Hydropower from buildings

 

Rainwater pipe

Last time I posted about hydropower, and now I wanted to touch on one less obvious application for it.

Normally one thinks about streams in the woods, or some such usual place for these micro-hydroelectric things, but this can even be used in cities.

Normally, only wind and solar are thought of when talking about natural power generation in cities. Yeah, there are also the plants that process waste and get methanol from trash, but those are not something most people can just purchase in a store and install in their home.

Most buildings have a pipe to run rain water from the roof down to the street or a drain. This pipe has a huge drop, and it’s a great place to put one of these turbines to generate some power. The higher the building, the more turbines you can fit. Since the turbine will slow the water down, you’d need to space them for the water to pick up enough speed again.

Yeah, it doesn’t rain all the time. Sun comes mostly daily, same with wind, but rain only has certain seasons. Still, it’s quite a lot of power that could be gotten from it, and would help assist with cooling/heating consumption, depending on the need.

It’s an alternative worth exploring, and a turbine as small as the one in the other post certainly makes it easier.

HydroCoil and Schauberger

 

Water stream

Hydro power is one of my favorites, together with wind. And I like it micro, as with most implementations, because they’re so much cheaper and also easier to accomplish in more places. I’m a big advocate of descentralized solutions, and this is one example.

I’ve found several good solutions for it that I liked, but I have some comments to make on the one I found today called HydroCoil.

HydroCoil Power

The concept is nice, and seems to be way more efficient than traditional approches, but I don’t think it’s really new. This bears a huge resemblance with Viktor Schauberger’s designs, like the water jet turbine’s.

Schauberger's jet turbine

Schauberger’s jet turbine, too, was highly efficient compared to traditional designs, even as heavy as it must have been, built of heavy metal instead of a lighter material as is possible today.

You can see in the HydroCoil’s design, that they followed the vortex’s flow for the helix. This is nice because as it takes the power of the flow, the increasing angle of the vortex takes more from what’s left, while it changes its vector almost 90 degrees from entry to exit.

Part of the power they get from it when the water flows is the push the water effects on the blade, as in a regular turbine, but there’s also the propulsion at the exit, where the vector is almost perpendicular to the original flow, causing a propulsion that assists turning the turbine.

That is pretty similar to what happens in the Schauberger turbine shown above, in the screw part of it. The first part in his design, the tube, was to increase the flow’s speed first and get more power, with a ribbed cone, like a funnel but with a twist: vortex. So he first imploded the flow and then exploded it.

If the HydroPower design had the vortex in the input, it’d increase its output even more. They could probably take other ideas from Schauberger to improve their design. Schauberger’s works are something really nice to read about and research.

Another thing they could do to improve the output is lower the magnetic resistance the generator creates when spun. This back electromagnetic force acts as a brake on the generator, reducing its efficiency drastically. This is well explained by Peter Lindemann in his Electric Motor Secrets video.

I like that there are companies working on these solutions and putting products out that’ll help people use them.

The killer commute

 

Someone just sent me this infographic. I agree with people needing to commute less, for several reasons, so I’m sharing it here.

They could have also included the gas consumption, how much contamination commuting produces in average, and how that affects health too.

Killer Commute
Created by: College At Home

Fuel efficiency in the groove

 

I’ve researched how to improve fuel efficiency for some years now. I haven’t had a vehicle of my own until just a few weeks ago, which made me look into this subject one more time and I found a couple of new mods that I had not seen before. They are the discoveries of Somender Singh and Ron Hatton (a.k.a. Gadgetman).

Somender’s groove goes in the cylinder’s head and helps reach the gas in the squish zone, while Ron’s groove goes in the fuel/air delivery system and helps better vaporize and mix the gas in the combustion chamber. The way they work is different from each other, but I find it interesting that they both require just grooves to be created in the metal, which is why I’m posting about them together.

Somender Singh

http://somender-singh.com/

Somender’s observation was that in the squish zone of the combustion chamber, meant to squish the gasses into the center, there was an incomplete combustion. He also concluded that it added resistance to the piston. His solution was to add one or more grooves that would help channel the gas from this zone towards the sparkplug on compression, and then allow the combustion to reach that zone. The results from making this simple modification are very impressive from photographic documentation.

He isn’t charging for this, he’s open-sourced it and the groove isn’t tricky to make at all, the instructions are simple and watching/reading the stuff below should allow you to understand well enough the technique.

http://somender-singh.com/content/view/7/31/

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Singh_Combustion_Chamber_Turbulence

http://www.google.com/patents?id=HscHAAAAEBAJ

Ron Hatton

http://www.gadgetmangroove.com/

Ron, on the other hand, tried to improve the mix of the air with the gas, and added his groove to the fuel/air delivery system. This is the part that lets more or less air into the engine carrying fuel with it, it’s what you control with your gas pedal, which should probably be named air pedal. He explains that these grooves create a toroidal (donut shaped) flow and improves the amplitude of the air pressure. This more compressed air/fuel mixture, when entering the combustion chamber through the intake, expands abruptly improving the volatilization of the fuel. Gas doesn’t burn well as a liquid, even as a small dropplets, compared to it in a gaseous state, which is when it’s mixable with the oxygen gas to combust. Also, fuel vapor is several times less dense than liquid fuel, which means you require less gasoline. All this contributes to the fuel efficiency.

