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Author Topic: Low tech magazine  (Read 1795 times)

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Offline DMcCoy

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Low tech magazine
« on: October 22, 2015, 09:47:59 am »
Some very useful technology.

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com

Offline jueston

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Re: Low tech magazine
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2015, 01:28:16 pm »
it is interesting seeing the way he points out technology which has been available for hundreds, or thousands of years, but has been mostly lost, which could increase efficiency.

although the articles are very well written and well researched, the magazine seems point out some problems and then suggests solutions which is either impossible or economic suicide. for example, there is an article about how CNC machines and automated machinery uses a lot of energy and goes on to research how human operated equipment was much more efficient, but then ignores the fact that humans only work 8 hours a day, drive to work in there SUV's, and require heat and AC to be productive.

but very interesting to read.


Offline samandothers

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Re: Low tech magazine
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2015, 05:59:54 pm »
 This statement find very hard if not impossible to believe.   'It seems that photovoltaic power, around since the 1970s, is finally ready to take over the role of fossil fuels.'

Fossil can run 24x7 day night sunny or cloudy.  Don't get me wrong I like a mix but this statement just seemed wrong.

Offline Ianab

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Re: Low tech magazine
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2015, 07:36:16 pm »
If you have access to a mains power and a large gas or coal fired power plant, then that still wins economically.

If you don't?

We have just come back from the Cook Islands. Electricity there has been generated solely by diesel generators, and the diesel has to be shipped in from NZ (~2,000 miles away). The outer islands, it has to be further shipped by barge or small cargo vessel. Makes power VERY expensive.

Some of the outer islands are completely solar now, although I think they still have the diesel as backup, but that might account for 2% of the power.

Main Island has 10,000 residents + tourists, so they are only up to about 20% solar so far. But things like the new street light around the harbour and "down town" are completely solar / LED. I'm guessing the lights cost more, but they don't have to be wired to the grid and a completely self contained. Just erect the pole and wait for it get dark.

So it's not going to take over base load generation any time soon, but if you are any place off grid, you might consider it before a diesel gen-set, especially for a light load.

But in some situations it IS taking over from fossil fuels already. Everywhere else? It's at least got to the point where the idea isn't crazy any more. Tesla power wall for example?
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Brucer

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Re: Low tech magazine
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2015, 12:16:37 am »
... the magazine seems point out some problems and then suggests solutions which is either impossible or economic suicide...

I like the way he gets down to the fundamental issues (such as how much CO2 is produced in the manufacture of something that's supposed to reduce CO2 output).

Rather than have governments tell us that we should (for example) replace all our incandescent light bulbs with CFL's or LED bulbs, I would prefer that governments require manufacturer's to give us complete information so we can make our own decisions. Those are the sort of numbers that the author is digging out.

Even if his solutions have problems of their own, that's no reason to turn our backs on them. Why not, instead, try to improve on his ideas?

Photovoltaic cells may still seem expensive here in North America. In India they are actually cheaper than connecting to the grid (which is overloaded and highly unreliable). India has no oil, no coal, and no Uranium (even though it has a nuclear industry). It has a lot of rooftops and a lot of sunshine. When the grid is no longer 24/7, but more like 19/7 (and the blackouts happen when everyone needs power the most), solar makes a lot more sense.

Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw with two 6' extensions.
"Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers."

Offline Ianab

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Re: Low tech magazine
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2015, 02:30:25 am »
This is one of the solar arrays on Rarotonga, on some spare land at the airport. Pic taken from the plane as we left, you can see the airport emergency trucks in the top right. 

So it's not some dinky little panel on someone's roof, and I think they have 3 arrays like that now. 

 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Low tech magazine
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2015, 08:03:10 am »
The finite nature of fossil fuel is known to oil well owners in Texas, we are globally just one big Texas.  Look at Chernobyl and now Fukashima we really should be getting away from nuclear.  At some point in the future, maybe not in my lifetime we will face a very different energy supply. 
It's the really old stuff that I find simply amazing. The line jerker systems, moving power over long distances to get work done.  The simplicity is stunning. 
For those fortunate enough to have a flowing stream and are considering micro hydro this is worth a bit of reading.  Pumped storage of water is also a very simple way to store energy for use as needed later.  The round trip energy losses of battery storage make pumped storage a contender on a larger scale.

   

Offline r.man

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Re: Low tech magazine
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2015, 02:56:30 pm »
I like the idea of storing water for future energy use but it is problematic in my location for about half the year.
Life is too short or my list is too long, not sure which. Dec 2014