Generating Electricity

March 7, 2017

in Energy

We depend greatly these days on our always available public utility electric power supply. In some areas, outages occur but they usually don’t last very long, in most cases power is restored within a few hours or a few days at most. When we do lose power, we worry about heating and cooling, and how long food will last on our refrigerator, but we usually have flashlights and candles for emergency light after dark. We just do without our computers and TVs unless they have batteries. We don’t worry about all the electric appliances we use. Laundry can wait for a day or two. We don’t use the blender or coffee maker or microwave.

If the utility electric power failed and we knew it would be out for weeks or months or even years, it poses a different level of the same problem. Some of the factors mentioned above can become critical in a short amount of time. The inconveniences begin to add up over time. Eventually, we’ll need to consider generating some electricity at least for the most critical uses. Here is a list of common means of generating electricity:

  • Solar – there is a large range of solar photo-voltaic options, from large roof mounted panels to small hand held battery charges. The small units work well for recharging small batteries that are used in small appliances. The large roof mounted solutions require charge controllers, power cables, regulators, and expensive banks of batteries. However, once the expense of a battery bank is absorbed, it can be adapted to work with most if not all of the other power generation methods.
  • Generator: fuel – this means integrated units that contain a fuel based engine and an electric generator. Modern units can use gasoline, diesel, kerosene, propane, natural gas, and many have the ability to use more than one type of fuel.
  • Generator: torque – this means an electric generator that is designed to convert torque on a shaft to electric current. This type is usually used with different forms of power supplying the torque:
    • Wind
    • Water
    • Steam
    • Leg power

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