Excellent shopping day

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I got a great tool bargain at Home depot.  Rather than buying the drill and getting a free tool instead I bought the 18 volt drill + impact driver set for $99.00 and got the 10% vet discount! So the price was only $89.10 for both tools.  I got a 5/8 in. sheet of plywood cut into 2×8 ft.sections for $25.00 and add in eight, 1×3 inch boards to start the basement shelf building project.  At this time I’m working to re-enforce and add new shelves to an existing frame work hence the smaller dimensional lumber.

One thing I noticed today is the cashier at Home depot was sort of defensive or tried to explained that the 10% discount did not apply to all items.  I’m a disabled vet and I love how some companies give a vet discount but no company is required to give a discount to vets.  No cashier needs to be attacked if a vet discount is not applied.  If you don’t like the policy, write a letter to corporate or rant on the internet but, leave the cashier alone.

Most or the replacement garden veggies were available for the replacement plants that did not do great from my starts.  I bought some sweet corn, celery and sweet potatoes that Mom wants to try growing.  No luck so far with finding tomitillo plants but I know from last year those plant start off slow and then explode with growth so I have not given up hope yet!  The worst thing that can happen is that raised bed lies fallow and I build up the soil so it is not a bad situation.

This may sound a bit strange but I am more interested in learning how to grow a garden rather than what food a garden can produce.  Many people that never had a garden think growing a good garden is easy.  It is not easy at all and requires a lot of effort.  For me any veggies I get is a bonus, my focus is on building up a sustainable garden out of my own resources.  Learning to work with my land and then improve it as much as possible before the need to grow a garden is upon us.

It is very easy for a government to mandate everyone must grow a garden,  (ala Venezuela) for food but we all know that just tossing out a few seeds and hope for the best is a terrible way to grow a  good garden.

Thursday and Mom does not have a master gardeners BS class to go to so the plan of attack is trim up and perhaps cut down the dead cherry tree and finish up building the stuff needed for the properly built compost pile.  My carpentry skills/knowledge are mediocre at best but I have built a few simple things and now I can build “larger” simple projects.  I can’t say you can succeed on trying new project.  I can guarantee if you never try doing anything new you will fail.

 

Uncommon Off-grid Survival: How to Get Electricity from Mud

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It is no secret that anything from EMP blast and natural phenomena to outright sabotage from inside the country can lead to large scale disruptions in the power grid.

You have at least a few electronic devices that you’ll need to operate until you have made a full adjustment to living without electricity. Regardless of whether you need to access data on the memory chip for your smart phone, health monitoring tools, or even a battery powered radio, you should know how to generate electricity using as many methods as possible.

Overall, generating electricity or other sources of power from mud may be a viable option.

GREEN ENERGY – Click Here to find out how you can build your own energy generator.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Earth Batteries?

How is this type of generator different from other devices made from similar materials? How a mud based electricity generator differs from an earth battery? Here are the main things to remember:

  • An Earth battery does not require salt or any other electrolyte. You can add salt to increase the amount of electricity produced. On the other hand, generating electricity with mud always requires the addition of salt.
  • To use an earth battery, you can take the soil from any location and it will still work. If you want to generate electricity using mud, you must make use of mud from areas rich in bacteria that do not rely on oxygen. Most people use mud found at the bottom of ponds or other areas that have been under fresh water for some time.
  • When generating electricity from mud, the bacteria responsible for making the electricity must have food. While waste or sewage can be used for this purpose, some bacteria may also require the addition of glucose or sugar. An earth battery does not require living organisms to generate or store electricity, so there is never a need to add food. At most, you will only need to add regular water from time to time in order to keep the soil slightly moist.

How Does Generating Power From Mud Differ From Using Electrolytes?

Even though generating power from mud requires salt, it does not work quite the same way as an electrolyte battery. The bacteria themselves charge up one side of the fuel cell as a part of their biological function.

On the other hand, an electrolyte battery works because molecules break down into ions when mixed with water. These ions gravitate to the different metals at different rates, which produces an electrical charge.

Over the years, many different methods have been used to generate electricity from electrolytes. If you are near the ocean, you won’t need much more than access to salt water and two different metal types that will serve as electrodes. With a few minor modifications, you can also make wet capacitors using similar materials.

If you are going to work with higher voltages, you might need to make this kind of capacitor both for storing electricity and making sure you can create and even discharge once the power is gathered in one location.

Alternatively, if you have pennies made 1983 or later, you will already have two perfectly good metals in the same coin for making an electrolyte battery. All you will need to do is sand off some of the copper from one side of each penny in order to expose the zinc.

Next, make a sandwich of cardboard disks dipped in salt water and add pennies between each set of disks. You can make approximately one volt of electricity for every penny you combine with the salt water and cardboard disks.

Should I Use the Mud Cell to Generate Electricity?

Overall, you will find that a mud cell generates relatively small amounts of electricity when compared to the size of the device. Something is better than nothing, so it will still take a lot of work to multiply that electricity and be able to use it even to produce the same voltage as you would get from a AAA battery.

You can most certainly try building a mud cell power generator to see how it works, and then try to adapt it to produce more power.

Here’s what you need to achieve to produce more electricity:

  • Find some way to get existing bacteria to boost their metabolism 200 – 300 times the current rate.
  • Get the bacteria to multiply faster.
  • To generate electricity, the bacteria actually form networks of conductive “bridges” or “wires” in the growing medium. At this time, it is not known if the bacteria themselves are producing the most optimal pattern for conducting electricity from one place to another. Changing the pattern may improve efficiency and it may also boost the amount of current produced by the generator.
  • Find a way to make the cells smaller: see if you can use a more liquefied mud cell, and then irrigate it with a steady flow of nutrient rich water. Provide some kind of growing film for the bacteria so they aren’t washed away each time the mud cell is bathed in water. Even though nanotechnologies may be outside of your available list of materials, they may one day be useful for making an optimized structure for the bacteria to live in and generate electricity across. This leads to a smaller footprint for each cell, as well as higher levels of efficiency.
  • Get equipment that will help you find out the answers to several questions: a microscope and access to white papers on nanotechnology, conductive material molecular structures, and other materials may be of use to you.

Basic Steps for Building a Mud Cell Energy Generator

To make a microbial fuel cell, start off by gathering the right kind of mud. Dig around in the bottom of a pond that has been around for a few years, and pull up some of the black mud at the bottom. This mud will be rich in the kind of bacteria that can be used to generate electricity.

Next, you will need some salt, water, agar, and PVC pipe. Mix the salt, water, and agar together, and then fill the pipe with them. Once the agar cools, it should be hard enough so that it will not spill out of the tube.

The agar acts as a repository for salt, which restores the ionic balance as electricity is drawn from the cell. You can also try cardboard dipped in salt water or other methods for making the salt bridge.

The microbial fuel cell requires two chambers that are connected by the agar filled PVC pipe. Make sure the seals connecting the chambers are waterproof, and that you can easily replace the salt bridge, so that you can refill or make changes to the ingredients in the other chambers as needed.

After you connect the containers with the salt bridge, fill one container part of the way with mud and insert an electrode. Since the electrode will need a fairly wide surface area, make one from regular wire, and then attach an aluminum mesh to it. Finish filling up the container.

Your next step will be to fill the remaining chamber with distilled water and salt. As with the first chamber, install an electrode and some wire.

You can also insert some air tubing that will be used to run an air pump that will aerate the solution in the water chamber.

If you want to increase the amount of air going into the chamber and ensure more stays in the water, try using an aquarium air stone. If you do not aerate the water in the second chamber, it will produce hydrogen gas.

Depending on the activity levels of the bacteria, you may notice a small amount of voltage immediately. It may still take days, or even weeks for the bacteria to rebuild their transport structure and produce more electricity.

Video first seen on CCS Microbial Fuel Cell

Are there any Other Uses for a Mud Cell?

Many inner city areas are soon to become areas where gas mains will explode and skyscrapers will tumble to the ground. Land with clean water and soil is rapidly becoming something that simply cannot be bought in an area with good weather conditions.

Aside from pointing to inevitable massive depopulation, it also means that if you want a homestead, you may have to settle for land that isn’t as clean or as safe as you would want it to be. This, in return, means that you will need some way to clean the soil. While mud batteries may not do much to generate electricity, they can do a great deal to increase the rate at which other bacteria remove toxins from the soil.

Therefore, if you are interested in owning a homestead, or know that you are already dealing with contaminated soil, you may want to experiment with these batteries to see if they will be of use to you.

Like many others, over the years, I have tossed around the idea of living completely free of electricity and electronic devices. While I have arrived at the sad conclusion these devices may be necessary for years to decades after a major crash, I still give a lot of thought to using as little electricity as possible. Since electricity is used for everything from cooking to home heating/cooling, this also means other fuel types must be considered.

Mud batteries can be used to generate hydrogen and biofuels. Typically, this process only requires carbon dioxide and sunlight. There is a good bit of research going on at this time to determine if this means of making butanol, a biofuel, can replace corn, beets, and other crops normally used for food.

Many people prefer cooking with electric stoves because they are safer, but just about everyone agrees that gas stoves produce better tasting food. You can build a gas stove to run on natural gas or methane, so don’t be surprised that this fuel is of immense interest to off gridders and preppers.

The bacteria that generate methane and natural gas also form similar structures within the growing medium that allow for the transport of electricity. As a result, even if you decide the mud battery is not a feasible option, you could check if the best bacteria for this method will also produce larger amounts of natural gas.

Aside from saving on soil depletion, this method may even be used one day to produce sugars suitable for addition in foods. In fact, bacteria are being used to make omega fatty acids that are added into organic milk. The bacteria strain may be different from the ones used to generate electricity, but never underestimate what mud and different methods for getting bacteria to produce various chemicals can do.

Right now, mainstream media continues to avoid covering topics like the Fukushima disaster, and other issues related to the leaking of nuclear materials into rivers and oceans. Virtually everyone points to other factors and blames them for the rises in cancer rates and other diseases that may well have an origin in hidden exposure to ionized radiation in the groundwater.

The same strains of bacteria used to generate electricity are also capable of removing uranium from ground water. If you are building a homestead near an area exposed to nuclear waste or materials, these bacteria may help. There may even be a way to develop a strain of bacteria that can be used to remove tritium from potable water supplies.

Once you begin exploring how electrically active bacteria work, it seems entirely possible this property can be used to remove tritium from non-radioactive water molecules.

In the case of making electricity from mud, the hydrogen generated by this process may be of more use as a fuel to power some other device that will deliver more electricity or some other useful form of power.

