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Off The Grid

I'm going to live off-grid. Read my blog and learn how to do it yourself!

Archive for the ‘definitions and theory’ Category

What is solar energy

Solar energy is a term that refers to the direct use of sunlight to produce heat or electric power.  The sun’s energy is plentiful, but it is thinly distributed over a large area. It must be collected and concentrated in order to produce usable power. The amount of solar radiation per unit of flat area is above 1,000 Watts per square meter.

Heat used in a solar thermal system is guided by five basic principles: heat gain; heat transfer; heat storage; heat transport; and heat insulation. Here, heat is the measure of the amount of thermal energy an object contains and is the product of temperature and mass. The higher the temperature of a substance, the more heat it absorbed. Of course, some materials require more heat to become warmer than others — this is caused by differences in so called specific heat of substances. (more…)

I just looked at the results of the poll I posted in the sidebar when I launched this blog. I ask there, what are the causes you want to live off-grid. One of the main causes is at the moment the “to reduce utility costs”. When I cast my vote in that poll I didn’t check this option. I simply don’t believe that living off the grid is a good way to reduce utility costs. (more…)

Walden, or life in the woods

A couple of days ago I finished reading the “Walden”, a book by Henry D. Thoreau. Though it was published more than 150 years ago (in 1854), it is considered by many off-gridders as their bible and source of inspiration. When I first started reading about living off the grid, I found references to this book. (more…)

Liquefied petroleum gas – LPG (wikipedia)

Liquefied petroleum gas (or short LPG) is a mixture of propane and buthane and is commonly used for home heating and as an gasoline (petrol) alternative for internal combustion engines. It is made from crude oil or from natural gas, so by all means it is non-renewable fuel. It cannot be obtained easily at home and is very easy to use — the gas in pressure of 6 atmospheres is liquid in room temperature. So it doesn’t need large containers prepared for very high pressures to store it.

The following article gives a good intro about this fuel. (more…)

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Natural Gas (Wikipedia)

Natural gas is used in many homes to fuel furnaces, stoves, cookstoves and preparing domestic hot water. It’s relatively easy to be delivered to your home (if you have a natural gas pipeline near), very easy to use and clean to burn. Burning natural gas produces almost only water vapor and carbon dioxide, with small amounts of nitrogen oxides, but virtually no sulphur oxides. It is used as a feedstock for fertilizer production and many chemical syntheses, as it contains mostly methane.

Here’s a good article about this fuel — it’s origin, uses and future. (more…)

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