Different Ways of Generating and Using Energy



Meet the Scientist
Meet the Scientist

       These items are NOT perpetual motions. They do NOT depend on strange physics. They are plain and simple, easy to understand, and use on your island or anywhere.

1. Tidal Power
       There are a few places, such as the Bay of Fundy, that have a significant Tidal change. Most other places, at sea, have only a foot or so. Check your local almanac to see. One way of using it is to use a large floating pump, even your whole floating island, to pump seawater into a storage tank or lake, at at least 50 feet in elevation, then use hydropower to extract it.

       Storage must be fairly large because tidal waves are 12 hours long, and must be stored for that time, but they depend on the position of the Moon, so they are very reliable.

2. Ocean Currents
       Ocean currents are reliable, but often not where you wish to build your island. There are two useful types, surface, and subsurface currents. Surface currents can be captured with a waterwheel, and subsurface currents can be captured with an underwater, up-side-down version of the Floppy-Mill.

       In many places tides also cause natural currents. The Floppy-Mill is good because it always turns in the same direction no matter which way the current is moving at the moment.

3. Day/Night Temperature Differences
       True, these temperature differences are greater in the desert, than at sea, but they can be used to pump water. But once again, youíre looking at 12 hours of storage, but are usually very reliable.

4. Deep See Temperature Differences
       Deep Seas are several degrees cooler than surface temperatures, but so far they have been expensive to tap, but are quite reliable.

5. Water/Air Temperature Differences
       Basically, youíll have to measure these from time to time to see what resources you have.

6. Methane
       Methane can be a good idea for generating electricity from garbage. There are many fine books on it.

7. Melting Ice
       Waters are often warmer than ice. Power can be extracted from such temperature differences. However, like many others the temperature differences are small so the using machinery is often inefficient. And those places with lots of ice, usually donít have warm water.

       Icebergs can be used to provide a temperature difference.

       A good salesman will sell ice to Eskimos. A better one will also sell them the ice maker.

8. Noise
       Electricity can be generated easily from noise for small appliances. Use an old loud speaker, the bigger the better. It produces AC. However, the source may not be reliable, or constant. Point it at a busy hiway and use large capacitors to store DC. You'd be supprised how much you can obtain.

9. Movement
       The best example is by putting a whoopee-cushion, or a rubber hose where automobiles, or people can press it as they go by. But itís hard to do at sea. Or fix your toilet seat to a pump, so it pumps water when you sit down.

10. Vibrations
       In addition to noise, which is a form of vibration, any constant oscillations or vibrations can be connected to a generator.

11. Water Drops
       In 1861, Lord Kelvin produced a generator that used dropping water. It should be fairly efficient too, but he invented it before Edison came along.

12. Lightning
       Electricity traveling from a Lightning rod, in theory works, but is usually isnít reliable.
       Like capturing lightning. Too many people have been killed just trying to reproduce Ben Franklynís famous experiment, so itís too dangerous.

       What most folks don't know is that Ben wasn't trying to CAPTURE lightning. He was trying to PREVENT lightning, and he succeeded! The sharp points at the end of a grounded wire, nuteralize the charge near the point, redirecting the electricity down the wire to the ground.

       That means that there is a flow of electricity through his wire, especially when the wind blows charged air near that point. Can we capture that?

Oh yes! See how.

       But it's DC, but with a little help from a neon bulb, and a relaxation oscillator, we can turn it into pulsating DC, which will act similar to AC, and pass through a transformer. This "Lightning Rod" voltage has been measured by some at around 6000 volts. That can be dangerous.

       The transformer can reduce that down to 220 volts, or even 110 volts. If syncronized with the power company's 60 cycle AC, it will run the power meter backwards, courtisy of the free wind!

13. Scrap Metal Batteries
       I wrote a book, "How to Recycle Scrap Metal into Electricity". I ran my boom-box on a handful aluminum foil for 8 hours, gum wrappers too.

14. Commercial Batteries
       Obviously they work. But they are expensive.

15. High Temperature Differences
       Different metals being heated can produce power, thermometers often use this method for long distance measurements. You can use concentrated solar using mirrors. They have no moving parts, and can usually be purchased locally. Solar cells can be used the same way.

16. Crystal Set Radios
       Operate off the Radio Frequency power. It can be an important thing to have on your island.

17. Human Power
       1. A hand-crank generator or a generator on an exercise bike can be useful, especially during an emergency.
       2. Fat people pushing a gristmill around, so they can lose weight and generate electricity too.
       3. Piezoelectric crystals in kidís shoes run flashing lights, you could use them.

18. Barometric Pressure Changes
       These can be very reliable, for small power needs.

19. Gas Powered Generators
       Are more expensive, but can be used to run all sorts of electronics.

20. Nuclear
       Obviously it works, bit itís generally not for the amateur.

21. Animals
       I donít know how to extract power from a shark, or an electric eel. I suppose a generator could be connected to a hamsterís exercise wheel. In theory it can be done, but these others are more practical.

       However, animal power has been used for centuries. But donít forget to feed them.

22. Solar Powered Refrigerators, and Air Conditioners
       Solar Energy can be focused into an absorption style refrigerator, or air conditioner. The absorption style is most commonly seen as a propane refrigerator. It can be modified to run on focused solar power. The advantage for an air conditioner is that it usually isnít needed us less the Sun is out.

