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Home Forums General Discussion What level of technology?? Re: What level of technology??


I agree with the sentiment that people generally have been spoilt by the good life but in this area at least, there are many who grew up in off-grid homes totally lacking in amenities including indoor running water.

What I do find is that most people are influenced by what they read in the press and hear on radio or see on TV. I recently saw some statistics that indicated lobbying efforts by off-grid advocates and companies involved in making off-grid technology amounted to some $14 – $16 million last year wheras for the same time frame the oil industry spent BILLIONS of dollars. In other words several orders of magnitude more money.

Guess which industry is going to get more attention.

Look for ads in the popular press. Which technology get the most attention?

I’m not talking about the ads advertising free power for nothing type, but the ads promoting products intended to reduce or eliminate the bills incurred to heat or power a house hold. Its mostly solar.

While discussing methane digesters with a rancher, he said “but what about solar?” This despite the fact he was quite familiar with methane digesters and had a disposal problem with chicken manure. Chicken manure is considered one of the most prolific sources of bio-gas or methane as it is more commonly called. Yesterday this website carried a news story about bio gas generation being mentioned at a pig farming conference. According to the story the conference was told 25,000 known plants were generating methane gas in Europe and using it for power production. Only 25 were registered in the UK. I find this surprising. I remember the collapsible storage tanks from my childhood. Evidently this technology has fallen into disuse. I also remember when some of the richer house holds began converting to oil from coal heating. It was hailed as a modern marvel. Clean, tidy and no fuss. A tanker truck would show up once a month and refill the tank and the furnace would run automatically in the mean time.

In this area if you do not cut and stack cord wood in summer, you can expect to freeze next winter. Most of my friends have already begun wood cutting now. We are far enough north that we have 16 hours of darkness in wintertime and sometimes the clouds make the remaining daytime pretty gloomy. In other words solar is pretty useless for about 4 – 6 months of the year.

So far there really isn’t any technology available to convert wood heat into electricity on a scale suitable for a single family dwelling.