Author: admin

Battery Basics

A long time ago (in the nineteen-sixties), when I was growing up, batteries cost a few bucks and we used them in flashlights, transistor radios, and kiddie toys; and they were pretty uncomplicated devices. Fifty years later consumers spend a lot more on batteries and battery-based technology. Electric car batteries — $10,000.00. Residential solar power backup batteries — $5000.00 to $20000.00. The economics of batteries have changed enormously — batteries will play a major role in residential power, commercial power, transportation, and communication. World’s Largest Building to Manufacture Batteries To put all this in perspective, consider the Tesla Gigafactory, world’s largest building opened last year, outside of Sparks Nevada.  Tesla Corporation plans to produce more lithium ion batteries at this one location than were produced in the entire world in 2013, by 2018 approximately 35  GWh/year of its new 2170 batteries.  According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk the 2170 will be the cheapest lithium ion battery ever with the highest energy density,. Says Musk, “We have the best cell in the world that is also the cheapest cell.” Battery Technology/Prices in Rapid Flux According to a 2017 study by McKinsey and Company battery costs have fallen from approximately $1,000.00 per kWh in 2010 to $227 per kWh in 2016, and are projected to fall below $100/kWh by 2030.  $100.00/kWh is considered to be the magic price point for battery storage where electric cars...

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Useful Microgrid Links

NREL Project Integrate OMNETRIC Group Library The value of the microgrid as a complementary technology INTEGRATE Project Points to New Methods of Electric Grid Control COMMUNITY ENERGY: POWER TO THE PEOPLE Omnetric Group Page Decentralized Energy Blog Rural Africa takes to decentralized power Singapore Open Data portal A QUARTERLY LOOK AT AMERICA’S FAST-EVOLVING DISTRIBUTED SOLAR POLICY CONVERSATION   CABINET IN YOUR COMMUNITY: Grid Modernization Fact...

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Six Feet of Superfood

The health benefits of collards are well documented — calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid (see What Are the Health Benefits of Cooked Collard Greens and The World’s Healthiest Foods-Collard Greens).  This year I was amazed at the productivity of the plants in my little 6-7 foot wide patch of collards. I literally could not eat all the collards my patch was producing and I gave away many bags of delicious tender succulent leaves. My secret?  Soil preparation, mulching, water, and fertilizer. Out-Perform the Commercial Growers In general commercial collar growers sell you an entire collar plant, typically...

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Garden Math, Applying 10-10-10 Fertilizer

Fertilizer, when properly applied, can enormously increase yields in your garden, but sometimes it can be confusing to figure out how much to apply. This article contains hints and instructions for how to measure and apply the right amount of fertilizer to your crops, plants, and trees. 10-10-10 Fertilizer One of the most basic garden fertilizers is generically called 10-10-10 fertilizer — it contains (by weight) 10 percent nitrogen(N), 10 percent phosphorus(P), and 10 percent potassium(K).  This means that 100 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer  contains 10 pounds of nitrogen, 10 pounds of phosphorus, and 10 pounds of potassium. Also, a cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer weighs approximately 1/2 pound. Covering 100 Square Feet of Flowers or Vegetables with 10-10-10 To prepare 100 square feet of garden space for planting, you should apply about  .7 lb (seven tenths of a pound) of 10-10-10 fertilizer.  Since a cup of 10-10-10 weighs about 1/2 pound, this means you should apply slightly less than 1 1/2 cups of 10-10-10 to the area.   Use a shovel or tiller to blend the granules into the soil to a depth of about half a foot. Covering a 10 Foot by 2 Foot Row of Vegetables with 10-10-10 A 10 foot by 2 foot row of vegetables is 20 square feet, 1/5 the area of a 100 square foot area.  This will require 1/5 of 1 1/2 cups of...

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Start Tomatoes from Cuttings

Not all plants are easy to start from cuttings, but it is super easy to create tomato plants from cuttings.  Starting tomato cuttings is faster than growing tomato plants from seeds and it is basically free if someone will let you take cuttings from their plants.  Another advantage of starting plants from cuttings is that it pretty much guarantees the strain of plant is the same as the plant you took the cutting from — with seeds there is always some possibility of genetic contamination. Use Tomato Suckers You can root almost any part of a tomato bush but...

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