When it comes to generating electricity, cost, availability, and ease of assembly must always be your primary focus points. If you cannot generate enough electricity directly from any given application, see what else you can obtain that may be useful.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://sciencing.com/making-electricity-salt-water-4883969.html

http://theconversation.com/mud-power-how-bacteria-can-turn-waste-into-electricity-3677

Battery costs plummet

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Bloomerg New Energy Finance chart showing the falling battery costs as a share of Electric vehicle costs

Cost of EVs and battery costs (%) – 2016-2030 (BNEF)

Huge advances aimed at the Electric vehicle market are slashing battery costs, changing the way the power grid works and bringing benefits to off-grid communities and industries.
As the world prepares to spend trillions on new renewable energy installations, the cost of storing power is plummeting. Battery costs are the biggest single obstacle to the potential for living and working off the grid, because reliable power storage has been the missing element until now.

In its latest annual report released this week, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts trillions of investment in renewable energy worldwide in the next 10 years. The need to store renewable energy (along with the coming boom in Elelctric Vehicles (EVs) has led to advances in battery technology and a 75% fall in the cost of batteries since 2010.
As we first reported over two years ago, plans to mass-produce car batteries are behind much of the progress.
Technology is also allowing us to be more intelligent in the way we consume electricity. One interesting idea in the electricity market now is “demand response”. Instead of building capacity to provide extra megawatts, we instead use “negawatts”— forgone power consumption. This already works well with cooling, heating and pumping, which are mostly not time-sensitive. If you run greenhouses, or cold-storage equipment, your only priority is keeping the contents within the right temperature range. Whether the machinery comes on at five minutes to the hour, or ten minutes past, does not particularly matter.
But to the electricity networks, this flexibility matters a lot. When demand spikes — say on winter mornings — they no longer need to use the dirtiest and most expensive generating capacity, such as banks of diesel generators, to keep the lights on. Instead they pay companies to postpone power consumption to a more convenient time. The result is greater efficiency and lower costs.
Increased use of electric vehicles will create even more flexibility: they can charge overnight on cheap wind power, and even send electricity back into the network when needed.
This is not good news for the utility companies. They like big, expensive investments because, in a regulated market, they can dump the cost — plus a profit margin — on the consumer. The question that no country has answered is how to manage the transition between the expensive, old-style power system and the decentralised, flexible, low-cost (and low-carbon) future.
BNEF’s annual energy outlook, published this week, forecasts $7.4 trillion (£5.8 trillion) of new investment in renewable energy by 2040. That is an encouraging leap on previous predictions — but still short of the nearly $13 trillion investment in zero-carbon power it reckons is necessary.

Even without the fall in battery costs, coal is ailing even in countries without abundant natural gas. China and India are turning away from the black stuff, partly to stem public fury at air pollution, but also because of the tumbling price of solar energy, down 40 per cent in the past year in India. A solar electricity provider recently won a supply auction there with a bid of 2.62 rupees (3.2p) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) — undercutting coal-fired power by a fifth.
The economics of renewable energy overpower the incumbents. The marginal cost of solar and wind power is zero: once the panels and windmills are installed, they produce electricity willy-nilly. The old producers’ only real advantage is reliability. They can provide power on demand, whereas renewable energy tends to be intermittent: on calm cloudy days, output from both solar and wind drops precipitously. Even that advantage is crumbling – because of the fall in the cost of storage as battery technology advances and the economics of mass-production kick in.

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Adaptogens: Critical Herbs You Probably Don’t Have

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Adaptogens: Critical Herbs You Probably Don’t Have Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio player provided! This week on Herbal Prepper Live, the focus is on adaptogens. What are adaptogens? Like their name sounds, adaptogens help you to adapt. And the ability to adapt is key to survival. Always has been, always will be. Adaptogenic herbs … Continue reading Adaptogens: Critical Herbs You Probably Don’t Have

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Black Hills Energy Cuts Renewables Payout

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Last week the South Dakota Public Utilities unanimously approved a 19 per cent reduction in pay for renewables – that is the generation credit rate Black Hills Energy pays to small renewable energy producers. This is a kick in the teeth to all who invested in renweable energy thinking they could forecast the payback time and the hit on their own personal finances.

The generation credit rate will be set to 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour, from the current rate on 3.32 cents.

The commissionion says it may also wants to set generation credit rates differently for the kinds of fuel used to create it – so coal will get less and solar will get more.s. The decision to base the credits by sources will come no later than 2019.

“Black Hills Energy should broaden its electricity sources. About 90 per cent comes from burning coal”, he says. 

Nelson praises Richard Bell, an engineer and customer of Black Hills Energy, for bringing the concept to the commission. Bell is one of 35 small producers who receive credits on their electricity bills for the electricity they supply to the company.

 Small producers might drop out

However, due to the credit reduction, Bell is worried that small producers will drop out, and explains that many people are going to go off the grid if they are going to be compensated at such a low rate.

The commission voted 3-0 to accept the Rapid City company´s proposal. The reduction will take place on June 1st. 

 Not happy with Black Hills Energy´s deal

Joining Bell at the witness table was Jay Davis, a Rapid City lawyer who has a renewable-energy system on his house and receives generation credits from the company. He invested roughly $11.000 to install the panels and received a 30 per cent federal credit. 

“We wanted to set a good example for the rest of the community, a positive and forward looking example”, he says. 

Davis is not pleased with the deal he is getting from Black Hills Energy at the moment. He explains that he pays 9.98 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity at his house, but gets 3.32 cents credit for the electricity produced by the solar system on his house. Worse, he says, the company charges him $9.25 monthly because he is a customer and another $12.99 per month in cost adjustments. 

Manager sees no reduction of coal in near future

Lisa Seaman, Black Hills Energy´s manager of resource planning says she does not see the company reducing their dependence on coal very much.

 “Not in the near term”, she states. “Right now the utility has enough electricity without the 35 to meet the needs of customers”.

 Nelson sees Seaman´s point, but says the company needs to start taking the small producers into consideration in the future. South Dakota’s voluntary goal by utilities is 10 percent for renewables. Black Hills Energy is at 0.17 percent at the moment.

The U.S. among the top countries in electricity generated by the sun

The United States is among the top countries in the world in electricity generated by the sun and several of the world´s largest utility-scale installations are located in the desert Southwest. 

 The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is a solar thermal power project in the California Mojave Desert. It delivers power to PG&E and Southern California Edison. The project is currently the largest solar thermal power plant in the world, according to Bright Source Energy.

 The website also stated that the electricity generated by the plants is enough to serve more than 140.000 homes in California during the peak hours of the day, and the complex will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 400.000 tons per year.

 Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring California´s utilities to obtain 50 percent of their electricity form renewable energy sources by the end of 2030

Also see: Is rooftop solar a challenge to power companies?

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Emergency Essentials: 4 Ways To Prepare Your Family For A Mass Power Outage

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There are several reasons as to why the power would go out. It could be because of a severe storm that comes through the area or because there is work being done on the power lines. Equipment can fail at any time, causing the power to go out for the neighborhood. If the power goes out, you need to stay calm and gather your emergency supplies. Being prepared ahead of time can make it easier to stay occupied and to maintain daily activities even if there is no power for a few hours or a few days.

 

Supply Kit

The best thing to use for a supply kit is a plastic storage container. It’s less likely to get wet in the event of a storm, and you can easily carry everything you need at one time with the lid in place. Items that you can include in the kit are canned foods that you don’t need to heat, crackers and other items that you can eat without worrying about refrigeration. Your kit should also include a gallon of water for each person with a three-day supply of water total.

 

Lighting

Keep a generous supply of candles, flashlights and batteries in a small box as well. Avoid using these items during the year as you don’t want to be caught without a source of light. Candle holders are an option so that you can place them on tables around the home. You should have flashlights in different sizes so that you can light up larger spaces instead of just a personal space. It’s sometimes a good idea to keep a flashlight in each room of the home where family members can find it if it’s needed. You should have a list of professionals that can help you in a lighting emergency, like Royalty Plumbing and Gas.

 

Staying Updated

A radio with batteries or even a portable television with batteries is a good way to stay updated on the situation. Keep a portable charger for your phone as well so that you can communicate with family and others in the area to find out about the emergency. A crank radio is also an option, and the power from it can keep a phone charged for a short time.

 

Cleaning Up

When the power is out, you probably won’t be able to take a shower because the outage will affect the hot water heater. You can use cleansing wipes to wash the hands and the face. Keep a supply of diapers and baby wipes in your supply kit for babies and toddlers. As soon as the power goes out, you want to use as much water as you can to fill up the tub and the sinks while the water is available. This supply can be used to flush the toilet.

 

A power outage might seem frightening, but if you have all of the supplies that you need, then you’ll be prepared. It’s best to keep a supply kit on hand ahead of time with everything from batteries to non-perishable foods. Stay in touch with others as much as possible, and provide entertainment for children so that they aren’t worried until the power returns.

The post Emergency Essentials: 4 Ways To Prepare Your Family For A Mass Power Outage appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Long Term Solutions – Sustainable Roofing

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When we talk about sustainable roofing, there are no specific characteristics that can be used to describe a sustainable roof. Sustainable roofs can come in different shapes, forms and can be made of varies materials. Each sustainable roof can be sustainable in a different way or through a combination of abilities. The impact that sustainable…

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Reasons Your Transformer May Blow Up and How to Prevent it

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An electric transformer is a static electrical machine which transforms electrical power from one circuit to another circuit, without changing the frequency. It can either increase or decrease the voltage with corresponding decrease or increase in current. Let’s learn more about what is an electrical transformer, its types and what causes it to fail. Design … Read more…

The post Reasons Your Transformer May Blow Up and How to Prevent it was written by Bob Rodgers and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

Portable Generator Safety Tips For Preppers

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If you live in an area that is subject to intermittent but long duration power outages, a portable generator is a good way to get though the event in relative comfort. Depending on the size of your portable generator, it can keep your freezer cold, give you light, let you run TV/radio and maybe even…

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8 Affordable DIY Generators The Utility Companies Absolutely Hate

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DIY GeneratorsIt would be impossible to list all the reasons why you might want to build a DIY generator.

  • Maybe you’re preparing for a long-term emergency and want to generate your own power if the grid gets wiped out.
  • Maybe you’re living in a cabin in the wilderness, sustained by the land, supported by Mother Nature.
  • Perhaps you dream of off-grid independence and self-reliance.
  • Maybe you’d like to knock a few dollars off your electric bill or even get rid of it completely.
  • Or maybe you want to do it for the pure joy of making functional science.

Regardless your reason, the goal is always the same; to produce and consume your own electricity.

Now, living off the grid doesn’t require electricity. You can go off grid without it. Human beings have survived all across the world for tens of thousands of years without it.

