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Getting as far off the grid as possible: Marshall interviews an off-grid expert

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R.R. Book:
Marshall's guest Dan Dean of Greenland Energy Dynamics in Dallas, Texas provides nearly an hour of information on how to go off-grid, for those who haven't already done so. 

Marshall says that we can expect extended power failures to begin with brownouts and then periodic blackouts, followed by longer term blackouts.  Both he and Dan recommend propane and wood heat especially for rural locations. Dan recommends getting a gas or diesel powered generator as a first priority while they can be sourced on sale, before they become backordered.  His top two manufacturers for parts availability are Kohler and Generac.  Generac outsells Kohler 3:1, but Kohler makes the best small engines.  The average 2,000'2 household only needs one in the 7,000-8,000 watt range.  To run an entire average household would require a 17,000-22,000 watt generator.

Preppers looking to go all or partly off-grid need to be aware of which appliances consume the most energy, so they can get the most out of a generator.  An electric furnace and air conditioner are always at the top of this consumption list, as well as an electric dryer, water heater and range.  If alternate measures are in place to heat a house, such as propane and wood-burning appliances, some of those more crucial energy hogs can be eliminated from the list of things to plug into the generator, leaving perhaps the refrigerator as one big item, followed by smaller energy-use items such as radio, television, laptop, and lights.  In lieu of retrofitting an all-electric house with a propane or natural gas furnace, a free-standing propane stove can be used in the main gathering room of the house. 

(Note: A dishwasher can be eliminated and dishes washed by hand with a few drops of alcohol in the water, then air dried.  An outdoor clothesline can be used during the warmer half of the year, with an indoor drying rack or propane dryer taking over in winter.  An Amish Braun/Brown propane range with standing pilot light both cooks food and heats a large area of the house without need for electronic ignition - these can be purchased second-hand very inexpensively after the November/December wedding season, when extra stoves are no longer needed in the barns.  A wood stove with several feet of exposed pipe indoors also can help to heat a large open area efficiently.) 

Dan continued: In hooking up a generator, the main power supply needs to be turned off first, and then the unit is simply plugged into an existing heavy duty outlet such as would supply an electric dryer.  220 volt service is necessary, as well as an adequate supply of propane or diesel to run the unit.

The second most cost-effective and affordable off-grid amendment to make to the house is installing an evacuated tube solar collector, as opposed to a flat-panel glazed model.  The evacuated tube collector produces much more heat and is portable (e.g. bugging out to Grandmother's house).  This is dependent upon the availability of sunlight to the area.  (Note: in our home we use a Bradford-White non-electronic ignition propane water heater with a standing pilot light, which supplies more than enough hot water for 4 people).

For heating and air conditioning an off-grid home, geo-thermal is simultaneously the most expensive ($35,000+) and the most efficient (note: the pumps can fail after a short time of use though). 

Solar panels and/or wind power are next priority, along with a battery bank.  Can run a fridge, hot water and lights from solar, just not the whole house.  A couple of solar panels and a deep cycle battery or two will provide basic power overnight during a blackout. Marshall questions whether skies will remain clear enough with volcanic ash, etc. for solar to be useful.  Dan explains that in urban areas, the type of windmill used has blades on a horizontal or helical, rather than vertical plane.  (Note: We use a smaller rooftop windmill with blades on a vertical plane here, and even tucked in the woods it supplies much of our power during the colder half of the year when air is dense enough to smack the blades at the 10 mph charging speed or higher).

Marshall emphasizes that diversity of methods (redundancy) is important, rather than concentrating on one kind of off-grid power. 

I have posted some ideas about this previously:


R.R. Book:
You had posted a lot of innovative solutions in link #1.  Does link #2 have a mirror site? :)


--- Quote from: MadMax on October 17, 2017, 11:35:53 AM ---I have posted some ideas about this previously:


--- End quote ---

Great stuff!


--- Quote from: MadMax on October 17, 2017, 11:35:53 AM ---I have posted some ideas about this previously:


--- End quote ---
Agree, very intriguing stuff.  RR had posted, re link #2, back in June that the link is dead for that $9,999 power source using the Earth.

 IIRC, I was poring over the energy stuff in youtube one day and stumbled on some "Earth battery" videos and there is a world of information there.  Just now I went there, and using Earth battery as a search term, got 1,130,000 hits!  And link is below for one of them--re a 175 volt earth battery.  There are many permutations of this, and I suppose we are limited mainly by how much time we have to view videos and experiment.  Good area of research, as the Earth will be there/here no matter where someone has to bug out.


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