Anguilla Solar

We just got back from our trip to Anguilla. We helped Francoise set up her new solar power system. Two Kyocera 130 watt PV panels, a Xantrex C35 charge controller, a Trimetric Battery Meter, a Morningstar Microsine 300 sine wave inverter, and a 70 ah AGM battery, power up 3 Compact Fluorescent Lights, A LG WP-680N Washing Machine (260 Watts) and a Shurflo 12v pump. Two weeks of testing, and we were never able to pull the battery below 12.4 volts. The system consistently output 1.5 kWh's daily. More pics at http://www.green-trust.org/Anguilla Solar/.

Posted by on 26 March 2008 | 9:11 pm

Solar Install in Anguilla

We are off on our trip to Anguilla to do a solar install. Be back in 2 weeks, and expect to have a tan. Will post pics when we return. The install consists of two 130 watt panels, 35 amp charge controller, 1 AGM 70ah battery, a 300 watt sine wave inverter, and a 12 volt shurflo cistern pump. See pics of last weeks solar install at Woodhenge.org

Posted by on 8 March 2008 | 9:25 am

All About Batteries

Off grid homes, RV's, and boats use a house bank, a bank of batteries used to store the energy from solar, wind, and backup generators for times of no sun or no wind. These are not car batteries, these are specially designed deep cycle batteries that can handle repeated deep discharge and charge cycles. Learn about the following and more from Living With 12vdc and Wiring For 12vdc, on the Ample Power CD at http://www.green-trust.org/products/What happens inside a battery when it discharges andcharges?How much energy can be stored?How is storage capacity measured?How can capacity remaining be determined?When is the best time to recharge?What charging techniques yield optimum performance?How fast can a battery be charged?How should a battery be discharged?What kind of regular maintenance is required?What pitfalls must be avoided?

Posted by on 3 March 2008 | 8:21 am

Watermotor - Simple Mechanical Drive

Most of the common machines used in workshops, industry, and farms are driven by motors of only .5 - 5 horsepower. The Watermotor will produce this amount of power at an extremely low cost and with a minimum of ecological disruption.High energy efficiency means that the quantity of water necessary for operation and cost of installation is greatly reduced, while on the other hand the number of actual locations where waterpower on this scale is available increases exponentially. In effect, every small fast-flowing stream becomes an important local energy resource, perhaps in many cases the only practical one available. In the world's hilly and mountainous areas there are often few roads and even fewer electric power-lines. While frequently rich in small scale water-power resources, the people are poor.The Watermotor is a practical means of utilizing one of the easiest to use and most efficient sources of natural energy. http://www.watermotor.net

Posted by on 28 February 2008 | 7:19 pm

Solar Homes & Solar Collectors

Solar energy is our birthright like the air we breathe or the water we drink. Solar Home Plans and affordable Solar Hot Water Plans are the gateway into a "Solar Age" of energy independence. Fossil fuels are no longer necessary to keep the wheels of civilization turning. Build your own solar heating system with an MTD Solar Collector Kit. Explore the Strawberry Fields Book Store for more information. Alternative energies like solar energy will increase in value as fossil fuel prices escalate. Solar collectors, solar hot water systems, heat storage vaults, photovoltaic electricity, solar panels, solar greenhouses and solar house plans will become more important in this century. According to Buckminster Fuller "We have wondered too far from the roots." An energy crisis can only be avoided only if we learn to rely on a diffuse, sustainable resource like the sun. .http://www.jc-solarhomes.com/

Posted by on 24 February 2008 | 12:03 pm

Invention of the Month - The Green Steam Engine

This one has been around a while, and has met the test of time. It's a reliable design, and we think it's awesome. See more at http://www.greensteamengine.com

Posted by on 19 February 2008 | 12:18 pm

Installing Solar at Woodhenge.org

Jim Juczak's power system was damaged by their recent house fire. A group of us went to help them rebuild various aspects from sheetrock to applying primer. My son Matt and I tackled upgrading and repairing the power system. Jim had built wooden frames for the 12 new solar panels. These panels are a bit different than the usual ones we run across. Each panel is a 45 watt, 98 volt open circuit amorphous panel. Matt and I built combiner boxes and wiring whips so that each frame will hold 4 panels wired in parallel, and a master combiner box that parallels the 3 frames, feeding the Outback MX-60 in the house. The house contains a 24 volt Trojan L16 battery pack.Each frame has a small combiner box connecting the 4 panels with 12 gauge cable to a 10 gauge uplink to the master combiner box. The master combiner uplinks to the house with 6 gauge. See pics at http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/12VDC_Power/photos/browse/5156?c=They bought a 40' shipping container to put belongings in while the house is being finished, so we put a temporary pv system on that as well for internal lighting.We go back next weekend to fix the wind turbine and install some ground lines for the panels.

