May 2008

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I tried to harness energy from batteries in the form of a weapon. When it didn't work I just threw the batteries at my victim. It was pretty awesome.

Mark Thorson

If you want to read something
alarming about the grid,
download and view this
PowerPoint presentation.
It explains how the electrical
grid is being driven off a
cliff, which will result in
demand outstripping supply
within the next few years.
(2009 to 2012 in California.)


Hey Scott,

Check out these awesome off the grid homes:

I thought these were supposed to be entirely off the grid, but maybe I'm wrong, unless you like going to bed as soon as the sun disappears and only being online for a couple hours a day. LOL


Richard Factor

When I'm not writing blurbs for your wonderful book, I'm working on my PriUPS project. I use my Toyota Prius, which makes a fine generator, for electrical power when the utility is down. It's not a big stretch to add solar cells to the system to supply the base load while using the PriUPS to augment them when the sun is out for a long period.

Mike Johnston

It's impossible to live off the grid? That would be a surprise to my friends in Vermont who have been living 100% off the grid for the past 17 years. They have two solar panels a control console, and five "house batteries." They keep a gasoline generator in a covered "doghouse" in the back yard, which they have to use for an hour or two once or twice a winter, when the skies are heavily overcast for more than five days in a row. Other than that they do fine with solar, winter and summer.

For a while they even had an ox pasture with an electric fence that was solar powered.

They're not rich and their system didn't cost them a fortune.


This guy claims you'll be able to buy a machine to take you off the grid NEXT YEAR. If it works like he says... wow.

jerry w.

Those who piss and moan about the repay time on solar miss the big picture:

It's not just the money, it's where it's going, or in this case not going.

It's not going to countries that fund people to fly jet liners into buildings.

It's not going to countries that keep people living in the 19th century.

That's the big picture, you have to step back a bit to see the whole deal.

Get off the grid? That's just a start.


Big Al... a fine idea on the cruise size battery plus flywheel... I've had similar but I don't know battery or flywheel tech in any depth so I never went with it.

Note: to sell, you'd need to increase the power of the electric motor. Direct to the wheels makes a huge difference, but not that huge. Anything marketed to Americans needs to be usable at high freeway speeds (75-80mph) going up a 3% grade of indefinite length.

That, and you need to spin the car up before someone gets in because most people just aren't going to accept a sluggish start... they want to be able to go from rest stop straight back onto the highway without thinking about it. Having a vehicle with enough power to cruise at high speed up a slight the freeways makes that spin-up faster and makes the results much more tolerable if there is very little time given to a spin up before hand.

I don't know anything about the aluminum/hydrogen-peroxide for energy storage beyond a page or so of googling, but am curious to see more. Post a little more on that, I'm interested. If you don't want to leave more skid marks on the blog, direct email is fine, too byogmanA TgmailD OTcom.



Merry Christmas Scott

le Big MAC

Anyone see the video of the folks in Japan who hooked up a Christmas tree to a water tank inhabited by an electric eel? It's gotta be somewhere on, from their Oddball series. Something tells me electric eels are gonna disappear from the oceans and be harvested in huge numbers quite soon.


it's actually quite possible to be off the grid. Matter of fact, my family's company Spranza inc. provides creative energy solutions such as this (mainly in the Bahamas). We help people to be completely self-reliant by means of solar panels and for night time you use battery backup which is rechargeable.I'd be more than happy to provide you further information on it. It's more economical than you think.


Merry Christmas !

Stuart Booth

Merry Christmas Scott.


Merry Christmas


Since you seem to be off the grid right now, I'd just like to wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy holiday. No need to post this.



Great idea but nothing new. A company in Switzerland built buses like that about fifty years ago. Just google for Gyrobus.


Google sponsored a contest that just ended for pedal powered energy creating devices (they partnered with Specialized Bikes). I made a 53 lb. portable device that can power lightbulbs, or in this video, christmas trees.

Theoretically, you could do this to charge battery banks and power some appliances.

