scavenge flashlights, most of them will tell you how to interchange bulbs or do simple things that are little more than a matter of common sense. After the initial phases of a social collapse, and even during a short term crisis, these methods may be very useful. When there are no parts to exchange, or no materials that you might recognize as suitable for a flashlight, you must know how to improvise. Never limit your explorations on this topic, as there are new technologies emerging as well as older, simpler ones that can be used to meet your portable lighting needs.

Just take your time and think about each part of the flashlight to see how you can optimize it, and then fit it into a whole system that meets the best features of the flashlights you may be taking for granted right now.

new EMP01

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia

Resources:

mpoweruk.com/alternatives.htm

researchgate.net/post/Is_there_any_alternative_method_except_batteries_to_store_solar_energy

web.mit.edu/erc/spotlights/ultracapacitor.html

http://gas2.org/2008/09/26/new-battery-alternative-stores-huge-amounts-of-energy/

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Case Study: Micro Hydro Power with a Turgo Generator

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Here’s a nice case study on small scale hydro power from Practical Preppers, where they install a neat micro hydro power system in a small mountain stream. They use a Turgo turbine/generator which can handle more volume and less head.

The “head” is the fall height (vertical drop) of the water from the starting point to the turbine, and in this case study they have about 30 feet (9 m) of head.

The goal is to be able to charge a 24v battery bank and produce about 10,000 watts of power a day.

It’s a great video. Don’t miss 4:30 where he turns on the water flow to the turbine. That’s the sound of power generation!

Check out part 2 below, an update a few months later on the micro hydro power system they installed.

The post Case Study: Micro Hydro Power with a Turgo Generator appeared first on Walden Labs.

How Would You Handle Life With No Electricity?

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April 4th, 2016

Video courtesy of Seeker Stories

Although 600 million people live without electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, Seeker Stories met 3 inspiring Tanzanians who found unique ways to hack the energy crisis.

New Book Reveals the Little Known Secrets of How To Maintain An Extremely Low Profile In An Age Of Hackers, Snoops, Data Miners, Corrupt Bureaucrats and Surveillance Grid Profilers.

 

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German Energy Industry in Painful Transition

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meme2Handelsblatt Global Edition

Germany’s massive push into renewable energy has a dark side. As green policies drive up the cost of power, entire industries are shrinking.

Germany is a world leader in green power is by now familiar. Much less familiar is the price the country is paying for it, not just in cold hard cash, but in growing losses and dislocations across the entire economy.

A vast economic upheaval began when Germany launched its energy transition that simultaneously phases out all nuclear power, winds down coal and other fossil fuels, accelerates the push towards alternative sources of energy, and builds the new grid infrastructure to make it all possible.

The losers include once-stalwart utility giants like E.ON and RWE that are struggling with rising debt and falling shares. Manufacturing companies, from chemicals maker BASF to carbon fiber producer SGL Carbon, have shifted investments abroad, where energy costs are often a fraction of Germany’s.
Losers include laid-off workers in these industries, but also millions of ordinary consumers. Their utility bills have skyrocketed, largely driven by subsidies for eco-friendly fuels. As much as the transition creates new jobs building wind turbines, farming biofuels or installing solar panels on rooftops, the changes are cutting a deep swathe through other parts of the economy. Germany’s “green” revolution has a dark shadow.
The reengineering of Germany’s economy is of course deliberate. When the environmentalist Green party first began co-governing at the national level in 1998, Berlin quickly drafted plans to exit nuclear energy. Generous subsidies to support wind and solar power, tacked on to consumers’ electricity bills, got their start in 2000.
Already struggling to expand renewable energy fast enough to compensate for the nuclear phaseout, Germany had to move even faster after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s surprise decision to accelerate the shift just days after the news from Fukushima. Now, the country is rushing to replace what was once 35 percent of German electricity generation by 2022.

Hit hardest, of course, are the traditional utilities. After all, the energy transition was designed to seal their coffin. Once the proverbial investment for widows and orphans because their revenue streams were considered rock-solid — these companies have been nothing short of decimated. With 77 nuclear and fossil-fuel power plants taken off the grid in recent years, Germany’s four big utilities — E.ON, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBW — have had to write off a total of €46.2 billion since 2011.
RWE and E.ON alone have debt piles of €28.2 billion and €25.8 billion, respectively, according to the latest company data. Losses at Düsseldorf-based E.ON rose to €6.1 billion for the first three quarters of 2015. Both companies have slashed the dividends on their shares, which have lost up to 76 percent of their value. Regional municipalities, which hold 24 percent of RWE’s shares, are scrambling to plug the holes left in their budgets by the missing dividends.
Thousands of workers have already been let go, disproportionately hitting communities in Germany‘s rust belt that are already struggling with blight. RWE has cut 7,000 jobs since 2011. At E.ON, the work force has shrunk by a third, a loss of over 25,000 jobs. Just as banks spun off their toxic assets and unprofitable operations into “bad banks” during the financial crisis, Germany’s utilities are reorganizing to cut their losses.
E.ON is spinning off its problematic fossil-fuel operations in a new company called Uniper. The utilities have also been calling on Berlin for fresh subsidies to keep idle power-generating capacity on standby – to jump in whenever the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

The corporate pain goes far beyond the utility giants. Suppliers to the power industry have also been rocked. Germany’s largest industrial group, Siemens, specializes in turbines, power plants and electricity infrastructure. Parts of that business have collapsed.
“I do not have a single order from Germany,” Siemens chief executive Joe Kaeser recently said about the company’s gas turbine business. “Not today, not next year.”
It’s the second major hit to Siemens from Germany’s energy policies. Siemens once built all of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants, and many more abroad. But after Ms. Merkel’s Fukushima decision, the company gave up its nuclear division and spun it off to the French company Areva. Today, Germany no longer has a nuclear technology industry.
Last year, Siemens also moved the global headquarters of its oil and gas business from Erlangen to Houston, and has been producing gas turbines in Charlotte, North Carolina, since 2011. Mr. Kaeser said Germany’s energy policies will lead Siemens to “reallocate our resources, as painful as that is.” The first to feel the brunt have been the company’s workers; since May 2015, Siemens has slashed 4,500 jobs.
“Several years ago, about one fifth of global demand for gas turbines was in Europe,” said Udo Niehage, Siemens’ head of government affairs in Berlin and representative for the energy transition. “Now, though, the energy transition that’s taking place not only in Germany but in many European countries has significantly reduced our business with fossil fuel power stations in Europe and in Germany, it is almost at a standstill.”

