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Carbon energy in mulch / compost / export

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  • Peter the Soil & Health Fan
    Fellow gardeners/farmers: Request: This is a post full of questions. I d appreciate your insights, even if you would like to pick just one of them, and even
    Message 1 of 30 , Oct 31, 2007
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      Fellow gardeners/farmers:

      Request: This is a post full of questions. I'd appreciate your insights,
      even if you would like to pick just one of them, and even if only one side
      of an issue is addressed. Flames are welcome :-)


      Background: Under some assumptions, a hectare (1 ha = 2.5 acres) of
      productive ecosystem fixes 15 MT/yr of above-ground carbon, with energy of
      60,000 kWh/year. If we assume 1000 hr/yr of "equivalent solar panel time,"
      1 ha is as productive as a 60kW installation, which in the US would cost
      close to half a milion. Go figure.


      Question(s): Where does the carbon energy in mulch/compost go?


      One role of plants is to convert part of the sunlight energy into
      carbohydrate energy. Thus, a "well-working" ecosystem should be able to
      export carbon, since this is truly renewable (at humanity time scales,
      forget for the moment about the exhaustion of the nuclear fuel in the sun).

      Ditto for proteins (fixed nitrogen).

      [ As opposed to the various minerals that might be exported with the
      produce -- a total loss, arguably going to the sea, and at some point need
      to be recycled from there.]

      If a farm is looking for a cash crop, carbon and nitrogen are the only
      renewables, everything else is exporting fertility.


      Under the "Masanobu Fukuoka" / mulch-the-field practice, all woody
      material is left back on the ground as mulch. Analogously, under the Sir
      Howard / compost practice, the same (?) processes that happen in the soil
      are carried out inside heaps. While making compost, the energy of fixed
      nitrogen stays intact, hopefully. However, most of the carbon goes to
      heat the heap. This is arguably a loss.

      So:


      *) Roughly, how much carbon energy can be exported from an ecosystem
      before it breaks? It would probably depend on the ecosystem. Examples?


      *) Where does the carbon energy go when mulching?

      ?) heat

      ?) soil tillage by worms

      ?) buried carbon in the ground?

      ?) assist growth of new crops (do plants ever suck up nontrivial amounts of
      carbon from the soil?)

      ?) somewhere else?



      *) If there is extra carbon energy that's utilized from mulch (for example
      for tillage), why are composting?



      *) If some of the carbon energy is lost as heat when mulching/composting,
      are there ways to divert it and use it as pure energy.

      ?) store "work" somehow

      ?) charge a battery

      ?) export pure energy in some form as a cash crop



      *) A "solargas" operation would seem to store some of the carbon
      energy as alcohols, which arguably can be exported for energy value.
      However, that requires starch/sugar-rich crops.

      ?) what are the best-performing starch/sugar field crops

      ?) how about cellulosic solargas -- any success stories



      *) How do we run a computer on straw?



      *) On some other form of on-farm captured energy?



      *) Any questions that I am missing?



      Ideas, pointers, comments, musings, flames greatly appreciated.

      --Peter.
    • yarrow@sfo.com
      At 2:18 PM -0500 10/31/07, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote: *) How do we run a computer on straw? Use solar energy directly, instead of using a crop as an
      Message 2 of 30 , Oct 31, 2007
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        At 2:18 PM -0500 10/31/07, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:
        *) How do we run a computer on straw?


        Use solar energy directly, instead of using a crop as an
        intermediate! (Still involves technology, but so would any other
        solution that takes "computer" as a given.)

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Peter the Soil & Health Fan
        ... Computers are a given already. We can use productively the computers that are already manufactured till His Kingdom comes. Well, may be some CRT monitros
        Message 3 of 30 , Oct 31, 2007
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          On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:

          | Background: Under some assumptions, a hectare (1 ha = 2.5 acres) of
          | productive ecosystem fixes 15 MT/yr of above-ground carbon, with energy of
          | 60,000 kWh/year. If we assume 1000 hr/yr of "equivalent solar panel time,"
          | 1 ha is as productive as a 60kW installation, which in the US would cost
          | close to half a million. Go figure.
          |

          | *) A "solargas" operation would seem to store some of the carbon
          | energy as alcohols, which arguably can be exported for energy value.
          | However, that requires starch/sugar-rich crops.
          |
          | *) How do we run a computer on straw?
          |
          | *) On some other form of on-farm captured energy?


          On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 yarrow@... wrote:

          | At 2:18 PM -0500 10/31/07, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:
          | *) How do we run a computer on straw?
          |
          |
          | Use solar energy directly, instead of using a crop as an
          | intermediate! (Still involves technology, but so would any other
          | solution that takes "computer" as a given.)
          |


          Computers are a given already. We can use productively the computers that
          are already manufactured till His Kingdom comes. Well, may be some CRT
          monitros will burn till then :-)

          Grid electricity, however, is very far from a given. Go ask the Iraqis.
          Or the US-North-Easterners (if they still remember August 2003).


          So, How do we "Use solar energy directly?" Put the laptop in the sun? How
          about the desktop and the network switch?


          If my calculation above is correct, and I am 100% efficient in converting
          energy, and I want to run my home operation for 1000 hours a year, I can
          average 60kW from 1 ha. Well, let's say 6kW from 1 dka. Well, let's say
          I am 10% efficient. That is still 600W for 3 hours/day, which is plenty.


          * Solar panels: for 600W will cost me $5K _and_ I will have to replace
          them in 10 years. That's $500/year. Can I sell farm produce for
          $500/year from 1 dka ($2000/year from an acre)? Probably not. How much
          land do I have to have and how much work do I need to do on the land to
          earn money to keep replacing solar panels.

          That is, assuming that in 10 years there will be a reasonably well
          functioning society which will sell me solar panels. That is, assuming
          they did not figure it out that the $8/W was a price in which $20/bbl oil
          was embedded and they stupidly keep the price the same
          (inflation-adjusted) in 10 years.

          Oil is already 5 times as expensive from when it was embedded in the
          panels (and the dollar is not even twice cheaper). More probably, oil
          will be another five times as expensive in a few years, against 2x
          inflation in dollars. So, in 10 years, it will doom on the solar panel
          industry that $8/W (in today's USD) is 4-5 times cheaper than the cost of
          manufacture/installation. Hence, I will have to work 20 dka (5 acres) to
          pay for solar panels that produce 1/10% the energy of 1 dka. Not a good
          deal, I'd say.


          So, we need something else to convert solar energy "directly" into
          electricity.


          * Alcohol: How much potato vodka do I need to distil (properly denatured
          with methanol, of course :-) to get 600Wh/year (or 600W for 1000 hours).
          Anybody knows how to convert alcohol to electricity primitively?

          Are potatos the best starch crop? If one does not care about nutritional
          value, that is; of course the nutrition will be saved in the slops and fed
          to pigs/chiken or to the compost pile.


          * Straw: Ditto.


          * Horses/Oxen: These may be great cellulose => electricity converters.
          Do horses eat/efficiently utilize cellulose? If not, may be oxen then.
          Is there a simple, high-efficiency battery charger that would be driven by
          some kind of work/potential energy that a horse/ox can generate. Say, we
          make a horse pull weights and then let the weights fall and use that
          energy to charge. Or wind a spring. Or lift water, let it fall, and
          charge. Heck, the hydro-power plants do it all the time.


          * Tesla: What is know/available for wiring the house on DC. Tesla used
          to do it, but long-distance transmission killed the concept -- AC is
          significantly more efficient to carry cross-country. Is DC workable on a
          household scale? Can you power a home (if you had the appliances) from a
          car battery? 10 car batteries?

          * Boats: One can certainly power a boat this way
          http://www.optimabatteries.com/_media/documents/specs/TF_082904.pdf May be
          we need to build the houses like large boats (here comes Dmitry Orlov
          again :-)

          * Cellulosic hydro: Why use batteries (and waste / deal with lead +
          sulphuric acid)? Why not use directly the water storage tank, mounted on
          top of the house, and generate electricity on demand, like a hydro-power
          plant? Any known equipment to generate 12V from pressurized water
          systems? 3V?

          * Anything else?


          --Peter.
        • Jeff
          Great questions Peter, I have my degree in Environmental Systems and actually TA s the class relevant to these topics. (BiogeoChemistry) Background: Under some
          Message 4 of 30 , Nov 1, 2007
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            Great questions Peter,

            I have my degree in Environmental Systems and actually TA's the class
            relevant to these topics. (BiogeoChemistry)

            Background: Under some assumptions, a hectare (1 ha = 2.5 acres) of
            productive ecosystem fixes 15 MT/yr of above-ground carbon, with
            energy of 60,000 kWh/year. If we assume 1000 hr/yr of "equivalent
            solar panel time," 1 ha is as productive as a 60kW installation, which
            in the US would cost close to half a million. Go figure.

            *While the statement is of course true given the assumptions, because
            of energy conversion issues, the solar cells will always produce more
            USABLE energy.

            Are potatos the best starch crop? If one does not care about
            nutritional value, that is; of course the nutrition will be saved in
            the slops and fed to pigs/chiken or to the compost pile.

            *What do you mean by the best?
            Per acre: sugar cane, maize, patty rice, and sugar beets all produce
            more usuable carbohydrate than potatoes.

            *potatoes however go grow in poor soils and requires less processing
            than others in the group. Jerusalem artichoke stand might be even
            better because of the reduced planting labor, even though the total
            yield is lower. taro/Manioc is definitely superior in tropic climates.

            *Sugar cane, maize, rice all produce high amounts of cellulistic
            residue as well that can be used for direct burning for heat (not
            reccommending becuase of Nitrogen and silica contents), alternatively
            it can be used to create ba-gas (methane from anerobic digestion),
            its too bad that he bio-tech world isn't focusing on improving this
            microbe.....