(Scott - It would seriously make my day if you left a comment at the Youtube link, the video is only 84 seconds long)

Maria Trombly

The emerging countries are making big strides in solar and in other areas -- especially China, which is having to import a lot of oil to meet demand:

-- Maria


It has always seemed to me that technology already exists that is economically feasible to vastly reduce energy use in the home -- but the length of time for the payoff doesn't match the time people are willing to wait for the payoff.
I knew a guy who spent an extra $15,000 building his house to increase the efficiency of his heating and cooling. He added extra insulation, the house was designed with large windows on the south side that allowed the sun in during wintertime, which shined on a black stone floor that absorbed the heat. He did other things too, mostly passive, that added to his houses energy efficiency. Anyhow, for his first entire winter here in St. Louis his heating bill was less than I pay in a month.
Anybody could do this, but most people and most builders don't because the typical home owner lives in a home for an average of less than five years, and the payoff of the $15,000 would not be quick enough. I don't know how long the average house lasts, but I will say 80 years just for argument's sake. Over the lifetime of the house, the $15,000 initial investment would pay for itself many times over. The problem here is the financing of houses does not take into account the long term efficiency of the house. The problem is one of scale. Decisions made by individuals , and contrary to the "invisible hand" economic theory those decisions are not always as cost effective as considering the efficiencies the longer lifetime of an asset might be.
If we had financial instruments that reflected the long term savings of an energy efficient house for people who were living there for a short time, those houses would already be being built. Instead we just throw energy away because the upfront cost is too high for owners with a short financial recovery time.


Some years ago I read about ceramics that were perfect conductors of electricity at room temperature. There was speculation that if the ceramics were formed in a loop, that electrons would run in a circle and essentially be stored in that ceramic loop.

There is a company named EESTOR that has engineered this technology and is in a business partnership with a car manufacturer in Canada to produce the first cars with ceramic "energy storage" devices (they don't like the term battery since no chemicals are involved.)

Story here:


Yep, you are right. Solving the energy crises is not going to be easy. Most of the options for producing clean renewable power are nowhere near the levels needed. But the problem is we can’t wait decades for solutions that will stave off the upcoming drastic decline in oil and fossil fuel production in the world.

It will take political leadership and will that goes way beyond any of the bickering and petty candidates that are dancing to the current campaign tune. None of the issues they pander are anywhere near as critical as this country’s future renewable energy strategy. All their web sites give lip service and boiler-plate responses to the environment and energy.

Not a dramatic and workable energy plan among them that has any teeth or even a semblance of actually happening. It will take a candidate that probably has not even entered the race yet. I am still looking for this revolutionary energy savior and will gladly give them my support. They must have the fortitude and courage to upset the Capital Hill mindset apple cart. Trouble is, based on history, we have to have a Pearl Harbor type disaster before the country finally comes together, then sadly the loss in treasure is enormous and body count is very high.

Chris Greiner

You know you probaly couldn't build a fucntional fission bomb (Nuclear bomb) out of the fissionable material from the reactor. I'm pretty sure that Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, and everyone else might make sure that the company wouldn't do that by the strategic use of "accidents." But with enough conventional explosives you might be capable of building a "dirty" bomb capable of giving everyone 20 miles downwide of the explosion cancer in 20 years or make them sterle. That would be perfect if that is what you would be going after but you might need those explosives to help you rob Fort Knox to pay off the cost of the whole thing. But you could use it for its original purpose to save you enough money to buy an artillery piece capable of leveling a city block and use that to wipe out you neighbors.


Bored at home on Christmas and i stumbled across your blog on Google. Love it! I would love if you would check out mine as well..


Optical Rectennas beaming solar power to Earth:


"Now please enjoy the brief period of optimism before you learn some reason this won’t all happen."

Haha, nail on the head! This stuff will happen precisely the same time scientists genetically engineer pigs with wings.

There is an inversely proportional ratio to how exciting, brilliant and cutting edge a technology is to its chance in hell of ever actually happening. First round's on me if a single one of these things is available on the market by 2010.

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