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Author: Subject: What to do with excess electricity? Any neat things to produce?
Rassilon
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[*] posted on 24-3-2013 at 19:42
What to do with excess electricity? Any neat things to produce?


Hi,

I'm curious to know if any of you would have ideas on any good projects that would use excess electricity from a microhydro/solar installation. I'm planning a permaculture/cottage lifestyle :) and would like to see if there are any ways to make a small income producing something useful to the chem enthusiasts.

My place will be off-grid, and would not be able to sell back the excess electricity to the power company. I'm fine purchasing or making equipment to efficiently produce something useful!

So far I've come up with:

1) Chrome/metal plating of various items for crafts or perhaps specialized industrial parts.

2) Metal purification or separation.

3) Metal production. Sodium? Potassium? I've read through the posts here and this seems quite fun as well.

4) Production of various useful compounds like nitric acid etc.


Any specific compounds/chems that you can think of that would be interesting in this situation?

Thank-you!

ps, I've posted this in technochemistry since it involves electrochemistry, but please feel free to move it if its better in a different category.

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elementcollector1
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[*] posted on 24-3-2013 at 20:44


Be careful with some of those, sodium and potassium are especially mean to the amateur. As for metal purification, this is never as easy as it seems, and I'm not sure how you'd do this efficiently with electricity.
Why not sodium and potassium hydroxide? They can be produced from their respective salts, and since you do have the extra electricity...
On that note, things like sulfuric acid from copper sulfate and such could be viable as well.
Now, the eternal problem with ideas like yours is shipping: Where do you live, and how far away is that from your customer? Farther means costlier, and I don't think your extra electricity savings might foot the bill this time.




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violet sin
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[*] posted on 25-3-2013 at 01:49


if you have a battery storage bank and run things at 110v off an inverter, the electrochem would be too good to pass up. chlorate cell, birkeland eyed nitric, copper/nickel/chrome plating, dichromate. or even ozone for practical(non commercial) reasons of water purification.

you could use it to strip cheap plated item and refine silver etc. prob not too helpful, I would just be stoked with free juice to play. it gets really sunny here but I have no room for a panel my self.

I just don't see an obvious commodity that would be easy to sell and/or ship. also, you start cranking out liters of nitric or pounds of chlorate and it could look bad. there are millions of things to plate, but what and why ya know.
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[*] posted on 26-3-2013 at 15:15


"I just don't see an obvious commodity that would be easy to sell and/or ship."

He could always take up the cottage industry of plating family memory things like baby shoes. Had a neighbor in Kansas City in the 60's making good money on it. Sprayed them with conductive paint then plated. One lady had her cat stuffed, took it to him to plate. Most freaking weird statue of a near living bronze cat I ever saw. I admit people like that freak me out but money is money I guess. Another seller was spraying picture frames then plating. Afterwords putting pic back together. Neat looking metal frames that were light and inexpensive. He could plate other things like bumpers.




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AJKOER
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[*] posted on 5-9-2013 at 14:05


I saw a setup in a home with solar power that used a water pump to store excess power. It moved water up to a holding tank.

Then, hydroelectricity could be produced when needed.
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[*] posted on 5-9-2013 at 22:47


How much excess electricity are we talking about?
If you had enough you could source yourself an induction heating machine. These things are incredibly versatile, if you get tired of doing one thing you simply move on to another from wrought iron work to ore processing to foundry casting to pyrochemistry to something like producing cubic zirconia. If in doubt get one anyway :).




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12AX7
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[*] posted on 6-9-2013 at 09:51


How much hydro/solar are we talking, and with how much storage capacity? 10kW of anything is enough to do a fair number of industrial things (like induction heating and melting, as mentioned). 1kW or less is enough to do some things (you can do passable arc welding in that range), but getting rapid bulk heating, like for induction heating, forging, melting, those sorts of things, is a lot harder.

Anything electrolytic can, of course, be done on pretty much any power level, limited by how much stuff you need to make per hour for it to be worthwhile!

If you only have a few kW capacity, but a few kWh storage (lead acid?), you could potentially do any of these activities, at any time of the day, as long as you keep it to a low duty cycle (say, a few hours recharge between 10 minute runs).

And if you do have a battery... I could make an induction heater that runs off that. Saves having to make your own AC grid (grid tie and UPS inverters)! Easy to integrate the solar panels, though the hydro is probably more comfortable at AC, so you'd need a battery charger to get that into the DC system. You could even wire the house with DC (using inverters as necessary for real AC outlets), making sure to fuse the circuits adequately (special fuses are required for DC...they're not too cheap).

Relevant coolness:
http://ludens.cl/paradise/turbine/turbine.html

Other ideas:
If you have nice clay deposits on your land, get into pottery! A kiln isn't hard to build; operating one is more of a challenge. Gas or electric are typical; you could run a reasonable sized kiln from a couple kilowatts, but you'll need very good insulation (pricey, but a one-time cost at least). Other additives and chemicals are best shipped in (for example, you probably don't have big deposits of zircon to make white glaze from..), but that's fine. Even if you have to ship in a pallet of clays and minerals every so often, the value-add for artisan pottery should be quite good.