It’s possible to make camp and sustain yourself without electricity. Instead of light bulbs, use candles. Forget the furnace, use the heat from a fireplace. Instead of an oven, use a wood-stove and thick blankets. You can make it with the right set of survival books, and woodsman know-how.

But electricity makes life a lot easier. And most would also agree it makes like better.

For example, a refrigerator and freezer are very difficult appliances to live without in our modern society.

But electricity is a survival tool like any other – it’s just intangible and non-material. But extremely useful.

Electricity is a versatile tool that helps achieve many survival related goals. Heat, light, cooking, entertainment, communication, construction.

The applications are endless.

The best part is, building DIY generators doesn’t require the intellect of Nicola Tesla. Or even a degree in electrical engineering.

You can buy energy generators and have them installed on your property. Or you can build your own. DIY generators are extremely helpful tools. And they can even serve to increase the sustainability of your off-the-grid outpost.

Building your own generator is a skill that makes a huge difference in a “SHTF” situation. Even if you don’t plan to make a DIY generator today, just knowing “how” is a valuable skill to have at your disposal.

Motor Rotor 1The Principals of Making Electricity

Before we get into the different DIY generators you can build, let’s s cover the general concept. Electric generator all share the same basic principles. So these are the truly important concepts to understand.

Any time you use electricity, you are using energy that came from somewhere else. Whether it’s a coal plant, running water, or wind, power comes from some other form of energy.

You convert one type of energy (wind, water, geothermal, combustion) into another (electricity).

So how do you turn the energy of moving water into electrical power stored in a battery?

No matter the exact DIY generators you intend to build, these two pieces are essential: The Stator and The Rotor.

The Stator is a stationary shell that houses the Rotor, which rotates inside of the Stator. The Rotor is filled with magnets, which, as they spin within the Stator generate electric current.

That current is captured within the Stator’s built in coils and transferred to the storage unit.

Now, to store electricity generated by the Stator and the Rotor you need a battery.

There are many commercial batteries designed for the sole purpose of storing self-produced energy. Basically, the larger the battery, the more energy you can store.

If you plan on using your generator often, I would recommend getting a large battery. One with a significant amount of energy storage potential. Or even better yet, a bank of batteries connected in series.

If you just want off-the-grid electricity to charge a camera and flashlight, small batteries are perfect.

Now, building your own battery is possible – but personally, I’d rather recondition an old battery back to life. It’s easier and less dangerous.

If you’re interested in learning how to recondition old batteries back to life, check out this EZ Battery Reconditioning Course.

Building Homemade DIY Generators

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Right? If you want DIY electricity, you can look to the sky, look to the sea, look in the ground, look in your garage…

The potential for electrical generation is everywhere.

This is good because no matter the situation, the possibility for electricity generation is there. You just need to understand how to harness it.

For this reason, I’ve compiled a very brief, but comprehensive list of DIY generators.

1 – The Bicycle Generator:

I put this one first because it’s such a simple idea.

By turning the gears (or wheel) of your bike, you turn it into a Rotor. So you can generate electricity and get a workout at the same time.

Need to boil some water? No problem put in twenty minutes on the DIY bike generator, and you are cooking!

Need a reading light? Pedal while you read and you will have light for as long as you are on the bike!

Obviously, this requires physical labor. You won’t be heating a large household via bike-generator. But if you need electricity for small, quick tasks, a bicycle generator is a healthy way to go about it.

You don’t even need a whole bike for this setup – you can build a DIY bike generator using old bike parts. So there is no need to dismantle your prized bug out bicycle.

In the following video, they use a treadmill motor to turn leg power into electrical volts, here’s where you can get a treadmill motor.

2 – Hydroelectric Generator:

I am going to go ahead and call hydroelectricity the BEST option on this list. Because it’s reliable, it’s consistent, and it’s extremely effective.

Hydroelectric power has been in use for thousands and thousands of years. The ancient Greeks were first attributed with converting moving water into grinding wheat. They were not using electricity, but they were harnessing energy. They turned running water and into the useful task of making flour.

Which is exactly the concept behind generating hydroelectric power.

Water wheels are the most popular way of achieving hydroelectric energy. By positioning the wheel in the moving water, the motion of the water is transferred to the spinning wheel. This wheel is then attached to the Rotor. And the energy is collected by Stator before being transferred to a battery.

Many streams and rivers flow at a near-constant rate. So hydroelectric energy is produced day and night, non-stop – effectively and efficiently.

Sadly, building and installing a functional hydroelectric plant yourself is complicated. Not impossible, but requires a lot of foresight, preparation, and planning.

And of course, you need a running body of water nearby too. So they’re not location independent thus making them relatively rare.

3 – Wind Energy:

Just behind hydroelectric energy, wind is one of the next best options.

The basic idea is the same – large blades capture the wind’s momentum, and transfer it to a Rotor/Stator setup.

Unfortunately, wind turbines present a problem for the average Joe. They usually require ongoing upkeep and maintenance.

That’s why most large-scale wind farms have a team of highly trained, highly skilled engineers. They’ve been trained specifically to manage these wind turbines. But it’s becoming easier.

The most important aspect of setting up a wind turbine is investing in an efficient Rotor/Stator set up. A turbine setup that allows you to capture as much of the wind as possible.

However, this only really works in windy regions. Wind doesn’t do you any good if you live in a place where the air is perpetually still (or even unpredictable).

You need a lot of consistent, reliable winds if you want your DIY wind-powered electric generator to pay off.

And here’s a detailed video on how to turn an old cordless drill into a wind turbine.

A side benefit to both wind and water energy is that they’re environmentally sustainable. Using these natural resources (wind and water flow) to generate power doesn’t release pollutants in the process.

4 – Hand Crank Generator:Hand Crank Flashlight

I have a flashlight that requires no charging, and no changing batteries. It’s a hand crank flashlight.

All you have to do is crank the handle until you have generated enough friction to power the thing. This is a basic type of hand crank generator, and the one that you can build is similar.

This electrical generation is like the bike generator. It converts human energy into electrical energy. In other words, you get out of it what you put into it.

If you need to conserve calories because food is scarce – a hand crank generator is a poor choice. But if you’re lost at sea and need to signal for help, having a hand crank generator for light is very helpful.

It’s situational – hand crank generators are not your best option, but they will do in a pinch.

Here’s a video on how to turn an old cordless drill into a DIY hand crank generator.

5 – Compost Heat Generator

How about generating heat from waste?

Now, heat is not electricity, however, heat is a form of energy and highly useful. It’s also exciting to be able to use compost materials (wood chips, grass clippings, mulch, hay, etc.) to generate abundant amounts of heat. Heat you can use to warm a small home, a greenhouse, or even to heat a hot-tub.

The one caveat is you need to run a pump in order to circulate the water. So while this setup creates heat it does take some energy input to run.

6 – Atmospheric Energy Generator

Our atmosphere is full of this potential electrical energy waiting to be tapped. But that’s the challenge, how can you tap this energy for use and consumption?

It’s possible to generate small amounts of “free” energy but nothing I know of has been invented to do so at great scale. However, it’s a source of energy to keep an eye on because, in our modern world, new inventions are always being created and developed.

7 – Solar Power

Everyone knows about solar and that fact that many homes are either fully or partly powered by solar. Now the sun’s rays are free but collecting it and converting it into usable energy is not.

However, you can cut the costs of installing a solar system significantly if you understand how it works and how to build your own DIY Solar Power System.

If you’re interested in setting up a DIY Solar Energy system the right way, check out DIY Home Energy.

8 – Biogas Generator

The general idea behind a biogas generator is fairly simple. You just need a source of organic wastes such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste. You then take these organic wastes and put them into a large bin or tank called a digester.

In the digester, you fill it with a specific ratio of organic material and water.

As the organic waste breaks down, it releases heat and gas.

This bio gas can then power a generator, which then converts the cheap (often free) “waste material” biogas into electricity.

If this sound like a setup you’re interested in getting some blueprints to build, check out the Liberty Generator.

Survival Applications of DIY Electricity

It should be evident that electricity makes life easier. The quality of human life around the world has skyrocketed once it became a common resource.

But for illustrative purposes here’s a short list of survival applications of electricity:

Heat –

First, the most significant survival use of electricity is the ability to generate heat. Especially during winter months and in cooler regions.

Having a method to quickly and efficiently warm your shelter is an absolute game changer.

Cooking –

With electricity, you don’t have to go through the trouble of starting a fire every time you want to cook. Nor do you need to keep a large supply of dry firewood on hand (although I highly recommend it).

But life is easier using hot plates, electric skillets, toasters, or crock pots. All of which make meal preparation a lot easier.

It’s even more important being able to cook food in a dire emergency scenario.

Lighting –

Emergency candles and gas lanterns have a nostalgic appeal and work in the shorter term. But we all know that they’re not the most efficient or the most effective way to light a room.

Modern LED electric bulbs use very little energy and last for a very long time. There’s also a lot of rechargeable options for lanterns, flashlights, and lamps. This is efficient and safe for the environment.

Entertainment –

Believe it or not, entertainment can be as valuable a survival supply as fresh food because it preserves your sanity -which is invaluable in a survival situation. Heck, sanity is a valuable resource in any situation.

Charging a cell phone or a small radio can change miserable circumstances into a bearable one.

Of course, a library of survival books and survival playing cards also electricity free forms of entertainment.

Film/Photography –

Cameras and camera equipment all use electricity and need batteries to run. So if you need to wait for a shot, you may have to use a small DIY energy generator to charge and power your equipment.

Torturing Your Enemies –

Have you seen the movie Taken? Well, in it, Liam Neeson uses a car battery to torture and interrogate his daughter’s kidnappers. It’s pretty brutal – but man, it gets the job done.

Anyway, if you need a form of “enhanced interrogation,” electricity offers one.

The Final Word

Electricity is one of the most effective survival tools ever harnessed by man. It makes life on Earth easier. We leverage it to accomplish an endless number of goals.

And the best part about it, the energy is everywhere – just waiting for you and your DIY generators.

Extract it from the wind, or the water, use your own physical power or transfer it from another energy source.

If you understand the concept behind collecting energy you’ll go far. If you commit those principles to memory, you have the ability to build a generator out of scratch almost anywhere.

Now that’s self-reliance.

The post 8 Affordable DIY Generators The Utility Companies Absolutely Hate appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Is rooftop solar a challenge to power companies?

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electric meter

As more and more people are installing solar panels on their roof, I hear my friends talking about wanting to do grid tied solar so that they can make their electric meters run backwards and get a check from the electric company. I always hate to burst their bubbles, it is possible to do that, but it’s never as easy as it seems.