A further cost of the energy transition is the building of power lines to transmit energy from the north to the south of the country. This could prove expensive and controversial, Mr. Niehage said. “Ultimately, we can’t say what it will cost to bury the cables – it depends on whether the ground is stony or not,” he said. Building the power lines throughout the country will lead to more protest, he noted.
Mr. Niehage predicted that by the end of the decade, with a better investment climate, gas power stations may be built again. “There’ll also be a greater need for security of energy supply in southern Germany because of the delays in the completion of the electricity highways. Also, we won’t be able to just “borrow” power station capacity from our neighbors because they’re planning to undertake similar activities.”
There has also been a quiet but noticeable exodus of energy-hungry manufacturing abroad, not with dramatic plant closures but with an inexorable shift in investments. Automaker BMW and SGL Carbon, which produces carbon fibers for BMW’s lightweight E-series electric cars, built their latest $300 million carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington, because of “competitive energy costs,” the companies said at the time.
Chemicals giant BASF also chose the U.S. for its largest single investment ever, a $1 billion propylene factory in Freeport, Texas, to take advantage of low energy costs. In the U.S., industrial customers pay less than half the German rate for electrical power, according to the OECD. The difference between gas prices is even higher.
Not only are jobs disappearing, so is knowledge. “There’s definitely a brain drain in terms of conventional power plant production,” said Matthias Zelinger, energy-industry expert at the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), an association that represents manufacturers. “Companies might start just moving their manufacturing to China but eventually the engineering and development follows,” he said. Eventually, he said, knowledge related to fossil fuel power will disappear from Germany.

Klaus-Dieter Maubach, chief executive of renewable energy operator Capital Stage, said he experienced the loss of expertise when he worked at E.ON.
“I once helped to build a power plant of 1,100 megawatt in Rotterdam. I still remember it was a huge challenge to find enough people with the appropriate welding skills. Why? Because no one had been making such large plants for decades,” Mr. Maubach said.
Eventually, he said, knowledge related to nuclear power and fossil fuel power will disappear from Germany. “When students know that investments in coal and nuclear power will no longer be made they lose interest in these subjects.”
The result, industry experts like Mr. Zelinger say, is that Germany loses entire branches of industrial engineering in which the country has traditionally been strong, and which are still growing dramatically in the emerging markets.
Ordinary consumers have seen their electricity bills double since the introduction in 2000 of a renewable-energy levy, slapped on every household’s electricity bill to subsidize the owners of wind turbines and solar panels. The total cost has risen from €0.9 billion in 2000 to €23.7 billion last year, and will likely hit €25.5 billion this year.
Consumer advocates warn that a growing number of German families can no longer afford their electricity bills. Some 350,000 have had their power cut off, up 13 percent from 2011. The inefficiency is shocking: the renewable energy produced by €25 billion in electricity-bill surcharges this year will only be worth €3.6 billion on the market, according to the economics ministry.

No one knows what the final bill will be. The green-power surcharge on electricity bills has already cost consumers €188 billion since it was first introduced in 2000 – or €4,700 for each of the country’s 40 million households. The nuclear shutdown will cost another €149 billion by 2035, according to a Stuttgart University study.
The latest cost involves the vast new grid infrastructure necessary to connect new offshore wind farms in the country’s stormy but sparsely populated north with the energy-hungry south. Because of citizens’ outrage over new high-voltage lines crisscrossing the landscape, plans are now to run them under-ground, a novel experiment with long-distance transmission.
These costs, too, will be tacked onto electricity bills, while large industrial users will be hit with another €370,000 to €990,000 each year, according to the government. Altogether, the cost of Germany’s energy policies will reach €1.15 trillion by 2050, according to a Fraunhofer Institute study. Others say the costs will be even higher.
Ironically, the move away from nuclear power and towards renewables has left the climate losing out, too. Unlike in other European countries, German energy policies have always been more focused on ending nuclear power rather than concerns over the climate – nuclear power emits no CO2, after all.
As the country moved swiftly to wind down nuclear power, utilities fired up their carbon-spewing coal generators again, leading to higher emissions in 2012 and 2013. Total emissions have barely budged since 2008, despite the massive wind and solar buildout.
Adding to the bitterness about lost jobs and disappearing industries are big doubts if the changes even make sense. “Germany has set itself extremely ambitious targets but I don’t think the global climate is determined here,” said Michael Denecke, an official with Germany’s union of mining and energy workers. “Germany is responsible for 2.7 percent of global carbon emissions, so we’re fighting over nanograms here while in China, they’re building coal power stations every other week.”

As the country plows ahead with its far-reaching energy policies, the future is uncertain for companies and consumers. “Industry has become fearful and skeptical about the political debate,” said the engineering association’s Mr. Zelinger, adding that companies need to be able to plan in the short and longer term.
More unknowns are ahead.
“There was a lot of initial euphoria, when we achieved the first 5 percent in the switch to renewables,” he said. “But reaching 50 percent is harder and a lot needs to happen.” The technical and economic challenges are enormous, Mr. Zelinger, though adding that there are many positive aspects to the energy transition as well.
Why aren’t more Germans complaining? The energy transition remains popular, with strong support in the political parties and leading media. Most of Germany’s current power brokers came of age in an era of fervent anti-nuclear protests, so in a sense this is the culmination of a generational project.
/// “Most Germans also see the energy transition as positive for the environment.”// .
Most Germans also see the energy transition as positive for the environment, even if Germany has negligible influence on global CO2 emissions. And the vast amounts of money that have been mobilized have created new jobs, new companies — and new power centers to advance the cause. For the companies and workers on the losing end, speaking up can seem like tilting at windmills — or the zeitgeist.
Another reason why the losers of Germany’s energy transition have kept mostly quiet could be that they, too, have been bought off. Utility workers can now retire as early as age 52 and receive 80 percent of their pay. In the past, layoffs on the scale of what is now happening at the utilities often caused a national scandal. Instead, union leaders have kept largely silent.
Arthur Oster, a former RWE manager who had to shrink the payroll at a coalmine that supplied the company’s power plants, said there were no conflicts with workers. “Reducing the number of jobs went pretty well,” Mr. Oster said.
As the costs and stresses on the German economy mount, however, things may not always stay so quiet.

WHY IT MATTERS
Germany’s prominent push toward renewable energy has become a familiar topic, but the price companies and consumers are paying for it is not.
FACTS
Germany is shutting down nuclear power by 2022 and simultaneously shifting to 80 percent renewable energy by 2050.
The Fraunhofer Institute estimates the shift to cost €1.1. trillion. Other estimates are substantially higher.
The average German household has paid €4,700 to subsidize wind and solar energy since 2000.
Germany is shutting down nuclear power by 2022 and simultaneously shifting to 80 percent renewable energy by 2050.
The Fraunhofer Institute estimates the shift to cost €1.1. trillion. Other estimates are substantially higher.
The average German household has paid €4,700 to subsidize wind and solar energy since 2000.

