• ## Re: Carbon energy in mulch / compost / export

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• ... 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 1 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

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.
• 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 2 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
• ... 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 3 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.
• 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 4 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]
• Yeah, except they re the best we ve got. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Message 5 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]
• ... 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 6 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

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
|
| 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.
|
|
• 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 7 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]
• 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 8 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]
• 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 9 of 30 , Nov 6, 2007
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Well, no.
but large amounts of power.

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]
• The analogy between energy storage and computer caches does not hold. Computer caches are for making spacially local retrieval of information faster. Energy
Message 10 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]
• ... 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.
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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.

*) 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.
|
|
• ... 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 12 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.
• ... ^^^^ \$60 -- sorry. OK, a bit more, from http://www.renewables.com/Products/Unisolar2.htm rating, kW Solar panels cost Additional cost (*) total /W
Message 13 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.
|
|
• 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 14 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]
• 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 15 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]
• 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 16 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.

- 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
>> - 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.
> > |
• ... 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 17 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 :-)
| > >
• As does life. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Message 18 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]
• 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 19 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
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]
• ... 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 20 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.
• 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 21 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]
• 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 22 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

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
|
| [...]
|
| |
| | 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?
• DEAR FRIENDS, GREETINGS WISHING YOU A HAPPY & PROSOEROUS NEW YEAR 2008 Shivnarayan Gour shivnarayangour@gmail.com Mo. 094254 33229
Message 23 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/
• 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 24 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]
• 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 25 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
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]
• 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 26 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
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]

---------------------------------
Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
• 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 27 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

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
• 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 28 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
> 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?

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