            *Switchgrass, general mixed tall-grass prairies, cattail marshes all
            produce more cellulose than grain straw per acre, with alot less imput

            Horses/Oxen: These may be great cellulose => electricity converters.
            Do horses eat/efficiently utilize cellulose? If not, may be oxen then.
            Is there a simple, high-efficiency battery charger that would be
            driven by some kind of work/potential energy that a horse/ox can
            generate. Say, we make a horse pull weights and then let the weights
            fall and use that energy to charge. Or wind a spring. Or lift water,
            let it fall, and charge. Heck, the hydro-power plants do it all the time.

            Oxen beat horses every single time. They are much much more efficient
            digesters of cellulose. That being said draft animals are horribly
            inefficient at creating useful work from feed stock.

            Going back to the solar panels: the best green plant achieves around
            1-2% conversion of solar energy, Solar panels very but common is
            13-20%. Any warm blooded animal can produce less than 1% mechanical
            energy from its available feed. Even with perfect convesion to
            electricity that means 0.01% of the solar energy is being returned.

            I think that pumping water up-hill is a VERY effective solution for
            energy storage, the problem with the space it takes to store any
            siginifcan energy and that amount of losses pumping it and
            reconverting it. Wind powered pumping would be a way to get around
            this, wind mill s that pump water use torque and hence operate at much
            lower winds than wind turbines that convert to energy, so depending on
            your location that might be a good solution.

            * Tesla: What is know/available for wiring the house on DC. Tesla used
            to do it, but long-distance transmission killed the concept -- AC is
            significantly more efficient to carry cross-country. Is DC workable on
            ahousehold scale? Can you power a home (if you had the appliances)
            from a car battery? 10 car batteries?

            People do power there houses form 10+ batteries, most people who do
            this use 'deep cycle' batteries rather than car batteries though (they
            hold charge better and longer), or chinese nickel batteries.
            DC has several problems for home use:
            most appliences need to be specially made, cuz the motors in them are
            AC motor and won't run on DC, second phantom loads on DC creates more
            heat and poses a fire hazard (phantom loads are TV for immediate
            power, computer monitors, and anything with a clock in it). third for
            the same amount of power (amperage) you need larger gauge wires for
            the same reason. finally, the only home source power for DC would be
            batteries or solar panel, everything else produces AC (hydro, wind,
            generator), inherently, rectifers are more iffiencent than inverters
            (rectifers correct the AC to proper frequency, and invertes turn DC
            into AC)

            Roughly, how much carbon energy can be exported from an ecosystem
            before it breaks? It would probably depend on the ecosystem. Examples?

            *Its never the carbon that breaks the system unless you remove the
            living. Removing more than 20% of the living carbon would be seriously
            detrimental to the function of any ecosystem. Or you degrade the soil
            be removing that pool. Below 1% organic matter you start to see a lot
            of deleterious effeects in soil.

            Removing biomass always shows effects of nitrogen and phosophorus first.

            Where does the carbon energy go when mulching?
            heat and microbial biomass, and other invertebrates (worms) and
            finally some sticks around as long term humus (stable for 1000 yrs)
            unfortunately long term humus is less than 1% of what you start with.
            (generally thought to be about 0.1%)off gassing of some lihgt
            hydrocarbons does occur as well (generally thought to be between 1 and
            10% of total)

            assist growth of new crops (do plants ever suck up nontrivial amounts
            of carbon from the soil?) yes, especially things like vitamin b1 or
            other known plant stimulants, the bigest may be in the symbious with
            VAM fungus and the uptake via that relationship.

            If there is extra carbon energy that's utilized from mulch (for
            example for tillage), why are composting?

            *composting reduces the bulk, and provides more concentrated nutrients
            for heavy feeders composting sppeds up the procuess and PROBABLY loses
            a few percent in the process over mulching.

            If some of the carbon energy is lost as heat when mulching/composting,
            are there ways to divert it and use it as pure energy.

            he only functional heat engine is the stirling, they don't operate
            very efficiently with low heat differentials, typically they like to
            see more than 100 degress F temp differents (45 d C) , the problem is
            the size and imbodied energy of the engine to create power
          • Peter
            ... Seems about right. The potential energy is mass x height x gravity, which in this case is 20 m x 20 kg/s x 10 N/kg = 4000 Mn/s == 4KW, so you are getting
            Message 5 of 30 , Nov 2, 2007
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              On Fri, 2 Nov 2007, in soilandhealth@yahoogroups.com, "John D'hondt" wrote:

              |
              | > * Cellulosic hydro: Why use batteries (and waste / deal with lead +
              | > sulphuric acid)? Why not use directly the water storage tank,mounted on
              | > top of the house, and generate electricity on demand, like a hydro-power
              | > plant? Any known equipment to generate 12V from pressurized water
              | > systems? 3V?
              |
              | It takes a lot to make electricity. Our hydro gives around 3KW for
              | 20liter per second falling a bit over 20 meters.
              |

              Seems about right. The potential energy is mass x height x gravity, which
              in this case is 20 m x 20 kg/s x 10 N/kg = 4000 Mn/s == 4KW, so you are
              getting about 75% efficiency, which is OK for hydro.

              | It is extremely difficult to make useful electricity if the water supply
              | and pressure is not more or less constant.

              This is probably true for AC.

              | One might do something with horses by letting them drive a turbine direct
              | without messing about with water.

              Again, turbines a good at generating AC.


              I was thinking of DC though. You are right that efficiency-wise, it is
              probably better to let the horse drive some kind of an induction device.
              Similar to the way the battery is recharged in the hybrid cars when you hit
              the brake.

              A horse puts out a horse power, 750 W. Two horses, 1500W. If I want to
              use 600W for 3 hr/day, this is about 1.2 hours for a team of 2 horses.
              It is not unknow for teams of 12 horses to work on a hard project
              together. Such a team will generate for 1 hour 12 days of my computer
              time. I need to work this team 30 hours to generate my annual computer
              usage.

              I can see myself renting 12 horses for 3 days and working them 10 hours a
              day, in exchange for a year-worth of reading [soilandhealth] :-)

              The question is, where do I store the energy? A D31M optima battery has
              75 Ah capacity. AT 12V, this is 900 Wh, or two batteries for 1,800 Wh. If
              I want to charge once a year, I will need 700 batteries! Even at 3
              times/year (3x one day worth of work) it will be 250 batteries!


              It seems batteries are a very lousy way to store energy. I said I need
              1800 Wh/day. This is 1550 kcal, which is the metabolic energy of 400g of
              dietary carbs, or 170g of fat. Heck, even my kids can eat 2 sticks of butter a day!


              Is a functioning society a good "battery?" Imagine that we are OK with
              exporting some fertility in the form of, say wheat.

              500g wheat @ 12% humidity is 400g carbs/protein -- enough for a day of
              electricity. For a year, this is just short of 200 kg wheat. Can one do
              that from 1 dka (quarter acre)? Well, Masanobu Fukuoka says he has 900 lb
              of wheat (+900 of rice) / year / dka. Current farm price of wheat in
              Eastern Europe are close to USD $.20/kg. Grid electricity prices are
              $.10/kWh, or $.18/1800 Wh -- our benchmark. So, for 1 kg of wheat I can buy
              the electricity with the energy content of 500g of wheat. Even apart from
              the 2:1 ration it is a ripoff, because wheat has minerals, essential oils,
              vitamins, and protein in it, and it should cost more than the pure energy.


              However, from our limited point of view a functioning society seems like a
              good deal for a battery. I can cover my computing needs by selling 400 kg
              of wheat/year, which is quite doable by owning and working 1 dka.

              What do we do when society collapses though?

              Hand-charged very power-efficient computers? One laptop per child?
              http://laptop.org

              How do we do long-distance communication? Go back to olden-days
              text-based non-interactive bulk-transfer internet? Yahoo groups will
              probably be gone, but we might go back to USENET newsgroups. This is not
              too bad, I still remember fondly the early 90's :-)


              Or maybe bite the bullet and burn the wheat directly in some kind of a
              power-generating equipment. Steam Engines anyone?

              At 100% (well, metabolic) efficiency, we need 200 kg wheat/year. At 25%,
              we need 800 kg. With the straw, this is quite doable from 1 dka. If we go
              that route, may be we can burn just wood. This way we at least keep the
              minerals in the ashes on the farm.

              We need to burn something to heat during the winter anyway. 1000-2000 kg
              of coal to heat a house during the winter is not unheard of. Is there
              some king of home-scale co-generation equipment? May be a sterling engine
              somehow built in a masonry heater?


              If we are happy with burning starch, why not make vodka (ethanol) first.
              Can we generate electricity efficiently from ethanol?

              ( Of course, if we have a semblance of a semi-functioning society, selling
              the vodka will yield much more grid electricity :-)

              But how do we do it with a collapsed society? Or at least off-grid?

              May be we can plant oil-bearing seeds and use diesel generators. How
              efficient are small, say 1kW units? 25%? 30%? 35%?

              The good part of burning oil and alcohol is that all of the fertility is
              left in the slops/cake and is recycled on the farm.



              --Peter.
            • michael
              Peter, Solar panels for 600W will cost you less than $2400 and will have at least a 25 year life. Batteries and inverter are extra. Run your computer when
              Message 6 of 30 , Nov 2, 2007
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                Peter,

                Solar panels for 600W will cost you less than $2400 and will have at
                least a 25 year life. Batteries and inverter are extra. Run your
                computer when the sun is shining. Buy a new generation small laptop
                and you will not need 600W.

                On Oct 31, 2007, at 6:54 PM, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:

                > * Solar panels: for 600W will cost me $5K _and_ I will have to replace
                > them in 10 years.



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • michael
                Yeah, except they re the best we ve got. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                Message 7 of 30 , Nov 2, 2007
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                  Yeah, except they're the best we've got.

                  On Nov 2, 2007, at 11:16 AM, Peter wrote:

                  > It seems batteries are a very lousy way to store energy.