The post German Energy Industry in Painful Transition appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Your Very First Homestead: Costs You May Not Have Considered

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Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

Transitioning from a traditional city or suburban lifestyle to that of a more rural homestead is occurring with greater frequency these days. The call to live the ultimate do-it-yourself life appeals to many different types of people, and with a little bit of planning and forethought, mixed with drive and determination, most can successfully create a self-sufficient homestead of their own.

Building a homestead from scratch, or even purchasing an established homestead, is an exciting step forward in making that transition, but it is vitally important to budget and plan for each aspect of the new venture. Failure to be financially prepared has left many would-be homesteaders scratching their heads and wondering where they went wrong.

Get Free Backup Electricity — That Works Even During Blackouts!

A major part of launching a homestead involves the initial startup costs. Startup costs include acreage, dwellings and outbuildings, seeds and livestock, but they also should include such details as alternative energy sources, water sources and purification methods, necessary farm equipment, and other basic needs that the homestead is not yet producing.

Below are some helpful considerations to start with.

Land of Your Own

After determining the minimum amount of acreage that will be sufficient, the search for the perfect location can begin. Land prices vary greatly, so those who are willing to relocate may have the opportunity to save a significant amount of money. Some rural locations are looking for families to relocate and offer homestead contracts for acreage at drastically reduced prices. In other areas, though, it is much harder to purchase just a few acres. Some locations have laws against farmers selling small acreage allotments along the edges of their properties. Before contacting a landowner, check local ordinances for such restrictions. Renting is also a budget-friendly option for those who are just getting their feet wet in homesteading and not ready to commit.

Dwelling Places

Your First Homestead: Costs You May Not Have Considered

Image source: Pixabay.com

In pioneer days, a hastily constructed dwelling was erected, while time and attention was given to the barns and other outbuildings. Despite the suburbs filled home of enormous proportions, a new trend is emerging: the tiny house. If the acreage set aside for the homestead does not have a preexisting dwelling, there are several options from which to choose. A traditionally constructed farmhouse is the most expensive option, but it also the one that people feel most comfortable with. Small homes constructed from sheds, cargo containers and other salvaged materials are a recent trend that can be much more cost-efficient. Some homesteaders even are living in yurts.

On the Farm

Barns and other outbuildings are essential on the homestead. Providing shelter for the livestock and protection for precious feed, these buildings can be acquired in much the same manner as the principle dwelling.

Even good quality used equipment will set the new homesteader back some. Budgeting for the necessary equipment is a must. For those pieces of machinery that are for convenience, try bartering with a neighbor or acquaintance to reduce the initial investment in equipment.

Seeds, trees and other perennial plants may not seem like a source of budget woes, but these relatively small purchases can add up quickly.

Produce Boiling Hot Water, Anywhere, Anytime With Absolutely No Power Whatsoever…

Livestock can be bartered for or purchased outright. The biggest expense for the new homestead is feed costs. For the first few years, livestock will need to have their feed supplemented until the homestead can produce enough feed to sustain itself.

Alternative Energy

Off-grid living and homesteading go seemingly hand in hand. Even if living off the grid is not the intention of the owners, alternative energy sources are a positive when faced with power outages and rising utility rates. Solar power systems, wind turbines and hydroelectric outfits have become more readily available for the consumer.

Living Essentials

While focusing on the dream of starting your homestead, it may be easy to lose sight of the fact that daily necessities will still need to be budgeted. Food not produced on the homestead will need to be purchased, and toiletries, clothing and other miscellaneous household supplies will need to be replaced. Buying ahead or setting aside a portion of the budget to prepare for them can be a great help.

Related: 

Renting To Homestead?!? (Here’s The Pros And Cons)

What advice would you add for purchasing a first homestead? Share your advice in the section below:

Are You Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

Make an Altoids Mini iPhone Charger

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This is really cool. Bugout Channel made a video tutorial explaining how to make a portable phone charger with just a few things: 9V snap connector, 9V USB car charger, electrical tape, 9V battery, rubber band, multi-tool, and of course a mini Altoids tin. If you plan on […]

The post Make an Altoids Mini iPhone Charger appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

EMP Survival: Power For Your Oxygen Concentrator

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Oxygen concentrator

Unless you actually rely on medical devices, you might not realize how important for your survival some of them are. In particular, if you don’t have any major breathing problems, or they are largely under control, you may not give much thought at all to oxygen concentrators.

Until you need them… That’s the moment you realize you should have read and learned more about them. Including how to supply power to them in case of a major emergency in which conventional electricity may not be available for days or longer.

That’s the article you need to read to get this knowledge!

How Much Power Do Concentrators Take?

The amount of electricity required for each unit depends largely on the size of the compressor and the manufacturer ratings. In most cases, the devices will run on batteries, however there is also considerable variance on how efficient the unit is and how much oxygen it can actually produce.

As a general guide, older, home oxygen concentrator units required about as much electricity as refrigerator. Modern devices might take as little as a low wattage microwave, while others may still require quite a bit more.

There a few things to be aware of before buying a concentrator for survival needs, and here are some of them:

  • Amperage required by the device
  • Voltage output from the emergency battery pack
  • How long the concentrator will run on the battery pack at different oxygen output amounts
  • How long the batteries are expected to last and what they are made from

How Many Batteries You Need to Buy

When it comes to buying batteries, most people will buy one for charging and another for using any given device, but this is not always the best route to take, because not having enough batteries for charging and powering can spell disaster.

Buying more batteries than needed can take up excess space and also create a situation where rechargeable batteries are not used at optimal loads and rotations. At the very least, consider the following:

  • Find out how long a fully charged battery will power the concentrator at its highest setting. Take that number of hours and divide by 2 (just in case you cannot fully charge a battery up before it has to be rotated back into service.) In this example, let us say that a fully charged battery will last 12 hours at full charge. Instead of buying just 2 batteries, you would purchase four for use during a single day.
  • Next, determine how much power you can generate each day, and how much of it can be used for charging up the concentrator batteries. If it takes 8 hours to fully charge a single battery, then you should be able to charge 1 – 3 batteries per day. Add that number of batteries to the ones that you expect to use in a day. In this example, you would need 3 batteries for charging plus 4 for regular use; meaning that you would need 7 batteries.
  • Finally, it is also very important to consider long term wear and tear on the batteries. Even if you purchase batteries that can be deep cycled 1000 times, they may become useless in 3 – 5 years. In this particular example, add at least 3 batteries in case some of them go bad. Just be sure that you also plan on rotating them into the system so that the internal parts remain active and do not corrode or become destroyed by lack of use.

What Is the Best Way to Power an Oxygen Concentrator Off Grid?

