Green Trust Sustainability & Renewable Energy

Off Grid and Efficient Products | Discussion Forums, Knowledgebase & News | Search | Support Green-Trust Amazon Store
News From the Front | Instructional eBooks and Videos | Green-Trust Photo Album | Newsletter | Links & Resources

Powered By
Sponsored By
Back Home Magazine

Thursday, June 30, 2005

ESSN - July Issue

The July issue of Energy Self Sufficiency Newsletter goes live tonight at midnight. Make sure you download it, as it's bigger and better than ever. Ethanol, Efficient Lighting, Biodiesel, Methane, Gardening, and much much more.

Advertisers - Please get your ads in before July 15th for the August issue!

Chat about ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Biodiesel and WVO powered Cogen

The Lister CS is a rugged 6hp stationary engine designed in the late 1920s. Its simple fuel injection system is very tolerant to vegetable oil, and as such it can be used to run a 3kW generator set. The waste heat from the coolant and the exhaust can be recovered and used to supplement the domestic hot water and central heating.

Waste vegetable oil is easily obtainable from restaurants for approximately £0.10 per litre ($0.75 per US Gal), and with correct filtration and a Lister CS engine it will provide all the heat and power a typical home requires.


Chat about generators

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Running your car on ethanol

Green Trust is evaluating a project to put one of our gasoline vehicles on ethanol. We will be taking a '98 Ford Windstar and converting to a FFV, or Flexible Fuel Vehicle. After the conversion, we should be able to run either straight ethanol, gasoline, or any mix thereof. We are looking for project sponsors to help defray the costs of the research and conversion, and will share the results of the research with our readers here and at ESSN Magazine. Sponsors will be listed in all press and research papers. Contact to donate.

Chat about Ethanol

Sunday, June 26, 2005

To Replace Oil, U.S. Experts See Amber Waves of Plastic

The end products — which include T-shirts, forks and coffins — look, feel and perform like traditional polyester and plastic made from a petroleum base. But the manufacturing process consumes 50% less fossil fuel, even after accounting for the fuel needed to plant and harvest the corn.

To Replace Oil, U.S. Experts See Amber Waves of Plastic

Paper, Plastic or Corn?

Human Powered Generators

It's summer right now but once winter comes along, many of us cyclists will be stuck back indoors on the trainer. Here's a way to do something with all of that energy your expending! You'd need three or four Lance Armstrongs to power your entire home but you could certainly make some good use of the power generated by pedaling. Maybe power that fan that you have blowing on you during tough trainer sessions? I think I may give it a try to charge my iBook. Pretty easy to build your own, but commercially produced versions are available at

Chat about Human Power

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Life, Liberty and Property

I was reading leaving the grid to learn more about cooking with biodiesel, and came across a entertaining, but thought provoking explanation of the connections between Life, Liberty and Property, and the interconnectedness of humanity. I highly recommend you check it out. Speakers help with the impact, but the lack of sound does not take away from the message.

Introduction to the Philosophy of Liberty

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Visiting Kansas City

Steve is in Kansas City this week, so if any of you off-gridder, environmental, renewable/self sufficiency types in the area want to chat, drop him an email at

He'll be around till 9am Thursday, then it's back to NY.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Making Biodiesel with the Appleseed

We will be running another class on making biodiesel with a Appleseed processor. Last year we ran a class on building the Appleseed, this time it's an operation class.

July 24th, at 9am

TEVA Learning Center, Falls Village, CT (directions)

$15 pre-registration (non-refundable, paypal to
$35 at the door (includes Girl Mark's latest edition of the Biodiesel Homebrew Guide

Chat about ...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Harvesting Rainwater

*You will be shocked at how much water you can collect from rainwater harvesting*

Most people are not aware of the fact that a colossal amount of water can be collected from rainwater harvesting efforts. In fact there are rainwater harvesting systems that take care of the water needs of large households throughout the year. Most would find this very difficult to believe but it is a fact.

All one needs is a well designed rain harvesting system, complete with adequate rain harvesting storage tanks.