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Peter the
                  ... That is on the face of it true Michael, ... but I have not seen any manufacturer offer anything more than a 10 year warranty. And that assumes they will
                  Message 8 of 30 , Nov 2, 2007
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                    On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:

                    | * Solar panels: for 600W will cost me $5K _and_ I will have to replace
                    | them in 10 years. That's $500/year. Can I sell farm produce for
                    | $500/year from 1 dka ($2000/year from an acre)? Probably not. How much
                    | land do I have to have and how much work do I need to do on the land to
                    | earn money to keep replacing solar panels.
                    |


                    On Fri, 2 Nov 2007, michael wrote:

                    | Solar panels for 600W will cost you less than $2400 and will have at
                    | least a 25 year life.

                    That is on the face of it true Michael,

                    ... but I have not seen any manufacturer offer anything more than a 10
                    year warranty. And that assumes they will be in business in 10 years,
                    which I consider not very likely.


                    |
                    | Batteries and inverter are extra.
                    |

                    ... and installation. By the time you add them, it doubles the cost.
                    Hence my $5K estimate. So we are talking the same thing here.


                    Of course, this strategy assumes that the cost correctly represents the
                    embedded energy, which my arguments it does not (see below). So 10 years
                    down the line the solar panel users are up for a rude awakening.

                    If we only need to power ourselves for 10 years, I guess one can still
                    rely on (intermittent) grid power.


                    |
                    | Run your computer when the sun is shining. Buy a new generation small
                    | laptop and you will not need 600W.
                    |

                    True, like in http://laptop.org/.


                    But imagine that I don't want to run wireless (for fear of wrecking my
                    family's pineal glands) and for a family I need a wired switch, several
                    computers, a printer, a storage/backup server, a digital tape library ...

                    May be a workplace, for actual computer-related work, something like
                    http://www.lemis.com/grog/Photos/20020202/grog-in-office.html .

                    How about if I want to brew beer and need to power the control equipment:
                    http://www.lemis.com/grog/brewing/temperature-control.html

                    Or listen to AC/DC on the stereo? (Arguably, this wold be Satanic
                    worship, but how about Mozart?)


                    On Fri, 2 Nov 2007, michael wrote:

                    | Yeah, except they're the best we've got.
                    |
                    | On Nov 2, 2007, at 11:16 AM, Peter wrote:
                    |
                    | > It seems batteries are a very lousy way to store energy.


                    Yeah.

                    I guess they are good for very-rapid access of small amounts of energy,
                    especially NiMH or Li-ion ones. Something like the primary cache of the
                    CPU. We need some secondary caches. May be an array of ~10 boat
                    batteries that power the house for a day or two, or a week? But we also
                    need something to convert (probably in batch mode, preferably with heat
                    co-generation) carbohydrates (preferably cellulose), alcohol (gasoline),
                    or fat (diesel) into lead-acid battery charge.

                    --Peter.


                    On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:

                    |
                    | That is, assuming that in 10 years there will be a reasonably well
                    | functioning society which will sell me solar panels. That is, assuming
                    | they did not figure it out that the $8/W was a price in which $20/bbl oil
                    | was embedded and they stupidly keep the price the same
                    | (inflation-adjusted) in 10 years.
                    |
                    | Oil is already 5 times as expensive from when it was embedded in the
                    | panels (and the dollar is not even twice cheaper). More probably, oil
                    | will be another five times as expensive in a few years, against 2x
                    | inflation in dollars. So, in 10 years, it will doom on the solar panel
                    | industry that $8/W (in today's USD) is 4-5 times cheaper than the cost of
                    | manufacture/installation. Hence, I will have to work 20 dka (5 acres) to
                    | pay for solar panels that produce 1/10% the energy of 1 dka. Not a good
                    | deal, I'd say.
                    |
                    |
                  • michael
                    You are confusing warranty with useable life. I prefer useable life which is at least 25 years for current solar panels. You can keep the warranty for if the
                    Message 9 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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                      You are confusing warranty with useable life. I prefer useable life
                      which is at least 25 years for current solar panels. You can keep
                      the warranty for if the company is not credible, neither is the
                      warranty.

                      I have solar thermal panels which are more than 20 years old and
                      which I bought for a song and which work very well supplying the heat
                      I need.

                      On Nov 2, 2007, at 3:57 PM, Peter the wrote:

                      > ... but I have not seen any manufacturer offer anything more than a 10
                      > year warranty. And that assumes they will be in business in 10 years,
                      > which I consider not very likely.



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • michael
                      Which you should be doing yourself. It is not difficult. If you engage in biodynamic farming, your labor rate is fairly cheap. ... [Non-text portions of this
                      Message 10 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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                        Which you should be doing yourself. It is not difficult. If you
                        engage in biodynamic farming, your labor rate is fairly cheap.

                        On Nov 2, 2007, at 3:57 PM, Peter the wrote:

                        > | Batteries and inverter are extra.
                        > |
                        >
                        > ... and installation.



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • michael
                        Well, no. Supercapacitors are good for rapid access to small amounts of energy but large amounts of power. Batteries are good for rapid access to large amounts
                        Message 11 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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                          Well, no.
                          Supercapacitors are good for rapid access to small amounts of energy
                          but large amounts of power.
                          Batteries are good for rapid access to large amounts of energy.

                          When running music off of batteries and needing considerable bass
                          amplification, supercapacitors work with the batteries.

                          On Nov 2, 2007, at 3:57 PM, Peter the wrote:

                          > I guess they are good for very-rapid access of small amounts of
                          > energy,



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • michael
                          The analogy between energy storage and computer caches does not hold. Computer caches are for making spacially local retrieval of information faster. Energy
                          Message 12 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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                            The analogy between energy storage and computer caches does not
                            hold. Computer caches are for making spacially local retrieval of
                            information faster.

                            Energy or power retrieval is not usually spacial but temporal.

                            On Nov 2, 2007, at 3:57 PM, Peter the wrote:

                            > Something like the primary cache of the
                            > CPU. We need some secondary caches.



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Peter the
                            ... Solar electric panels have not been on the market for 25 years, so we do not know whether they _actually_ have 25 years of useful life. May be they do.
                            Message 13 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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                              On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, michael wrote:

                              | You are confusing warranty with useable life. I prefer useable life
                              | which is at least 25 years for current solar panels. You can keep
                              | the warranty for if the company is not credible, neither is the
                              | warranty.

                              Solar electric panels have not been on the market for 25 years, so we do
                              not know whether they _actually_ have 25 years of useful life. May be
                              they do. May be they don't.

                              My expensive SONY TV was supposed to have 20+ years of useful life (which
                              my expensive Russian-built TV in the 1970 had), but it broke one month
                              after the two-year manufacturer warranty. Dell laptops are supposed to
                              have 20 years of useful life (which my Apple ][ definitely had) but these
                              break down like crazy even within their 1-year warranty.

                              So -- may be. may be it will be 25 year, may be 10, and maybe 3.


                              | I have solar thermal panels which are more than 20 years old and
                              | which I bought for a song and which work very well supplying the heat
                              | I need.

                              *) this is for _thermal_ panels, that do not have semi-conductor
                              technology in them. I am willing to believe that. We have a barrel on a
                              platform that we paint black from time to time, and it has been producing
                              acceptable bathing water for generations.

                              *) where does one buy solar thermal installations nowadays?

                              *) can one construct them at home?

                              --Peter.

                              |
                              | On Nov 2, 2007, at 3:57 PM, Peter the wrote:
                              |
                              | > ... but I have not seen any manufacturer offer anything more than a 10
                              | > year warranty. And that assumes they will be in business in 10 years,
                              | > which I consider not very likely.
                              |
                              |
                            • Peter the
                              ... Sorta true. However: *) I personally want to have a _high_ labor rate :-) For example, Joel Salatin says that with his method one can make a 6-figure
                              Message 14 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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                                | On Nov 2, 2007, at 3:57 PM, Peter the wrote:
                                |
                                | > | Batteries and inverter are extra.
                                | > |
                                | >
                                | > ... and installation.
                                |

                                On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, michael wrote:

                                | Which you should be doing yourself. It is not difficult. If you
                                | engage in biodynamic farming, your labor rate is fairly cheap.
                                |

                                Sorta true. However:

                                *) I personally want to have a _high_ labor rate :-) For example, Joel
                                Salatin says that with his method one can make a 6-figure salary (in 1996
                                dollars).

                                *) In most places one needs a certified electrician to do the job, and
                                these are typically union jobs. Also we have shipping of the panels and
                                other materials, which probably adds some.

                                *) As an example, let's read from the electric tractor specs:

                                http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ETractorSpecs.htm

                                1 kW PV Canopy $ 8,000
                                2 kW PV Roof $18,000
                                4 kW PV Roof $28,000

                                The delta from 2 to 4KW is $5/W. But for the complete assemblies the
                                prices are $8/W, $9/W, and $7/W for 1, 2, and 4kW, respectively.

                                +) The cost of charging the 5 kWh battery pack from the utility grid is
                                approx. $0.50. [Hence $1 for the 10kWh battery.]

                                +) The 10 kWh battery pack is charged by the 2 kW PV Roof in one day.


                                Which basically means that an investment of $18K is producing an income of
                                $1/day. Even if have sun 300 days in the year (which we don't), the
                                return on the investment is $1/year for every $600 invested.


                                This is not my favorite idea of investment. There are places where one
                                can buy an acre of good land for $600. I will definitely make more than
                                $1 in annual income from an acre. Heck, one can probably do better even
                                in the desert!


                                Oh well ... so much for solar panels ...