Many people wrongfully assume that power for critical medical devices such as concentrators can come from any source, and think they can just put up a few windmills and solar panels, and then expect that combination to produce enough power.

When must run a concentrator around the clock or charge up batteries to run that concentrator, there is no such thing as waiting for the sun to come back out or for a wind to kick up. What you need is a reliable system of renewable energy that will never run out, and will not be dependent on the vagaries of the weather.

Here are a few systems that might work, but remember that you will need access to a number of resource that may take some time and effort to develop. While you can still get started with solar and wind power, do not overlook these systems.

Above Ground and Underground Water Wheels

If you are fortunate enough to live near a stream or river, there is no reason why you cannot set up a water wheel and generating motor. Take the time now to calculate the rate of flow of water and also the size of the wheel that you will need to generate the necessary amount of current.

As may be expected, if you live in colder climates where rivers and streams routinely freeze, you will need to see if the lower levels of water will remain fluid enough to push the wheel.

Today, far too many people place water wheels where they can be partially seen above the water level instead of taking the time to immerse them near the center of the water flow. While it takes considerably more work to build a fully immersed wheel that will still turn, it is well worth the effort in colder climates.

If water never freezes in your local area, then it may still be safe to build a more conventional water wheel.

Underground Water Pipe Systems

When it comes to new innovations in using water for generating electricity, underground water pipes are truly some of the best and most innovative. As long as you have a constant source of water flowing through these pipes, water wheels placed within the pipes can be used to generate electricity.

Many people do not think about this option because they do not live near a pond, stream, or other source of water that can be used for underground irrigation. That being said, even extremely dry or cold regions have all kinds of underground streams and rivers that can be tapped for this purpose.

As long as you know where they run through your land, you might drill down to their level and install both pipes and suitable equipment for generating electricity: you won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures, there will be very few, if any ways for the equipment to be stolen.

This system does have some drawbacks if you are in an earthquake zone or any other area where shifting underground geographies can crush the pipes.

Sink Drain Power Generation

As long as you have water, you will also have electricity with this system. Basically, all you need to do is install mini water wheels in the outgoing pipe drains of your home. They can be cleanable as garbage disposals, and other drain systems.

Even though there are no devices of this type on the market, you should be able to make your own. Unlike a number of other power generation systems, this one can work for you in a city setting as long as municipal water continues to flow through the tap.

Just remember that if you have to rely on this system for generating electricity, the source of the water must be energy neutral. For example, you will need either a ram pump to draw water from a pond, or even an Archimedes screw from some other surface body of water. If you are fortunate enough to have an artesian well, then you will be one step ahead.

How Reliable Are Oxygen Concentrators and Can They Be Repaired?

The most vulnerable part of the concentrator is the compressor that draws air into the unit and then packs it into a smaller amount of space before pushing it into the chamber housing the zeolite crystals. As with many other things, modern compressors are not as well built as older ones.

If you can, carefully study the compressor systems in different concentrators, and then find out if there are working vintage models that can be substituted into the system. Even though you may have to adapt some of the fittings, it is well worth the effort. Being able to replace the compressor can easily extend the life of the concentrator from just a year or two to well over a decade without much need for other kinds of repair.

It can be said that concentrator reliability also comes down to good maintenance and being aware of the kinds of problems that can occur. When it comes to survival scenarios, fuses and IC circuits will always be a problem if an EMP occurs. Since many of these circuits control the opening and closing of purely mechanical valves, it may be possible to use gravity based levers or pulley systems to manually open an close the valves at proper intervals.

In Classical Greece, there was a “robot” that was able to mix proper concentrations of wine and water without using any kind of electricity, and if you do some experimenting, you can find a way to achieve this goal.

If you do not want to ruin a perfectly good concentrator, buy an old one that is no longer functional. You will learn plenty about how the system works, as well as how to improvise and develop work arounds for areas that might be weak points during a survival scenario.

What to Do When the Concentrator Stops Working

If you already have concentrator or have seen one in use for any length of time, then you already know that there are times when they will fail. As with any other machine, there are simple causes for these failures as well as more complex ones. Here are a range of problems that you may encounter as well as how to deal with them:

  • If the concentrator is running, but you do not feel air coming out, one or more airline tubes may be kinked. Depending on how the air tubing leaves the unit, there may also be a kink behind the unit where you won’t always see it right away. Make sure that you can easily get around every part of the concentrator so that you can locate any loose or crimped tubes.
  • The concentrator goes offline and refuses to start. Any number of problems may cause the unit to stop or refuse to start at all. If you are running the unit on batteries, you can start off by making sure that the battery has enough power and that it is hooked up properly. Some manufacturers also provide trouble shooting guides that will help you determine other simple things that may be causing the fault.
  • If the unit fails after all of the simple things have been eliminated, there may be a blown fuse inside the unit, or the compressor may have failed. This type of repair can be complicated. Unless you actually know how to repair a concentrator, or have enough background in electronics, you should not try to do this during a crisis situation. That being said, there is no harm in getting the schematics for the model concentrator that you own and making sure that you know how to handle a range of problems. While this process will take time and effort to learn, it will be worth your while. In a crisis, there may be no such thing as a qualified repair person to help put your concentrator back into service. If you do not feel confident about delving into repairing these devices, then make it a point to find friends among your neighbors that might be able to help you in time of need. If you are in a survivor community, there is sure to be at least one or two people that can do this job on your behalf.

Do you know enough now to make an oxygen concentrator work for you? Use the comment form below to share you thoughts and ask your question about these lifesaving devices!

CLICK HERE to read more on surviving an EMP with a disability!

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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5 DIY Ways to Power Your Home During Floods

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FLood

As weather patterns continue to shift, there is no escaping the fact that massive floods are becoming more common. Especially now, in the spring, when snow begins to melt and they are likely to happen even more than in any other time of the year.

While flooding may be a common event in some parts of the world, other areas are now becoming aware of several problems related to generating electricity during and after a flood occurs.

Living in a relatively dry place, or one that is not known for floods, won’t keep you away of trouble. Just take a look at the weather reports in 2015 alone for Texas, Kansas, and other areas that have no major history of the kinds of flooding they have had to deal with.

If you know how to generate electricity in a flood you are not stuck trying to use devices and methods that will fail, nor electrocute you because the devices cannot be safely used in this type of situation.

What to Beware Of

After the floods, some problems will impact how you generate electricity and the kind of materials you can use for this purpose: remember that it is not safe to mix electricity and water. No matter whether you are facing downed power lines or simply trying to make electricity using magnets and coils, failure to manage electricity safely around any kind of water can cause severe injuries, or even death.

