Alternative Energy. Alternative to what?
For this post the context will be alternative energy for ‘getting things done’ that ordinarily rely upon the electrical power grid.
Solar energy for electricity
Harnessing the sun’s energy with Solar ‘photo voltaic’ (PV) panels. I have been doing this for years. Love it! Most quality panels are rated for 20 years or more. That’s a long time after the initial outlay where ‘free’ energy from the sun can be converted to electricity!
Soar energy for cooking
A solar oven! I’ve built a few of them over the years and they’ve worked out great! You can also buy them. Years ago I bought the best one at the time, and I still use it. Gets real hot!
Solar energy for heating water
The sun’s radiant energy can be harnessed for heating water. There are a variety of ways to flow water through pipes exposed to the heat of the sun and stored in a insulated water storage tank.
Solar energy to southern exposure heat
A supplement to heating one’s home is a southern exposure design with lots of windows (in the northern hemisphere). Our primary ‘living room’ has a exact southern exposure and really warms up nicely when the sun is shining. It makes a big difference during the winter (if the sun’s out!).
Wind energy can be harnessed with a wind turbine generator. There are geographical regions which are more beneficial than others in this regard (some places are just plain windier than others!). There are a number of manufacturers tailoring to off-grid wind turbines. This would also be a great supplement to a solar off-grid system to keep a battery bank charged up.
If you’re lucky enough to have a source of running water along a long enough vertical drop, you could build yourself a ‘Ram pump’ (Hydraulic ram) to potentially move water up a hill to a cistern (water storage) or to a garden, etc..
An ordinary generator
I know it’s not alternative to petroleum fuel, but it is a temporary alternative to the power grid. Many of us already have one. It’s a good thing to have on hand!
The right batteries (and number thereof) combined with the right components (inverter, charger) will provide a source of alternative energy storage. The batteries will need to be recharged.
Some home heating systems take advantage of geothermal energy below the ground. Always warmer during the winter than the air temp above. Pipes running down deep to capture that heat and return it to the surface.
Other related Alternative Energy Thoughts
A Spring House
A classic way to get good water for the homestead AND a nice Refrigerator-Cold Storage effect. A high humidity storage (root cellar rules apply).
There are a number of them out there for purchase in the retail market. You might say it’s an alternative to the requirement of pumping water to a conventional toilet.
I have ( ONE OF THESE ), and it has been a great attribute to overall preparedness. Really enjoy cooking with it when the sun shines!
A great source of alternative energy heat AND cooking food.
A root cellar can keep the food inside COOL, lengthening the shelf life of your garden bounty!
A process of converting the burning of wood in order to fuel a combustion engine.
Okay, any further ideas or clarifications on brainstorming “alternative energy”?