                                --Peter.
                              • Peter the
                                ... ^^^^ $60 -- sorry. OK, a bit more, from http://www.renewables.com/Products/Unisolar2.htm rating, kW Solar panels cost Additional cost (*) total /W
                                Message 15 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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                                  On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, Peter the wrote:

                                  |
                                  | *) As an example, let's read from the electric tractor specs:
                                  |
                                  | http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ETractorSpecs.htm
                                  |
                                  | 1 kW PV Canopy $ 8,000
                                  | 2 kW PV Roof $18,000
                                  | 4 kW PV Roof $28,000
                                  |
                                  | The delta from 2 to 4KW is $5/W. But for the complete assemblies the
                                  | prices are $8/W, $9/W, and $7/W for 1, 2, and 4kW, respectively.
                                  |
                                  | +) The cost of charging the 5 kWh battery pack from the utility grid is
                                  | approx. $0.50. [Hence $1 for the 10kWh battery.]
                                  |
                                  | +) The 10 kWh battery pack is charged by the 2 kW PV Roof in one day.
                                  |
                                  |
                                  | Which basically means that an investment of $18K is producing an income of
                                  | $1/day. Even if have sun 300 days in the year (which we don't), the
                                  | return on the investment is $1/year for every $600 invested.
                                  ^^^^
                                  $60 -- sorry.

                                  OK, a bit more, from http://www.renewables.com/Products/Unisolar2.htm

                                  rating, kW Solar panels cost Additional cost (*) total /W
                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                  1 6.0K 5.0K 11.0K 11.0
                                  2 12.0K 6.0K 18.0K 9.0
                                  3 18.0K 7.5K 25.5K 8.2
                                  4 24.0K 9.0K 36.5K 8.1
                                  6 34.5K 12.0K 46.5K 7.7
                                  10 55.0K 15.0K 70.0K 7.0


                                  (*) less batteries

                                  (**) This represents all material and hardware cost including the roofing
                                  in the panel area. There is almost no additional cost for panel
                                  installation beyond the normal labor cost for roof installation. The labor
                                  cost for installing the balance of the system is not included.


                                  OK, so our cost for the installation of something that produces 600W for 3
                                  hours a day is $11,000 (less batteries and labor), _not_ $5,000 as I
                                  estimated earlier.

                                  Even for a large-scale installation of 10kW, we produce 10,000 kWh/year,
                                  or an income of $1000/year for an investment of $70,000, which is $1 for
                                  every $70 invested. A fine investment this is (albeit inflation-proof :-)

                                  Well, surely beats treasuries nowadays :-)

                                  --Peter.

                                  |
                                  |
                                  | This is not my favorite idea of investment. There are places where one
                                  | can buy an acre of good land for $600. I will definitely make more than
                                  | $1 in annual income from an acre. Heck, one can probably do better even
                                  ^^^^
                                  $10 -- sorry.

                                  | in the desert!
                                  |
                                  |
                                  | Oh well ... so much for solar panels ...
                                  |
                                  | --Peter.
                                  |
                                  |
                                • michael
                                  Peter, pardon, this thread is a bit aged but I am just getting back to it. You are using victim economics. Take charge. Shop around. Do the work yourself.
                                  Message 16 of 30 , Nov 25, 2007
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                                    Peter,

                                    pardon, this thread is a bit aged but I am just getting back to it.

                                    You are using victim economics. Take charge. Shop around. Do the
                                    work yourself. This cannot be how you pursue sustainable agriculture
                                    or it would not be working for you. Nothing of value is purchased.
                                    You must build it yourself.

                                    - Michael

                                    On Nov 6, 2007, at 6:31 PM, Peter the wrote:

                                    > On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, Peter the wrote:
                                    >
                                    > |
                                    > | *) As an example, let's read from the electric tractor specs:
                                    > |
                                    > | http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ETractorSpecs.htm
                                    > |
                                    > | 1 kW PV Canopy $ 8,000
                                    > | 2 kW PV Roof $18,000
                                    > | 4 kW PV Roof $28,000
                                    > |
                                    > | The delta from 2 to 4KW is $5/W. But for the complete assemblies the
                                    > | prices are $8/W, $9/W, and $7/W for 1, 2, and 4kW, respectively.
                                    > |
                                    > | +) The cost of charging the 5 kWh battery pack from the utility
                                    > grid is
                                    > | approx. $0.50. [Hence $1 for the 10kWh battery.]
                                    > |
                                    > | +) The 10 kWh battery pack is charged by the 2 kW PV Roof in one
                                    > day.
                                    > |
                                    > |
                                    > | Which basically means that an investment of $18K is producing an
                                    > income of
                                    > | $1/day. Even if have sun 300 days in the year (which we don't), the
                                    > | return on the investment is $1/year for every $600 invested.
                                    > ^^^^
                                    > $60 -- sorry.
                                    >
                                    > OK, a bit more, from http://www.renewables.com/Products/Unisolar2.htm
                                    >
                                    > rating, kW Solar panels cost Additional cost (*) total /W
                                    > ----------------------------------------------------------
                                    > 1 6.0K 5.0K 11.0K 11.0
                                    > 2 12.0K 6.0K 18.0K 9.0
                                    > 3 18.0K 7.5K 25.5K 8.2
                                    > 4 24.0K 9.0K 36.5K 8.1
                                    > 6 34.5K 12.0K 46.5K 7.7
                                    > 10 55.0K 15.0K 70.0K 7.0
                                    >
                                    > (*) less batteries
                                    >
                                    > (**) This represents all material and hardware cost including the
                                    > roofing
                                    > in the panel area. There is almost no additional cost for panel
                                    > installation beyond the normal labor cost for roof installation.
                                    > The labor
                                    > cost for installing the balance of the system is not included.
                                    >
                                    > OK, so our cost for the installation of something that produces
                                    > 600W for 3
                                    > hours a day is $11,000 (less batteries and labor), _not_ $5,000 as I
                                    > estimated earlier.
                                    >
                                    > Even for a large-scale installation of 10kW, we produce 10,000 kWh/
                                    > year,
                                    > or an income of $1000/year for an investment of $70,000, which is
                                    > $1 for
                                    > every $70 invested. A fine investment this is (albeit inflation-
                                    > proof :-)
                                    >
                                    > Well, surely beats treasuries nowadays :-)
                                    >
                                    > --Peter.
                                    >
                                    > |
                                    > |
                                    > | This is not my favorite idea of investment. There are places
                                    > where one
                                    > | can buy an acre of good land for $600. I will definitely make
                                    > more than
                                    > | $1 in annual income from an acre. Heck, one can probably do
                                    > better even
                                    > ^^^^
                                    > $10 -- sorry.
                                    >
                                    > | in the desert!
                                    > |
                                    > |
                                    > | Oh well ... so much for solar panels ...
                                    > |
                                    > | --Peter.
                                    > |
                                    > |
                                    >
                                    >



                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Dieter Brand
                                    Michael, I love these declamatory messages. Would you please explain to us common mortals what you mean by: - victim economics. - Take charge. - Shop around.
                                    Message 17 of 30 , Nov 26, 2007
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                                      Michael,

                                      I love these declamatory messages. Would you please explain
                                      to us common mortals what you mean by:

                                      - victim economics.
                                      - Take charge.
                                      - Shop around.
                                      - Do the work yourself. (OK, I can understand this)
                                      - Nothing of value is purchased.
                                      - You must build it yourself.

                                      Dieter Brand
                                      Portugal

                                      michael <mdearing@...> wrote:
                                      Peter,

                                      pardon, this thread is a bit aged but I am just getting back to it.

                                      You are using victim economics. Take charge. Shop around. Do the
                                      work yourself. This cannot be how you pursue sustainable agriculture
                                      or it would not be working for you. Nothing of value is purchased.
                                      You must build it yourself.

                                      - Michael

                                      On Nov 6, 2007, at 6:31 PM, Peter the wrote:

                                      > On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, Peter the wrote:
                                      >
                                      > |
                                      > | *) As an example, let's read from the electric tractor specs:
                                      > |
                                      > | http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ETractorSpecs.htm
                                      > |
                                      > | 1 kW PV Canopy $ 8,000
                                      > | 2 kW PV Roof $18,000
                                      > | 4 kW PV Roof $28,000
                                      > |
                                      > | The delta from 2 to 4KW is $5/W. But for the complete assemblies the
                                      > | prices are $8/W, $9/W, and $7/W for 1, 2, and 4kW, respectively.
                                      > |
                                      > | +) The cost of charging the 5 kWh battery pack from the utility
                                      > grid is
                                      > | approx. $0.50. [Hence $1 for the 10kWh battery.]
                                      > |
                                      > | +) The 10 kWh battery pack is charged by the 2 kW PV Roof in one
                                      > day.
                                      > |
                                      > |
                                      > | Which basically means that an investment of $18K is producing an
                                      > income of
                                      > | $1/day. Even if have sun 300 days in the year (which we don't), the
                                      > | return on the investment is $1/year for every $600 invested.
                                      > ^^^^
                                      > $60 -- sorry.
                                      >
                                      > OK, a bit more, from http://www.renewables.com/Products/Unisolar2.htm
                                      >
                                      > rating, kW Solar panels cost Additional cost (*) total /W
                                      > ----------------------------------------------------------
                                      > 1 6.0K 5.0K 11.0K 11.0
                                      > 2 12.0K 6.0K 18.0K 9.0
                                      > 3 18.0K 7.5K 25.5K 8.2
                                      > 4 24.0K 9.0K 36.5K 8.1
                                      > 6 34.5K 12.0K 46.5K 7.7
                                      > 10 55.0K 15.0K 70.0K 7.0
                                      >
                                      > (*) less batteries
                                      >
                                      > (**) This represents all material and hardware cost including the
                                      > roofing
                                      > in the panel area. There is almost no additional cost for panel
                                      > installation beyond the normal labor cost for roof installation.
                                      > The labor
                                      > cost for installing the balance of the system is not included.
                                      >
                                      > OK, so our cost for the installation of something that produces
                                      > 600W for 3
                                      > hours a day is $11,000 (less batteries and labor), _not_ $5,000 as I
                                      > estimated earlier.
                                      >
                                      > Even for a large-scale installation of 10kW, we produce 10,000 kWh/
                                      > year,
                                      > or an income of $1000/year for an investment of $70,000, which is
                                      > $1 for
                                      > every $70 invested. A fine investment this is (albeit inflation-
                                      > proof :-)
                                      >
                                      > Well, surely beats treasuries nowadays :-)
                                      >
                                      > --Peter.
                                      >
                                      > |
                                      > |
                                      > | This is not my favorite idea of investment. There are places
                                      > where one
                                      > | can buy an acre of good land for $600. I will definitely make
                                      > more than
                                      > | $1 in annual income from an acre. Heck, one can probably do
                                      > better even
                                      > ^^^^
                                      > $10 -- sorry.
                                      >
                                      > | in the desert!
                                      > |
                                      > |
                                      > | Oh well ... so much for solar panels ...
                                      > |
                                      > | --Peter.
                                      > |
                                      > |
                                      >
                                      >

                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                                      ---------------------------------
                                      Be a better pen pal. Text or chat with friends inside Yahoo! Mail. See how.

