Alternative energy for the home: a review of non-standard sources of energy + modern solutions
"Green energy" attracts just space prospects. From the environment, you can get absolutely free inexhaustible energy to maintain autonomous communications. Moreover, its resource is daily restored without human intervention. However, in order to properly use these gifts of nature, you need to know how they work and where they apply. Do you agree?
Everything about how to use alternative energy for the home, you will learn from the article submitted by us. After reading the reliable information, you can choose the most suitable option for obtaining heat or electricity. The information proposed for consideration will help to compare the ways and sources of energy for making a weighted assessment.
The author of the article describes in detail the installations processing the energy of the sun / wind / water / earth. Briefly and very simply set out the principle of their work. Photo and video reviews were used as a useful addition.
Types of alternative energy sources
It is not so difficult to acquire industrial models of modern devices for extracting thermal or electrical energy from the environment. The most popular options for such equipment include:
- solar panels;
- solar collectors;
- wind generators;
- heat pumps;
- biogas generators.
Science is not in place, there are all new models of devices for obtaining alternative energy. It is important not only to choose a suitable option, but also to install it correctly. Very often, it is not possible to manage with just one unit. You can combine the use of various resources.
For example, a solar battery provides more electricity in the summer, and a wind generator in the winter. The combination of these two devices allows you to provide a sufficient amount of autonomous electricity throughout the year. Similarly, other devices can also be combined.
# 1: Using Solar Panels
These elements are becoming more and more popular. They are sold both in the form of ready-made kits, and in the form of individual photocells. Master amateurs willingly work with the latter, who prefer to do everything with their own hands. This is a relatively simple task. To make a solar battery with individual parameters, you must purchase the required number of ready-made photocells and solder them into a common circuit.
There are monocrystalline and polycrystalline photocells. The first are more productive and durable, but effective only if a stable flow of energy is obtained. Efficiency of polycrystals is lower, and the service life is less, but they can work quite effectively even in conditions of high clouds.
Photovoltaic cells are placed under a layer of durable transparent material so that they can absorb energy while remaining in the desired position. The body with a transparent outer surface looks like a metal frame. It is used to fasten the panels.Sometimes instead of a metal case using a wooden structure. This is a less durable, but quite acceptable option.
The design with solar panels is quite cumbersome, so most often it is placed directly on the roof of the house. The body is mounted on a stand so that the panel with photocells can be rotated, this will allow to monitor the movement of the sun and to catch more UV rays depending on the time of year.
In case of heavy precipitation, the panel is turned into a vertical position in order to prevent its damage and reduce possible pollution. Panel installation is only the first stage of the implementation of such a system. To complete its work, you will need to connect the photocells through the charger to the solar inverter system.
To accumulate the resulting electrical system, you will need batteries, for example, SUNLIGHT PzS. Such elements can be installed underground, at a fairly significant depth - up to three meters.
Proper selection of the inverter and battery controller is an important point in ensuring maximum efficiency of the entire system. The better all the components are selected, the better the special calculations are performed, the less the loss of electrical energy will be.
An interesting variant of solar batteries is a flexible film version, the working layer of them is deposited on a polymer film. They are installed on the glass windows of tall buildings, of course, on the sunniest side. The efficiency of such elements is slightly lower than that of the traditional version - only 7%. But the convenience of using them and saving space compensate for this disadvantage.
A device called Betaray looks modern and unusual. It is a rather large glass sphere, which collects the sun’s rays like a lens and directs them to a panel with photocells. The installation is able to rotate in automatic mode in order to get maximum sun rays.
As a result, you can get by with fewer photovoltaic cells and make the flow of sunlight more stable. At night, Betaray is able to absorb moon and starlight.This is not much, but enough to provide full street lighting. In general, this device has an impressive efficiency for solar panels - 35%.
Useful tips on the selection, installation and operation of solar panels are presented here:
# 2: Application of solar collectors
This is a more modern and productive variation of the summer shower. Even at the most modest cottage there is a barrel of water, which heats up during the day to quite a decent level. If you install on the roof a system of narrow pipes through which water circulates, you can get a noticeable amount of heat, fully providing the house with hot water and even quite decent heating.
The operation of this alternative energy source is based on the ability of water to circulate when heated. The heat exchanger tank is installed at a higher level than the collector pipes. The heated water rises and enters the upper part of the heat exchanger coil.Cooling down in contact with tap water, the heat carrier of the solar collector sinks down and again moves to the pipes that the sun heats up.
The natural circulation of heating and cooling water eliminates the need for special pumps or other electrical equipment. You can make the simplest version of such a system from the available materials: pipes of different diameters, sheet metal for the role of a base. The stand, to which the base is fixed, can be made of a corner or other metal elements.
Usually, the part of the system that is outside is painted black to enhance its ability to absorb heat. The base with the pipes is fixed in such a way that it is possible to change its angle of inclination. It remains to arrange the heat exchanger tank, place the coil in it and connect the elements of the system with each other and with the water supply and / or heating system.
Of course, modern industrial solar collectors are more complex and more efficient. In some devices, freon is used as a coolant, which allows to obtain thermal energy even during cold weather.
Industrial units can be equipped with vacuum tubes, a block with photocells, temperature sensors, automatic control system, etc. The cost of such a collector can be very impressive.
# 3: Wind Power Operation
Wind generators are devices known for a long time and quite popular with fans of clean energy. This is a rather cumbersome device, especially if the blades of a wind turbine rotate in a horizontal plane. Therefore, versions with vertically positioned blades are more popular.
The wind turbine is placed on a high and strong rack. The motion of the blades is transmitted to the generator,The resulting energy is accumulated in the battery. The electricity is then transmitted to the internal electrical system of the house or otherwise used. Industrial models of modern wind generators are usually equipped with a convenient electronic control panel.