The electric companies are there to make money, that’s their bottom line, nothing wrong with that, but they will protect their ability to earn a profit at every turn. They need to be able to maintain the infrastructure they have developed that gets electricity from point A to point B and beyond. When just a few people were putting solar panels on their rooftops, it wasn’t a problem, but once solar panels came down in price and more people could afford them, it is becoming more commonplace to see solar panels adorning rooftops in neighborhoods.

Earning money from the power companies is a bit more complicated than just turning your meter backwards when you are generating more power than you are using. Many power companies would require a second separate meter to measure how much electricity you were putting back into the grid. They didn’t pay you what you were paying them per kilowatt either, just like any other industry, there is a wholesale and retail price. You are paying the retail price for your power, anything you sell back to the power company is done at wholesale price.

The power companies are trying to keep themselves ahead of the game, some are experimenting with charging extra fees if you are generating your own power while their customer, though in the case of the power company in the podcast, they quickly dumped that idea. They state that they aren’t trying to stop people from using solar, but are trying to make it work for everyone.

Listen to the show and let me know what you think.

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Why Is North Korea Pushing The Edge

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Everybody’s eyes are on North Korea now because the pot is boiling and expected to blow up. And if it does, it’s going to be huge.

Amongst the various ongoing situations that Donald Trump inherited on ascending to the presidency, was an ongoing problem with North Korea. The former president, Barack Obama inherited that ongoing problem, as has every president since the end of World War II, when the Korean peninsula was divided.

The problems associated with North Korea erupted into bloodshed in 1950, when the North Korean army invaded the south. Although South Korea and the United States were totally unprepared for that conflict, we ultimately fought the North Koreans and their Chinese backers to a standstill. The armistice signed in July of 1953 has led to an uneasy peace for the last 64 years.

I say an “uneasy peace” because it has been punctuated by many threats, probes, and shots fired across the DMZ (demilitarized zone), the no-man’s land between the two countries.

But the North has never been happy with the agreement, nor with the division of the Korean peninsula. They have remained convinced that Korea should be reunited under their leadership. It doesn’t matter that the South Korean economy is over 30 times larger than the North’s, or that the people there live in freedom, under a democratically elected government. In the eyes of the North, and especially in the eyes of their government, South Korea belongs under their rule.

This is actually very similar to the problem between China and Taiwan. To the communist Chinese government, Taiwan is nothing more than a rebellious province, having broken off from China in the aftermath of World War II. The reason why mainland China can’t do anything about it is the same reason why North Korea can’t do anything about South Korea, both South Korea and Taiwan are backed by the might of the American military, the most powerful military in the world.

For this reason, our relations with China have been strained since World War II, even though we helped to liberate them from the Japanese. It is also behind the hatred that North Korea has maintained towards the USA. Kim Jong-Un’s grandfather, the first dictator after the Korean War, used his propaganda machine to teach the North Korean people that American soldiers tore the limbs off of innocent Koreans and cut off their eyes, noses and lips, hanging them on trees.

This sort of propaganda is necessary, even though it is untrue, to help Kim’s regime keep the people in check. The North Korean policy of “military first” which keeps the people starving, while every possible Won (the North Korean currency) is spent on the military, creates an atmosphere that is ripe for rebellion.

By giving the people a common enemy who is pictured as cruel and destructive, Kim is able to keep his own people in check, while investing millions in building an nuclear arsenal and missiles capable of reaching the hated enemy.

Of course, the North Korean leadership knows the truth about the Korean war, and as has been heard from defectors, there are people who still remember the kindness that American soldiers showed to their children. But the younger generation didn’t experience that and has largely bought into the government’s propaganda.

It appears that Kim Jong-Un believes his own propaganda machine as well, or at least believes it enough to match his rhetoric to the official line he is promoting. But there is an inherent danger in that. That is, at some time his actions much match his rhetoric, or he will be shown to be a fraud. That’s something he can’t afford.

So whether Kim actually wants to launch nuclear tipped missiles at the United States or not, he has painted himself into a box where he will eventually have to. As a dictator, the price of not doing so would be too high. He would lose face before his people, which could easily be followed by losing his head.

North Korea’s Nuclear Capacity

Whether Kim John-Un’s actions and rhetoric are intentional or merely the ravings of a madman are inconsequential at this time. Like the rest of the world, he must live and die with what he’s said. Chances of his backing down are extremely slim.

So North Korea continues on the march to becoming a nuclear power, developing nuclear bombs and long-range missiles which can be mated together to become ICBMs that can reach the United States. The real question at this point in time, is how close he is to actually accomplishing that goal.

It is a known fact that North Korea possesses nuclear bombs. The question there is whether they have achieved the necessary miniaturization needed in order to put them on the top of a missile. While North Korea claims that hit has reached that point, we just don’t know. Of course, we have to assume that they have, as to assume anything else would be extremely risky.

But to accomplish his goals, Kim needs a missile that can reach at least the West Coast of the United States. In that, his scientists and engineers have been running into some difficulty. While they currently have four different missiles in their inventory, the one which has the greatest range also appears to be the most unreliable. As seen in their most recent test flight, firing a missile into the Sea of Japan, it has a propensity to blow up all on its own.

Video first seen on CBS News.

Yet North Korea persists and we can assume that they have competent engineers. That means that each failure of a missile brings them one step closer to finding all the problems that can cause them to go awry and brings them closer to having a successful, reliable missile.

Once that happens, we are truly in danger. Right now, we’re protected by the fact that North Korea doesn’t have the technical expertise to match their leader’s ego. But that can’t last for long.

Killing people who fail is a great incentive for those who remain alive. They push harder to ensure that they won’t be the next one executed.

The Risk of a North Korean Missile Attack

I have to put myself firmly in the camp of those who say:“It isn’t a question of whether North Korea will initiate a nuclear missile strike, but when.”

Kim Jong-Un has painted himself into a box and I really don’t see any indication that he wants out of it. He seems to see his out as going through with that attack and proving to the world that his tiny nation is more powerful than the United States of America.

The other question that we have to consider is what form that attack will take. The fact that North Korea’s missiles are all on mobile launchers gives Pyongyang an incredible amount of flexibility. It also makes both locating and countering those missiles a much harder task for our military.

It would be extremely easy for the North Koreans to load missiles and their launchers into specially constructed cargo containers and send them our way. As long as those containers were on the top level of containers in the ship, they could be launched without impediment.

The scary part of that scenario is that such a launch could be made very near our shores, extending the effective range of their missiles. In such a case, it wouldn’t just be Los Angeles that would be at risk of being targeted, but a large part of the Continental United States. If you include the Gulf of Mexico in any potential planning, there are few parts of the United States that North Korean missiles couldn’t reach, based upon what we currently know about their missiles.

The greater risk to our country is not from a ground burst or near ground burst, but from a high-altitude EMP. As attested to by the report of the EMP Commission, such an attack would destroy the USA, putting us back somewhere around 150 years. We would become a very unique third-world country.

What Can We Do?

Now we need to look at the other side of the equation, what can the United States military do against such an attack? There are always two sides to any military equation and hopefully North Korea is failing to do their math right.

Defending against nuclear missiles is not a new problem for the United States military. Throughout the Cold War, we lived under the threat of the now-defunct Soviet Union lobbing thousands of ICMBs at us. President Regan’s “Star Wars” program was developed in anticipation of such an attack. By comparison, the few missiles that North Korea could send our way is a minor risk.

But the problem we have is that the United States of America is a vast country, with thousands of miles of boarders. A truly effective anti-ballistic defense network would have to cover all our borders, as well as US possessions around the globe. That complete a system has never been fielded, due to the massive cost of such a huge system.

Rather, the Department of Defense has deployed much smaller systems, located in strategic areas. These systems stand an excellent chance of thwarting any attack by Pyongyang.

Specifically, we have what are known as “midcourse defensive systems” positioned at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. While that may not seem like much, we have to take into consideration the altitude that ballistic missiles fly. Missiles from either Alaska or California have the capability of intercepting ICBMs at the apogee of their flight, over most of the North Pacific Ocean.

Considering the low number of missiles that North Korea would be launching against the USA, the chances of this system in intercepting those missiles is rather high. That probability can be increased, by adding in the capability of the Aegis missile system. Aegis missile cruisers off the Pacific Coast of the United States would also engage those ICBMs, probably as they returned to Earth.

The greater risk is the one I already mentioned, if the North Koreans launch their missiles off of a container ship, nearer to our coastline. That would reduce the reaction time that these missile systems and their operators would have to react to the attack.

If the North Korean missiles came in at a lower trajectory, rather than at a true ballistic trajectory, they might actually be able to make it through those defenses.

In such a case, we could expect the damage to be extensive, at least to a few American cities. Which cities that would be is a question that is hard to answer. A lot would depend on the results that Pyongyang was seeking. While destroying Washington, DC would be the most logical military target, with the greatest impact on the USA, it would also probably be one of the hardest targets for them to hit.

You can be sure the nation’s capital will be defended and such an attack would have to come from the Atlantic Ocean, which increases the danger for the North Koreans.

A Preemptive Strike?

Former President Obama’s policy of appeasement hasn’t worked any better with the North Koreans, than it did with the Iranians. That is, unless the goal was to help those two rogue nations become nuclear powers. If that was the goal, he was highly successful.

President Trump hasn’t followed the same policy. Rather than bowing down to the rest of the world, he reasserted the United States place as a world leader. While some have complained about this, including Kim Jong-Un, it was definitely the right thing to do. Only the United States has proven to the world that we can be trusted to be the world’s police.

As part of that, Trump is taking a very hands-on approach to the multiple problems that exist with North Korea, especially their threats to the United States. As part of that, the United States of America has sent the USS Carl Vinson and its associated fleet to the area off North Korea as a deterrent, as well as other naval forces, including a nuclear-powered missile submarine, armed with both nukes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Of course, North Korea is taking that as an escalation, not as a deterrent. They’re also accusing the USA of creating the tension in the region. Neither are surprising. Despotic rulers and governments always try to blame their actions on others; just look at Hitler’s actions at the beginning of World War II.

But having naval forces in the area gives President Trump and the Pentagon some additional options, including a preemptive first strike. Should it look like North Korea is preparing to launch a nuclear-tipped missile at anyone, that might be the best action to take. But it’s not an action without consequences. North Korea would definitely take that as a provocation and respond to it.

In other words, trying to stop one nuclear launch could very well become the trigger to causing another. The situation is that complicated now. North Korea apparently feels they can’t back down, so they may very well push things into a war.

While there is nothing that President Trump has said, which indicate that he wants war with North Korea, it is looking more and more like one is coming. Sometimes, when you push the bully, the bully backs off; but there are other times when the bully chooses to fight. This is beginning to look like one of those situations where the bully chooses to fight.

But What About China?

