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The Electrical Grid May Well Be The Next War's Battlefield
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fuzzy



Joined: 29 Nov 2013
Posts: 590
Location: The Marches, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The simple, personal, answer to UK electricity blackouts is a methane powered generator running on the domestic gas supply. Anyone know if such a thing is out there??
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adam2
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Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 6206
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fuzzy wrote:
The simple, personal, answer to UK electricity blackouts is a methane powered generator running on the domestic gas supply. Anyone know if such a thing is out there??


Yes, several firms offer these. More popular in the USA than in the UK but are available here.
Ideal for short term breakdowns, shortages or rota cuts. Not IMO a long term solution since if circumstances are so bad as to interrupt electricity supply long term then I doubt that gas would be available either.

A long term blackout implies considerable dislocation, with civil disorder and economic collapse likely. It seems unwise to count on the mains gas supply in such circumstances.
Especially if the trigger for the crisis was a lack of gas imports from or via Russia or Ukraine.

The gas supply is more reliable than electricity and should be fine in the odd power cut whilst times are more or less normal, but it seems unwise to count on it in case of TEOTWAWKI. Large urban areas blacked out for days would be bordering on TEOTWAWKI.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sort of thing
http://www.justgenerators.co.uk/pages/product210.htm

No recommendation is made or implied regarding the particular product featured, link provided to illustrate the TYPE of product to which I refer.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 13968
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Impressive. Price, that is. Laughing
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 4264
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
Impressive. Price, that is. Laughing
You get what you pay for.
I once installed a similar unit as a backup power supply to a public water system. (small town 200 customers). It had a 1000 gal propane tank on the pad beside it and exercised itself for thirty minutes each week automatically. The engine would start within ten seconds of the power being cut off and take over the load if the power did not come back on within one minute.
Just the thing for a lab or hospital that could not afford a long power cut.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
emordnilap wrote:
Impressive. Price, that is. Laughing
You get what you pay for.
I once installed a similar unit as a backup power supply to a public water system. (small town 200 customers). It had a 1000 gal propane tank on the pad beside it and exercised itself for thirty minutes each week automatically. The engine would start within ten seconds of the power being cut off and take over the load if the power did not come back on within one minute.
Just the thing for a lab or hospital that could not afford a long power cut.


Context. We were talking about households. Wink
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
emordnilap wrote:
Impressive. Price, that is. Laughing
You get what you pay for.
I once installed a similar unit as a backup power supply to a public water system. (small town 200 customers). It had a 1000 gal propane tank on the pad beside it and exercised itself for thirty minutes each week automatically. The engine would start within ten seconds of the power being cut off and take over the load if the power did not come back on within one minute.
Just the thing for a lab or hospital that could not afford a long power cut.


Context. We were talking about households. Wink
You can certainly get a nice, one house size, unit with or without all the bells and whistles. I've seen several this year while out appraising houses. One was on a hill top retreat that was off grid. About 300 sq. feet of solar panels feeding batteries and a propane 10,000 watt generator as back up.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
emordnilap wrote:
Impressive. Price, that is. Laughing
You get what you pay for.
I once installed a similar unit as a backup power supply to a public water system. (small town 200 customers). It had a 1000 gal propane tank on the pad beside it and exercised itself for thirty minutes each week automatically. The engine would start within ten seconds of the power being cut off and take over the load if the power did not come back on within one minute.
Just the thing for a lab or hospital that could not afford a long power cut.


Context. We were talking about households. Wink





The unit linked to is for household use, maximum output 9.3KW. As this is stated to be a maximum output, I would suspect that 9.3KW may be a short term rating with the continuous output being perhaps 8 to 8.5KW.

Some would consider that to be rather SMALL for domestic backup, remembering that many homes in the UK now have 24KW utility service.
Also a utility service is rather more tolerant of short term overloads than a generator.

8 or 9KW is ample for essential loads in most homes, but certainly wont allow for normal use of electric showers, electric cooking or significant electric heating.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:


8 or 9KW is ample for essential loads in most homes, but certainly wont allow for normal use of electric showers, electric cooking or significant electric heating.

I can't imagine setting up to do any of those three with electricity at current prices here. A totally different planet of course but it does come down to the difference between what you want and what you need. With a long term power cut what you need becomes very clear very quickly. I'd need some lights rather then candles and the oil lamps and enough to keep both the fridge and the chest freezer at safe temps. I could get along with not much else including the computer but other neighbors would need electricity to run their water well pumps and the gun on the furnace in winter. Id think 10KW would serve any single house if used prudently.
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PS_RalphW



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 5262
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our 24hr average electricity consumption is about 0.25KW. That includes electric shower and electric cooking, but not heating.

Our shower on lower power mode is about 7Wh. Cooking will be about the same. Kettle and microwave about 3KW each, probably less.

8 KW would be adequate as long as you are careful not to shower whilst cooking!
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 13968
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Context again. If households had to make a choice: spend 4,000 + running costs + maintenance and have electricity or have no electricity at all, many would go for it and consider it cheap.

The reality is that the cost of pollution is not factored into mains power bills (or the costs of gas for that matter), so 4,000 looks ridiculous to most households.
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"Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fụck the Buddhists" - Bjork
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS_RalphW wrote:
Our 24hr average electricity consumption is about 0.25KW. That includes electric shower and electric cooking, but not heating.

Our shower on lower power mode is about 7Wh. Cooking will be about the same. Kettle and microwave about 3KW each, probably less.

8 KW would be adequate as long as you are careful not to shower whilst cooking!
You are an over achiever in the conservation department. I on the other hand use a more typical 12 KWH per day 374 last month at a cost of $71.39 US Still doable with a 10K generator and my Honda 4000 does quite nicely in a power cut but I don't hook it up to the whole panel board just run essential appliances off cords to preclude feedback to the grid.
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