It’s that time of year again, not that it actually feels anything like spring at the moment, little is growing due to the drought and cold, though I suspect that will change as soon as the some comes out. Even last week I saw the first sign of bracken whilst sorting my hydro pipes, which reminds me, I should go and see how much it’s grown now. Sure the lawn is a little greener, the sycamore in the garden about to sprout leaves and the hawthorn is getting really lush, but on the whole things stalled about six weeks ago and have only just picked up. My body on the other hand now seems to be in ‘spring mode’ with me waking at 4:00am and being unable to sleep for want of ‘getting stuck in’, not that there’s much chance of that as I’m back ‘at sea’ tomorrow.
So, after tossing and turning for an hour I finally got up at 5:30 when dawn was breaking and thought I’d just finish off yesterdays effort which had me just returning from Portree at 16:00. Still well stuffed from the fabulous lunch at http://www.caledoniancafe.co.uk/page_4.html the Caledonian Cafe on Wentworth street. So, with the prospect of a late dinner ahead I got on with some firewood cutting ably assisted by my son.
That done, and with the freshly cut green logs of birch seasoning in my airy store I turned my attention to hydro turbine number one, the one whose pipes I’d moved last week during deluge number one. All was going well, the water level had dropped and it was producing 250w, which was quite respectable but not as much as it could have been, so I went for a ‘look see’.
I’d decided to turn off the smallest nozzle, as sometime you can actually generate more power by doing so, but when I turned it off nothing happened. The pressure stayed the same, no change of speed or noise from the Stream Engine and certainly no alteration in output. The reason becoming very clear when I took out the jet holder, a blocked nozzle,
one that discharged a huge muddy blob of silt all over me and the turbine shed when I removed it. With the valve turned off I was expecting a little jet of water to spurt out as I loosened it, not a great big dollop of brown pooh With the jet removed I flushed out the system to clear the rest of the silt that had obviously got disturbed after last weeks session of altering the pipework.
The wee dog and I then went up to the swimming pool, sorry house to see how the Powerspout http://www.powerspout.com/ was performing with all this rain as the inverter is in the barn there.
Very well was the answer, somewhere between the 782w shown on the ‘Windy Boy’ and 799w on the OWL energy monitor, so the stove in the house is now out and we’re heating the house with free electricity. However it means that I can’t keep a pot of tea or coffee warm on top of the stove, something that I’m really going to miss in the new house, it’s almost thirty years that I’ve lived with wood stoves now and it just won’t be the same without one. However I’m thinking ahead and don’t want to be cutting wood in my seventies, cleaning ground mounted solar panels, unblocking hydro turbines and fixing wind turbines perhaps, but not cutting down trees, storing wood and splitting logs.
Of course we do intend to have an outside wood burning boiler as back up but that’ll take foot long logs and hopefully will only get fired once or twice a year. In fact, with the way money is at the moment we’re planning to fit it at a later date, the house will be so well insulated that we should only need it for DHW in emergencies anyway and those could be covered by Harry until Alistair at http://www.highland-ecoheat.co.uk/ fits our Perge
This will be a similar but larger system to what we’re fitting, in the picture is a 30kW boiler and 2500lt store, ours is 18kW and 1500lt but the same idea.
This will be Harry my HR2 Lister generator of 12kW who should be capable of heating the 1500lt thermal store in a few hours anyway. It takes roughly 70 minutes to heat 1lt of water 1 degree with one watt so 6kw of Harry’s 12 could heat a 1500lt store 40 degrees in around 11 hours and at 12kW half that time and so on. Not ideal as we intend to be diesel free but it would get us ‘out of a hole’ in an emergency.