Posted by on 18 February 2008 | 8:04 am

Low current LED Lighting

We recently got a line on these 110vac LED light strips. Containing 198 LED's, 5mm in size, the strip consumes 11 watts and outputs almost 700 lumens. They sell for $25 delivered in the lower 48 states. Get them at http://www.green-trust.org/products/.

Posted by on 11 February 2008 | 11:58 am

Worm Composting eBooklet Finished

We finished our eBooklet on worm composting. We are adding the final pictures, and polishing up the video. The booklet is $15 and comes with support group access and a $10 discount on the video (normally $35). See http://www.green-trust.org/ebooks/.

Posted by on 10 February 2008 | 10:00 pm

Agrichar - Soil Productivity Magic Bullet?

The huge potential of agricultural soils to reduce greenhouse gases and increase production at the same time has been reinforced by new research findings at NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) Wollongbar Agricultural Institute.Trials of agrichar - a product hailed as a saviour of Australia’s carbon-depleted soils and the environment - have doubled and, in one case, tripled crop growth when applied at the rate of 10 tonnes per hectare.Agrichar is a black carbon byproduct of a process called pyrolysis, which involves heating green waste or other biomass without oxygen to generate renewable energy.http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/research/updates/issues/may-2007/soils-offer-new-hopehttp://www.abc.net.au/science/broadband/catalyst/asx/Agrichar_hi.asx

Posted by on 9 February 2008 | 2:23 pm

Fire damages round house

A unique Jefferson County home (http://www.woodhenge.org), celebrated for its eco-friendly design, was damaged by fire Sunday afternoon.No one was home at the residence of Jim and Krista Juczak at 14910 Fuller Road in the Town of Adams when the fire was reported to Jefferson County Emergency Dispatch at 1:26 p.m.The round-shaped home, constructed of concrete and face logs is one of the more famous abodes in the area, having been the subject of various broadcast and print reports as well as host to tours for educational groups.Mr. Juczak said he believed the blaze originated as a chimney fire and that most of the damage probably resulted from smoke and water. The structure is insured.Firefighters from Adams, Adams Center and Town of Watertown were at the scene.

Posted by on 28 January 2008 | 12:31 pm

Heating and Cooking, on the cheap!

Do you have a small cabin, camp, or just want to be a bit more self sufficient? Here's what we are playing with. The military used to use these tent heaters. They can heat a small space, and be used for cooking. What makes them particularly neat, is that they are multi fuel. They will burn wood or coal, plus they can burn liquid fuels from diesel and kerosene, to gasoline and alcohol. Here's the best news, THEY WILL BURN USED FRYER OIL. Yes, the waste vegetable oil that your Italian or Chinese restaurant throws away after frying your food, is a fuel source. We even use it in our diesel engines. Imagine producing your own electricity in a fryer fueled generator. We do this here at Green-Trust. Learn more about these stoves at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/m1941/.

Posted by on 28 January 2008 | 7:54 am

Free Book Download: Much Ado About Almost Nothing

Much Ado About Almost NothingA History of Electricity and Electronics2007, Hans CamenzindThis is the story of the electron. 3,000 years ago the tiny particle caused nothing but fear and superstition whenever it appeared. Its perception by man changed slowly as a few heretics dared to investigate. Then man discovered the "Leyden Jar", a gadget which produced a vicious electrical shock, to the amusement of the experimenters and kings.Discover a new side of Benjamin Franklin as an unlikely scientist in an unlikely place, who stunned the European establishment by discovering fundamental principles and thus opened the field to other people. People like Luigi Galvani (who drew the wrong conclusions), Alessandro Volta (who corrected him and ruined his life), André Ampere, an emotional mathematician, and Georg Ohm, who discovered the basic law of electricity but presented it so badly that he was ignored.Read more at:http://www.historyofelectronics.com/

Posted by on 25 January 2008 | 9:15 pm

Happy worms!

We just added 1000 worms to a new worm bin. One hour after spreading them on top of the litter, they disappeared into the bedding to munch away happily on our kitchen scraps. We are thrilled that we are able to keep up our composting indoors, even when it's below 0 (F) outdoors. There is no smell other than an earthy dirt smell right near the bins. We cover all submissions with coconut fiber as we add it. No ants, flies, or smells. This picture was taken as we were adding some old stale tortilla shells and a fresh batch of worms. We can send you 1 lb. of worms, 1 bale of coconut fiber, and a manual on worm composting for $99, delivered. You supply a $8 plastic tote (12 - 15 gallon) and you are in the indoor worm composting business. Just drop us a line at sspence@green-trust.org.

