Maureen DesRosiers's posts

Posted by Maureen DesRosiers on Feb 27, 2007 01:26 pm

#1 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
Hi Ken:  Your post had a lot of good information.  Some of which I've already considered, but very helpful thanks.  Lets take the issues you covered:

Energy conservation:  Rest assured this has been considered thoroughly.  I am having a lot of windows, but they will be triple pane.  All our walls will be 8 inches of insulation, as will under the house.  I am seriously considering an in-floor heating system to be heated by a central boiler wood furnace system.  You may be familiar with them.   This may fulfill some other energy needs as well.  I agree about the on-demand propane hot-water system, but a boiler may remove that need.  The propane tank system in the house that is currently there was ordered by my parents who only built the place for a summer house; it has never been designed for long-term living.  Whereas, my house will be.

You asked about shipping propane vs fuel.  The logistics of getting fuel is the issue.  Shipping is prohibitively expensive and only available 5 months a year, especially considering the weight of 50 gal drums.  There are no options for bulk fuel delivery, as there is no way to get that to the property.  The barge is 3 miles from the property with a rough road just one step up from a 4-wheeler capacity.

It might be helpful for you to understand that I was born and raised near this land.  I am a pre-statehood Alaskan who grew up on wood stoves, outhouses and hunting/fishing for food, so this living isn't something that I would be dealing with as a newbee out of the cities, to wilderness living.  But the hydro-electricity is totally new to me.  We already make coffee the old fashioned way, so the coffee maker isn't imperative.  However, I would really like a hair dryer.  Some luxuries are important! ha.

There is a large salmon cannery a few miles from the land and they can fill propane tanks, but they won't fill 20 50/gal drums of stove oil or gasoline.  We can fill our vehicles and some jerry jugs, but not enough to run a house generator for month on end.  So, bringing 100 gal propane tanks to the property is pretty easy towing a little trailer, but bulk fuel is another issue.  Storing a bunch of propane tanks is easier than hauling all the drums.  Interesting concept though because just last month I checked into a bulk fuel delivery by a landing craft to the beach and I got a big, no way for a bunch of reasons I won't go into.

So, it sounds like batteries are going to be part of my life by the way you describe things.  I am quite interested in the top of the line batteries, but the well of money doesn't go too terribly deep, which is why I'm so interested in the hydro.  I think I'm agreeing with you that working towards a hydro system and diesel genset combination with batteries and an inverter may be the way to go, because I think I can reduce my diesel need enough to get from summer to summer without too much trouble. The house will be heated by wood, there will be a wood cook stove as well as propane range, the fridge needs to be on 24/7, so that will be propane, but a chest freezer only needs about 3 hrs a day to keep frozen.  During the daylight hours, I will be using virtually no power, but unfortunately in the winter daylight is only about 4 hrs a day and I hate fuel lamps for lighting, but battery system lights would be fine.  I would like to have a satellite compute system and television, but again, that will be turned on a nominal amount of time.

On your question about the 300 ft vs the 200 ft.  We have the water tank at about 200 ft, but the water source CAN be accessed at apx 300 ft uphill.  We could move the tank further up, but its just more pipe.

If you would be interested, I can give you my email address and I could send photos of the property and water source.



Posted by Maureen DesRosiers on Feb 26, 2007 12:28 pm

#2 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
Hi Ken.  Thank you so much for your very informative response.  Here are a few answers.   We aren't that far north; we are about 60 miles west of Juneau (top of the panhandle).  The two times a year where we would have low flow would be in the event of a summer drought; the low end I mentioned earlier, and the winter freeze, same low end amount.  High end would be during the rainy season which is tons of water.  There is nothing living in the creek, so taking virtually all the water is not an issue.  Its a fast running down hill stream.

The two systems (house and hydro) would be the same source.  We currently run a gas 6 kw onan genset and that runs everything in the house, plus power tools etc.  The dryer, stove, fridge & hot-water tank are all propane.  We use about 6-7 gal a day, running about 10 hours.  We do have a diesel genset coming, but diesel is the same cost as gas around these parts ($3.56/gal)plus shipping cost to get it to the property.  Right now we only run the house maybe 4 weeks total a year, but I'm building a house I plan on retiring in and will live there year round.

We've considered solar, but we just don't get enough sun or clear skies to invest in that.  We live in a rain forest, so water is plentiful.

If the water flow I mentioned isn't enough, we (my son & I) can ditch and culvert a few other small sources into our little creek and we could get year round water at between 20-30 gpm for the low end.  This will take a back hoe and some serious excavation, but everything is doable; just takes time.

The property is on the waterfront, so the fresh water just runs into the salt-water.

So my goal is to run one 2500 sq ft house with lights, washer, and small appliances, ie., hair dryers, toasters, coffee makers etc, year round.  I really want to get away from gas and diesel, but I can manage propane shipments once a year.  Of course we have wood stoves and the entire Tongass National Forest at the back door for heat.  The village I live in right now charges 36 cents per kwh.  But that's moot because there is no available power to this property other than what we create.

We really wanted to stay away from the batteries if at all possible because again, getting parts, new batteries, supplies etc is not an option.  About 6 months of the year there is little to no access by air and storms prohibit boating, so you're on your own.  Right now 2 people winter in the area and the don't see people for 6 months.  You have a 6 month window to get all your supplies, fuel, food, etc for the long winter.  This winter we've had 30 ft of snow fall at sea level, but that's a record year.

Posted by Maureen DesRosiers on Feb 23, 2007 07:59 pm

#3 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: hydro-powered turbine
Ken:  I am coming into this concept of hydro power totally green.  I live in a remote part of Alaska with boat and air access.  The property has a little stream and depending on the rain fall or time of year it either flows at about 10 gpm to 150 gpm.  The slope is good, so I'm sure with a little work I could get a good drop over about 200 ft.  Currently I have a 200 gal holding tank apx 300 ft up the lot going into a water line (2 inch) to the property.  We get great water pressure that feeds a 2 story house we built with all the showers, toilets and laundry needs one could want.  For example, if you turn on the water hose, you can get a great shot of water about 30 ft into the air.  Do you think this scenario sounds like a good candidate for a small hydro plant and could it supply enough elec to run the house?

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