It is actually amazing that while many parts of the world are facing such serious water problems, on the other hand colossal amounts of rainwater that would otherwise have been harvested and put to good use, are going to waste. Plenty of rain falls, the water is drained away, some evaporates and we are still left with our huge water-scarcity-related problems.

Rainwater tends to be one of the purest sources of water available and also one of the healthiest which can also be easily and cheaply treated and even used for human consumption.

Few people are aware of the fact that an amazing 600 gallons of water per inch of rain per thousand square feet of catchment area can be harvested. This means that an area does not need to have a spectacular amount of rainfall to carry out successful rainwater harvesting that can meet most needs the whole year round.

And yet not all the rain that falls can be collected. There are several factors that affect the efficiency and reduce the amount of water collected. For example a small amount of rain will be needed to wet the roof and fill the roof washer. Secondly some of the rain tends to spill out of the gutters while still more rain overshoots the gutters. The other obvious factor that comes in is the fact that once the storage tanks in the rainwater harvesting system are full, all the additional rainwater will go to waste and cannot be collected.

Efficiency of the rainwater harvesting is usually estimated at being between 75% to 90%. Of course all this depends very much on the system design and its’ capacity.

It is clear that in years to come, rainwater harvesting is bound to become increasingly important. More so as our environment gets more and more polluted, thus endangering many of the other sources of water that we have come to rely on over the years. Increasing rainwater harvesting seems to be the only available long term solution we have.

The writer of this article Aaron Pratt has a Rainwater Harvesting Guide that covers anything related to rainwater harvesting recycling and reuse.

Chat about Rainwater Harvesting

Friday, June 10, 2005

Product Spotlight - Super Powergate 40S Backup Power Switching and Charging System

The perfect complement to a 400 watt inverter, this unit is ideal for the ham shack, Home Office computer system, or off grid cabin or RV.


* A Super PWRgate is a 12 volt backup power system that can supply up to 40 amperes continuously from either a Power Supply or a Battery, and can also charge the battery with its high performance charger.
* Connected equipment will instantly switch to battery during a power blackout or power supply failure. No glitches.
* The circuit uses two 80 ampere Schottky diodes as an OR-Gate to isolate the battery and power supply from each other. Forward voltage drop of less than 0.3 volts at 20 A.
* To keep the battery fully charged and ready for use, the Super PWRgate has a built-in four-stage battery charger with selectable current rates of 1, 4, 7 or 10 amperes.
* The circuit is optimized for use with GELLED & AGM type batteries, but will keep flooded lead acid and marine type batteries near full charge as well.
* The Super PWRgate and the power supply may also be used to charge a battery that is powering the radio, as described by W1ZR in QST.

Super Powergate 40S Backup Power Switching and Charging System

The National Biodiesel Board is WRONG

By Kumar Plocher - Yokayo Biofuels

The NBB has its place in the biodiesel world. It helped get us a biodiesel standard, and it's helped make biodiesel legal and available. It is also a wonderful lobbying organization for big soy and big oil.

It is in that third capacity that the NBB is using its clout to try to extend the federal biodiesel tax incentive that was passed at the end of last year.

The tax incentive may seem like a good thing, but it represents the latest, biggest hurdle to face small sustainability-oriented biodiesel distributors and producers. I am adamantly opposed to this tax incentive because of the damage it will inflict on this industry. How? Read carefully:

1) When it comes to B100 (100% biodiesel), it is pro-large corporation, anti-everything else.

2) What about the mixture credit?

3) Why the heck are both credits (income and mixture) $1.00 for "agri-biodiesel" and only .50 for biodiesel from other feedstocks?

4) "But I can now get B99 at the pump for a price that's close to diesel prices- that rocks!"

5) "So what - at least it helps get biodiesel out there, right?"

Get the answers and the discussion at

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ethyl Esters - Biodiesel from Ethanol

Tonight Rich Reilly from BiodieselWarehouse and I made 3 batches of biodiesel from ethanol. Using our soon to be famous Bacardi Technique (no Patent Pending), we processed the following batches:

Batch 1 was from 200 proof ethanol and new soybean oil.
Batch 2 was from 180 proof ethanol and new soybean oil.
Batch 3 was from 200 proof ethanol and used fryer oil.

