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Author Topic: Alternatives to Electricity  (Read 4443 times)

Offline fishmac

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Alternatives to Electricity
« on: 11/01/2009 09:02:45 »
The reason why I capitalized the word 'electricity' is because that is what our lives have become based upon. In our world today we are ever more dependant upon electricity and it's quite shocking to see what can happen when there are massive power failures or natural disasters that cause widespread power failures. The result might be anything like panic, stock market break-downs, and other things that people can't cope with. Besides that, people really can't live without electricity once they've become accustomed to it. You can't work at your office, you can't watch your favorite tv series, you can't even find the darn candles at night without a flash light!
I'm not writing this because I want you to tell me how I can use gas and windpower and what-not to power my house or car. I'm writing because I'm wondering if there is or ever will be any true alternative for Electrical Power.
So my question is: Is it possible to create and use an energy other than electricity to power television sets, light bulbs, computers, etc.? And if there can be such a thing, then how can we use it more efficiently than our waste of electricity today?


 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #1 on: 11/01/2009 13:49:14 »
" It's quite shocking [...]". Ho ho.

I have never come across an electicity-ist before. Electricity is a convenient way of moving energy about. There are certainly other ways, gas being one, and, if that's all you want to do for heating (and maybe lighting) then there are alternatives. But as far as using a computer or TV or any other electronic equipment, there is really no alternative, apart from using the alternative energy source to generate electricity locally.
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #2 on: 11/01/2009 16:06:09 »
You could try to use Fluidics but because the size of the gas/fluid molecules you're using you can't reduce the size of the devices very much.

Have a look at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluidics
 

Offline Karsten

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Alternatives to Electricity
« Reply #3 on: 11/01/2009 16:38:14 »
Is the problem our dependence on electricity, or our dependence on devices that happen to be powered by electricity?

Also, is finding alternatives to electricity the solution to the problem of wasting electricity? Does it not make more sense to fight the waste (of anything)? Why would a wasteful society waste one thing but not a new thing that replaces it? This is an attitude issue and not a technology issue.

Karsten
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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« Reply #4 on: 11/01/2009 22:39:43 »
Would it be possible to wire the TV to one of those bikes so that when you pedal hard enough, the TV works? How hard would you have to pedal?
 

Offline fishmac

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« Reply #5 on: 11/01/2009 22:51:30 »
Well, I suppose those are valid points, Karsten. And yes, it is in part an attitude issue. And of course by 'wasting' I mean spending so much electricity (and for us here in Europe) so much money, that it is neither healthy for the environment (at least in about 80% of the production of electricity) nor for the wallet.

But that would be moving on to environmentalism and that's not what I'm trying to find out.

I think that wasting electricity can probably only be stopped if there is a stop in producing electricity for the masses... and I'm not trying to go ethical here either. What I'm wondering is, isn't there any way to be self sufficient? Or rather to have a self sufficient power source?

@graham.d: You've got a point. It is simply (and then again not so simply, seeing as there isn't really an alternative of) moving energy around. What then about different forms of energy? I don't know if I would consider myself an 'electricity-ist'  ;) But the topic just won't let me go. Especially because I dislike a lot of things to do with electricity. For example: wires!!! That's one reason why I'm interested in finding out if there isn't any research going on for new and possibly self sufficient forms of energy that can actually be harnessed and used to our advantage. Oh, and Wi-tricity is cool but it doesn't count. That's still electrical energy.

So then perhaps another question: what is found in electricity that makes our TVs and electrical appliances work? I'm afraid I was never that great at any of the sciences.

And I don't see myself pedaling... for power...  ;D
 

Offline Karsten

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« Reply #6 on: 11/01/2009 22:57:39 »
Would it be possible to wire the TV to one of those bikes so that when you pedal hard enough, the TV works? How hard would you have to pedal?

There are several human powered generators available for purchase online. The following site I like because you can build it yourself and there is lots of other info: http://www.los-gatos.ca.us/davidbu/pedgen.html. How hard you have to pedal depends entirely on how much power your TV consumes.

Needless to say (so why do I still write it?), this is still electricity of course. All you do it make it yourself.

Karsten
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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« Reply #7 on: 11/01/2009 23:03:13 »
Well, you could always go nuclear...
 

Offline Karsten

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« Reply #8 on: 11/01/2009 23:21:01 »
Electricity is nothing but electrons moving through a conductor. There is nothing inherently bad about it. Nothing wrong with wires either if you ask me.

It depends on what you want to do: Do you want to create heat? Electricity is not the most efficient way to go about this although you can reach extremely high temperatures with electricity. Do you want to create movement for doing work? Electricity works very well for that. Do you want to give your body energy? You will need to find something you can eat. Electricity won't do.

If you want self-sufficiency, human power is a good step. Solar power, wind power, water power, residential geothermal energy, animal power, biomass fuels, etc. all work as well. Some of those methods involve electricity.

Don't expect independence to come cheap. Very few people will be able to afford this. Residential electricity power generation is expensive and the devices you can operate efficiently with such little power are expensive as well. Also, don't expect to run electric clothes dryers  or plasma TVs with home-made power. You will have to learn how to live with less energy and less convenience, but that is something we should all learn. And you will need much more than just basic scientific understanding of all of this. After all, you want independence - not paying an electrical engineer to put it all together for you and maintain the system day and night as well.

The easiest (and by far cheapest) way to decrease personal energy dependence: Consume less energy. Strive for gadget independence.

Karsten


 

Offline Karsten

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« Reply #9 on: 11/01/2009 23:22:18 »
Well, you could always go nuclear...

A Kiwi saying this? :)

Karsten
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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« Reply #10 on: 11/01/2009 23:23:33 »
Well... [:I] [:I] Ummm... [:I] @#$$ He started it  :D :D
 

Offline Chemistry4me

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« Reply #11 on: 11/01/2009 23:24:25 »
Strive for gadget independence.
Yes, very true indeed.
 

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