The wildcard in all this is China. The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, recently spent a weekend with President Trump in his Mar-a-Lago resort. At the end of it, Trump claimed success and that the Chinese president was willing to work with the US to curb North Korean violence. That could be a real game changer, as China is North Korea’s biggest ally and biggest trading partner.

So far, China has moved 150,000 troops to the North Korean border, in a move that can be seen either as putting pressure on Pyongyang or as offering them support. As we haven’t heard the message that went with that move, we can only guess. But the Chinese have also refused to accept shipments of coal from North Korea, which is the North Korean’s biggest export. So, from that alone, it appears that China is playing ball.

Between Chinese pressure and US diplomacy, it is possible that war can be abated. But in reality, I think that the best we can hope for is for it to be delayed. Unless something happens to Kim Jong-Un, who is still a young man, chances are that North Korea will continue in their warlike direction.

What do you think?

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

Replacing Gasoline: 7 Homemade Alternatives For Fuel

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Whether you commute several hundred miles per week, or only just once per month, letting go of traveling by car doesn’t feel comfortable to anyone.

While it’s possible to make automobile fuel at home, there are some other options you can, and should consider. If one method does not appeal to you, others may also work and give you better options when it is impossible to buy gasoline or other fuel types.

How Easy is to Make Gasoline at Home?

Gasoline is made from petroleum, which is essentially the remains of living things that died thousands to millions of years ago.

Be prepared to face some problems with trying to make gasoline at home that is comparable to what you would get at the gas pump:

  • Finding petroleum deposits that you can reach with drilling equipment isn’t easy, and most people lack the resources to purchase and process barrels of crude.
  • It takes a good bit of petroleum, water, and other materials to produce even a single gallon of gasoline, and the equipment is also very expensive.
  • Many of the sites online that claim you can make gasoline at home may actually be talking about biodiesel or similar fuels. You can make burnable automobile fuel based on alcohols and other “renewable” fuel sources, but it’s not the same as gasoline made from petroleum. The energy, density, burn characteristics, and effects on delicate engine seals and parts is very different.
  • Even if you have tools and equipment to refine gasoline, it can be a very dangerous process that requires a good bit of skill. Together with that, you will also need to be able to maintain the equipment and make repairs as needed.

Simply put, making gasoline at home isn’t something you can do by yourself, nor can it be done at low cost or in a residential setting. While you may be able to make small amounts of biodiesel, or even a hydrogen based fuel, gasoline is likely to be out of your reach.

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

Start Off with Building a Steam Engine

Before you try to make any kind of fuel at home, think about how you can reconfigure the engine that powers your vehicle.

Historically speaking, the rise of the internal combustion engine didn’t come about just because this engine design worked better than the steam engine. Rather, it had to do with who got bank loans and how they marketed the product.

In terms of technological simplicity, fuel choices, safety, durability, and power delivery, the steam engine outranks the internal combustion engine.

So if you are willing to change an existing vehicle in order to use homemade fuels, start off by converting to a steam engine. Making this change has its benefits, and here are just a few of them:

  • You can burn just about anything to heat up the water used to produce steam. If you are interested in liquid fuels, or even gas based fuels, you only need to install the tanks. If vehicle has the right shape, you can easily power the vehicle on five or six fuels without any problem.
  • Even solar “panels” composed of black plastic tubing with water running through them can be used to heat up the water or keep it in a pre-steam state so that it takes less of other types of fuel to produce steam.
  • Steam engines might weigh a lot less than internal combustion engines, which means the vehicle will require less fuel.
  • If you use hydrogen fuels, or fine tune a solar heating system, the vehicle will have few, if any detectable emissions. Concerned about being followed or having the vehicle stolen? With this option, you won’t need to worry about electronic surveillance equipment following conventional fuel signatures.

Today, it is virtually impossible to obtain a consumer level automobile that uses a steam engine. Researchers are still looking at steam engines and working on them, so you they might come back into style in the next few years.

Research on the patents and materials for steam engines, and start with simple ways to boil water with as little fuel as possible, if you are on a low budget. From there, you can move on to building up pressure from the steam, and then using that pressure to drive a piston.

Some people have successfully converted automobiles to run on steam engines, which is a perfect project to experiment with if you have a homestead or a farm. It may be hard to legally take your vehicle out on the roads, but things can easily change in a crisis situation.

Rely on Water for Hydrogen Fuels

Hydrogen fuels offer more promise for an alternative fuel than most other types because it can be made from water and also natural gas.

But remember that during crisis, you won’t find automobile fuel faster than water. Processing some fuels requires large volumes of water, which makes it even harder since water scarcity forces other priorities to the top of the list.

With just a few modifications to your car, you could use water (which is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen) to reduce the amount of gasoline you need to run the vehicle.

If you explore hydrogen fuels further, you might create your own fuel cell to run an electric motor. This is quite interesting if you have a hybrid vehicle.

Check these patents and devices for converting your vehicle to run on hydrogen, or for getting started to develop your own ideas.

  • Fuel Cells – it produces electrons, which can then be used to power a motor. It differs from a battery because it takes fuel and breaks it down to release energy as opposed to simply store the energy. You can also find small scale kit you can use to start with fuel cells if you don’t want to build one from scratch, and this is a great project to pursue with children or grandchildren.
  • Garrett Electrolytic Carburetor – if you have a vehicle with a carburetor, this is the perfect invention for you: this design adds electrolysis plates to the lower section of the carburetor, and the plates break down the water to release the hydrogen and oxygen. There are similar devices on the market that break water down, and release hydrogen into the engine, and they won’t eliminate all need for gasoline, but increase mileage by a good bit.
  • Denny Klein’s Aquygen– even though these vehicles are not as efficient, the technology behind them is valid and will be better than nothing in time of need.
  • Hydrogen Booster Kits – these kits allow you to “enhance” the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines by injecting hydrogen into the fuel mix. Some kits are better than others, and results may vary.

As a note of caution, there are many people around the world trying to find a viable way to make vehicles run on water. Most systems either split water apart using hydrolysis, or they try to feed hydrogen and oxygen into the cylinder.

Before building something, check the viability of the plans you are looking at. Look or think about developing a system that pressurizes the oxygen first before attempting to use it to drive a piston.

If you need an electrical charge to drive a motor, look for ways to incorporate a joule thief or some other technology that will give you more current from what has already been produced.

Try to incorporate solar and other devices that can be used to generate power as opposed to simply relying on water or hydrogen. Generating heat to drive a steam engine would also be a viable answer.

Biodiesel

If you have a “flex fuel vehicle”, or one that runs on diesel, then homemade biodiesel may be an option for you. Depending on the recipe, making biodiesel can be dangerous, so study your options carefully and take your time when building and working with your equipment.

There are three main ingredient types you will need for making biodiesel and you can make or obtain them all from natural resources:

  • Fats or oils – this takes up the main bulk of the biodiesel, and you can obtain them from animal or plant based sources: spent cooking oil, scraps of animal fat, and many other kinds of kitchen waste. If you aren’t sure if a particular fat or oil will suit your needs, you can try visiting the Make Biodiesel website to see how different oils and fats compare to each other.
  • Alcohol – usually, methanol, or wood alcohol is recommended for beginners. Wood alcohol is not easy to make, but you can purchase some and work with it until you are ready to use grain or ethyl alcohol. Grain or ethyl alcohol is the edible form found in beer, wine, and other beverages, and you’ll have to set up a still and concentrate ethyl alcohol so that it can be used for making biodiesel.
  •  Lye – it’s not only useful for making soap and opening stuck drains, but it also acts as a key catalyst for making biodiesel. While pure lye is still available on the market, it can be hard to get, so learn how to make lye from potash. Remember there’s a difference between lye made from potash and commercial lye: you may need to tweak your biodiesel recipe a bit if it isn’t already calibrated for homemade lye.

Video first seen on Utah Biodiesel Supply

Unusual Biomass Fuels

A great deal of money and effort has been put into making fuels from corn and other crops that have a high sugar content. Typically, these crops are used to make large quantities of alcohol that can be mixed with gasoline in order to reduce the amount of petroleum used in the fuel.

While there are many problems associated with soil depletion and destruction of plant diversity (because GMO strains are used for fuel production), these fuels are, in my opinion, falsely touted as a viable alternative to petroleum products.

In the last few years, there has also been a push to develop fuels based on the extraction of oils from plants. For example, algae is seen as a viable source of fuel because a high percentage of the plant material is made up of oils. Some people claim that growing algae is hard, but actually extracting oil from algae can be a difficult and expensive process.

If you can get ahold of large amounts of algae, try and see for yourself if you can come up with a viable system.

In a collapsed world, the sheer amount of waste and chemical contamination of surface water will lead to all kinds of algae growth. Learning how to put this noxious stuff to good use for making fuel will be to your advantage.

Video first seen on Lucid Science

The Overlooked Power of Natural Gas

Natural gas from compost and garbage dumps is truly one of the most overlooked sources of fuel in our country.

It is possible (but expensive and time consuming) to convert your vehicle to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas (LNG). Storing natural gas safely, and then compressing it enough to provide fuel for a decent driving distance are difficult too.

While there are a few cars made to burn this fuel in the United States, they are far more popular overseas. As prepper vehicles go, natural gas has more than enough power to operate the kind of engine that will be suitable for rough terrain, however refueling and storing natural gas can be a problem.

Video first seen on GasitalyTube Italy

If you want to pursue this path, start of by seeing how much natural gas you can generate from compost piles and other renewable resources. Make sure that you can use the gas for other fuel needs such as cooking and heating your home, since you can use it for other purpose if it turns out that you cannot use natural gas to power a vehicle.

What About Magnet Based Propulsion?

The basic purpose of the engine is to make it possible for the surrounding vehicle to move, which requires a certain amount of power to overcome the effects of gravity. There are different methods that can be used to achieve this goal, and magnetic fields can also be used.

There are toys on the market that rely on reversals of the electromagnetic field between the base and an object in order to make the object float. The same principles are used to power some of the fastest commuter trains in the world.

If you’re interested in this topic, your main problem would be keeping the car moving without having a nearby rail or other source of switching current to work with. If you are interested in powering a vehicle for your homestead, you can build a grid to cover the local area.

Research on advances in wireless current transmission. We are still far away from the system envisioned by Tesla, but wireless power transmission can easily be used to power vehicles levitating in a magnetic field.

Other Engine Designs

In some ways, building an engine for an automobile is not so different from building any other power generation system. At heart, both systems must generate some kind of spinning motion that will either push a vehicle forward or induce electrical current flow in a nearby coil.

Study different ways to induce current, and see if any of these devices can be used to build an automobile engine. For example, the Tesla Turbine can be run on compressed air, or even a steady stream of water.