Here’s what to expect while trying to generate electricity during and after a flood:

  • Vehicle alternators and wires may not be salvageable because of damage caused by flood waters. Motors that have been exposed to excess moisture can spark, catch fire, and cause all kinds of other problems, but it might be difficult to determine if an abandoned car was actually flooded out or not. Aside from checking in the wheel wells and under the hood, take a look in the trunk of the car. If you see mud, wet carpets, or upholstery with signs of water damage, do not try to salvage wires or motors that might otherwise be useful for generating electricity.
  • If you do not bug out before a flood, you will either be stuck in the upper floors of your home or waiting for rescue up on the roof. While you may have some room for generating electricity in a home setting, your options will be extremely limited while you are sitting on a roof. At ground level, you will still have problems with limited space because of the water around you. Even though this water will recede with time, there is a critical window of days and weeks where you will need very simple systems that require as little space as possible.
  • Soggy ground makes it very difficult to support frames for windmills and solar panels that are housed on the ground. Not only will support structures collapse, but solar panels, connecting wires, and other parts can be ruined as flood waters pass through. You may also find it very hard to build and operate earth batteries because of the excessive moisture and difficulty with digging into mud in order to place metal parts.
  • You probably won’t be able to move across large enough distances to operate piezoelectric shoes and backpacks that generate electricity as you walk or run. No matter where you live during a flood, the air is bound to be very humid, and can make it difficult, if not deadly to carry out strenuous activities. Before you try to generate power using a bicycle or something else that utilizes body power, make sure that you know how to stay properly hydrated and how to control your body temperature.

What to Make Use Of

When it comes to “green power”, hydroelectric dams and other water based electric generating systems are often viewed as some of the most efficient and powerful in the world. In fact, if you have even some moving water, you also have one of the most important natural elements for generating electricity. Even though flood waters may lose their power in just a few days, knowing how to harness this water can be of immense benefit.

But this is only one of the advantages you have to be aware of, others are still to come below:

  • Looters, rioters, and others that might be inclined to steal your electricity generating systems may have a harder time. Consider that when streets are flooded, or you are sitting up on a roof, it will be very hard for these people to get to you. Not only will you have a high vantage point to work from, people that are stuck in the flood zone will probably be more interested in getting out or being rescued. That being said, as the water recedes, you can expect crime oriented problems to develop.
  • It may be slightly easier to access local news and other communication systems. If you happen to have a traditional broadcasting station in your local area, the transmitter and backup systems are likely to be located on high ground. As such, they may well be broadcasting right along with ham radio operators and others that have equipment that is still working. Just keep an appropriate receiver in a water proof bag and make sure that it goes with you to the roof or any other place that you need to go in order to stay out of the flood waters. This information can help you find out the extent of the damage to power generating systems as well as help you gauge what you need to do in the meantime. Individuals with smart phones should also be able to access mobile internet signals that can be used to download schematics for power generating systems or gain access to advice if problems occur. While this is no substitute for actually building systems, at least you may be able to get some help when it is needed most.

Small Scale Systems

Overall, you will find that small, low power generating systems will be safer and easier to build, use, and maintain during and after a flood.

As with many other systems, you are sure to be surprised by the number of ideas you can get by studying the works of the ancient Greeks and Chinese. They have some of the most fascinating gear and lever systems in the world that readily integrate moving water and can also accommodate both magnets and coils for generating electricity.

Gravity Driven Motor Assemblies

If you have ever been stuck without an air conditioner, then you may already know that it is possible to build a fan that essentially runs on gravity. During a flood, it is very likely that you will be up in the attic or sitting on a roof, and these locations are perfect for using a gravity fan to generate power.

As with many other small scale systems, as long as you add magnets to the fan blade and coils of wire to generate current in, they you should be able to make this system work. More, the items required are very easy to store in your attic: a box fan, several feet of rope, a weight, some magnets, and coils of wire.

You can also practice with this system before a flood occurs so that you can fine tune the system and also find out how much electricity you can generate with it. To get started, you can study this video to see who best to start with making the gravity fan, and then do some additional research on magnets and coils:

Video first seen on Attila Blade.

You can also use a bicycle wheel to run a generator which in turn powers a light bulb using a gravity to turn the wheels.

Video first seen on RimstarOrg.

Gear Driven Motor Assemblies

Did you know that the Greeks were able to create “robots” that could automatically open doors, and even operate on pre-set stages in order to act out a complete play? Research on Hero of Alexandria and also ancient Greek robot technologies, and you’ll understand now how much can be done with gears and the power of gravity and motion.

As you look at the different devices (including ones that could mix wine and water), think about how you can adapt them to generate power. You will still need to add coils and magnets to the assembly, and then figure out how large the device will need to be in order to meet your power needs.

Because of the kinds of damage and instability caused by floods, you are better off building a few lightweight systems and hooking them up instead of building just one larger system. At the very least, if one or two units are knocked out, you may still be able to move the rest to higher ground and have some electricity to work with.

Container Based Earth Batteries

Ice trays, planters, and just about anything else filled with dirt can be used to generate small amounts of electricity, you just need two types of metal and some water to make these earth batteries work. You can also add table salt and other electrolytes to the water in order to increase the output of each battery.

If you choose to use electrolytes, you will also have to replace it often, as the solution will break down as electrons are released.

Small Waterwheels

During a flood, you might expect that heavy rainfalls will occur. Contrary to popular belief, this is a perfect time to start generating your own power using a small scale waterwheel.

If you have a rain barrel set up in order to increase the amount of potable water on hand, you can use it as a mounting point for the waterwheel. To make this work, try the following:

  • Start off with a 50-gallon drum or something else that will capture a fairly large amount of water.
  • Make a small waterwheel and make sure that each end of the central shaft extends beyond the barrel. Make sure that the central shaft turns freely.
  • Make a plastic tent with the point aimed downward above the waterwheel. The lowest point should hit the paddles on one side of the wheel so that it spins easily.
  • Cut a hole in the plastic tent where the water will come out. The plastic will collect the raindrops, and, as they move to the bottom, create a strong enough stream of water to drive the waterwheel.
  • From there, you can either attach magnets and gears to the shafts, or any other motorized system that will enable the magnets to induce currents in coils of wire. Alternatively, you can also power car alternators or other types of generators that have not been damaged by a flood. Just make sure that you also protect motors and other parts of the generator from both the rain and flood waters that will follow.

There are also some ways that you can use waterwheels to generate power after the floods, if you will be looking for areas where the water is deep enough and flowing fast enough to turn the water wheel. Anything from flooded streets to parking lots with moving can be used for this purpose.

Just remember not to get swept up in the floods when you are trying to set up the water wheels. It is also very important to keep an eye on the flood waters and rescue operations so that you know when to pull the wheels out of the water so as to avoid losing them or causing more problems.

Large Scale Systems

When the power first goes out during a flood, there may be a period of time where you may sit and wait, hoping that the problem is minor, and that emergency crews will restore power sooner rather than later.

