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Publication Title | An Introduction to THE BASICS

Organic Rankine Cycle

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An Introduction to THE BASICS

Richard Perez

The next some ten pages contain an introduction to efficient use of electric appliances and renewable energy site surveying. We need to make intelligent, cost-effective, decisions about our systems. If you use this information, then your system will provide top service at the bottom dollar. If you rent your power from the grid, then this information will cut your power bill. It will also reduce your share of the pollution made by the utility. So let's take a quick tour of the hard-won information ahead.

IN THIS ISSUE

The Basics– Power Use

Specific tasks require electric power. The better we know our appliances, the better we can estimate the amount and type of electric power we need. The emphasis here is on planning ahead and this saves thousands of dollars in overall system costs. Deciding which appliances are appropriate for electric power, and which are not. Selecting the most efficient appliance to perform a particular task is critical. Efficient appliances cost more to buy, but they are much cheaper to OPERATE. Before all else, estimate the power needs of the system. Without this information, it is impossible to design the system.

The Basics– Site Survey

The idea here is graciously noting what Mama Nature offers. Examine the site minutely for possible power sources. This information determines if a site has photovoltaic, wind, and/or hydro power potential. You can determine, with high accuracy, the amount of power potential on the site. Match the information generated by the Site Survey with the Power Use information. Both determine the next step, System Design.

COMING UP IN HOME POWER #22 & #23 The Basics– System Design

Match up what Mama Nature offers with what you need. If you did a thorough survey of your appliances in Power Use and if you've done your Site Survey, then the next step is System Design. System Design harnesses your available renewable power sources with the power you need. System Design specifies hardware list. This specific hardware produces, processes, and stores the electric power you need. The system will use three kinds of hardware: Power Sources, Power Processors, and Power Storers.

The Basics– Power Sources

The most effective renewable power sources are sunshine, falling water, and wind. The Site Survey has already determined the renewable sources you have. What remains is a consideration of how to convert the power source(s), into electricity. The information in Power Sources is a discussion of photovoltaics, hydro, wind, and engines. First, make the decision to use a particular power source. Next, specify the hardware to fit your site and power requirements.

The Basics– Power Processors

Power Processing equipment comes in may forms. Inverters are processors that convert low voltage DC into 120 vac. Controls regulate system production and performance. Instrumentation meters performance and provides information. All systems, except the smallest, will use an inverter, electronic controls, and instruments.

The Basics– Power Storers

In today's technology, Power Storage means batteries. Virtually every system will use electrochemical power storage. This information deals with choosing the proper battery for the job, sizing it, and operating it.

A Note on this information...

Although I am writing this, the information comes from many sources too diverse to list. It comes from lifetimes of actually living on these systems. The information in these basic articles is not speculation but is direct experience. While I get to write it, many others have lived the experience and taken the data. Karen and I live and work with photovoltaic systems. Most of the PV related info is from us. I got this information from the systems I installed and maintained for customers. The hydroelectric information comes from Bob-O Schultze (Lil Otto Hydroelectric Works!), Don Harris (Harris Hydroelectric Systems), and Paul Cunningham (Energy Systems and Design). They are hydro turbine makers and users. The wind electric information comes from Larry Elliott and Mick Sagrillo (Lake Michigan Wind & Sun). Information about system design, power processing and power storage comes directly from what I have learned through our systems and those of our previous customers and from neighbors and from Home Power readers, and the list goes on..., and on...

Intro to The Basics

MicroHydro Specialists

10+ yrs. living on & with MicroHydro

Makers of 'Lil Otto' Hydroelectric Systems

"He's a hard worker who doesn't drink very much!"

Lil Otto is a permanent magnet hydroelectric generator. He works with as little as 1.2 GPM or

Heads as low as 20 feet. 12 or

24 VDC output, up to 5

Amperes. Comes complete with manual and right nozzle for your site. $395. shipped free in the Continental USA, CA residents add 6.25% state sale tax.

Dealer inquiries invited.

Lil Otto Hydroworks! Bob-O Schultze

POB 203, Hornbrook, CA 96044 916-475-3401

Home Power #21 • February / March 1991

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