As strange as it may sound, wind power may have far more to offer in terms of engine design than continuing with the concept of an internal combustion engine. Today, many materials can be used to make smaller and smaller wind turbines that may only require a tiny breeze or a slight shaking to produce an electrical current. Even sound or certain sound based vibrations in different media can be used to generate an electrical current that combines with other sources to run a motor, or even power a series of magnets that will enable the vehicle to break the bounds of gravity.

Remember, right now we are dealing with technologies that must overcome large amounts of weight. Simply put, the more weight you have to deal with, the more power it will take to overcome the effects of gravity. Look at lighter weight polymers and newer materials used to create both propulsion units and the surrounding vehicle.

Some situations can make traveling by automobile very expensive and complicated even on regular times. While a lack of gasoline is bound to be a problem in the post crisis world, trying to make gasoline at home is not a viable option.

There are other alternative fuel and engine design options that you can and should consider.

In most cases, coming up with something useful will take time and effort to come out with something sustainable and tangible, given the limited materials available to the average consumer in these times.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Resources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Own-Gasoline

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/148416-are-steam-cars-poised-for-an-epic-comeback

http://www.stanleymotorcarriage.com/SteamEngine/SteamEngineGeneral.htm

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/fuel_cell.html

http://www.make-biodiesel.org/Ingredients/ingredients-for-biodiesel.html

Why The Most Delicate Part Of Our Infrastructure Is The Grid

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In case you hadn’t noticed, major power outages are on the upswing. During the period of 2000 to 2004, there was an average of 44 power outages per year, nationwide. That rose to 100 per year in the period from 2005 to 2009, and doubled to 200 in the years 2010 to 2013.

In 2014, 14.2 million Americans were impacted by power outages, with California topping the list. I can’t find compiled data for the years after that, but in the first six months of 2014, there were 130, which shows a continuing of this trend.

Basically, our electrical grid is old. Power plants, distribution centers, substations and transmission lines are all designed with a 50 year lifespan. But a large chunk of our electric grid is older than that and an even larger chunk is approaching the 50 year threshold. In the Northeast, there are transmission lines which have been in continuous use for over 100 years.

The Fact: 3 Blackouts in One Day

On April 23rd, three major cities in the US received blackouts on the same day – New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; the largest, second largest and fourteenth largest cities on our country, respectably. The fact that these happened all at the same time and can’t be attributed to either hot weather (the use of air conditioning) or storms is suspicious.

While all three of these cities were hit by outages, San Francisco was hit the hardest, with business, traffic and many day-to-day activities coming to a complete standstill. We are so dependent on our electric grid, that there are few areas of activity which are not affected by a blackout.

Video first seen on Fox News.

Yet as we look into the future, we can expect more and more blackouts to occur. Government red tape and regulations are making it harder and harder to build new power plant. During the years of Obama’s presidency, the coal power industry was especially hard hit. That’s on top of the struggles that the nuclear power industry regularly has, because of the fear that the political left has of nuclear power.

Yet the left’s vision of green power is unrealistic. The only renewable (or green) power that is reliable is hydroelectric, and the United States has pretty much maxed out the use of available rivers in building hydroelectric plants. Unlike Lesotho, Bhutan and Paraguay, we can’t produce 99% plus of our energy needs from hydroelectric dams.

We need to depend on much less reliable wind and solar power, neither of which can provide power 24/7. Even geothermal power, which the United States is the world leader in, accounts for only 0.41% of our total energy needs.

Not replacing our aging power grid merely plays into the hands of our enemies, all of whom are aware of our high dependence on electrical power. We can be sure that any countries who look at the Untied States as a potential enemy, have both mapped out our electric grid (the information is readily available on the internet) and developed plans to disrupt it.

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

The Question About the Cause

The question has been raised whether the power outages on April 23rd were part of a test attack by a foreign power or not. China and Russia lead the world in cyberwarfare, especially China. But they are not the only countries pouring resources into this new battleground.

Compared to other forms of warfare, cyberwarfare is cheap, requires few “soldiers” and minimal money spent on developing or acquiring arms. A small group of brilliant programmers and hackers can do wonders, when given the freedom to experiment.

When survivalists think of the grid going down, we tend to think of an EMP attack. I wrote about that recently, in regards to North Korea. But an EMP is only one of the options available to an enemy. Cyberwarfare entails less risks and requires less expenditure of money; yet can be extremely effective.

It is a known fact that nuclear power plants have been targeted for hacking, with considerable success. Remote control of a nuclear plant by a hacker can cause a variety of effects, ranging from reducing power output all the way through causing a meltdown of the core.

I’m not sure if it is possible, but if they can hack in far enough to cause a meltdown; it seems to me that they could also cause a runaway reaction, leading to an explosion.

Then there’s the attack on the San Jose, California substation in 2013. In that attack, unknown parties shot the coolant tanks on the substation’s transformers, draining the coolant out and destroying the transformers. Had it not been for the ability designed in to the electric grid to reroute and cover a destroyed substation, the people of San Jose would have been without power for months.

Our grid can absorb the loss of a substation, power plant or transmission line. But the more that are lost, the greater the chance of the domino affect taking over, causing more and more failures. If a major substation were to be destroyed during peak usage time, the number of people who would end up being affected could easily run into the millions.

What Is the Risk?

One of the biggest tactical mistakes in the protection of our country was when some unnamed officials admitted to the Wall Street Journal that sabotage of just nine key substations would be enough to bring down the grid.

Do you want to guess which countries have engineers hard at work determining which o the country’s 55,000 substations are included in that short list? Once they figure it out, there will be a clock on our country’s electrical power use.

Potential attacks like this, and our dependence on electricity, make our country much more vulnerable than it was 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. The more we depend on electronics in our day-to-day lives, the more easily our lives can be disrupted.

Worse than that, the disruptions that we would experience can’t be replaced by other systems, as we no longer have those systems available to us.

  • Loss of water pressure as the city water loses power
  • Loss of heating and air conditioning
  • Loss of communications, once phone companies run out of fuel for their generators
  • Loss of fresh and frozen food, without stores having refrigeration
  • Loss of transportation, without the ability to pump fuel out of underground tanks
  • Loss of our supply distribution system, which is highly dependent on computers
  • Loss of much of our medical services, which depend on electricity as well
  • Loss of jobs and the associated paycheck, as few companies can operate without electricity
  • Loss of education, when the schools shut down
  • Loss of air travel, which depends on radar and radios for communication, not to mention the fuel they need to get those planes in the air
  • Loss of the news media, which needs power to broadcast
  • Loss of the internet, which is all electronic
  • Loss of sewage systems, as soon as the sewage lines back up. Water treatment plants depend on electricity to drive their pumps. Without that, the system backs up.
  • Loss of refrigeration, so our food will spoil
  • Loss of access to our money, as we mostly depend on electronic money
  • Loss of access to money in the bank, as the computers which tell the bank how much money we have would be inoperative
  • Loss of commerce, in general, due to the inability to access money
  • Loss of defense, as the military depends heavily on electronic communications, as well as electrical power to control and run our weapons systems

I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the idea. Basically, everything we depend on, depends on electricity to operate. So, without electricity, our lives come to a standstill.

That’s a fact known to our friends and enemies alike. So is the lead time on new transformers for substations and how few manufacturers there are in the world build those custom artifacts. Maybe it wouldn’t have as major an impact on the USA as a nationwide outage caused by an EMP would, but the fact is, it wouldn’t take much to take out the grid regionally, in any part of the country.

Without electrical power, it wouldn’t take long for fear to set in and for people to turn against each other. FEMA’s recommendation of three day’s food isn’t going to help people much, when they’ll be without electrical power for weeks or even months.

Even Hurricane Katrina left some people without electrical power for six weeks, and that didn’t take even one terrorist who was willing to lay down their life in pursuit of a larger cause.

When Going Off-grid is Not Your Choice

For us here in modern-day America, the loss of the electric grid is probably the ultimate urban survival challenge. With our lives and our communities so dependent on electrical power, the loss of that power would quickly lead to a breakdown of society. As soon as people realized how close they were to starvation, they would panic; and that, in turn, would lead to them turning on each other; especially on those who they suspected had food.

Survival in such a situation has to include complete isolation from others. The old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If people don’t see you, they won’t be asking how you are doing. Nor will they have the chance to ask you if you have any food that you can share with them. They may speculate, but that’s all it would be.

This would be an ideal time to disappear to that secret cabin in the woods, if you are fortunate enough to have one. If not, you’ll need to make your home look as abandoned as possible, while you live off of whatever food and water you have stockpiled.

Depending on how widespread the blackout is and how it happens, repairs could take months or even longer. In a case where substation transformers are destroyed, it takes a year to build new ones. That’s long enough that the loss of life could be severe enough to prevent their replacement. America, as we all know it today, could cease to exist.

This is why a three day supply of food isn’t enough. For that matter, a three month supply of food isn’t. You are going to need at least a year’s worth of food to survive this sort of attack, and possibly even more.

The year figure I just mentioned is based upon the assumption that within that year, you can get your own food production up and running. But if you can’t, then you’ll need more than a year’s worth of food in your stockpile.

Water will be at least as critical, if not more so. The idea of surviving off the water in your hot water heater or the community pond assumes that you’re only going to have to survive a short period of time. When we’re talking a year or more, you’re going to have your own means of harvesting water.

If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, you’ll be able to use rainwater capture to provide you with water. But if not, about the only truly reliable means of providing yourself with water is with a well, unless you happen to be fortunate enough to have a river flowing across the edge of your property. Any other method for getting water would require you going out in public and letting people know that you are alive, healthy and obviously eating.

The ability to defend yourself could ultimately be the most important part of your survival preparedness. Regardless of who you are, where you are, or how well you isolate yourself from society, somebody is going to realize that you are there. That realization will probably be quickly followed up by the thought that you are better fed than they are, which would mean that you have food.

Once people realize that you have food, when they don’t, you’re in trouble. While some will limit themselves to begging for food, others will try to take what you have. In either case, you’ll have to be ready to defend home, family and your stockpile as well.

That may even mean defending your chickens and vegetable garden. When people are desperate and hungry, they do desperate things. Scaling your fence to steal some food may not even seem all that desperate to them. But if you allow it, your garden will be cleaned out in a matter of days.

Sadly, survival carries with it some hard decisions. Decisions like not helping others, so that you can take care of your own.

If you can’t make that decision and then follow through on it, chances are, you won’t survive.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

DIY Projects: 4 Ways To Build An Alcohol Stove

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If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just well versed in the fine arts of prepping, I bet you already know about alcohol stoves, either DIY or commercially available ones. The thing is, if you’re looking for the lightest, cheapest and most reliable stove possible, the alcohol stove is the one for you.