This tactic is about as useful as trying to use some of the more common systems touted for use in short to longer term survival situations. For example, if you think that solar panels on the roof, windmills, or others that use battery storage systems will survive a flood, you may be in for a nasty surprise. From cloudy days to muddy ground causing buildings to collapse, in the end large scale power generating systems will need to make use of flood waters instead of try to work around their presence.

Archimedes Screw

The Archimedes Screw is actually a fairly simple device that has been around for thousands of years. Basically, a form similar to a screw is mounted in a tube. As the screw turns in the tube, water is raised from a lower level to a higher one. Moving water flowing through the system can then be harnessed to generate electricity.

In fact, Windsor Castle is one of the most notable places on Earth that derives most of its power from a pair of Archimedes Screws that rely on the flow of water from the Thames River.

Archscrew

To generate power using an Archimedes Screw after a flood, you will need to find a place where water is flowing freely. Flooded streets, river beds, and even backyards with drainage into the street can all be used for this purpose. Depending on the flow of the water, you’ll need to make smaller screws and then harness the power generating coils together in order to obtain enough current for your needs.

As with any other power generating method, it will always be to your advantage to have something built and plans for using it before a crisis happens. Consider a situation where you have a front yard or a back yard that you can build up or change the height of.

Research on Archimedes Screw systems, then you will realize that the change in height the water must travel will have a bearing on the amount of power that can be generated. Depending on the way the land is structured, it may be possible to cut paths that will direct the flow of water, and thus make it much easier to install an Archimedes Screw before the flood actually occurs.

Electricity Alternatives

When preparing for floods, most people rush out and stock up on flashlight batteries, propane stoves, and propane bottles, but these very same people will never have enough alternative fuel on hand to survive a disaster like Hurricane Katrina.

In a flood situation, you may only have to wait a few days, or the situation can last for weeks, months, or years, while wood, and many other burnable materials may not be available because everything will be soaked.

When it comes to electricity alternatives during and after a flood, your best options will include smaller devices and saving energy as much as possible. Here’s what you can do to replace the fridge or your electricity based cooker:

  • If you are fortunate enough to have sunny days soon after the rains leave, you can use solar cookers made from cardboard boxes and tin foil.
  • Use table salt mixed with ice to keep foods frozen.
  • Use zeer pots for refrigeration, however they may not work well if the air is humid, and thus prevents the flow of water out from the central chamber.
  • If you can get enough dry materials together, rocket stoves can be used for cooking and keeping warm. Dakota fire pits and other holes dug in the ground may not work because of mud and water seepage. As the area dries out, keep track of how the water is receding on higher ground. It may just be possible to use these areas within a few days of the rain stopping.

Make sure you have plenty of plastic rain gear and waterproof clothes on hand. These materials may not be comfortable to wear, but they can keep most of the moisture away from you as well as prevent vital body heat from escaping. Just remember that your body will continue to sweat and cause a buildup of moisture.

Be sure to unzip or unbutton plastic coverings so that the moisture can escape, or it can easily result in skin infections and other problems. Never forget that bacteria, mold, and mildew thrive in wet, warm environments. While you may need to reduce air flow to your skin for the sake of keeping warm, it can also spell disaster from a health point of view.

Today, many people that pin their hopes on solar or wind power fail to realize that these systems are just as vulnerable to floods as larger scale commercial power grids. No matter whether you live in a survival based gated community, have a homestead, or live in an inner city, you can come up with at least one or two inexpensive options to generate electricity.

They can be assembled from old junk laying around your home, or items that may be very cheap or free to acquire at the local dump or some other place where items may be offered to the community for free as part of a recycling program.

You may even want to connect to the Freecycle boards for your local area to obtain free fans or other items that can be used for flood based power generating needs.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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IN-DEPTH: Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If Elected

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IN-DEPTH: Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If Elected

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President Obama’s war on coal, a resource that provides 35 percent of America’s power, likely won’t end when he leaves office in January 2017. That’s because both Democratic presidential candidates are passionately opposed to coal.

“We have to move away from coal, everybody understands that there’s no doubt about it,” Hillary Clinton told the League of Conservation Voters in November 2015.

It’s a position that her campaign has affirmed, again and again, including when Obama placed a moratorium on the issuance of coal leases on public land.

“Hillary Clinton supports President Obama’s efforts to ensure our energy priorities align with our imperative to combat climate change, including today’s announced review [by Obama] which she would see through to conclusion as president,” Clinton’s spokesman, Ian Sams, stated on January 16 of this year, the same day Obama made his announcement.

Her opponent in the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders, also opposes coal.

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“To he– with the fossil fuel industry,” Sanders told a crowd in North Charleston, South Carolina, in November 2015. “Worry more about your children and your grandchildren than your campaign contributions.”

IN-DEPTH: Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If ElectedSanders said in December, “It’s time for a political revolution that takes on the fossil fuel billionaires, accelerates our transition to clean energy and finally puts people before the profits of polluters.”

Clinton, the former Secretary of State and former first lady, also published a blue print for what would happen after coal plants are shut down. She proposed a $30 billion plan to help coal miners, families and others who will be hurt as coal is phased out and plants closed.

“She will not allow coal communities to be left behind — or left out of our economic future,” the document states.

Among other things, the money will cover benefits to ex-miners, will finance schools in former coal mining communities, and will help miners transition to other jobs. But it will not help the coal plants.

“Hillary Clinton is committed to meeting the climate change challenge as President and making the United States a clean energy superpower,” the document states.

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Her plan on coal plants is virtually identical to Obama’s proposals.

The coal industry in the United States has collapsed since Obama took office in 2009. Coal company stocks lost 90 percent of their value between January 2009 and August 2015, CNN Money reported.

Additionally, more than one in five coal-related jobs in the US has disappeared since Obama was inaugurated, Politico said. Several major coal mining companies also have declared bankruptcy.

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Obama’s regulations on power plants have made it uneconomical for many of them to stay open.

“The administration has systemically eviscerated a high-wage industry, coal … and then offers welfare money,” Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association told Politico. “And rather than see opportunity to distance herself, [Clinton] now appears to embrace those policies.”

Officials in coal mining communities haven’t forgotten what the Obama administration has done. It has impacted how the communities view Democrats in general.

“People look at these folks and say, ‘They’ve completely abandoned us, it’s like we don’t live in America,’” United Mine Workers of America Vice President Ed Yankovich said of coal-country attitudes towards Democrats. “There’s a distinct bitterness about it.”

He added, “If you were a Democrat running for town supervisor, they’d treat it like you and Barack Obama were making decisions together. The question is whether Hillary Clinton can do something to assuage that and [have them] say, ‘You do care for us.’”