Batch 1 is separating nicely, batch 2 doesn't seem to be processing, batch 3 is too early to tell. More tomorrow on the results and the methods used.

Pictures and dialogue will be posted on our wiki over the next few days.

That's biodiesel above the 100 ml mark, glycerin below it.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

For more info, see Girl Mark's Biodiesel Homebrew Guide

Fuel Explosion Is Attributed to a Repair

Thank you Jerry (Community Biofuels) for bringing this to our attention. Methanol vapors from waste glycerin in a mostly empty tank meets grinder.... Keep it safe out there folks.

June 5, 2005

Fuel Explosion Is Attributed to a Repair

City officials said yesterday that a spark from a grinding machine possibly caused the explosion that killed a 45-year-old contractor on Friday as he worked in the storage lot of a Staten Island company that makes environmentally friendly fuel.

The police said that the man, John Drury, of Little Silver, N.J., was apparently repairing a pinhole leak on an 8,000-gallon drum when it exploded. He was found dead at the scene, the police added.

A woman who answered the telephone yesterday at Mr. Drury's house declined to comment.

City officials said they had not yet determined what was in the tank that exploded.

But Thakoordeo Harnanan, who works as a production manager at the company, Environmental Alternatives, said that the tank Mr. Drury was trying to fix contained 1,400 gallons of glycerin. Mr. Harnanan said glycerin is a waste product of biodiesel fuel, which the company makes from soybean oil.

The business is located at 14 Van Street, in Mariners Harbor.

At the accident scene yesterday, representatives from various city agencies participated in the cleanup and investigation.

A spokesman for one of the agencies, the Department of Environmental Protection, said the agency would probably levy several fines against the company, because the owners had been storing about 1,000 gallons of methanol, several hundred gallons more than they were licensed to keep.

Mr. Harnanan said that the owner of Environmental Alternatives had purchased two storage tanks from a company owned by Mr. Drury's uncle, and that Mr. Drury had been sent to locate, and then fix, the leak.

"He was a gentleman with a soft tone," Mr. Harnanan said of Mr. Drury. "He liked to take his time doing things."

Mr. Harnanan said that his company didn't own a grinder, and that he assumed the one found in the wreckage had been used by Mr. Drury to smooth the storage tanks in preparation for applying a sealant.

"He alone knows what happened," he said.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Biodiesel, or Bioethanol?

Once again, the news media gets it horribly wrong. Apparently, the text of the article is talking about a new method for obtaining some type of liquid biofuel, comparing to old ethanol efficiency numbers, and not even matching current efficiency. 2.2% energy gain isn't anything new for ethanol, and less than the 3.x (varies with source material) gain provided by biodiesel, which the article is labeled, but doesn't even cover. Whatever it is they are making, it isn't biodiesel. Nice try CNN, but you blew it!

The research can be found at but isn't available to the great unwashed.

Abstract : Huber et al., Production of Liquid Alkanes by Aqueous-Phase Processing of Biomass-Derived ..., Science 2005 308: 1446-1450

For the real scoop from the University of Wisconsin, where they call it "diesel like" (not biodiesel), see


Dr. Dumesic asked me to respond to your email to him. I am a graduate student for him and was an author on the Science paper.

We hadn't realized that CNN picked up the article. (We never talked to a reporter from CNN and there are several technical inaccuracies with their article.)

Our process produces large alkanes from sugars, whereas biodiesel is produced from tryglycerides (plant oils). We view our process as complentary with traditional biodiesel production from triglycerides because we are using a different feedstock. Sugars are the major component of most biomass making up approximately 75 wt% of biomass, whereas the plant oils are only a small fraction of biomass.

We have only done our process on the bench scale, so far. Before this can become an industrial process we will need to continue to do more research (and get a lot more funding). We estimate the cetane number of the fuel to be between 46 to 80 depending on how we process it.