                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • michael
                                      Dieter, I was addressing Peter and I assume he understood. You are in Portugal but you write in perfect English. I am not sure what you need by way of context
                                      Message 18 of 30 , Nov 28, 2007
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                                        Dieter,

                                        I was addressing Peter and I assume he understood.
                                        You are in Portugal but you write in perfect English. I am not sure
                                        what you need by way of context but I can try - below.
                                        I rather like declamation myself.

                                        In turn, please explain

                                        - common mortals.

                                        - Michael

                                        On Nov 26, 2007, at 4:18 AM, Dieter Brand wrote:

                                        >> Michael,
                                        >>
                                        >> I love these declamatory messages. Would you please explain
                                        >> to us common mortals what you mean by:
                                        >>
                                        >> - victim economics.
                                        >>
                                        Accepting the price quoted as published. This is the price the
                                        vendor wishes you would pay. Call around, surf the Web, get the
                                        price you want. If it's still too high, look for seconds. Still too
                                        high, look into the ads for used. Still too high, try eBay.

                                        In a larger sense, by example, this means buying electricity from
                                        your local electrical monopoly because you think you have to. You
                                        don't, and by selling it to them you send a message that granular may
                                        be better.
                                        >> - Take charge.
                                        >>
                                        of your life. This should be obvious.
                                        >> - Shop around.
                                        >>
                                        See 'victim economics' above. You may wonder why 'victim'. Any one
                                        of us can chose to be a victim, acceding to whomever's wishes, from
                                        sales people to our fearless (?I am not sure about this) leader.
                                        >> - Nothing of value is purchased.
                                        >>
                                        the thing you purchase (in this case PV panels) is of minimal value
                                        in and of itself. It's mostly aluminum and silicon. The true value
                                        arises when you put in your sweat equity and your commitment to your
                                        role in reducing greenhouse gases, and mine the sun for your
                                        electrical needs, as you do for your food needs.
                                        >>
                                        >> - You must build it yourself.
                                        >>
                                        I am not sure how to make this one clearer but thank you for the
                                        opportunity. I doubt you would let someone else create your Fukuokan
                                        world. I start to build something because I cannot afford to buy it,
                                        or I do not know what I want. Then I find that building it brings
                                        far more than saving money. Then I help someone else build it and it
                                        brings even more. But to start, you must build it yourself.
                                        >>
                                        >> Dieter Brand
                                        >> Portugal
                                        >>
                                        >>

                                        > Peter,
                                        >
                                        > pardon, this thread is a bit aged but I am just getting back to it.
                                        >
                                        > You are using victim economics. Take charge. Shop around. Do the
                                        > work yourself. This cannot be how you pursue sustainable agriculture
                                        > or it would not be working for you. Nothing of value is purchased.
                                        > You must build it yourself.
                                        >
                                        > - Michael
                                        >
                                        > On Nov 6, 2007, at 6:31 PM, Peter the wrote:
                                        >
                                        > > On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, Peter the wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > > |
                                        > > | *) As an example, let's read from the electric tractor specs:
                                        > > |
                                        > > | http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ETractorSpecs.htm
                                        > > |
                                        > > | 1 kW PV Canopy $ 8,000
                                        > > | 2 kW PV Roof $18,000
                                        > > | 4 kW PV Roof $28,000
                                        > > |
                                        > > | The delta from 2 to 4KW is $5/W. But for the complete
                                        > assemblies the
                                        > > | prices are $8/W, $9/W, and $7/W for 1, 2, and 4kW, respectively.
                                        > > |
                                        > > | +) The cost of charging the 5 kWh battery pack from the utility
                                        > > grid is
                                        > > | approx. $0.50. [Hence $1 for the 10kWh battery.]
                                        > > |
                                        > > | +) The 10 kWh battery pack is charged by the 2 kW PV Roof in one
                                        > > day.
                                        > > |
                                        > > |
                                        > > | Which basically means that an investment of $18K is producing an
                                        > > income of
                                        > > | $1/day. Even if have sun 300 days in the year (which we don't),
                                        > the
                                        > > | return on the investment is $1/year for every $600 invested.
                                        > > ^^^^
                                        > > $60 -- sorry.
                                        > >
                                        > > OK, a bit more, from http://www.renewables.com/Products/
                                        > Unisolar2.htm
                                        > >
                                        > > rating, kW Solar panels cost Additional cost (*) total /W
                                        > > ----------------------------------------------------------
                                        > > 1 6.0K 5.0K 11.0K 11.0
                                        > > 2 12.0K 6.0K 18.0K 9.0
                                        > > 3 18.0K 7.5K 25.5K 8.2
                                        > > 4 24.0K 9.0K 36.5K 8.1
                                        > > 6 34.5K 12.0K 46.5K 7.7
                                        > > 10 55.0K 15.0K 70.0K 7.0
                                        > >
                                        > > (*) less batteries
                                        > >
                                        > > (**) This represents all material and hardware cost including the
                                        > > roofing
                                        > > in the panel area. There is almost no additional cost for panel
                                        > > installation beyond the normal labor cost for roof installation.
                                        > > The labor
                                        > > cost for installing the balance of the system is not included.
                                        > >
                                        > > OK, so our cost for the installation of something that produces
                                        > > 600W for 3
                                        > > hours a day is $11,000 (less batteries and labor), _not_ $5,000 as I
                                        > > estimated earlier.
                                        > >
                                        > > Even for a large-scale installation of 10kW, we produce 10,000 kWh/
                                        > > year,
                                        > > or an income of $1000/year for an investment of $70,000, which is
                                        > > $1 for
                                        > > every $70 invested. A fine investment this is (albeit inflation-
                                        > > proof :-)
                                        > >
                                        > > Well, surely beats treasuries nowadays :-)
                                        > >
                                        > > --Peter.
                                        > >
                                        > > |
                                        > > |
                                        > > | This is not my favorite idea of investment. There are places
                                        > > where one
                                        > > | can buy an acre of good land for $600. I will definitely make
                                        > > more than
                                        > > | $1 in annual income from an acre. Heck, one can probably do
                                        > > better even
                                        > > ^^^^
                                        > > $10 -- sorry.
                                        > >
                                        > > | in the desert!
                                        > > |
                                        > > |
                                        > > | Oh well ... so much for solar panels ...
                                        > > |
                                        > > | --Peter.
                                        > > |
                                      • Peter the
                                        ... Michael, I did, and felt that no reply was necessary, but since it comes up again, here we go :-) ... This is a fantastic approach, and I use it all the
                                        Message 19 of 30 , Nov 29, 2007
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                                          On Wed, 28 Nov 2007, michael wrote:

                                          | I was addressing Peter and I assume he understood.

                                          Michael,

                                          I did, and felt that no reply was necessary, but since it comes up again,
                                          here we go :-)

                                          | >> - victim economics.
                                          | >>
                                          | Accepting the price quoted as published. This is the price the
                                          | vendor wishes you would pay. Call around, surf the Web, get the
                                          | price you want. If it's still too high, look for seconds. Still too
                                          | high, look into the ads for used. Still too high, try eBay.

                                          This is a fantastic approach, and I use it all the time personaly. But
                                          there's no second-hand PV installations on eBay.

                                          As for the prices I published, I did surf the web, and these were the
                                          lowest I could find.

                                          I did not bargain. Partly because I am not ready to buy, and partly
                                          because a friend of my who drives quite a tough bargain recently installed
                                          PV's and the economics did not change for him. He _did_ bargain, he _did_
                                          get second hand, and he did install them himself. Still, when all is said
                                          and done it was $6/W.

                                          He did not delude himself for a second that this is a deal. He knows
                                          perfectly well the concept of return-on-investment (on the dollar, he
                                          could not care less about EROI). His economic analysis was the following.
                                          Since the average price of installed panels is $9/W, he managed to get a
                                          50% state subsidy on _that._ So his installation ended costing him $1.5/W.
                                          He decided to steal $4.5/W from me, the tax payer. He likes that. Not
                                          stealing from me personally, but using loopholes set up for the rich
                                          (anybody care to guess whether W's house in Crawford has PV and whether he
                                          paid full price) to re-distribute wealth from "more stupid" people to
                                          himself.

                                          Still, he can only get $0.10/year/W on his $1.50/W investment, which is
                                          bad. Actually, in our state there is also "delivery" charge, so the
                                          economics is slightly better. What made him do it ultimately is that he
                                          figured (it does not take a friend-of-Peter to do it) that the USD will
                                          burn into the ground. So, he is buying future income (energy, whose cost
                                          is rapidly increasing) with today dollars whose value is rapidly
                                          decreasing.

                                          So ... this is the _economic_ analysis. PV makes sense if you can A)
                                          steal by getting the subsidy, and B) steal by borrowing dollars with the
                                          firm intent of not repaying back their full value, and C) on top, you
                                          get second hand, bargain, _and_ do it your self.



                                          | >> - Nothing of value is purchased.
                                          | >>
                                          | the thing you purchase (in this case PV panels) is of minimal value
                                          | in and of itself. It's mostly aluminum and silicon.

                                          ... and lots of embedded energy, in the form of design, manufacturing, and
                                          distribution.

                                          | The true value arises when you put in your sweat equity and your
                                          | commitment to your role in reducing greenhouse gases, and mine the sun
                                          | for your electrical needs, as you do for your food needs.

