Stephen Hutson in Australia has decided to invest his time and money into providing the parts and pieces necessary to fabricate Slow Speed Power Plants and other ‘off the mains’ solutions. Just like here in North America there are people in Australia who live or want to live ‘outback’. Of course backup power is part of the market as well.
There is so much misinformation on the WEB, nearly everyone has an opinion and not all of them are based on hands on knowledge nor do they all support what we know about basic physics. It is very difficult for those who have less mechanical background to understand the Merits of KISS Engineering and Flywheels. My suggestion is to study basic physics and develop your critical thinking skills.
Your path to understanding the value of high Mass Flywheels might be luminated by understanding the higher efficiency of a compression ignition engine and the incredible amount of energy packed into fuel oil measured by weight or volume. Diesel fuel and kerosene are close cousins, if you own an engine like the Legendary Lister CS or clone, Kerosene is one of many fuels you can use ,adding just a little biodiesel, or some two stroke oil to increase the lubricity for the fuel pump is all you need. Straight Vegetable Oil and transesterified biofuels are on the menu as well, you need study up a bit on how to run them best, but the wide variety of fuels you can use in good times and hard times is a comfort to many of us.
But what about these big bulky flywheels, what’s the value? I might answer that all too many make the mistake of building too big of power plant, and then discovering just how thirsty they are, when you are using a generator for daily power, the efficiency of the conversion of fuel/kwh ( amount of work done for a given amount of fuel) becomes very important. The flywheel stores energy, this allows us to start and run things like deep well submersible pumps when larger and higher rated output generators fail to start them. An example might be the combination of the 6/1 CS clone and the utterpower PMG. The combination can produce huge amounts of starting power to get the pump motor up to speed, (Energy stored in flywheel) and then the pump runs at a fraction of the power that was necessary to start it. There are many generators that have a higher continuous output ratings in KW that fail to start a pump like the typical one horse power submersible we have all over North America. It is important to have a clean start, marginal generators can damage deep well pumps and lead to a VERY expensive pump pull and replacement.
But the final key to understanding the basics is in understanding the relationship between efficiency and percent load in diesels. Let’s look at some testing Electrical Engineer and Biofuel Enthusiast Jeff Maier did with the little 175 horizontal diesel.
Load = 2500W Fuel = .125 Gal / KW-Hr. 10.46 KW-Hr in 4h 6m; 1.313 gal of fuel used.
Load = 1469W Fuel = .146 Gal / KW-Hr. 5.25 KW-Hr in 3h 33m; 0.766 gal of fuel used.
Load = 1100W Fuel = .169 Gal / KW-Hr. 4.96 KW-Hr in 4h 26m; 0.836 gal of fuel used.
Load = 291W Fuel = .436 Gal / KW-Hr. 1.72 KW-Hr in 5h 54m; 0.750 gal of fuel used.
If you will take a moment to let these numbers sink in, this is typical of diesel power plants. The biggest mistake you might make is buying a large generator and then running it lightly loaded. Look how expensive it is to produce a Kilowatt Hour at low loading.
There are significant dividends paid to those who will take the time to develop a load management scheme, when the generator runs, load it to 80% or better if possible. If you are charging batteries, wash clothes, and add other daily loads at the same time to assure your fuel/kwh conversion is highest, it can make a huge difference over the course of a year. Buying a 15KW power plant when you will typically load it at 2800 watts is a huge and costly mistake, and there are many who invest in these larger power plants with no research at all. At the end of the day, the total cost of producing your own KWH of power over time is the key measure. Once you become addicted to Slow Speed, going from the musical notes this power plant produces back to the drone of higher speed power plants will drive you insane… fair warning….
All the best and good luck down under, what’s not to love about Australia and the many good people down there?