[permaculture] Energy-Energy Policy-Bioregional Design-Feasible Power Solutions.US.Fl

Kenneth Benway ken at arcadiandesign.org
Sat Jun 16 10:06:49 EDT 2007

Recently I posted an article titled: 
"Energy Policy and Bioregional Design-The Sustainability of Biofuels"
I received a large response from this article which for the most part, I
found insightful and relevant to the article.
To whoever changed the topic name I would suggest that maybe next time
you consider using a more empowering title like "Feasible Power
Solutions" which has a more positive intonation than "Infeasible power
fantasies". This is just a suggestion. In my view our focus should be on
solutions that work not dwelling on those that don't as the topic name
implies. Certainly we must support our "solution" proposals with
examples of why other approaches are flawed, this I have no problem

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am taking on a new permaculture
design project which is focused on the Florida biogregion at the
bioregional level. Anything we could do to keep the topics and input
relating to this specific design would be greatly appreciated. It is
very time consuming for me to have to jump all over this list to dig up
and compile information relevant to this project. 

Jedd pointed out my use of the word "should" in the context of my
previous article. Jedd, I agree with you completely, "should" is
actually a word that I avoid in conversation due to its obvious
connotations, I thank you for your input and will be more vigilant in
the future. 
My only request is that, as Jedd has done in the past, we all strive to
provide these suggestions off list as they tend to distract us from the

Below I have pulled relevant content from the "Infeasible power
fantasies" thread and posted them below in a manner that they relate to
a particular system configuration or technology.


Viable Energy System Technologies for the Florida Bioregion

1. Photo Voltaic Power Systems coupled to the grid via a net meter.

2. Photo Voltaic Power Systems disconnected from the grid using battery
systems for energy storage.

3. Photo Voltaic Power Systems using a combination of net meter and

4. Solar water heating systems that provide both hot water for personal
use 	as well as meeting the heating requirement of a building.

5. Passive Solar Design methods that reduce the energy demand of a

6. Other emerging Solar to Electric conversion technologies.

7. Other emerging Solar to Hot Liquid conversion technologies.

8. Geothermal technologies that leverage ground water temperatures with
respect to stabilizing ambient air temperatures to a desired level.

9. The use of DC or low voltage AC appliances and other electrical
devices 	to both reduce system costs and in house component

	I'm sure that I've missed a few, please feel free to add any
that you may be aware of.

List participants input:

On Sat, 16 Jun 2007, Robyn Francis wrote:
> Solar Voltaics are only one means of solar power generation. Many of
> new solar thermal systems actually peak at 2am so the issue and some
> heat to generate energy for several days. The only issue then is
backup for
> extended cloudy wet periods.

The above comment begins to discuss key issues that impact system
design. Thanks Robyn, for your input.
Jebb wrote:

 "Are these the things that look like a black corrugated iron roof,
 and that get stupidly hot in even the mildest heat .. ?  I've seen
 these, and am expect I'll head down that path for my own hot
 water system.  Do you have some pointers to manufacturer or retail
 pages of the 2am-peak style systems that you're referring to?

 As you say, storage of energy becomes the big one, and this is
 why solar will always be a component of a green energy provisioning
 system .. until room temperature superconductors are invented,
 that is."

Here Jedd is has brought up several excellent points. 
1. relates to solar hot water system designs and related storage issues.

2. relates to sourcing components for a system. This is a need we all
have and perhaps we might consider developing a new sub topic that
begins developing a source list for system components by system type.
3. relates to emerging technologies such as "room temperature
superconductors" which I would certainly like to know more about.


Jedd wrote:
"On Sat, 16 Jun 2007, Kenneth Benway wrote:
> Solar should meet nearly 100% of Florida's energy needs.

 Should is such a useful word, isn't it.

 Anyhoo, how do you propose to supply energy when the
 sun isn't shining?

 Have you calculated the surface area that would need to be  covered
with PVC's in order to provide the necessary power?" 

To address Jebb's comments above:
The first is handled. ( perhaps we might consider outlawing the word
"should" from this list, just kidding!) 
With regard to the second remark the answer is storage batteries. 
With respect to the third comment, We need to find creative ways to
reduce energy consumption which ultimately would drive the power
requirement which would determine how much surface area we need for
photo voltaic. The remaining question will be resolved using simple

Robyn wrote:

"Jedd, you need to think beyond the isolated individual household
systems. At that scale currently solar voltaics are pretty-much all
that's on offer. However there's a lot of innovation happening with
solar thermal systems and most of these operate on a larger scale to
power from 20 up to 200,000 households. Many of these employ parabolic
reflectors. Some store heat overnight using various liquids.

Some of these could be installed on flat rooftops in innercity areas and
industrial estates or even over roofed carparks. Other prototypes have
been set up on farmland with no disturbance to livestock free-range
grazing underneath.

You might like to check out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy just to see how a few
solarthermal power generation systems work. I've seen other
systems/variations in documentaries and various science & technology

There's also the solarthermal power station being built in Western NSW
with a big glasshouse covering hectares of land. The hot air
accumulating under the glass feeds convectively through a huge tower in
the centre driving a turbine. This system also is expected to peak daily
at 2-3pm.

Now we are hitting the nail on the head. Scale is a key issue here and
the system design configuration will change as a function of scale.
Thanks again for your powerful insights.

Thanks to all that contributed to the previous topic. If I missed any
input, I apologize. As I mentioned earlier it can become difficult to
find these valuable nuggets of pertinent information when searching this

Ken Benway
Arcadian Design
St Petersburg Fl


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