Self-made devices are designed according to rather simple diagrams and drawings. On the Internet, you can find a lot of options of different types and types. You need to choose a convenient place to accommodate such a design, where a strong wind blows, and the unit will not interfere with anyone. The higher mounted blades, the better.
Not so long ago, the company Uprise presented the original development - a wind turbine installed on a mobile platform. If desired, the device can be assembled, giving it a compact size, and then transported using an ordinary SUV and installed elsewhere.
The power of the Uprise mobile wind turbine is 50 kW. According to experts in the field of alternative energy, this is quite enough to provide with electricity not the largest private house, and even share the surplus of electricity with neighbors.An even more original way to convert wind energy into kilowatts is the Makani Power aircraft.
This is a highly scientific variation of a kite on which small wind turbines are mounted. The idea is to deliver the generator to the upper atmosphere, where the air flow rate is much higher than that of the earth. Energy flows down the cable, which also functions as a rope holding a “kite”.
An interesting review of the repair of the wind generator SF-600-5 (China) allows us to get an idea of the possible problems with the economy class equipment:
# 4: Heat pump based heating
These devices have long occupied an honorable place in the family of devices for obtaining clean energy. The heat pump works in much the same way as a refrigerator or air conditioner, but only vice versa. Appliances of this type are used, mainly for heating the home, as well as for heating water. Although there are models that in the summer, successfully cope with the duties of the air conditioner.
As a source of heat such systems use the energy of the air, the heat of the soil and water. Energy is everywhere, but in these resources it has low potential. The outer contour of the heat pump collects these scattered crumbs of thermal energy and moves them into the system. For the transformation of energy into a high-potential state, a coolant is used, usually freon.
It absorbs the received energy, heats up and enters the compressor. Here the refrigerant is compressed and through the evaporator enters the heat exchanger of the internal heating circuit. The coolant absorbs the concentrated thermal energy, and the freon passes through the evaporator and goes back to the liquid state. Now he gets low-potential energy, heats up, etc.
Depending on the source of heat energy, as well as on the type of coolant, the type of heat pump is also chosen: “ground-water”, “water-water”, “air-water”, “air-air”, etc.With this device you can realize not only the traditional water heating, but also air. Many craftsmen have successfully mastered the independent production of such a unit.
Removing heat from the ground is not the easiest task, since you will need a spacious plot of land and extensive ground work. The pipes of the external contour are laid in trenches and covered with earth. It is clear that the use of this site will be limited in the future.
But this way you can ensure a stable temperature of the coolant in the external circuit, and this is an important condition for the successful operation of the heat pump. It is very convenient if there is a reservoir near the house, the outer contour can be immersed in water without any problems. As an alternative to the pond, a water well is used.
For the heat intake from the air, it is not the tubes with the heat-transfer fluid that are used, but powerful fans that force air into the heat exchanger.The temperature of the outside air is far from being as constant as in the versions with water or earth, but it is much easier to choose a place for the unit and install it.
Unfortunately, such devices are ineffective in the northern areas, since heating is not possible already at -20 degrees of outdoor temperature. The problem is solved by combining two different heating systems.
# 4: Biogas in communications
Waste is another interesting resource for generating heat. When processing waste using anaerobic bacteria, substances such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide and some impurities are released. This gas mixture is called biogas, it can also be considered as a modern alternative energy source.
Of course, this combustible substance is not obtained from the contents of the sewer. To do this, use organic waste of animal or vegetable origin.They are placed in a special container, very durable and always sealed. Bacterial cultures are also loaded there. Inside the device install the screw to mix the biological mass.
This will increase the reaction rate and make the generator more efficient. The mass intended for processing is diluted with water, which must be heated to about 40 degrees. In the summer, more water should be added, but in winter the moisture content of biomass can be about 90%.
To keep the temperature comfortable for the life of microorganisms, the capacity of the biogenerator is covered with insulating materials. All raw materials are loaded through the neck, which is then tightly closed. Biogas accumulates in the upper part of the device and is discharged from it through a special pipe.
Recycled waste is discharged through a separate pipe, they represent a valuable fertilizer, the application of which can be found on the site. An important point in the independent creation of a biogenerator is safety.As the gas constantly accumulates in the tank, pressure is constantly increasing there.
The process of self-creation of a biogenerator from a metal barrel is described in this video:
If this process is not controlled, the device may simply explode. It is considered safer to place a biogenerator underground, and not on the surface. It is necessary to ensure the continuous extraction of the produced gas from the tank in order to normalize the pressure. The gas mixture should also be handled with care. This combustible substance has a sharp and unpleasant odor, inhalation can be dangerous to people's health.
Purpose and use of the thermogenerator
Devices of this type have been known since the middle of the last century. They allow you to convert thermal energy into electrical energy. The modern version of the industrial-type thermogenerator is designed for installation on gas boilers or wood-burning stoves with a long burning capacity of at least 200 W.
Such a device allows in the winter, when heating devices operate continuously, to get about 150 kW / h of electricity per month.
You can consider it as an additional option in combination with solar panels or as a way to compensate for frequent power cuts.There are also hiking models of heat generators that can process the thermal energy of a conventional fire. They can be used during construction where there is no electricity as an alternative to a generator running on liquefied fuel.
Conclusions and useful video on the topic
The video will introduce the most popular options for installations using alternative energy sources:
The only significant disadvantage of alternative ways of obtaining energy is the high price of equipment and installation. High-tech developments are effective, convenient and expensive. And yet the investment will pay off over time. And for lovers of tinkering, there are always options for self-production.