Posted by on 24 January 2008 | 12:16 pm

The Homebrew Power CD

After the huge Server Upgrades here at HomeBrewPower we have finally got around to recompiling our CD Rom that was previously available only in hard copy for $20.00 + P&P. The Entire contents have been recompiled, tweaked and buffered and made available for download for what we think is a VERY fair price of $5.00. To purchase the package just visit our homepage http://www.homebrewpower.co.uk and click on the purchase link. Your personal download link will be emailed to you soon as funds have landed. (Usually within 10 minutes!)I know there were quite a few wanting the CD Rom in the past, well now I think you can finally have one.Kind regardsAndy MahoneyHome Brew Power(Off-Grid Power Installer - UK)www.homebrewpower.co.uk

Posted by on 19 January 2008 | 12:43 pm

The Worms Arrive

Our vermiposting red worms arrived today. Now our composting project kicks into high gear. The beds are ready, kitchen craps have been collected, and compost will be ready for spring. Read more at http://www.green-trust.org/ebooks/.Our veggie oil burner also arrived, so the used fryer oil to hot water project begins. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/m1941/.The parts for our home made generator / battery charger arrived today as well. You can read more about that at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/diy_generator/

Posted by on 16 January 2008 | 1:48 pm

Heart Breaking Story on eWaste

June is the wet season in Ghana, but here in Accra, the capital, the morning rain has ceased. As the sun heats the humid air, pillars of black smoke begin to rise above the vast Agbogbloshie Market. I follow one plume toward its source, past lettuce and plantain vendors, past stalls of used tires, and through a clanging scrap market where hunched men bash on old alternators and engine blocks. Soon the muddy track is flanked by piles of old TVs, gutted computer cases, and smashed monitors heaped ten feet (three meters) high. Beyond lies a field of fine ash speckled with glints of amber and green—the sharp broken bits of circuit boards. I can see now that the smoke issues not from one fire, but from many small blazes. Dozens of indistinct figures move among the acrid haze, some stirring flames with sticks, others carrying armfuls of brightly colored computer wire. Most are children.Read the whole article at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/2008-01/high-tech-trash/carroll-text.html.

Posted by on 14 January 2008 | 2:59 pm

DIY Generator Project

Our generator project is progressing. We have a 10hp B&S OHV engine, a GM 108 amp alternator, and are awaiting a bracket and pulley to be delivered. We are constructing a 3 stage charger to maintain our deep cycle battery bank, with appropriate instrumentation.More info at http://www.green-trust.org/ebooks/.

Posted by on 12 January 2008 | 2:09 pm

Composting Toilet and Recycling System, Ready to Go!

We have developed a complete composting Kitchen and Toilet system for anyone wanting to reduce their water requirements, eliminate sewage, and build soil quality for gardening. Consisting of a manual on worm composting, a collection device (toilet), cover & bedding material (coconut fiber), a worm bin and worms, This system sells for $100 + Shipping, and includes everything you need. See pictures of the components at http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/simplyoffgrid/photos/browse/9dd6?c=( http://tinyurl.com/2l9osf )Build your own from the descriptions and parts list, or drop us a line at sspence@green-trust.org for a complete kit delivered to you.Also recommended:The Humanure Handbook - http://tinyurl.com/2to3wmWorms Eat My Garbage (included in kit) - http://tinyurl.com/2p2ze6

Posted by on 5 January 2008 | 10:28 am

Florida's Diesel Electric Hybrid Buses

A buddy of mine, Ron Morrison, grabbed a shot of this Diesel Electric Hybrid bus.Farther away from the beach I saw this city bus. Hybrid diesel-electric. It was really quiet zooming away from a stoplight & was hitting 40 mph. I had to wait till both of us caught a stoplight for me to hop out of my car to take this picture.More info can be found at http://www.scgov.net/PublicCommunications/MediaRelations/documents/HybridBusFactSheet8-06.pdf.

Posted by on 5 January 2008 | 7:25 am

Composting Toilets, Homebuilt Generators, and more

We are working on a number of projects today. It's -25F outside, so it's a good day to stay indoors near the wood stoves. Even the generator wouldn't turn over, even with the recoil start. Brought it in next to the wood stove to thaw out. The worm beds are under construction, and we ordered a inexpensive bucket toilet with lid as one of the food sources for the worms. Many folks use sawdust or peat, but we use recycled Coconut fiber. For info on how it works, read about it at http://weblife.org/humanure/default.htmlThe other project is a rebuild of our propane converted B&S 10hp Generator. We smoked the coils on the alternator, and have decided to rebuild it as a DC battery Bank Charger. We bought a 108 amp GM alternator, and are belt driving it from the 10hp B&S propane powered engine. More pics to come on that project.

