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14

It depends on what power you can produce and the efficiency of the equipment you use to convert that mechanical power into electrical power. As a moderately fit 50+ cyclist, I can produce over 200 W for five or so hours, 300 W for much shorter periods, and levels around 1 kW for less than a minute. A commonly quoted efficiency for electrical generation is ...


13

Summary: in the US about 150 hours a day, in Australia only about 90. Solar panels are better. Power Generated Most people who cycle regularly can produce between 150 and 250 watts for an hour. More for shorter periods or fitter people, obviously. Indurain is believed to have peaked at 2kW but he was exceptional even for a world champion (some people are ...


12

Disclosure: Doing things such as this is my 'day job'. You can use a bicycle dynamo to recharge a suitable battery at very little expense and with minimal effort. Use of something like the "Reecharger" that you mention is not essential, does extremely little for you and, if their description of their own products are accurate, the Reecharger is a badly ...


11

This is built on, and directly quotes from, my answer and user26165's answer to a similar question over on Physics.SE. No, fresnel lenses are not widely used for solar power. Occasionally, but rarely. The issues are engineering and economics. Other solar competitors The big economic story is the amazing speed at which ordinary photovoltaics have reduced ...


10

It's possible, but the best way to do it was devised over a century ago: hydro power. Let the high land collect and channel lots of rain, and then put a turbine on the channel. The problem is that raindrops, as they fall, have very little energy - very little mass, and pretty low velocity too. Once they've fallen on high land, they've still got a lot of ...


10

No, you cannot get more energy out than you put in. No, you cannot invent a perpetual motion machine.


9

DC motors: The most suitable motors are those which have permanent magnets in their rotors. Traditionally these were pure DC motors - where DC was fed into the motor rather than AC such as is obtained from AC mains or via a transformer, but the boundary has become blurred as a BLDC motor or BLDCM = "Brushless DC Motor" uses electronics to take supplied DC ...


9

Why did you rule out Solar? Solar is effective even in the state of Alaska. According to this article a 16 panel 2.5KW system in Fairbanks Alaska can provide you with around 500KWh/month of power during the summer, and 10KWh/month during the dark winter months (when daylight only lasts 3 or 4 hours). A laptop that consumes 40W of power would use around 7....


6

The big advantage of GravityLight is that you can pull the weight once and then you have electricity for a relatively long period (I read somewhere it's 30 minutes). This is ideal when you need to have both hands free to do some work. This long period is also a must if you want it to replace the kerosene lamps that are currently used in rural Africa. The ...


6

I asked my late father (an electrical engineer) this very question years ago and he said that essentially, the entire cost of a solar panel is the cost of the energy to make it. You dig dirt out of the ground and apply energy to turn that into metal, glass, etc, then you use energy to ship parts around and to assemble them into a panel and ship the panel, ...


6

In this question about rooftop hydro I covered the efficiency question almost as an aside. I can't find an actual plant with efficiency over 80%, only claims that that might be possible. The average efficiency will be much lower than the peak, as a lot of plants are old and have efficiencies around 60% (although some have been refitted to boost efficiency). ...


6

I'm going to assume you'e in the USA since you're using Imperial units. 1) Is 3 phase power more efficient to generate/use? In bulk, yes. Three phase (or sometimes 6 phase/3 phase 220V in low-voltage countries like the USA) has more options for direct driving motors and generators, and the higher voltages mean lower currents and hence lower losses. This ...


6

The validity of your assumptions depend very much on your location and on the amount of energy you want to generate. Some small-scale solutions do not suffer from the same drawback as large-scale solutions. Biomass The CO2 emitted by burning biomass is CO2 from the atmosphere that was taken up by plants and trees. This means that energy from biomass can be ...


5

BBC1's "Bang Goes the Theory" demonstrated a human-powered home in a TK programme. In this segment, 8.5 kW of power required 70 cyclists, of fairly typical fitness, or about 107W per cyclist. The full programme shows running a household of four for twelve hours utilising 80 cyclists, working with breaks. The example isn't highlighting low-power draws, but ...


5

short answer: yes, it's better than driving a fossil-fuel car. Long answer: it may seem to make less sense if you only consider a very small range of impacts, where all of the costs are visible, but only some of the benefits. Only when you zoom out to the long-term system level do you capture all of the benefits. And there are even better alternatives. ...