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Yet the jobs that Clinton’s plans would create pay less than mining jobs, coal experts say. That could make the economic crisis that coal country is already facing even worse.

How Coal’s Demise Could Affect Your Electricity

Critics have long complained that Obama’s energy plans would raise electricity rates for the average consumer. There seems to be some evidence that those predictions are coming true.

Hillary Clinton Promises To Continue War On Coal If ElectedThe retail price of electricity increased by 9.2 percent between August 2009 (his first year in office) and August 2014, according to government data. In fact, it is expected to increase even further by 2017. By September of that year, electricity will have increased by 15 percent since Obama’s first year in office, according to the same data.

“EPA completely ignores the fact that building new power plants is far more expensive than maintaining existing ones,” Travis Fisher, with the Institute for Energy, told The Washington Times. “We have a situation where EPA is forcing the closures of perfectly good and affordable power plants and trying to replace them with new, more expensive plants.”

Fisher continued, “This means higher electricity rates for Americans. EPA’s claim that its regulation will lower electricity bills is misleading. In reality, electricity rates will skyrocket under the proposed rule. The only way power bills will go down is if EPA succeeds in making Americans use substantially less electricity than we currently do. It’s like telling people that their grocery bill will go down if they’re forced to stop buying the food they need to feed their family.”

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Utilities will be forced to shut down coal-burning power plants that generate around 73,000 megawatts of electricity a year because of EPA rules, industry leaders told The Times. An additional 50,000 megawatts of electricity will have to shut down if the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan rule goes into effect.

In February 2014, an official within the Department of Energy said electricity rates in coal areas could rise by 70 to 80 percent as plants close, Off The Grid News previously reported.

That same month, US Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) warned that the shutdown of older coal-burning power plants because of Obama’s EPA restrictions would result in electricity shortages and power outages.

“If this recent cold weather occurs again in a year or two when these plants are shut down there simply will not be enough electricity available to keep homes and businesses warm,” Inhofe said. “It could result in massive blackouts. When Americans need their electricity it will not be there. It will be as if we’re living in the 1600s and everyone will be cold.

“… These coal-fired power plants which were critical to keeping homes all around the country warm during the cold temperatures are going to be shut down because of Obama’s environmental regulations,” Inhofe added.

With Hillary Clinton pledging to continue Obama’s policies, it may be time for Americans to consider generating their own electricity.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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DIY Projects: 4 Ways To Heat A Greenhouse 

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Heat greenhouseIn one of my recent articles I thoroughly discussed the “how to’s” of DIY-ing your own greenhouse.

Now, let’s address another issue: how to heat a greenhouse during the harsh winter months, because even if a greenhouse is an excellent environment for growing plants and veggies, stabilizing the temperature inside is of major importance to your crops.

If you’re wondering what I am talking about, consider this: even in October and  November, the temperature inside a glass-covered greenhouse can fluctuate considerably, ranging between 30 degrees F lows and 100 degrees F highs.

This massive fluctuation in temperature happens regularly in certain climate conditions. Why? Well, the glazing of a greenhouse does a great job when it comes to letting in the sunlight and therefore the heat, but it’s also very good at letting heat out. That’s because glass or plastic does a relatively poor job in terms of insulation.

Actually, almost all greenhouses tend to overheat during the day if they’re not “temperature controlled”.

During the night when the temperature drops, the greenhouse loses all the heat, causing the plants to freeze. As you can easily imagine, plants (just like people) are not very happy in these circumstances.

So, what can you do to mitigate the problem? In order to control the temperature swings, you must install either a heater or a cooler inside the greenhouse. The cooling job is easier, as it’s basically taken care of by an efficient ventilation system.

Today we’ll take care of the heating thingy; that’s the hardest part of the job.

The smartest and also most sustainable way for mitigating the temperature swings inside a greenhouse is to capture the “extra” solar energy getting in during the day, then store it and use it later during the night when the temperature drops. That’s one solution.

Another solution is to build an efficient heating system that uses renewable or cheap fuels.

When building a greenhouse, remember to design it in such way that it doesn’t require very much cooling or heating in the first place. Good design is key and I discuss that in my article about building a greenhouse.

To revisit that topic briefly, that involves properly insulating the structure, using high-quality materials for roofing, and orienting the greenhouse facing south.

Now, let’s talk about heating solutions, tips and tricks, and the whole nine yards, right after the break!

1. Additional Insulation

Let’s begin with the simplest method: additional insulation. For blocking icy winter droughts and significantly reducing heat loss during the winter, the easiest and cheapest way is to add an insulating layer of bubble wrap, attached with clips to the inside frame of your greenhouse. This trick works very well even when it comes to unheated greenhouses.

For best results, go for horticultural bubble wrap insulation, which is available at garden centers. Unlike regular bubble wrap, this one is tougher and also UV-stabilized. Remember that the bigger the bubbles, the more light they let in.

Besides bubble wrap, you may also use horticultural fleece for further insulating your greenhouse and adding a few extra degrees for your plants during extra-cold winter nights. Just remember to remove the fleece during the day to ensure that your plants and veggies receive proper light and ventilation.

2. Heating System

Now, these are temporary, palliative solutions for heating a greenhouse. A better option is to invest in a heating system. Ideally, you should use electric fan-heaters, which can be easily moved around the greenhouse, thus preventing the apparition of cold spots and reducing the risks of plant disease.

When using an electrical heating system for your greenhouse, remember to save energy and money by investing in a thermostat, which will allow you to start the heaters only when necessary, i.e. when the temperature reaches a specific value. Also, invest in a high quality thermometer and check it daily; in this way you’ll be able to use and adjust your greenhouse heater more efficiently.

Try to avoid wasting money and energy by choosing the optimal temperature inside your greenhouse. Remember that most plants will thrive at temperatures as low as 45 degrees F and some of them even below that. The idea is not to transform your greenhouse into a tropical paradise; that’s not really necessary.

Remember to position your electric heaters carefully. Place them in a central spot, out in the open, or at one end of the greenhouse at a time, and heat only the areas that you need to.

For example, if you have a big greenhouse and only a few delicate plants, you just group them together and try to partition the greenhouse into smaller areas (use bubble wrap insulation curtains for example) which can be heated easily and economically.

But, there’s a problem with electric heaters: they are relatively expensive and they require a power supply. If you don’t have electricity nearby, you can go for paraffin heaters.

3. Heat Sink/ Thermal Mass

However, if you’re a die-hard off-the-grid prepper, you should opt for building a heat sink or a thermal mass (they’re the same thing basically). The thermal mass is the smart solution I was talking about in the preamble of the article.

Thermal mass can be defined as any type of material or structure which is able to store thermal energy. And, obviously, almost any type of material is capable of doing that; it’s a basic energy conservation principle, but some materials are better than others at storing heat.