There are plenty of companies out there who manufacture and sell alcohol stoves, but the good news is that you can build your own for next to nothing while using basic tools and skills.

There are a few myths and lies out there about DIY alcohol stoves. For example, some say that they don’t really work and they’re not reliable. Yes, they actually do work in real life, just ask old school hikers or your local bum.

Alcohol Stove – Myths Debunked

An alcohol stove is not suited for just any situation, as it has obvious limitations.  For example, a small DIY alcohol stove is not the ideal tool for melting large amounts of snow or for cooking food for a family of ten.

A homemade, lightweight and compact alcohol stove makes for the perfect companion while camping, hiking or backpacking solo. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have been using them regularly for decades now with zero complaints, so yes, alcohol stoves do work admirably in their niche.

Another myth about alcohol stoves is that they’re not reliable. Very fake news folks. A well-built alcohol stove will last you forever, as it has no moving parts, i.e. it’s that kind of “Russian design”, simple and sturdy. Also there are no filters to get clogged and so on and so forth.

The most common type of DIY project is a soda-can alcohol stove; the point is, even if it “breaks”, you can build another one on the spot with readily available materials (back to that in a jiffy), so the reliability issue is pure nonsense.

Some say that alcohol stoves are dangerous. Again, very fake news, considering that playing with fire is always dangerous, hence in that regard all stoves are “dangerous” if you’re not paying attention.

The problem with alcohol stoves is that if you knock them over while cooking, the fuel inside can easily spill.

Just remember a few simple rules while cooking with these bad boys and you’ll be fine: don’t cook on flammable surfaces, keep flammable materials away from your lit stove, always keep a bottle of water nearby when cooking (or a fire extinguisher, whatever), be careful when cooking during the day as the alcohol flame is almost invisible (don’t get burned), avoid cooking in windy weather as it makes controlling the flame difficult, don’t add fuel if your stove is already burning, never cook inside your tent, and avoid using your alcohol stove in enclosed areas which lack proper ventilation (think carbon monoxide poisoning).

Also, never leave the burning stove unattended and, after using it, let it to cool down for 10 minutes before handling  it.

Another thing about DIY alcohol stoves is that they have a bad rep for crushing easily. That’s somewhat true, considering that they’re often built using soda cans, which are basically thin sheets of aluminum.

Even the ones manufactured from (tougher) tin cans can get crushed if you step on them, but that’s a feature, not a bug! I am only kidding; however, the simple solution to the issue is not to step on them. Store them inside a hard sided box/container like your cook pot when you’re not using’em.

Finally, there’s another myth about alcohol stoves not working at high altitudes and/or in low temperatures. I can tell you from firsthand experience that a DIY alcohol stove works just fine at 6,000 feet above sea level, so for all practical purposes, assuming that you’re not climbing Everest using DIY alcohol stoves, you’ll be just fine.

The thing is, given the fact that the oxygen content in the atmosphere decreases with altitude,  an alcohol stove (or any other open-flame type of stove) will not be as efficient at 5000 feet as it is at sea level, but then again, that holds true for any type of fire.

Also, I’ve used soda can stoves in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit and without noticing a degrading in terms of performance. Just to give you a picture about how efficient these babies are, I’ve read that the Finnish and Swedish army uses alcohol stoves all year round, and it gets pretty cold out there in northern Europe (think -10 Fahrenheit winters).

ENERGY SAVING PLAN – Find out how you can save energy following two simple steps! 

How to DIY an Alcohol Stove

Now with the misconceptions taken care of, let’s concentrate on the DIY part.

Why DIY instead of buying one? Well, first, it’s lots of fun doing things on your own, especially if you’re into prepping. Secondly, you’ll save money in the process and third, you may end up caught in a hairy situation someday with no hardware store around, so you’ll be forced to improvise your own gear.

And yes, a DIY alcohol stove can be improvised with ease almost anywhere in the world, provided you have the fuel available. The simplest alcohol stove can be built using nothing more than 2 empty cans of soda, a nail for puncturing holes, a razor blade, a penny and a thumbtack. Yes indeed, it’s that simple folks.

As per the fuel, you can buy large amounts of (at least 70%) methanol/methyl alcohol/rubbing alcohol at any hardware store for a few pennies.

Alcohol Stove Comparison

If you’re the picky type of person, take a look at this alcohol stove comparison and make up your own mind about what type of “design” you want to concentrate on.

Video first seen on ITS Tactical / Imminent Threat Solutions

The Beverage Can Stove

The easiest DIY project is the beverage can stove. There are other ideas, usually more complicated, but the beverage can stove is the hikers all-time favorite. Its beauty is its simplicity, like a Swiss watch, if you know what I mean.

In the first step, you’ll have to cut the bases of the 2 cans approximately 1.5 inches from the bottoms.

Next, drill the burner holes in the top can, including the fuel drainage hole, then there’s the cutting of the top can. The base of the bottom should be filled with a material that will soak up the alcohol (acts like a wick); for example, fine sand or even more fancy stuff, like perlite (a siliceous rock, easy to find at gardening centers).

In the next step, you’ll fit the 2 parts of the stove together; just take a look at the next video tutorial and you’ll see about the fine details.

Video first seen on IntenseAngler.

Just remember to prime the stove before use, i.e. you’ll have to pour a tsp. of fuel in the dimple of the stove (on top) and light it up. In this way, you’ll heat the fuel inside, which will evaporate, and your oven will magically start working.

Here’s another video about how to make a soda can/beer can stove, which compares 2 types of designs.

Video first seen on Andrew W

The Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove

Here’s a Tornado Wick Jet Alcohol Stove, a fancy DIY project by all means and a more elaborate one, which is more of an exercise in cool design and mad skills.

Video first seen on tetkoba’s Alcohol Stove Addict

The Tin Can Stove

An alternative to this relatively flimsy (yet very easy to DIY) beverage can stove is the tin can stove. This baby is not made of aluminum but from tin, which makes it more stable, hence more difficult to knock over.

Also it’s stronger and less prone to accidental crushing. Finally, steel retains heat better than aluminum.  Soup/baked bean cans are made of tin for example.

The problem with this type of DIY alcohol stove is that tin is harder to cut/process than aluminum.

Here’s an idea (this guy doesn’t use tin cans but that’s not the point) and you’ll see what type of tools are required for processing stronger tin.

Video first seen on Nick Van Leuven

The Cream Box Stove

Video first seen on Mr. Llega

Here’s an idea for an alcohol stove improvised from a Nivea cream box (made of tin) and it makes for the best of both worlds, i.e. it’s not aluminum made (it’s stronger) and it doesn’t require too much effort to build it (all you have to do is to drill a few holes).

If you have any question or comments, feel free to speak your mind in the dedicated section below. Good luck, have fun!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

Using Tech In Your Doomstead After TSHTF

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1_featured_tech_keyboard

1_computer_tshtfIs there a place for modern technology after TSHTF?  Some would argue that there isn’t, but I believe that modern tech offers significant advantages over those that don’t have it.  If you have a way to make electricity after the grid goes down and you have some high tech gizmos in your back pocket, you’ll be in a better position to survive and thrive because of it.  Before we go any further those of you who know me are going to say, “Holy cow!  Jarhead is saying use tech!” because most of you know how I feel about people’s reliance on GPS, smart phones, and other electronic gadgets.  Let me qualify this article by saying that I’m not a Luddite.  I happen to love technology because it gives us instant access to all the information in the world in the palm of your hand.  (Most of us watch cute kitten videos instead of reading Plato’s Republic though).  Having a piece of technology in your possession can sharply increase your odds of surviving or allow you to do something you might not be able to do without it, such as navigate through a city or see what’s over that hill without actually having to climb up and take a look.  However, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a backup for your systems and a backup of a backup for your important systems.  For example:  you should know how to read a map and compass or do math in case your GPS or spreadsheet doesn’t work.  But this article is about how to use technology as a force magnifier, so let’s get to it.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

Electronics are only as good as the grid of course, but if you have a solar array set up, windmill, or other way of naturally producing electricity you can still benefit from having some electronic devices around.  More on this later.

Potential Uses of Technology

3_network-cable-ethernet-computer-159304If communication is cut off  from the outside, you can still manage an internal network that would allow you to share information in your group.  If you can set up a network using TCP/IP (which stand for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol and is basically a way for computers to communicate), which most people do these days using a router inside your home, then you can have several devices talking to each other.  I won’t get into a networking class, but having your devices able to communicate with each other is a powerful tool.

Check Out: Weaponized Nanotechnology is a Huge Threat to Humanity

By the way – TCP/IP was developed by DARPA as a way for computers to communicate after a disaster such as a nuclear war.

Some things a computer would be good for is tracking crop schedules, how much food you have on hand, creating a database for parts such as nuts, bolts and the million other things that make up a compound, and you could keep track of the events in your compound for easy retrieval.

PDF’s (Printable Document Format’s) are great for storing and retrieving information.  You can have books on a million topics, but instead of a library the size of Nebraska you can keep everything on one hard drive for instant retrieval.  You might want to have the more important topics in book format as a backup, but you can never have too many books to reference!

Training videos are another option.  You can take videos with your phone on how to do certain things in your compound such as stand guard duty, change a tire, cook a meal, shoot a bow and arrow, clean a gun, etc, and make them available to members of your community.

If you have surveillance equipment it can be run from your laptops.  Small security webcams today use small amounts of electricity and it might be worthwhile to have a few cameras watching the front and back gates to let you know if there are unfriendly’s in the area.

Then there’s the entertainment factor to consider.  We New-Age Homo-sapiens love to be entertained and today that’s delivered through the phone in our pocket or via a tablet or laptop.  If you have movies downloaded to your laptop, tablet, or phone you don’t need to have an Internet connection in order watch it.  This does take up space on your storage, so choose your movies wisely!

If you wanted to get fancy and had the know-how you could always set up a server (you could use a laptop for this) that would stream media from inside the Doomstead.

Computers

2_laptopA laptop can have several uses.  As mentioned earlier you can use it to manage your inventory.  If you’re in a large compound or Doomstead, you’ll need some way to efficiently manage your materiel.  Sure, you could do it by hand and I encourage you to have a paper backup, but you can’t beat a search query on a database for finding whatever it is you’re looking for.

I would recommend laptops over desktops because they have less electrical overhead.  A desktop PC needs a monitor in addition to the CPU, which also consumes electricity.  Laptops also have internal batteries, so if the power goes out unexpectedly it will stay on and you won’t lose any data. The idea is to keep your energy usage at a minimum.

Tablets

1_tabletThe advantage of a tablet is that you can get some of the same functionality as a laptop with less electricity consumption.  Here’s an article from PC World a few years ago comparing laptop and tablets (RAM, Display, Storage, Battery Life, etc.)  Everything else aside if you’re looking at it from strictly a power consumption standpoint the tablet is probably your best option.