       As a refrigerator, it can be very useful on an island. There is also the solar powered clothes dryer, it's called a "clothes line."

23. Solar Powered Night Lights
       These can be purchased and installed easily. The ones I got ran for about 8 hours on a battery charged by solar cells.They will light up a walkway real well.

24. Solar Consentrated Mechanical Equipment
       A Sterling Cycle heat engine can often be used here if the temperature difference is great enough. In Mexico, they have ceiling fans that run on a candle using a Sterling Cycle Engine.

25. Solar Cooking
        There are many solar cookers available, and many ways to concentrate solar energy on your dinner. Since thereís often fish free for the catching, you can enjoy them, and save money too. Even vegetables can be grown on your island, to make it completely self-sufficient.

26. Boiling Water
        If youíre building on fresh water all you have to do is run it both ways through a counter-flow heat exchanger, and heat the far end with solar to make if drinkable in most cases. But have it tested.

27. Washing Machine
        Rishi built a wave-powered washing machine. Itís a cute idea. You can build one too. And a clothes line is a solar-powered dryer.

28. Wave Power Air Pressure
        A culvert, sealed at the top and set vertically, so that waves push air upwards, and during the wave trough the bottom of the culvert is exposed to the air has been used to capture wave power. The air goes through a check valve and into a container. Then used to power whatever pneumatic equipment you like. Even generate electricity.

29. Energy Storage
        Hydraulic or pneumatic energy has been stored in an automobile lift, like you see in a filling station. It is weighted with bricks, and has the advantage that hydraulic pressure is constant as it is being filled and used. Thatís good for certain types of equipment run of the stored energy.

30. Flotation Energy Storage
        A weighted vertical cylinder can be filled with air, and the pressure should be fairly constant, as it goes up and down. It can be connected to outside equipment with flexible hoses, however, include sealed floats, like recycled soda bottles with their lids screwed on tight, so it doesnít sink to the seafloor when it gets empty. And extra stored air is either shut off, or dumped when the cylinder is at full height. Make sure its tied to your island and doesn't just float away. It can be made of NFRC and can run most pneumatic equipment. It can be filled using a Floppy-Mill or a wave powered air pump, like #29 above.

31. Unusual Wind Power
        The wind blows leaves on trees. What if you made artificial leaves hooked to piezoelectric crystals, and let the wind wiggle them?

32. Catching Dinner
        If you run a low voltage DC electric current through the water from one side of your island to the other, fish will be forced to gather at one of the electrodes. If this one is inside a pipe coming up into your kitchen, youíll have live dinner ready to cook. Donít forget to turn it off, when not in use. Try it, and tell me how you made it work.

33. SeaCrete
        Biorock uses a low voltage current to accrete minerals over time to make all sorts of structures underwater. So can you.

34. Cars going over a bridge

       can be used to pump water.

35. Increase the thickness of fuel in a battery,

       and use gravity to keep the electrodes close together.

       Most of these ways to generate electricity either are expensive, or only produces small amounts of electricity. It depends on both your needs, and your resources. Consider your options, and how difficult and expensive it is to make them work. I just list them here to give you ideas. Look around you, see whatís available. There are usually books available over the Internet to explain them. This list is not exhaustive, but it will give you the idea of some of the possibilities. Make your island experiance fun, and educational.

       Some of the more practical ways Iíve covered in full books and articles.

       Conservation is important. Go to bed at a decent hour! Then you only need safety lights, like any boat, and in emergencies. However, here are a list of some useful things that donít require much energy.

    1. LED lights

    2. Crystal Set Radios harvest power from a nearby radio or TV station

    3. Small Transistor Radios

    4. Intermittent appliances, that only draw current when used.

    5. Small transistor or tunnel diode FM transmitters donít use much power, and can be powered by a variety of sources.

    6. A small DC motor will act as a generator, enough to run a meter. These are used on anemometers that measure wind velocity.

    7. Piezoelectric Crystals power those childrenís shoes with LED light that blink on and off when the kids walk. Hook one on a childís bicycle instead of flapping cards, and you have a power source.

    8. Even back in World War II they had hand crank generators to run radios and transmitters.

    9. Of course, we had small generators on our bicycles to run a small headlight and tail light.

    10. Thermal Couples generate power from most any heat source, and operate electric thermometers.

    11. Some nuclear reactions produce Beta Rays, which are electrons, and are used to produce electricity.

    12. Permanent Magnets have been used to make motors and other electromagnetic devices. The key is that energy must come from somewhere. Here, itís believed that the magnets run down, so that they are actually acting like a battery.

    13. Bury a string of magnets in a road, and pick up the current with a coil on an automobile.

    14. Itís not difficult to produce small amounts of electricity, and nowadays, there are many low-power devices on the market. Do you have a wireless mouse? They run on only one battery. Thatís the same as 3 yogurt cups, pennies, and some gum wrappers.

    15. One of the strongest electromagnets is inside a torus, or donut shape. Many materials can be affected in many ways. I donít believe these have all been tested, so itís an opportunity for you to do research, with AC, DC, and timed pulses.

Liquids can behave in unusual ways in both magnet and electric environments.

How to use these.

    1. Get some books on electronics and read them.
    2. Get a multi-meter so you can test what they do.
    3. Experiment!
    4. Donít be disappointed. Just keep at it.

    Thanks for your interest.

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