5

The very reason solar energy is exciting is that it is not scarce at all. So, instead of making the best use of any photon, we use twice the surface area and cover it with cheap solar panels. Pros Cheaper Higher output Better scalability Minimum need for structure. Otherwise, you need to elevate a very heavy lenses Cons If you live in Monaco, you want ...


5

Before you worry about charging, consider this: It takes about 85W to propel a 75kg cyclist at 20km/h under ideal conditions. Thin film (i.e. flexible) solar panels have an efficiency of ~9% and when deployed as an overhead canopy would likely deliver no more than 50W/m² in mid-latitudes. To generate the required 85W you thus would need a panel 1.7m² in ...


5

The second slide of the presentation linked by you actually shows the issue with wake very clearly. You could also talk about turbulences instead of wake (my company actually does). Wake is simply the pertubation of the flow of the wind by wind turbines (or any other object, like hills, trees, buildings, airplane noses, the grill on the new SUV by Chrysler, ...


4

Measuring impact I've yet to see a meaningful metric that relates directly to materials, other than the EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested); and there's discussion about whether or not EROEI is at all a useful measure: its probably not that useful, since once it's over 1.0, it's completely subsumed into the economics. The same would be true of a more ...


4

I did some digging and found data with a bit more resolution. First, polysilicon prices since 2010: Source: Fu, et al, Economic Measurements of Polysilicon for the Photovoltaic Industry: Market Competition and Manufacturing Competitiveness. Then, crude oil prices since 2010: Source: www.macrotrends.net, Crude Oil Prices - 70 Year Historical Chart. Note ...


4

No. As the graphs provided show, the prices both spike during the GFC, loosely speaking, but the oil price spikes later and declines faster, then continues a general slow rise while the price of silicon falls. Note that in late 2005/early 2006 oil drops abruptly while silicon is rising sharply, but during the 2011 blip in silicon prices you see a similar ...


4

There are very few grids with high penetration of those exogenously-variable renewables that have up til now provided no inertia to the grid - wind and PV. What matters is not the penetration in a particular market, nor in a particular country, but rather what the penetration is on a particular synchronous grid - the area over which the frequency is ...


4

From the Wind Measurement International site: P90 is all about quantifying the uncertainty of annual energy yield predictions. P90 is the energy WMI predicts that a wind turbine is 90% likely to produce over an average year, given the uncertainties in the measurement, analysis and wind turbine operation. P50, on the other hand, is the average annual ...


4

Burning more of the plant makes better use of the plant, but requires a much larger setup to be efficient. I suspect that at the scale of us mere mortals, your best bet is to extract and burn the oil, and burn the rest of the plant for heating. Problem is you will likely get enough waste heat from the power plant to provide most of the rest of your ...


4

Renewables shouldn't be thought of as an either / or proposition. If we're thinking about an entire economy you want a variety of sources at a variety of scales, with a variety of storage systems. The availability of individual solar panels, wind turbines etc. can vary a lot over time. But with a sufficiently distributed network the availability becomes ...


3

Another option: Generate single phase. Run your house on this. Wiring your electrical system is much simpler, and can be done by anyone who can read and understand the equivalent of "Alberta Electrical Code Simplified" In the shop, buy 3 phase equipment, and get a VFD (variable frequency drive) unit for each one. These have the advantage that you can set ...


3

Energy Storage Association cites round trip efficiencies above 80% http://energystorage.org/energy-storage/technologies/pumped-hydroelectric-storage As for the evaporation question. I don't know of any specific data on it, but would expect it to be minimal if you charge the reservoir during off-peak (cheaper) hours and discharge it during the morning ramp. ...


3

With any given engineering field there is a learning curve. With wind turbines there is a big incentive to go big. The higher up you are, the more wind. In addition in many cases, it's easier to get permission to redevelop an existing wind farm with larger turbines than to get permission to build a new one. Also higher air is less gusty, and taller ...


3

Here's a quick answer; hopefully we'll see some more in depth answers too. Looking at the given charts closely, the price of polysilicon appears to decline from around $75 in early 2010 to $17 in 2014, but the price of oil appears to gradually rise from $80 to $100 over the same period. This is very different behaviour, and says to me the relationship ...


3

The simplest way to approach this is to consider the mean wave energy flux in terms of the power per unit length of wavefront, usually expressed in kW/m. In other words, if I could build a perfect wave energy converter, then that is the amount of power that I could get, on average, per metre of device. That's somewhat simplistic, and it ignores many factors ...


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