                                          You can purchase the labor for installation, and the end result will be
                                          just the same.

                                          | >>
                                          | >> - You must build it yourself.
                                          | >>

                                          Adam Smith once said that a husband is a fool to manufacture something
                                          when he can purchase it more cheaply.


                                          To give an example. It is quite obvious that people cannot grow back
                                          pepper in Vermont (efficiently, at least :-) _However,_ black pepper is
                                          extremely useful to preserve meat, which Vermont produces in abundance.
                                          How do we do it then? Every Vermonter spend some time of the year in
                                          India growing black pepper?

                                          How about every Vermonter run a smelter and a forgery to make knives?

                                          Obviously, there is need for commerce.


                                          | I am not sure how to make this one clearer but thank you for the
                                          | opportunity. I doubt you would let someone else create your Fukuokan
                                          | world. I start to build something because I cannot afford to buy it,
                                          | or I do not know what I want. Then I find that building it brings
                                          | far more than saving money. Then I help someone else build it and it
                                          | brings even more. But to start, you must build it yourself.

                                          I don't think that the "build it yourself" mantra is universally valid.

                                          There are basically three reasons I think people want to take charge and
                                          build it themselves.

                                          The most fundamental reason, I guess, is that in a mass market economy,
                                          the products for market are geared for the "masses," and they never quite
                                          meet _your_ needs. And when these needs are the health of your family,
                                          the compromise of eating mass-market food is quite hard to justify.

                                          Second, there is the issue of monopoly and submission to control. If
                                          various entities control "entropy resources," say the fossil fuels
                                          production and distribution chains (or the Chinese proletariat, for that
                                          matter), then they can subsidize any product to the extent that it is
                                          cheaper for you to buy it. Once you buy into the scam, two things happen:
                                          A) you consume much more if you would otherwise do, and B) you loose the
                                          ability to operate independently and become a serf yourself. Adam Smith
                                          above still holds, you just need to put a value on "freedom."

                                          Third, sometimes you tinker, invent, create.


                                          Anyway, "build it yourself" requires a call of judgement each and every time.

                                          --Peter.


                                          | > > On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, Peter the wrote:
                                          | > >
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > | *) As an example, let's read from the electric tractor specs:
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > | http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ETractorSpecs.htm
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > | 1 kW PV Canopy $ 8,000
                                          | > > | 2 kW PV Roof $18,000
                                          | > > | 4 kW PV Roof $28,000
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > | The delta from 2 to 4KW is $5/W. But for the complete assemblies the
                                          | > > | prices are $8/W, $9/W, and $7/W for 1, 2, and 4kW, respectively.
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > | +) The cost of charging the 5 kWh battery pack from the utility grid is
                                          | > > | approx. $0.50. [Hence $1 for the 10kWh battery.]
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > | +) The 10 kWh battery pack is charged by the 2 kW PV Roof in one day.
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > |
                                          | > > | Which basically means that an investment of $18K is producing an income of
                                          | > > | $1/day. Even if have sun 300 days in the year (which we don't), the
                                          | > > | return on the investment is $1/year for every $60 invested.
                                          | > >
                                          | > > OK, a bit more, from http://www.renewables.com/Products/Unisolar2.htm
                                          | > >
                                          | > > rating, kW Solar panels cost Additional cost (*) total /W
                                          | > > ----------------------------------------------------------
                                          | > > 1 6.0K 5.0K 11.0K 11.0
                                          | > > 2 12.0K 6.0K 18.0K 9.0
                                          | > > 3 18.0K 7.5K 25.5K 8.2
                                          | > > 4 24.0K 9.0K 36.5K 8.1
                                          | > > 6 34.5K 12.0K 46.5K 7.7
                                          | > > 10 55.0K 15.0K 70.0K 7.0
                                          | > >
                                          | > > (*) less batteries
                                          | > >
                                          | > > (**) This represents all material and hardware cost including the roofing
                                          | > > in the panel area. There is almost no additional cost for panel
                                          | > > installation beyond the normal labor cost for roof installation.
                                          | > > The labor cost for installing the balance of the system is not included.
                                          | > >
                                          | > > OK, so our cost for the installation of something that produces 600W for 3
                                          | > > hours a day is $11,000 (less batteries and labor), _not_ $5,000 as I
                                          | > > estimated earlier.
                                          | > >
                                          | > > Even for a large-scale installation of 10kW, we produce 10,000 kWh/year,
                                          | > > or an income of $1000/year for an investment of $70,000, which is $1 for
                                          | > > every $70 invested. A fine investment this is (albeit inflation-proof :-)
                                          | > >
                                          | > > Well, surely beats treasuries nowadays :-)
                                          | > >
                                        • michael
                                          As does life. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          Message 20 of 30 , Nov 29, 2007
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                                            As does life.

                                            On Nov 29, 2007, at 7:53 AM, Peter the wrote:

                                            > Anyway, "build it yourself" requires a call of judgement each and
                                            > every time.



                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • Dieter Brand
                                            Michael, Thanks for explaining your message. I never have been much into economics, but since you were kind enough to provide the explanations you did, I made
                                            Message 21 of 30 , Nov 29, 2007
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                                              Michael,

                                              Thanks for explaining your message. I never have been much
                                              into economics, but since you were kind enough to provide
                                              the explanations you did, I made an attempt to follow your dialogue
                                              with Peter. My feeling is that the science of economics (of which
                                              I am blissfully ignorant) is based on assumptions drawn from real
                                              life (hope you don't ask me to explain this one) which it can never
                                              fully take account of.

                                              For example, I live in a remote part of one of the EU's least
                                              developed regions. Most people are not connected to the grid
                                              and try to make do as best as they can with solar and wind energy.
                                              And whenever there is another EU-funded project to destroy some
                                              more untouched countryside with electricity lines, everyone without
                                              exception is eager to get on the grid and pay whatever price the
                                              monopoly provider happens to ask for. The economic principals
                                              you and Peter discussed don't seem to have much significance
                                              here. Further, Peter calculated the price per watt for solar energy;
                                              one factor this calculation does not take account of is the fact that
                                              you use electricity very differently if you rely on your own energy
                                              source. If you constantly need to have an eye on your solar
                                              batteries and check wheather they are still in the green range, you
                                              will use a lot less. Ironing is out of the question, so are hairdryers,
                                              air-conditioning, electric heating, electric ovens ... In fact, most
                                              people probably could get by with 10% of what they are using at
                                              present while they have at their disposal the unlimited resources
                                              of the grid. Even if it does not change the price per watt, this very
                                              much changes the cost of energy to you personally and to society
                                              as a whole.

                                              I don't want to comment on your declarations in detail, except
                                              perhaps to say that some of it sounds good on paper, but trying
                                              to put it into practice is quite a different cattle of fish. For example,
                                              the demand that "you must build it yourself". Sounds nice! But did
                                              you try? We moved out here from the city ten years ago, there
                                              was nothing, and there still isn't very much. But do you have any
                                              idea what it means to start learning: gardening, farming, food
                                              conservation and processing, house building, cutting trees, making
                                              furniture, water purification, plumbing, waste water treatment,
                                              electrical installations, solar and wind energy, telecom installations,
                                              maintaining basic machinery, the car .......... and that all at once?
                                              Each one of these could take you a lifetime.

                                              Dieter Brand
                                              Portugal

                                              PS:
                                              > - common mortals.
                                              Ironical; those not initiated into some secrete art.




                                              ---------------------------------
                                              Be a better pen pal. Text or chat with friends inside Yahoo! Mail. See how.

                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • Peter the
                                              ... Well ... because it is soooo cheap. Because it comes from fossil fuels, with a tremendous Energy-ROI (EROI). Dunno how much the average mix of EROI is on
                                              Message 22 of 30 , Nov 29, 2007
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                                                On Thu, 29 Nov 2007, Dieter Brand wrote:

                                                | For example, I live in a remote part of one of the EU's least
                                                | developed regions. Most people are not connected to the grid
                                                | and try to make do as best as they can with solar and wind energy.
                                                | And whenever there is another EU-funded project to destroy some
                                                | more untouched countryside with electricity lines, everyone without
                                                | exception is eager to get on the grid and pay whatever price the
                                                | monopoly provider happens to ask for.

                                                Well ... because it is soooo cheap. Because it comes from fossil fuels,
                                                with a tremendous Energy-ROI (EROI). Dunno how much the average mix of
                                                EROI is on extracting and distributing crude and gas, but I've heard
                                                figures around 10:1 ??? I've heard that the EROI of agriculture i about
                                                2:1. So, it is obviously cheaper to connect to the grid and suck up
                                                neg-entropy from elsewhere.


                                                | The economic principles
                                                | you and Peter discussed don't seem to have much significance
                                                | here. Further, Peter calculated the price per watt for solar energy;
                                                | one factor this calculation does not take account of is the fact that
                                                | you use electricity very differently if you rely on your own energy
                                                | source. If you constantly need to have an eye on your solar
                                                | batteries and check wheather they are still in the green range, you
                                                | will use a lot less. Ironing is out of the question, so are hairdryers,
                                                | air-conditioning, electric heating, electric ovens ... In fact, most
                                                | people probably could get by with 10% of what they are using at
                                                | present while they have at their disposal the unlimited resources
                                                | of the grid. Even if it does not change the price per watt, this very
                                                | much changes the cost of energy to you personally and to society
                                                | as a whole.

                                                Dieter,

                                                It is true that when the cost is higher then consumption goes down, and
                                                ingenuity goes up.


                                                One of my points was that if the price of the PV's reflects even halfway
                                                the embedded energy of their manufacture, than their EROI is significantly
                                                less than 1:1 -- they are a net energy sink. Just like industial
                                                agriculture -- we can't run tany of them without oil.


                                                Also, I was originally addressing alternative means of spending your
                                                pennies to get a future stream of energy. PV's are a disaster. If you
                                                buy diesel right now for the price of PV's, you could burn it for 90 years
                                                at the PV energy production rate before it runs out. PV's purchased today
                                                surely will be long dead by then.