The heat sink or thermal mass works by trapping the extra heat generated by the sun during the day and releasing it slowly when the temperature drops during the night, thus heating your greenhouse free of charge. Basically, it works like a battery, storing energy during the day and releasing it during the night.

Now, how much energy you can store in your “battery” is directly dependent upon the size of the thermal mass and also the heat capacity of its building materials.

Water is excellent at storing heat when compared to concrete or soil, having a twice the specific heat capacity volume of concrete and 4 times the heat capacity volume of soil. Hence, the best and most common method for building thermal mass/heat sinks is to use water barrels, due to the water’s excellent heat storing capacity.

The general idea is to stack 55 gallon barrels filled with water inside the greenhouse. How many you use will depend on the volume and size of your greenhouse. The barrels must be located where they receive the maximum amount of direct sunlight, i.e. near a north-facing wall.

The water inside the barrels will get warm during the day and the energy (heat) stored inside will be slowly released during the night, keeping your crop warm. Easy as pie, right? And cheap as dirt, too. Well, almost.

Remember to place the tender plants (seeding trays or warm-weather crops) near the barrels, which will be the warmest place in the greenhouse, for better results.

4. Heat Exchanger

Now, if the thermal mass idea, aka the water filled barrels, are not enough, you can go to the next level and incorporate a heat exchanger into your DIY project.

The heat exchanger is also called a Climate Battery or a SHCS (subterranean heating and cooling system) and it works by circulating the air through the heating mass.

There are lots of versions and designs for heat exchangers, but they all work using the same principles. The mechanisms of energy transfer and storage are identical: as the greenhouse heats during the day, the warm and humid air from inside the greenhouse is pumped by an electric fan via a network of underground pipes. The temperature drop produces water-vapor condensation; hence energy is released during the process (it’s called phase change).

The released energy is stored in the soil in the form of heat, thus creating a big mass of warm soil under your greenhouse, regardless of the season. During the night, when the outside temperature drops, the electric fan starts over (via a thermostat) and it circulates the air again through the underground pipes, which, this time, extract the heat stored in the soil and warm the greenhouse.

There are additional methods for building a heat exchanger, as the battery material may vary. For example some people choose to dig and backfill with stones or gravel the area underneath the greenhouse, as stone and gravel are better in terms of heat storing capacity than dirt.

It sounds a little bit complicated, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. This air-heat-exchanger system is relatively simple and time-tested for decades in homes and greenhouses all around the world.

Heat-to-air-exchangers are very efficient for two main reasons: first, the size/volume of the battery/thermal mass is huge when compared to a water-filled barrel (generally speaking, two times bigger).

Secondly, because the air is pushed actively through the thermal mass, this significantly increases the rate of heat exchange, making it more efficient when compared to “static” barrels.

Also, this system does three jobs at the same time: during the day, the greenhouse gets cooler, during the night it gets warmer and on top of that, ventilation is taken care of by design, making sure there are no cold pockets inside! Awesome, right?

You can use a thermostat to kick the fan on and off when the desired temperature is reached, offering you total control over the thermal mass, and that means it’s as smart as it gets, right?

Here’s a video which depicts how a heat sink helps with keeping the greenhouse warm during cold nights.

Video first seen on Michael Dibb

Here’s another idea about solving the problem of freezing during the winter when growing inside a greenhouse, called a Zero Energy Thermal Mass Greenhouse, which requires no power and it’s totally off the grid. It will work anywhere and it allows you to grow produce even in the winter.

Video first seen on Ted Pasternack

I hope the article helped and if you have suggestions or comments, feel free to express yourself in the dedicated section below. Also make sure to comeback on Sunday as we continue to talk about our survival gardens!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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THE MYTH OF “SAUDI AMERICA” AND US ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

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For years I’ve been telling anyone that would listen that the idea that the United States of America is going to become “Saudi America” and throw off the chains of our enslavement to the energy (crude oil) barons of the middle east and achieve energy independence thanks to the boom in shale oil via fracking in recent years is a complete and total myth.  A fantasy based in the deeply held desire that the “American way of life” can continue into the infinite future without disruption.  Of course, this view of the future is not readily embraced by most and that is completely understandable given what such a seismic shift in paradigm would mean for the average US citizen.  However, that possibility of a very unpleasant upheaval doesn’t make it any less probable.

Now that we are comfortably into 2016 we can take a long gaze back into 2015 and see a few facts to support my point.  The following two links tell the tale:

U.S. oil output on brink of ‘dramatic’ decline, executive says

(This article is from a few months back.  Crude oil is currently trading around the low $30 range.)

 

source: tradingeconomics.com

 

Anyone willing to take an honest look at the recent fracking boom that has been responsible for the surge in American crude oil production will easily discover that these wells are expensive, short-lived and that the sweet spots in which they are drilled are few.  It does not take a genius to foresee a massive decline in production from these wells and anyone hoping that this could continue indefinitely is simply participating in an exercise of delusion.

To a greater point, the tsunami of articles surrounding this recent fracking boom announcing the death of peak oil were worth almost as much as the paper they were printed on as the chart clearly shows.  The United States reached it’s peak oil production in 1970 has never been back to that point.  Keep in mind that our max production was 10 million barrels of oil a day back in 1970 and even though the recent boom approached that number once again, it really doesn’t mean much when you understand that the United States consumes around 19 million barrels of oil daily.  With a clear decline in the overall flow of fracked crude oil having arrived, it is pretty easy to see and forecast that we will not be exceeding or even reaching that past peak any time soon thanks to both the natural decline cycle of the shale wells, as well as the end of the “free money” economic environment that allowed these often money-losing ventures of fracking to begin in the first place.

The reason any of this matters to you is simple.  The United States and global economies are absolutely tied to and completely dependent upon uninterrupted access to cheap and readily accessible energy (crude oil).  It is the lifeblood that allows economic growth to occur.  As energy resources tighten and decline over the coming decades, economic growth will follow right along with it.  In fact, one can make the case that global economic growth as a real metric has already come to an end.  As this occurs and industrial civilization winds down, economies will fail and people will lose their jobs finding themselves left to watch longingly as the “American way of life” slips further and further into the black hole of history.

I see this as the reality of our future in the long term and it may mean the end of the world as we know it, but this does not have to mean the actual end of the world.  It will mean a new world though.  This new reality can be brilliant, beautiful and amazingly rewarding.  The more you understand what is happening around you now, the easier it will be for you to adjust the coming changes.  By embracing the realities now that the real world will eventually impose on us all, you will have the opportunity to navigate the emotional storms that are certain to come as a result of such a change and position yourself to thrive in a future that you can create.  I hope you will make plans to do so.

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