Related: Surefire Firepak Review

I won’t get into the technical details here because my experience is most people don’t care what kind of RAM a device has.  What matters is how much RAM it has and in the computing world more is better.  If you have an old laptop at home the one single best thing you can probably do to speed it up is to add more RAM to it.

Smartphones

At the low end of the power consumption scale is the smartphone.  Smaller screens, less processing power, but still handy even if you lose your cell connection.  Why?  Because your smartphone is essentially a small tablet when you strip away it’s cell phone capabilities.  You can run different apps on it and it uses less electricity.

Communications

A short wave radio could allow you to communicate long distances if have one.  During a crisis this might be an invaluable to find out what’s happening in the world. A good set of Walkie Talkies would be good for local communications.  An example would be an OP outside the camp communicating with a command center.

Energy

5_solar-panel-array-power-plant-electricity-power-159160As your ability to make electricity decreases so do the options for the electronics you’ll be able to run.  If you’re in a well set up doomsday bunker with generators and enough fuel to run for two years, you’ll be ok for awhile.  If you’re in a smaller community with just solar and/or wind and a battery bank to store the electricity you’ll want to be more conservative with your energy expenditure.

If you’re in a tipi (or tent) with a small solar panel and a deep cycle battery (this is basically my set up) then charging a tablet or cell phone would be pretty easy as long as the sun shines.  In this case you might want to build a solar energy generator.  The battery is relatively heavy, but once you have it in place it works great.  Or you could Make your own USB solar charger if you’ve just got a cell phone you want to keep charged.

None of this really matters if the SHTF event is some kind of Carrington Event or other EMP event like a nuclear war of course. If that’s the case, I hope you have suitable plans for light, cooking, acquiring water, self protection and all the other things we talk about on this blog.

Conclusion

If you have the ability to create electricity in your bug-out/bug-in location having a set of well thought technology devices on-hand could allow you to do things others can’t (like communicate long distance) giving you an edge over others.  The devices will be dependent on the amount of electricity you can generate, so keep that in mind during your planning phase.

What other uses are there for technology after TSHTF?  I’ve only scratched the surface here, so shout out your ideas below. Questions?  Comments?  Sound off below!

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8 Alternatives for When Technology Fails You

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Modern human civilization has become so reliant on technology that we almost can’t cope at all without it. When was the last time you had to deal with a power outage, and how long did it last? A phone with a cracked screen or terrible phone reception when you really needed it? While technology has […]

The post 8 Alternatives for When Technology Fails You appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Solar Generator vs Fuel Generator

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Solar Generator vs Fuel Generator One of the first purchases I made when getting into serious preparedness was a gas generator. Not only the necessity for electrify drove me but also the importance of creature comforts. My power goes out and then it comes back on. I am happy with my gas generator. That said …

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Spain’s Sun Tax to be axed

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Sun tax, Spain, Off-grid, solar panels, tax, grid

Is the sun finally setting on Spain’s controversial “sun tax”?

In October 2015, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a controversial tax on those using electricity produced by their own solar installations. However, a new government says solar panel owners could soon see the back of the so called sun tax.

What is the sun tax?

This legislation causes those with self-consumptive photovoltaic systems to pay the same grid fees as those without solar panels. This covers the power contracted from an electricity company. But they also have to pay a second “sun tax” which means solar panel owners pay for the electricity they generate and use from their PV systems, even though it doesn’t come into contact with the grid.

There are other facets of the legislation which also caused more outrage. Photovoltaic systems up to 100 kW are not able to sell any excess electricity they produce. Instead, they must “donate” the extra to the grid free of charge. Systems over 100 kW must register if they wish to sell the extra electricity. Community ownership of PV systems, of all sizes, under this legislation is prohibited. Not only this, but the legislation is retroactive; meaning installations prior to the introduction of the tax must comply. If the conditions are not met, then the PV system owners are subject to a penalty fee of up to €60 million ($64 million). To put this in perspective, this is twice the penalty of a radioactive leak from a nuclear plant. Unsurprisingly, this caused outrage.

Exceptions to the tax

There are some circumstances where the tax does not apply. Fear not off-gridders, this tax is only for those connected to the grid. If you run an off-grid system then no grid tax needs to be paid at all. Installations smaller than 10 kW are also exempt from paying the second sun tax. The Canary Islands and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish territories in Africa) are also exempt from the second tax. Mallorca and Menorca pay the second sun tax at a reduced rate.

The Spanish government defended the legislation by saying the fees contribute to overall grid system costs. However, the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) pointed out how uneconomic the new law was. Their spokesperson stated, “Each kWh imported from the grid by a self-consumer will pay double the tolls compared to a kWh imported from the gird by another consumer.”

Change on the horizon

The current legislation is an unnecessary burden placed upon solar consumers who want to be more economical and environmentally friendly. This has been recognized by opposing political parties and other unions and consumers. The political party which initially brought in the sun tax is now a minority. Therefore, there is now the opportunity for all opposing parties to remove this expensive and impractical legislation.

In January 2017 a law proposal was registered in congress, beginning the process of the sun tax removal. The urgent changes to the legislation listed in the document include the right to self-consumption of solar energy without charge. Along with this, several consumers should be able to pool their resources to share a self-consumption facility to help tackle poverty. Plus, the proposal also adapts the sanctioning regime to avoid the multi-million euro fines, becoming more realistic. Finally, the importance of renewable energy as an appropriate instrument to help reduce environmental impact of electricity production has been recognised. Alongside, the role it can play in strengthening energy independence for Spain. The President of the UNEF, Jorge Barredo, said of the proposal, “it is a very important step in defining a different and more favourable regulatory framework for self-consumption.”

The law proposal has outlined a period of 3 months for the legislation to come into action.

The post Spain’s Sun Tax to be axed appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

A Microgrid Revolution – Blockchains spreading everywhere

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Microgrid, revolution, off-grid, electricity, trading, blockchain, technology, solar, renewables

Could pylons become a relic of the past with the microgrid revolution?

This is the new way to generate power, sell it to your neighbours, and cut out the middleman – the Utility company. And it uses the same Blockchain technology as Bitcoin.

In the Gowanus and Park Slope regions of Brooklyn, dozens of solar panel arrays have been hooked up to the Brooklyn Microgrid.  The project which currently has 50 participants signs residents up to a virtual trading platform. Those with solar panels are then able to sell excess electricity credits generated from their systems to buyers within the microgrid community.

Based on Blockchain

The virtual energy trading system is based on “blockchain” technology. This allows individuals to keep a secure and reliable record of transactions. It is essentially technology’s answer to a book keeping system. Giving more control to the consumer, it allows the turning of traditional relationships between utility companies and customers on its head. By bypassing the big electricity companies altogether it is allowing this community to have a sustainable, secure and cost-effective source of power. Lawrence Orsini, LO₃’s CEO, told the New York Times, “In order for transactive energy to take off as a whole, regulators have to be comfortable that markets can actually work this way and, more importantly, that people want markets like this.”

LO₃ Energy are the designers of this experiment. They used Google Earth to identify the Brooklyn neighbourhood as the first of potentially many more microgrids. By moving away from a centralized approach and creating local energy networks, should an emergency occur these systems can become grid independent. Residents approve of future project plans, which involve a microgrid located near to a hospital or other community resource. This way essential services could disconnect from the grid and operate independently during power failure. Garry Golden, a member of the Brooklyn Microgrid, said, “It’s a recognition of energy needs…you can feed the energy where it needs to go”.

Microgrids elsewhere

The Brooklyn Microgrid is hardly the first community to explore microgrid options. In Bangladesh, Me SolShare, a company founded in 2014, has been working on setting up microgrids in rural areas. Offering peer to peer sharing and pay-as-you-go solutions for low income households, the company aims to help the 65 million people without central grid access. The SolBox is the key to the trading networks they set up. Acting as a DC power meter, solar charge controller and machine to machine communicator, it is a node in the electricity network. The decentralised peer to peer microgrid networks set up let people earn income directly from the sun. In a low income household, this can make a huge difference.

Jumping continents

German based company Sonnen, have set up a community of 8,000 sonnenBatterie owners who share the energy they produce. By using the energy exclusively from the community, there is no need to go back to a utility supplier. The virtual energy pool is monitored by central software which balances supply and demand throughout the system. There is a monthly membership fee of €19.99 ($21) to join the sonnenCommunity. However, Sonnen justifies this with a number of benefits for joining the community aside from cheaper energy prices. These include: a discount on a sonnenBatterie with a 10 year guarantee; plus free remote maintenance and monitoring and weather forecast updates, amongst others.

And again

Jumping continents again, in Australia Power Ledger have used blockchain technology to set up the first residential electricity trading market. Located in Perth, the system will allow renewable energy owners to decide who they want to sell their surplus energy too and at what cost. Power Ledger is also working on a 500 site trial in Auckland, with New Zealand’s largest electricity distributor.

It’s clear that the benefits of microgrids are becoming more well-known and wide spread as technology allows its facilitation. Do you have any microgrid experiences or opinions? Let us know in the comments below!

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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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Calor Gas offers up to £5,000

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Bottled Gas is a gas

They want the world to love them

Bottled Gas supplier Calor Gas is offering funding of up to £5,000 for schemes that will improve life in off-grid communities.

Calor Gas spokesman Paul Blacklock said: “We provide energy to homes and businesses and understand the challenges country living can pose, especially when it comes to community facilities. Projects we support could be anything from community centres, village halls and sporting venues to youth clubs and Scout groups, or they could be initiatives to support the elderly.

“Entries open on April 3. We will be encouraging the whole community to get on board by voting for their favourite.”

Calor Gas Limited (Calor), a subsidiary of SHV Holdings N.V. is an energy service company that provides liquefied petroleum gas supply and other energy services. The company offers products and services such as home energy supply, boiler and heating services, gas bottles, Calor liquefied petroleum gas autogas, and renewable energy for residential customers. It offers LPG solutions for FLT, fork lift truck training, heating solutions, radiant heating, warm air heating, wet system heating, water heating, farming wit LPG, and servicing and maintenance, among others to business customers. The company also sells gas cylinders, outdoor living, commercial appliances, in the home, and solid fuel pallets. Calor is headquartered in Warwick, the UK.

Calor Gas Limited Competitors include

Alpha Petroleum Resources Limited

FCL Petroleum Limited

Gasrec Ltd

Linton Fuel Oils

Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation

BOC Group Limited

 

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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, […]

The post Build a Hand Crank Generator Out of a Dish Washer Motor appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

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?

web
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.

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.

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

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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 […]

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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.

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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.

The post Forget peak oil – now its peak energy appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

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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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.