                                                My hypothesis is that the biggest bang for the buck, by an order of at
                                                least one magnitude, is to buy agricultural land and burn (in one way or
                                                another) some of the carbon that is being fixed on it.

                                                --Peter.
                                              • Dieter Brand
                                                Peter, ... That indeed is an hypothesis! I haven t seen it done. Dieter ... Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage. [Non-text portions of this message
                                                Message 23 of 30 , Nov 29, 2007
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                                                  Peter,

                                                  >My hypothesis is that the biggest bang for the buck, by an order of at
                                                  >least one magnitude, is to buy agricultural land and burn (in one way or
                                                  >another) some of the carbon that is being fixed on it.

                                                  That indeed is an hypothesis! I haven't seen it done.

                                                  Dieter


                                                  ---------------------------------
                                                  Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                • Peter the
                                                  I just became aware of a new (November 1, 2007) book on small-scale alcohol production, 640 pages, aun update on the author s 1983 work :
                                                  Message 24 of 30 , Dec 3, 2007
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                                                    I just became aware of a new (November 1, 2007) book on small-scale
                                                    alcohol production, 640 pages, aun update on the author's 1983 work :

                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Alcohol-Can-Be-Gas-David-Blume/dp/0979043778

                                                    We had an earlier discussion about Solargas:

                                                    http://soilandhealth.org/copyform.aspx?bookcode=030223

                                                    ... with some questions about celulosic alcohol below.


                                                    Has anybody read David Blume? Is there anything new in the book,
                                                    especially on cellulose? Are the 640 pages just stuff-and-fluff, or do
                                                    they contribute nontrivially over the solagas book? Is the book worth the
                                                    $35 that it sells for?


                                                    The TOC [http://www.permaculture.com/node/186%5d and some of the reviews
                                                    seem enticing:


                                                    "Make no mistake, the book is more than a bully pulpit for championing
                                                    sociopolitical opinions on global-energy woes; it is a technical how-to
                                                    book. Written with enterprising do-it-yourselfers in mind, Blume offers
                                                    countless hands-on technical solutions ranging from home stills to
                                                    for-profit manufacturing strategies, and builds chapters on detailed
                                                    charts, graphs, and step-by-step building instructions, giving
                                                    activist-minded readers the data and resources they need to implement
                                                    personal and individualized energy solutions. A well-executed, socially
                                                    conscious, proactive, and rigorous call to action."


                                                    --Peter.


                                                    On Wed, 31 Oct 2007, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:

                                                    | Background: Under some assumptions, a hectare (1 ha = 2.5 acres) of
                                                    | productive ecosystem fixes 15 MT/yr of above-ground carbon, with energy of
                                                    | 60,000 kWh/year. If we assume 1000 hr/yr of "equivalent solar panel time,"
                                                    | 1 ha is as productive as a 60kW installation, which in the US would cost
                                                    | close to half a milion. Go figure.
                                                    |
                                                    |

                                                    [...]

                                                    | *) A "solargas" operation would seem to store some of the carbon
                                                    | energy as alcohols, which arguably can be exported for energy value.
                                                    | However, that requires starch/sugar-rich crops.
                                                    |
                                                    | ?) what are the best-performing starch/sugar field crops
                                                    |
                                                    | ?) how about cellulosic solargas -- any success stories
                                                    |
                                                    | *) How do we run a computer on straw?
                                                    |


                                                    On Sat, 13 Oct 2007, Peter the Soil & Health Fan wrote:

                                                    | The description is in the Homesteading subsection of the Persolnal
                                                    | Sovereignty section of the library:
                                                    |
                                                    | http://soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/0302homested.html
                                                    |
                                                    | The book request itself is at:
                                                    |
                                                    | http://soilandhealth.org/copyform.aspx?bookcode=030223
                                                    |

                                                    | | Peter the Soil & Health Fan <snh_fan@...> wrote:
                                                    | | On Thu, 29 Jun 2006, Steve Solomon <stsolomo@...> wrote:
                                                    | |
                                                    | | | Title: Solargas.
                                                    | | |
                                                    | | | Significance: points out that the problem of energy scarcity is mostly
                                                    | | | one of sociopolitical manipulation; that any energetic and half-way
                                                    | | | bright person with a bit of resources behind them (small farm) can
                                                    | | | produce a huge surplus of ethyl, all ongoing refining and processing
                                                    | | | powered by the sun, using recycled equipment.
                                                    |
                                                    | [...]
                                                    |
                                                    | |
                                                    | | On p.31 of the "Solargas" book, there is a section "Producing Alchohol
                                                    | | Fuel from Wood and Waste Paper" that has as the only insightful snippet:
                                                    | |
                                                    | | "... cellulose material can be broken down by the addition of a fungus,
                                                    | | trichonderma viride ..."
                                                    | |
                                                    | | OK, does that solve the cellulosic ethanol problem?
                                                    | |
                                                    | | Seems like this is quite an actively researched issue that has no widely
                                                    | | known solution outside the latter sentence.
                                                    | |
                                                    | | From a cursory google search, it seems that trichonderma viride exists,
                                                    | | and is sometimes used to digest cotton (as in "stone-washed" jeans).
                                                    | |
                                                    | | Can trichonderma viride work for a brew of weed stalks? Straw? Corn
                                                    | | stalks? Where does one get starter culture?
                                                  • shivnarayan gour
                                                    DEAR FRIENDS, GREETINGS WISHING YOU A HAPPY & PROSOEROUS NEW YEAR 2008 Shivnarayan Gour shivnarayangour@gmail.com Mo. 094254 33229
                                                    Message 25 of 30 , Dec 31, 2007
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                                                      DEAR FRIENDS,

                                                      GREETINGS

                                                      WISHING YOU A HAPPY

                                                      &

                                                      PROSOEROUS NEW YEAR 2008

                                                      Shivnarayan Gour
                                                      shivnarayangour@...
                                                      Mo. 094254 33229
                                                      www.khetkhaliyan.blogspot.com


                                                      Unlimited freedom, unlimited storage. Get it now, on http://help.yahoo.com/l/in/yahoo/mail/yahoomail/tools/tools-08.html/
                                                    • Raju Titus
                                                      Dear Shivnarayan, Nice to see you in this group. How are you and family ? SAME TO YOU Shalini and Raju ... [Non-text portions of this message have been
                                                      Message 26 of 30 , Dec 31, 2007
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                                                        Dear Shivnarayan,
                                                        Nice to see you in this group. How are you and family ?
                                                        SAME TO YOU
                                                        Shalini and Raju


                                                        On 12/31/07, shivnarayan gour <shivnarayangour@...> wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > DEAR FRIENDS,
                                                        >
                                                        > GREETINGS
                                                        >
                                                        > WISHING YOU A HAPPY
                                                        >
                                                        > &
                                                        >
                                                        > PROSOEROUS NEW YEAR 2008
                                                        >
                                                        > Shivnarayan Gour
                                                        > shivnarayangour@... <shivnarayangour%40gmail.com>
                                                        > Mo. 094254 33229
                                                        > www.khetkhaliyan.blogspot.com
                                                        >
                                                        > Unlimited freedom, unlimited storage. Get it now, on
                                                        > http://help.yahoo.com/l/in/yahoo/mail/yahoomail/tools/tools-08.html/
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >


                                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                      • michael
                                                        Dieter, I haven t been reading the list since November. Too busy doing solar stuff. We moved from the city 30 years ago this July. And, yes, we did it
                                                        Message 27 of 30 , Feb 15, 2008
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                                                          Dieter,

                                                          I haven't been reading the list since November. Too busy doing solar
                                                          stuff.

                                                          We moved from the city 30 years ago this July. And, yes, we did it
                                                          ourselves. This was a patch of thistles.
                                                          Gardening, yes. By the second year, we had a market garden and
                                                          supplied restaurants in the city. (This was before I discovered
                                                          Fukuoka.)
                                                          Farming, yes, but only in the sense of our needs, not for sale.
                                                          Food, I think you meant preservation, yes, although we've made this
                                                          much less energy intensive since then. Those books were antiquated.
                                                          House building, yes, but it took 8 years. A very patient partner is
                                                          required.
                                                          Cutting trees, yes; the wood in the house comes from our land, and we
                                                          still have choice pieces of 8/4 set aside for whatever furniture.
                                                          Cutting trees, yes; the scraps are cut into firewood and we've heated
                                                          ourselves with it for 30 years.
                                                          Making furniture, no; we have two neighbors 4 miles away that like
                                                          to do it and do a good job using our wood.
                                                          Water purification, not really; we filter our well water for radon
                                                          but I would not call that purification.
                                                          Plumbing, yes, and I am finally really good at it after the solar
                                                          thermal system. I even managed to buy the copper before it became
                                                          priced like gold. It took me 5 years to buy enough.
                                                          Waste water treatment, no; it is required by law that we use licensed
                                                          people for this. Pretty simple, really, but they want a person with
                                                          a license.
                                                          Electrical, yes; it was the only part I understood well in the
                                                          beginning, although I did a little overkill that has since been to
                                                          our benefit - I am able to control circuits in use. There is no
                                                          energy conservation as final as a circuit which does not work unless
                                                          the sun shines.
                                                          Solar, yes; wind, no. I don't believe in wind power here; too hard
                                                          to regulate, too spotty here, and too many moving parts - meaning
                                                          maintenance. It's ok for others, just not me.
                                                          Telecom, yes; a couple of poles and the wireless technology of the
                                                          past 10 years have made it much simpler than the old days.
                                                          Maintaining basic machinery, yes, have to; every time I ask someone
                                                          else to do it, it comes back worse than when it left. But, I've had
                                                          a wrench in my hand since I was 3.
                                                          Car, yes, more machinery. I am tired of all this machinery but don't
                                                          see a way around it yet. I am imagining a simple electrical all-
                                                          around vehicle that I can plug into the PV panels.
                                                          Each of these do take a lifetime, the same lifetime, and I can't
                                                          think of a better way to 'spend' a lifetime. Amazing what gets done
                                                          when you're at it a little every day. Beats flailing around in the
                                                          city, or whatever people do going from box to box there.