This groove is more tricky, though. The shape has to be right to cause these effects and getting it so takes a bit more knowledge about it. Ron has a certification program to train those who want to learn it, which you can read more about in his website. You can have your car modified by him or someone in his network if you don’t learn it yourself.

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Directory:Gadgetman_Groove

http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=opTnAAAAEBAJ

In conclusion

Both modifications require the timing of the engine to be adjusted for the improved conditions. Both help keep the temperature down as well, oil lasts longer. Both improve combustion meaning there’ll be less wasted fuel in the exhaust, dirtying the engine and polluting the environment, and wasting your money.

In essense you use less gas, get more power, engine will last longer: pretty efficient if you ask me.

I’m planning to add both to my engine and will report back. I haven’t seen anybody mention using both together yet, so I’ll add them separately to see what difference each makes. I’m hoping to see great results with both.

To veg or not to veg

 

I’m from Argentina, meat is really good there, we brag about it and export it. I’ve eaten meat almost daily all my life. Becoming a vegetarian is hard, meat is tempting.

The last half of my life I’ve lived in Mexico and, in my opinion, meat here sucks. But in all the years I’ve lived here, that hasn’t stopped me from eating it plenty, that’s how I was brought up. So how does someone like me become a vegetarian? Well, it took some learning to realize why I should and accept that it may not be a good thing to eat meat.

The first thing that made me consider it seriously was not a dietary reason, but a moral one. Watching the Earthlings documentary, one of the scenes even made me cry, but that didn’t stop me fully,  after a short while I was back to meat, even if in lesser amounts or frequency.

Other documentaries, like Food Inc., left a clear understanding that the way meat is produced now, it’s not fit to eat. “Raising them naturally, with respect and a healthy lifestyle would be the solution”, I thought and kept eating meat.

Then Ana bought Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days that talked about a raw diet and we watched it. It was extremely interesting to me because of what I learnt about the nutritional levels of organic raw food. The health aspect to this raw diet interested me. The documentary was showing the progress of a group of insulin dependent diabetics who -most of them- got so healthy that they didn’t need the shots any more.

Although they said it didn’t include meat, I was planning to include raw meat (e.g. tartar, sashimi) in my raw diet if I ever did it.

Then I watched another documentary on raw dieting called Supercharge Me! Then I also searched the web for raw diets and recipes and found plenty of stuff to work with. Still, I had not taken the decision and upgraded it to action. See? It sounded nice and refreshing, but somehow I thought that lack of meat would result in a protein deficiency.

And then I watched a couple of documentaries by the same person, Dying to Have Known and The Beautiful Truth, which talked about Dr. Max Gerson. I was very interested now because of the health statements. It was talking about dozens of people recovering from all sorts of diseases, including cancer, using Dr. Gerson’s approach. And he was seeing results with this about a century ago!

So I searched some more and found The Gerson Therapy, a recording of Dr. Gerson’s daughter, Charlotte, where she explains the details of it so well that it cleared up a lot of questions I had. She focuses on cancer treatment, as does her father’s book, so the diet is a bit stricter, but the things she covered regarding nutrition are useful to anyone.

The approach has two main areas: deficiency and toxicity. But I’m talking about meat vs. vegetables, how does toxicity relate to that? Well, for starters, meat is pretty toxic, including the one left stuck in your digestive tract rotting. Vegetables and fruits can be toxic if grown with chemicals, but organic, grown without poison and with good rich soil, would be fine.

She makes a good point, at least I considered it so, and that is that our bodies didn’t evolve from carnivores. So I find it reasonable to assume that meat is not the best diet for a body that wasn’t developed for it. I had recently already experienced feeling better with less meat and more fruits in my diet.

We consume lots of nutritional supplements at home to stay healthy, because “food is not enough”, but this may be different. What if food actually nurtured us and supplementation was not nearly as needed? Miss Gerson explained how much protein there is in vegetables, as well as minerals and enzymes, and how you actually get plenty following Dr. Gerson’s advice.

He uses juicing techniques as a way to allow getting the equivalent of lots more food nutrition per day, the juice carrying most of the nutrients, which would not be possible eaten because of the volume added by the fiber. These are in addition to what one eats, so they work as a DIY nutritional supplement.

Now I’ll have to find organic produce and buy it in big amounts, but not spending in meat would save a lot of money too. Eventually I’ll grow my own, I know plenty on the subject to grow good plants with plenty of nutrients.

Such a diet makes a lot of sense not just from a biochemistry perspective, but also from a biophysics one, which I studied some time ago. Improving all those systems in the body with the proper diet, will have a dramatic impact in the overall well-being of the organism.

So I’m pretty sold on the concept now. Will I not ever eat meat again? I doubt it. I do think, though, that after a while without it, detoxifying the body and getting good nutrition from vegetables and fruits, it’s unlikely I’ll really feel like eating meat.