Even if you have crappy clay deposits, you can probably make good molding sand from it. (And if not, it can be one-time shipped in just as well; it's quite reusable). A metal melting furnace is pretty easy to build (you could start with wood or charcoal fuel, from dead trees and brush!), and can only get better (like the induction furnace :) ). Making metal parts will probably be more practical and economical than most chemical processes will be. And don't get me wrong -- chemistry is an important part of metallurgy: phase diagrams, alloys, fluxes, binders; lots of important chemistry involved.

And depending on what grows on your lot, or what you plant, you could do some organic chemistry, extracting and modifying natural essences. Electricity isn't really directly involved in organic, but I can't think of a more convenient source for the various equipment used: heating mantle, water pump, vacuum pump, refrigerator, etc. (Maybe even get a Stirling cryocooler to make solid CO2 or LN2 for those reactions that need the chill?)

Tim

P.S. Don't forget the tall barbed wire fence to keep the zombies out :P




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[*] posted on 6-9-2013 at 11:40


Mine bitcoins (you would need an internet connection).

[Edited on 6-9-2013 by phlogiston]




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[*] posted on 7-9-2013 at 02:50


Maybe last year mining BTC would be a good idea, but with the increase in 'miners' its become very expensive to get a good enough [competitive] rig. Also with so many 'miners' it it hard to win those BTC :P.



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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 02:05


I also considered mining bitcoins, but I left the idea. It hardly is profitable anymore.



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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 06:52


Electrolytic oxidation of bromate to perbromate is difficult and requires high currents. Bromate is very easy to make, in fact if you just add bromine to a solution of sodium hydroxide, it gradually disproportionates to sodium bromate after around 20 minutes, much faster if the solution is heated. But making perbromate is very difficult, more so than either perchlorate or periodate, perbromate tends to decompose under acidic conditions.

[Edited on 11-9-2013 by AndersHoveland]
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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 07:05


Quote:
[...] perbromate immediately decomposes under acidic conditions.
This certainly is not true. Perbromic acid is a strong acid, like HClO4 or HNO3, and it can be obtained in concentrations of 50% or more without decomposition and it can be stored as such.

The reason why perbromate is so very hard to obtain is that there is no known easy mechanistic pathway for its formation from bromate or other bromine-containing chemicals. Once it is formed, it is quite stable though. It is much less reactive than bromate, just like perchlorate is much less reactive than chlorate. But powdered KBrO4 is a decent oxidizer which could be used for pyrotechnic purposes, just like KClO4. Its sensitivity and reactivity is somewhat higher than that of KClO4, but much lower than that of KClO3 and KBrO3.

The best known route to perbromate is bubbling fluorine through an alkaline solution of a bromate and this reaction has a yield of 1 to 2% (based on fluorine), so a lot of fluorine is needed to make a small quantity of perbromate. Electrolytic methods seem to exist (using exotic anodes), havings cell efficiencies in the order of magnitude of 0.1% or so. These methods hence hardly have any practical meaning.




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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 10:27


you could also consider ozone lead into water to form H2O2, which can then afterwards be concentrated (approx 95% yield / 5% loss of H2O2 in ~5 - 80% concentrating difference)
H2O2 has many applications..




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[*] posted on 10-9-2013 at 17:38


Quote: Originally posted by Rassilon  
Hi,

I'm curious to know if any of you would have ideas on any good projects that would use excess electricity from a microhydro/solar installation.
[...]
Any specific compounds/chems that you can think of that would be interesting in this situation?


there must be plenty of useful things.

bleach, sodium hydroxide, potassium chlorate, hydrogen gas, oxygen gas, chlorine gas..

and if you like molten salts,

metallurgical grade aluminum..

the list goes on.
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[*] posted on 11-9-2013 at 05:01


pressurized air

deuterium oxide

Make sodium hydroxide and bind atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> to make your house even more 'carbon neutral', perhaps even negative.

The bitcoin mining was a bit in jest, but with free electricity it should be profitable, provided you eventually resell or reuse the equipment you purchased for it.




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[*] posted on 11-9-2013 at 05:51


Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
pressurized air
The bitcoin mining was a bit in jest, but with free electricity it should be profitable, provided you eventually resell or reuse the equipment you purchased for it.

I was completely trumped. With free electricity you should breakeven on a 1,500$ rig in less than 100 days. This is even accounting for the rise in BTC difficulty

Wow O_O I do recommend *nod nod*.




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[*] posted on 20-9-2013 at 18:27


You could run a chlorate cell if you'd need truckloads of chlorate. :D You could also run a birkeland process with feasibly high amperage arc to kick up the efficiency. :)
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