                                                          That being said, I appreciate the enormity of your undertaking. But
                                                          what else would you do with your time?
                                                          - Michael

                                                          On Nov 29, 2007, at 3:20 PM, Dieter Brand wrote:

                                                          > I don't want to comment on your declarations in detail, except
                                                          > perhaps to say that some of it sounds good on paper, but trying
                                                          > to put it into practice is quite a different cattle of fish. For
                                                          > example,
                                                          > the demand that "you must build it yourself". Sounds nice! But did
                                                          > you try? We moved out here from the city ten years ago, there
                                                          > was nothing, and there still isn't very much. But do you have any
                                                          > idea what it means to start learning: gardening, farming, food
                                                          > conservation and processing, house building, cutting trees, making
                                                          > furniture, water purification, plumbing, waste water treatment,
                                                          > electrical installations, solar and wind energy, telecom
                                                          > installations,
                                                          > maintaining basic machinery, the car .......... and that all at once?
                                                          > Each one of these could take you a lifetime.
                                                          >
                                                          > Dieter Brand
                                                          > Portugal



                                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                        • Dieter Brand
                                                          Michael, That sounds like a great experience. I didn t think there were people like that any longer. I hope you will stay on the list for a while, for purely
                                                          Message 28 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
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                                                            Michael,

                                                            That sounds like a great experience. I didn't think there were people
                                                            like that any longer. I hope you will stay on the list for a while, for purely
                                                            selfish reasons of course, since it may allow us to benefit from your
                                                            experience.

                                                            Since you mentioned telecoms. That is one point I haven't been able
                                                            to find a satisfactory solution for. In my parts they put in satellite links
                                                            instead of landlines. Unfortunately, the system doesn't allow for the
                                                            Internet. I have been using the mobile service, but being in the middle
                                                            between two base stations, where the signal is the weakest, and at
                                                            the bottom of a valley, where there is no signal without external
                                                            antenna, the setup is precarious with the signal fading in and out.
                                                            I know in the US there are relay stations for private use, but they
                                                            probably wouldn't work with the different frequencies in Europe. Do
                                                            you know of any such system that might work in Europe?

                                                            >That being said, I appreciate the enormity of your undertaking.
                                                            >But what else would you do with your time?

                                                            Hm, perhaps you have got a point there. Who would want to go
                                                            back to the rat race after life in the big wide open nature with not
                                                            single car engine to be heard far and near. But fixing things can
                                                            get a bit too much at times. I have a huge list of things to do
                                                            which I try not to think about so as not to sink into utter despair.

                                                            Dieter

                                                            michael <mdearing@...> wrote:
                                                            Dieter,

                                                            I haven't been reading the list since November. Too busy doing solar
                                                            stuff.

                                                            We moved from the city 30 years ago this July. And, yes, we did it
                                                            ourselves. This was a patch of thistles.
                                                            Gardening, yes. By the second year, we had a market garden and
                                                            supplied restaurants in the city. (This was before I discovered
                                                            Fukuoka.)
                                                            Farming, yes, but only in the sense of our needs, not for sale.
                                                            Food, I think you meant preservation, yes, although we've made this
                                                            much less energy intensive since then. Those books were antiquated.
                                                            House building, yes, but it took 8 years. A very patient partner is
                                                            required.
                                                            Cutting trees, yes; the wood in the house comes from our land, and we
                                                            still have choice pieces of 8/4 set aside for whatever furniture.
                                                            Cutting trees, yes; the scraps are cut into firewood and we've heated
                                                            ourselves with it for 30 years.
                                                            Making furniture, no; we have two neighbors 4 miles away that like
                                                            to do it and do a good job using our wood.
                                                            Water purification, not really; we filter our well water for radon
                                                            but I would not call that purification.
                                                            Plumbing, yes, and I am finally really good at it after the solar
                                                            thermal system. I even managed to buy the copper before it became
                                                            priced like gold. It took me 5 years to buy enough.
                                                            Waste water treatment, no; it is required by law that we use licensed
                                                            people for this. Pretty simple, really, but they want a person with
                                                            a license.
                                                            Electrical, yes; it was the only part I understood well in the
                                                            beginning, although I did a little overkill that has since been to
                                                            our benefit - I am able to control circuits in use. There is no
                                                            energy conservation as final as a circuit which does not work unless
                                                            the sun shines.
                                                            Solar, yes; wind, no. I don't believe in wind power here; too hard
                                                            to regulate, too spotty here, and too many moving parts - meaning
                                                            maintenance. It's ok for others, just not me.
                                                            Telecom, yes; a couple of poles and the wireless technology of the
                                                            past 10 years have made it much simpler than the old days.
                                                            Maintaining basic machinery, yes, have to; every time I ask someone
                                                            else to do it, it comes back worse than when it left. But, I've had
                                                            a wrench in my hand since I was 3.
                                                            Car, yes, more machinery. I am tired of all this machinery but don't
                                                            see a way around it yet. I am imagining a simple electrical all-
                                                            around vehicle that I can plug into the PV panels.
                                                            Each of these do take a lifetime, the same lifetime, and I can't
                                                            think of a better way to 'spend' a lifetime. Amazing what gets done
                                                            when you're at it a little every day. Beats flailing around in the
                                                            city, or whatever people do going from box to box there.

                                                            That being said, I appreciate the enormity of your undertaking. But
                                                            what else would you do with your time?
                                                            - Michael

                                                            On Nov 29, 2007, at 3:20 PM, Dieter Brand wrote:

                                                            > I don't want to comment on your declarations in detail, except
                                                            > perhaps to say that some of it sounds good on paper, but trying
                                                            > to put it into practice is quite a different cattle of fish. For
                                                            > example,
                                                            > the demand that "you must build it yourself". Sounds nice! But did
                                                            > you try? We moved out here from the city ten years ago, there
                                                            > was nothing, and there still isn't very much. But do you have any
                                                            > idea what it means to start learning: gardening, farming, food
                                                            > conservation and processing, house building, cutting trees, making
                                                            > furniture, water purification, plumbing, waste water treatment,
                                                            > electrical installations, solar and wind energy, telecom
                                                            > installations,
                                                            > maintaining basic machinery, the car .......... and that all at once?
                                                            > Each one of these could take you a lifetime.
                                                            >
                                                            > Dieter Brand
                                                            > Portugal

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                                                          • michael
                                                            First thing to do is get rid of the list. It took me ten years to do this. I don t know why it took me so long to figure out the list was the problem. Lists
                                                            Message 29 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
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                                                              First thing to do is get rid of the list. It took me ten years to do
                                                              this. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out the list was
                                                              the problem. Lists will capture you in the past and torture you.
                                                              Lists are by nature historic. The things one must do are all in the
                                                              future until they arrive in the present. Let them arrive and work on
                                                              them as the solution presents itself. It will. If you try to do the
                                                              fix before its time, the fix will be more difficult, will not last,
                                                              or will cause some other thing to need fixing.
                                                              That being said, I do plan, and then throw away the plan. The
                                                              creation of the plan is what will create my future. No need to hang
                                                              on to the plan while the future unfolds. Do another plan instead,
                                                              based on your better understanding of what it is you have to do.
                                                              The longer you wait to do something, waiting until the solution or
                                                              fix is obvious, the better the job will be.
                                                              I always refer to this as the Fukuoka way of life because it is
                                                              similar to how my growing of green things has evolved and is
                                                              evolving It took me about the same ten years to figure out what
                                                              Fukuoka's OSE meant to me.
                                                              - Michael

                                                              On Feb 16, 2008, at 3:15 AM, Dieter Brand wrote:

                                                              > I have a huge list of things to do
                                                              > which I try not to think about so as not to sink into utter despair.
                                                              >
                                                              > Dieter



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                                                            • michael
                                                              If the satellites are KA band, there may be companies which provide the internet over satellite. There are in the US (look up wildblue.com). For the mobile
                                                              Message 30 of 30 , Feb 16, 2008
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                                                                If the satellites are KA band, there may be companies which provide
                                                                the internet over satellite. There are in the US (look up
                                                                wildblue.com).

                                                                For the mobile approach,
                                                                if you can get permission to put something on one of the hilltops,
                                                                you can put a GSM (I presume your mobile is GSM - most of EU is)
                                                                transceiver there. Then you can put a local transceiver (like what
                                                                is now being called 'femto' by the cell companies) there which is
                                                                made to bring a mobile signal inside a building whose walls it cannot
                                                                get through. Your mobile handset will then pick up that signal. Or
                                                                you can convert the mobile transceiver signal to a wireless signal
                                                                (433 MHz is the cheapest here but you have to research the EU
                                                                frequencies - I am sure such exists in the EU) and then pick up the
                                                                wireless signal. There are very directional antennas which you would
                                                                use, but you need to know the EU frequency that is allowed.

                                                                Everything that is made for CDMA in the US is probably matched by the
                                                                equivalent made for GSM in the EU. The Germans and the Israelis are
                                                                the leaders in making this stuff, so you might look around on the Web
                                                                there.

                                                                - michael

                                                                On Feb 16, 2008, at 3:15 AM, Dieter Brand wrote:

                                                                > Since you mentioned telecoms. That is one point I haven't been able
                                                                > to find a satisfactory solution for. In my parts they put in
                                                                > satellite links
                                                                > instead of landlines. Unfortunately, the system doesn't allow for the
                                                                > Internet. I have been using the mobile service, but being in the
                                                                > middle
                                                                > between two base stations, where the signal is the weakest, and at
                                                                > the bottom of a valley, where there is no signal without external
                                                                > antenna, the setup is precarious with the signal fading in and out.
                                                                > I know in the US there are relay stations for private use, but they
                                                                > probably wouldn't work with the different frequencies in Europe. Do
                                                                > you know of any such system that might work in Europe?



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