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Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Archive for February, 2009


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Installing the “Nature’s Head” Composting Toilet

100_1443We took some pictures, some video, and are working on a multimedia presentation on the installation and use of the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet. This toilet is ideal for campers, boats and off grid homes where producing septic waste is not the goal, but producing compost is. You can see the pictures at http://jalbum.net/browse/user/album/123670.

See your purchase, and checkout:

Nature’s Head Composting Toilet$900 (delivered, lower 48 states):

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Making Steam from Solar Energy – redux

A while back, Robert Saunders sent us an article on a steam turbine he was working on. Then he sent another on solar energy steam electric. Well, here is his third chapter in this continuing quest. Hope you enjoy:

http://www.green-trust.org/wordpress/2008/12/07/solar-powered-steam-generators/

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Our vegetable oil burner has arrived

babington_1We drove to Massachusetts yesterday to visit Tom Leue from http://yellowbiodiesel.com/, and brought back one of his Recycled Vegetable Oil (RVO) burners. This is designed to replace a standard 4″ Beckett burner in a boiler or furnace, can be installed in a drum for a shop heater, used to heat water, or even create steam for a steam engine powered heat and electric application (Combined heat and power, or CHP). We talked a bit a few days ago about this burner in a previous blog article, which gives more info on the burner itself. This design is based on a Babington burner that injects air through a tiny jet in a ball, and pumps oil over the ball, forming a ignitable vapor when the oil covers the jet of air, similar to a whale’s blowhole. Discussions of the Babington principle are commonly held at http://group.wastewatts.org.

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Windy Days at Green Trust

We finally got the AIR-X (400 watt) wind turbine raised today, just in time for a windy mini blizzard. It sits on 30′ of 3″ galvanised pipe, bolted to the side of the house. We used a backhoe to pull a rope, connected to the tower at the 20′ mark, over the top of the house, as we didn’t have the manpower to pull it ourselves. We put two other ropes on either side of the turbine to keep it from sliding perpendicular to the direction we wanted to to go.

I don’t have my anemometer up to check wind speeds, but the turbine is peaking at 300 watts and singing like a stool pigeon. I have the output of the turbine (the negative) running through a shunt connected to my FLEXnetDC battery monitor, so my Outback Mate tracks the power the turbine collects. My solar panels connect to another shunt, and my inverter to the third shunt. This gives me detailed information on my production and usage.

I have some of pictures of the process posted at http://sspence65.jalbum.net/AIR%20X%20Install/ and more coming shortly.

The Whisper (500 watt) is the next unit to go up, followed by the rebuilt 24 volt (was 12v) 1000 watt Axial Flux Turbine.

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Heat your home and hot water with vegetable oil

burner_2_largeTom’s vegetable oil fueled Beckett burner replacement is idea1 for heating your home with cheap, clean burning renewable fuel. Requires no pre treatment or filtering. It’s based on the Babbington vaporization principle. Works with air furnaces, as well as water boilers and homebuilt units. Read more at http://drop.io/YellowHeat.

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Make Electricity and Hot water from the Heat of the Sun

12vdc, 117vac, and hot water, from sun seeking petals and a stirling engine:

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/bill_gross_on_new_energy.html

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Wind Sailing on Ice

Sustainable fun with winter ice sailing:

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Wind Turbines, Composting Toilets & More

We were already to raise the wind turbine on Friday when the temps started dropping, the wind kicked up, and it started snowing again. So we are on hold for a few days till the weather improves. Larry from Nature’s Head called and said our Composting Toilet was shipping on Monday, so we will be posting a video on how to set it up and use it. We will keep it PG ;-)

We had a great chat with Mike Richter (yes, the hockey player) from Riverkeeper. They are doing some fantastic work tracking down and prosecuting polluters of the Hudson River, and raising awareness of water, soil, and air quality in the region.

The rain fed cistern project is back on track, and waiting for ground thaw. A hand pump and low voltage dc pressure pump will provide the water from the tanks to the house. We are considering hooking a bicycle up to our belt drive well pump like Rob Roy did with his pump. He cycles for 5 minutes twice daily to charge his 80 gallon pressure tank. This method is also shown in the book “The Human Powered Home“.

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Brainstorming battery technology and human power

Melvin Martin was over last night. He’s greatly recovered from his accident, but still has a ways to go. We were discussing home built NiFe (Edison) batteries and how to make your own. These batteries have the ability to last 50+ years, and we have a bunch of info on them in the files section at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/12VDC_Power/files/. We were also discussing human powered devices, specifically pedal powered water pumps, grain mills, and electrical generators. I have had a very good resource for this for 20 years called “Pedal Power: In Work, Leisure, and Transportation”, and just picked up a wonderful companion to it produced in 2008 called “The Human Powered Home”. Detailed drawings and parts lists for mixers, pumps, grinders, and many other projects where fuel or electricity may be in short supply, or you just need to lose 50 lbs. These books and more can be found it the Human Power section at http://www.green-trust.org/bookshop/.

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