Tracts and Articles
Mark of the Beast
we will jump over into storing energy.
And since we are jumping, why not harvest that jump in the process?
If you are wondering how you can harvest a jump, think of an old, windup grandfather clock. Think of the weights, and how one needs to "wind" the clock every few days to keep it going. How do the weights power the clock? Simple: gravity pulls them down, putting pressure on the gears that drive the clock.
In the case of a grandfather clock, one is storing the energy that was used to raise the weights. The gravitational pull on the weights then meters out that energy onto the gears of the clock, which drives the clock hands. Or, in the case of the chimes, the energy is used to drive the hammers that bang against the pipes.
Another form of storing energy in a weight is the use of a weight to close a door. With a small rope attached to the top outer corner of the door, one runs it through a pulley a few feet back and ties a weight to the end. Whenever the door is opened, the energy that is used to lift the weight is then stored into the weight, and as soon as the door is released, gravity begins to harvest that energy, pulling the door back shut.
Very simple concept: how might we use it in other forms?
First, we need an imagination. I will supply that for the moment.
Second, we need a room full of children on a cold, rainy day. Tired of playing with the building blocks, they are ready to romp and run and chase each other around the house in a game of tag. Only it is raining outside.
This is our energy source.
Next, we need to harvest that energy, store it, and then have a way to harvest it when needed.
For storage, we have a 55-gallon drum filled with any heavy material. Water will do.
Next, we need a good solid rafter to hang a pulley on. This whole project would work best in a barn, with a high ceiling. Running a rope up through the pulley on the rafter, we tie it to the top of the drum full of water.
Now comes the fun part. The children use a stepladder and climb as high as is safe for them. Grabbing the rope, they jump off the ladder.
Obviously, with a drum full of water on the other end, they will only hang there, perhaps using a it as swing. But...
We will replace the pulley with a simple gearing system, something like a chain hoist. Each time the child jumps off the ladder onto the rope, he will get a nice, easy, graceful swing to the ground (assuming we have the gearing right, and perhaps a braking system on it as well), and the barrel will be raised one inch. Excited by the glee of jumping off a step-ladder and getting a free ride to the ground, the children repeat the jumps until they get tired of it for the day. By then, hopefully, the barrel is up to the rafter, hanging there ready to be harvested.
How much energy is in 500lbs, 20' off the ground? I am sure we could calculate that into a ft/lbs figure, but for the moment it suffices to say that we could run our granfather clock for a looooooooooong time.
Or, how about spinning our little generator that we made in the last issue? We could probably light our houses for a couple of weeks.
Well, perhaps you think ol' Mike has gone overboard again with his imagination. But to break our dependency on old ideas-like gasoline powered generators-we have to come up with some new ones some time or the other!
Next column, we will look at harvesting gravity, without any jumping involved. And please let me know if you come up with any working models of my plan. I will make an effort to come see it, and commit myself to one jump off the ladder!
Sustainable LivingSustainable Living Series
Click the above link to see all the current listings. The list below may not contain all the articles that are available.
Defining Sustainable Living
Fill the Earth
Tilling the Land
God's Fertilizer Factories
Sustaining Hard Work
Of Mirrors and Millionaires
No-till + No Spray =???
To Be or Not to Be Organic
The Worst Erosion
The Ultimate Alternative Energy Source
The "C" Word
Harvesting the Wind
Storing Energy in Weights