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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been seeing a lot of emails from friends saying they had power outages and it seems to be almost a frequent thing in Texas. Are there others out there who have had power outages as well this winter?

It doesn't matter what is causing it, the problem needs a solution.

So how can Ev'ers charge up their vehicles when there are power outages and in some places for days? The easy fix is solar, but that costs a lot. Generators need fuel and that also costs a lot. Wind is still a great alternative since it isn't really that much and can charge a vehicle, but wind is needed to make it work and not everyone has lots of wind.

Electric prices are also going up. That is also another issue.

Anyway, I am off grid so I use both solar and a generator, but to run my generator I use Ethanol I made myself. (Moonshine). I am currently switching over to using wood gas to run my generator, which just burns wood and filtered so it is then directed to the carb of the generator.
Not everyone will try alternative methods as I am doing, but I do not have a choice since there is no power around here for miles. I have to find a way to keep going and keep the money in my pocket and not at the gas pump.

So, anyone else up for ideas? Solar, wind or generator combined? Yes, no, maybe and what other solutions do we have to keep our EV's charged?

This is a serious issue because if there is a natural disaster (Earthquake) and power is out for weeks or months, what can we rely upon if our vehicles are still in one piece to get from point A to point B or just get out of town to the next town. Ok, so say nothing like that ever happens, but currently power outages are happening.

I am just looking for what others have done or are doing to solve this problem.
 

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So how can Ev'ers charge up their vehicles when there are power outages and in some places for days? The easy fix is solar, but that costs a lot.

This is a serious issue because if there is a natural disaster (Earthquake) and power is out for weeks or months, what can we rely upon if our vehicles are still in one piece to get from point A to point B
Smaller solar installations (nearly said systems) are not all that expensive, especially with rebates. I see advertisements for 1000W systems for $300 (using cheap Chinese panels and after rebates). They may not be enough to fully offset the carbon emissions of an EV, but they would be enough to charge an EV over a day or two.

My 1000 W system (edit: not a $300 job) can charge a 48 V battery; I could reconfigure my EV pack to segments of 48 V and charge it slowly that way. You might think that's a lot of futzing around, but consider that in a disaster situation with no electricity for weeks, you can't pump gas either. Well, I suppose a few gas stations would have standby generators, but there'd be a long queue at those gas stations.

Some types of solar inverter have the ability to switch to a stand alone inverter mode, so you could just plug your EV charger into the solar inverter; no futzing required. Most of these would require a battery of some sort; these are not popular because of the expense and hassle of batteries. But EVers are used to maintaining batteries, and may have access to a cheap ex-EV pack.
 

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It would take me ( at .056/kwh) 6.11 years to pay this off. You could charge it up over a few days if the wind was blowing those days. a good wind site has the turbines up only about 30% of the time.
http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.asp

Better off getting out your bicycle. or using your shank ponies.

Better to build the power plants you need and not the cyclic so called green power. If they have power outages people will just start getting diesel generators. Whats green about that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well, solar isn't bad, it is just in winter time the sun shines about once every month if I am lucky, which some in the Northwest have the same problem. Right now my solar panels are under 3 feet of ice and snow. haha. Works great in the summer, but in winter it is all generator. So that is where my Ethanol still comes in (per regulations in each State, which here it is not so bad) and the backup or I should say going to the wood gasifier to run the generator.

Wind, it is really a nice thing to have, but it would have to be a sheltered wind generator or at least have a roof several feet above it to keep it from freezing in the extreme cold and getting iced. Haven't built one yet, but planned many times to do it. However, I would also have to run a lot of wire to get up high enough on the other hill next to me for it to work all the time since wind doesn't reach into the valley that much. So its a catch 22 on the wind idea. I lose more voltage than what I would take in since the line would be so long.

So my other two options were ethanol and wood gas or the wood gasifier to run my generators. However, I have not looked into every single alternative and aside from fringe energy methods (which I am still playing around with) there has to be something else I am missing that I hope would come to light here.

The problem I have with ethanol to run my generators is I have to have a good amount of sugar on hand. Since it is winter I cannot just grow things to produce ethanol or hooch like potatoes or pick cat tails, but the wood gasifier only needs wood to burn and comes out clean into the generator. So are these the two only real options for off grid power or for power for those who lose power? (Other than solar and wind).

There is also the micro-hydro generators, but again my creek freezes up every winter so that is out of the question here. Perhaps others will find use for the micro-hydro generators in warmer areas. They are not super expensive, but work pretty well.

Just keeping my options open for ideas I may have missed. ALong the way others will also get a few ideas that may help them too.
 

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I'm on about 80% solar.6kw for my home and adding another 5kw. to power ev ford ranger . diesel generators with a 2000 gallon supply of veg oil to convert to bio diesel stopped collecting it as I need 1 million insurance to stay legal . wind is next and gasifier or methane leaning to methane digester as it is better for high compression diesels .
 

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Well, solar isn't bad, it is just in winter time the sun shines about once every month if I am lucky, ... Right now my solar panels are under 3 feet of ice and snow.
Wind, it is really a nice thing to have, but it would have to be a sheltered wind generator or at least have a roof several feet above it to keep it from freezing in the extreme cold and getting iced.
There is also the micro-hydro generators, but again my creek freezes up every winter so that is out of the question here.
Oh, right. I live in a sub-tropical climate (which feels like it's getting closer to tropical every year), and in winter the sun just moves north by 20 degrees, and we get 1-2 hours less sunshine each day. In summer, I get less power than I should because the panels heat up so much.

I forget that some people choose to live in ice-caves ;)
 

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Power outages are either caused by insufficient grid capacity (not generating capacity) or storms. In either case they are temporary, and installing a home generator or a large stack of batteries as backup would solve the "problem."

A 20Kw home generator costs around $5k installed from Home Depot. They make units which will run off natural gas (or, you can modify the cheaper gasoline units yourself), so those in areas with natural gas needn't worry about running out of fuel for a few decades.
 

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http://www.bizmology.com/2011/02/02/ercots-power-outages-in-texas-im-in-the-dark/

Is this an on going thing or a once a winter mismanagement thing. 5k is a lot of money for a rolling blackout. natural gas or diesel reserve if you absolutely cannot be without power.

I was in Russia in 2001 on a black sea coast town during a storm caused power outage that lasted some 2 weeks. The storm knocked down 300 power poles. The only place with electrical backup was the sea port, the mayors office, and a liquor store. Beyond the obvious of no TV. The central heating plant had reduced heat output, the water was reduced therefore the sewer was also reduced. That place was like northern California or Texas in the winter. so freezing pipes was not a concern. I would hate to think what one would do up north. So figure out where you are going to do your due due if the power is off for a long time.
 
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