We don't know the emissions profile, but I imagine it would be pretty clean as they are all alkanes (no aromatics or sulfur containing compounds).

I am also unsure of the energy content, but the energy content of the fuel would be the same as the energy content of C7 to C15 straight chain alkanes.

George Huber

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Is it Juice, or is it Soda? Healthier Alternatives.

In the never ending quest for healthier food and drinks, that are still acceptable to the teenagers in my house, I tried something new this weekend. It's called "The Switch". No sugar, no dyes, no preservatives. Tastes like soda, but it's all juice with fizz. Below is what the company has to say about it, but more important is what my kids say, "Are we out already?". We found it at Target at the Poughkeepsie Galleria.

We were tired of all the hype. You know, the weird ingredients you can't even pronounce. The natural-sounding drinks that have artificial colors and flavors. The "juice drinks" that are 6% juice. That's why we started The Switch. So we could make a healthy, all-natural, 100% juice beverage without any hype. Then we added carbonation to make it fun.

We do not add any sugar (or as some of them call it on their list of ingredients: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, medium invert (when did corn become a fruit?).
We do not add artificial flavors or colors.
We do not add preservatives.
We do not add mystery ingredients that supposedly make you sexier, less bald, lose weight, etc.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Nautilus Water Turbine

The Nautilus is specifically designed to power off grid homes. Remote homes and shops. Medical clinics and small villages and village industries. A special model designed for an agro-processing is available. With a conventional renewable energy battery storage and inverter technology the Nautilus will power your home or village on only 4 ft (1.2 m) of net head and discharge only 1330 gpm - 84.4 l/s at 550 watts output. On ten feet of head it's possible to power several homes or a small village industry at 2300 watts output for the 10 inch (254 mm) throat runner, the 8 inch (203 mm) model will produce between 360 watts on 4 feet of head (1.2 m) and 3.4 KW on 18 feet of head (5.5 m).

Thousands of existing small mill dams can benefit from the Nautilus and be put back to work. Often no dam is required. Only a 24 inch high diversion weir made from wood or piled rocks sealed with canvas is required. We supply intake systems and/or parts. No machine need ever approach the stream. Get wet and do it by hand.

The Niade is the first micro-hydro turbine in the Renewable Energy Market that develops usable power on from two to four feet of head.

The Niade utilizes a tiny cast iron high-speed propeller turbine set at an angle to capture ultra low head power. It is shipped as a complete package, ready to drop into a hole that can be dug by hand. The Niade comes complete with a slide gate to shut of the water flowing into the turbine, a large area trash rack to protect the turbine from sticks, stones, and other debris, and a draft tube. The turbine can be regulated with an included cylinder gate.

The unit can be lifted with enough man power or the front end loader of a tractor. It is set into a level position, attached to a penstock, and backfilled. We feel that the Niade will revolutionize micro power production around the world.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Updated our Amazon Store

Today we updated our Amazon Store. We are Amazon Affiliates, to raise funds for Green-Trust. All the stuff that Amazon carries, ordered directly from Amazon, but Amazon gives back a donation to Green-Trust. The old version made you know what category a product was in, now you can search across all categories, and the number of categories has been greatly expanded. Check it out!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Low Voltage Wiring

When wiring an off-grid home, or even a boat or RV, proper wiring is critical when working with low voltage DC. One company who has made it easy is PowerWerx. They sell a variety of products based on Anderson Powerpoles. Check out their special "startup kit" that we recommend.

RIGrunner 4005 - Starter Kit

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Energy Self Sufficiency

The June issue of ESSN has hit the bit-stands, and is available for free download (PDF) or HTML viewing.

With articles on conservation, low voltage LED lighting, off-grid living, a book review on solar hydrogen, and keeping your house cool during summer heat, there is something here for everyone who is looking to reduce their energy consumption, save money, and live a greener life.

Back Issues are also available with articles on biofuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, and methane, as well as a host of Self Sufficiency and Sustainability tutorials.


Steve Spence
Dir., Green Trust

Contributing Editor

Web hosting by ICDSoft

Listed on BlogShares