Posted by on 3 January 2008 | 8:58 am

Multi Fuel Burner - Heat / Cook with Veggie Oil

We have a bunch of used but good condition 45k btu heaters (Military Surplus M1941) coming in that will burn a multitude of liquid fuels, like kerosene, diesel, used fryer oil, etc. This is a DIY Tinker type item, not a ready to run appliance. Can be installed in an existing wood stove or drum (We have the original wood/coal stove for these oil kit inserts available for $115). These sell for $50 delivered in the USA (lower 48), and we are working out a quantity drop ship to the UK for local delivery. For USA customers, send steve@green-trust.org an email, for EU customers, send a email to andy@homebrewpower.co.ukWe have a digitized manual available at http://www.green-trust.org/Alaskan%20Oil%20Heater/ and a discussion group for this device at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/m1941/

Posted by on 1 January 2008 | 9:12 pm

Why Compost With Worms?

As we progress on our worm composting project, many folks have asked us why we are doing this. We really thought the questions would be how, so we pause to give a few reasons why this should be done, then you can have fun with the how. We need a high quality fertilized soil for growing our food. Food scraps are too valuable to throw out in the trash. It's too cold out in our winters to compost outdoors. It's educational for the kids to learn how our world works. Up to 50% of our waste stream is organics that can be composted. Composting alleviates the strain on the public waste system, and provides soil enhancers that go far beyond the capability of chemical fertilizers.Read what others have to say about this inexpensive and fun hobby, and visit http://www.green-trust.org/ebooks/ to participate in our project:Many homeowners have some kind of home composting system in operation. However, people living in condominiums, apartments and other residences don’t have a suitable place to start a compost pile. These people feel left out on a worthwhile cause, and need alternative ways to be part of the composting program.There is a solution! Kitchen wastes can be converted to a rich humus with the help of redworms. Children find worms fascinating. They are very well behaved "pets," and also help with household chores!http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/Redwormsedit.htmWorm composting is using worms to recycle food scraps and other organic material into a valuable soil amendment called vermicompost, or worm compost. Worms eat food scraps, which become compost as they pass through the worm's body. Compost exits the worm through its' tail end. This compost can then be used to grow plants. To understand why vermicompost is good for plants, remember that the worms are eating nutrient-rich fruit and vegetable scraps, and turning them into nutrient-rich compost.http://www.css.cornell.edu/compost/worms/basics.htmlLet worms eat your organic waste! They will happily turn it into some of the best fertilizer on earth - worm compost, otherwise known as worm castings or vermicompost. This is a fascinating, fun, and easy way to recycle your organic kitchen wastes. Worm composting, or vermiculture, requires very little work, produces no offensive odors, and helps plants thrive. Only a few things are needed to make good worm compost: a bin, bedding, worms, and worm food. By following the steps listed below, you will learn to make, take care of, and use your own worm compost.http://earth911.org/blog/2007/04/02/composting-with-worms/It's simple. The worms are kept in a bin with shredded paper or other biodegradable bedding. You feed them food waste. They digest the waste and bedding then excrete nutrient-rich castings. After a few months, the castings combined with the well-decomposed bedding, become vermicompost -- one of the richest soil improvements around. It will do wonders for plants, flowers, fruit trees and garden vegetables. And, anglers will appreciate having a steady supply of worms on hand.http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/earth/recycle/compost2.htm

Posted by on 31 December 2007 | 6:07 am

Vermiposting (Worm Compost) Project Underway

A Coleman Cooler with a drain at the bottom, a bale of Coconut Coir, kitchen scraps, and a quart of fishing worms, and the project is under way. The indoor garden beds still need to be constructed, and the fluorescent grow lights installed, but we expect to have those done mid January. To participate in this project, please visit http://www.green-trust.org/ebooks/. If you would like to order a kit, drop us a line at sspence@green-trust.org. All the worm bed materials will come packaged in the cooler, just add kitchen scraps. Worm Compost makes the best fertilizer and potting soil.

Posted by on 28 December 2007 | 7:09 am

Science Channel Rerun of Wind Turbine build Tonight

The Science Channel is having a rerun night, with the first few episodes being reshown, including our wind turbine episode at 10:30pm. Don't miss the other episodes, as there are many cool green tech things happening. See new episodes every Monday night.http://science.discovery.com/fansites/invention-nation/invention-nation.html

Posted by on 24 December 2007 | 3:27 pm