Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wind Turbine Wind Lens


Honeywell Wind Lens type? Turbine with Rim Generator

A Brief Look at
Some Recent Developments 
in Wind Turbines

Most wind turbines nowadays seems to take a very similar approach to aero-dynamics. The standard seems to be a three bladed propeller type driving a central shaft with or without a gearbox.

An installation at a Japanese University

Major R&D in Japan

However the Japanese among others have been looking at design and have worked on an air-flow focusing system which can reduce turbulence and noise, and increase dramatically the power to size ratio.

Professor Ohya of Kyushu University who has done major development on the WindLens

They call it a Wind-Lens system. Basically it is a flanged tube around the turbine blades which focuses the airflow, increases the effective speed, and greatly reduced turbulence. It boosts the output greatly and Japanese research shows  that boost in power generation can be up to five time that of a traditional design. Recent field tests indicate a 3 times boost over a regular turbine is not an unrealistic expectation.

Wind lens turbines advantages

1    Much more efficient, can run on half the wind speed of regular turbines.
2    Space saving. They produce more power for the size so take up less space.
3    Much quieter. Less turbulence means quieter operation.
4    Wider range of site options. These little turbines are good in urban settings.
5    Produce usable power in lower speed winds.
6    Safer due to protective rim.
7    Can have a mesh fitted to rim to prevent bird strikes

Honeywell has a bash at the idea?

The Honeywell organisation have developed their own version of what looks like the wind-lens type of turbine. Their version has the generator magnets and coils around the outer rim of the turbine, rather than a center shaft driving a gearbox and generator..

The turbine structure is very light and is reminiscent of a bicycle wheel with spokes to which are attached the turbine blades, I counted 20 blades in all.

This type of annular rim generator design was seen described here on this blog before in the form of a tiny little turbine called  “Turbine in a Box”. That little one turbine also looked somewhat like a very modern bicycle wheel. The design never seemed to have made it in the real world.

There is nothing really new in the Honeywell design - they appear to have taken existing concepts, put them together and improved the overall design. It is an interesting synergy of design factors.

The Honeywell wind turbine is 1.8 m in diameter, weighs 110 kgs and can produce up to 1500 kWh’s in a year depending on height, wind profiles etc.

The Honeywell version of the wind lens, with rim generator, and multi-blade system can start-up in wind speed as low as 0.5 mph (0.2 m/s), Generates current at 3 mph (1.34 m/s) - less than half the speed of traditional designs, and have an auto shut off at 38 mph (17.0 m/s).


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is Heating Oil Economical?


I've been asked many times recently

Taxed out of use by the government!

The answer is somewhat complex, and depends on the individual circumstances.  At the moment heating oil is priced at around €900 per 1000 litres. Most households require between 1500 and 2000 litres a year.

There are 9.821 Kw/hours of heat in a litre of kerosene.- that gives a gross heat output costing 10 cent per Kw/h. Allow for boiler efficiency and for system losses, and I would guess that a figure of between 11.50 and 12.50 cent per Kw/h of delivered heat would be a reasonable estimation.

Electricity is 100% efficient as a heating fuel. It can also be very carefully controlled and directed to where you need the heat without heating half the house and all the piping and the boiler itself.

Currently the standard electricity charge is 0.1619 per Kw/h but most suppliers offer discounts so you should not be paying more than about 14.50cent per Kilowatt hour.

If you have a poorly adjusted, old, or inefficient oil heating system, and with the current price of oil, you would do as well or maybe even better with electricity.


Coal has now become the only viable option, certainly for poorer families. There is a massive trend towards solid fuel heating. New high efficiency multi-fuel stoves and boilers can offer up to 90% efficiency or in other words, as good as most oil heating systems.

Smokeless coal can be bought for 35 cent per Kg. Petroleum coke smokeless mixes are very efficient coals, and you could expect to get 7 kilowatts for an hour per kilogram. Allow for an overall efficiency of say 75% on average, and the cost per Kilowatt is only 6.7 cents per kilowatt hour. That is nearly half the current cost of oil heating.

I personally have 100% heated my house the last season with coal and saved hundreds of Euro. You do pay a price for using coal though, coal takes a certain amount of tending and work, and is dirty.

But if you need heat and also need to save a lot of money, and you are willing to put some effort into it, solid-fuel is the way to go at the moment - that is until the Irish Minister for Hardship goes and taxes us some more. But then we will find some other ways around it!!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Ireland 1850 Famine style Eviction?


Shocking Events
Knee Jerk Reaction 
To Famine Style Eviction

An 1850 Eviction

About 250,000 people were officially recorded as having been evicted during the period 1849 - 1854. These were poor destitute people who could not pay the rent and many of whom literally died at the side of the road during those horrible famine times.

This sad history is deeply etched into the Irish psyche. So when some 162 years on we see scenes closely mirroring the actions of the police and bailiffs of 1850, it is not surprising there is a major reaction and an immediate outcry.

A still from the YouTube Video

I personally reacted very strongly  to the YouTube video, and was quite horrified at the apparent brutality of the act.

However the 2012 picture, and the circumstances surrounding it, differ extensively to those of 1850. My first reaction of horror, disgust, and outrage at the way the eviction was carried out has changed somewhat. I still am shaken by the way it was done,.where bailiffs and police put two elderly people out on the side of the road, it pulls every race memory to the forefront . But I then looked a little deeper at the circumstances surrounding the repossession order and have come to see some mitigating influences that change the way I see the picture quite drastically.

Two Pictures
Two Sides to the Story

1. The family involved appear to be savvy business people. Additionally,  they are the landlords in this instance to quite a few much less well-off  tenants.
2. Media reports indicate that the gentleman is an accountant and runs an international business in addition to his properties.
3. Reports vary but indicate that the family own quite a number of valuable properties which are rented out and no doubt make a good income..
4. The family home involved is reported as being worth €2million or more, 10 times what the average house is worth.
5. The family had at least two years to do something about the situation, like selling off some of their investments, or selling the family home and buying a smaller house etc. they instead chose to do nothing.
6. Additionally, it would appear to me that there is a well orchestrated media campaign going on here. The tent on the side of the road, the video on YouTube etc. etc. Lights  - camera - action!!

I have no time for banks and bankers, government financial strategies are a mess, and I think the authorities acted unwisely in this instance - but there are two sides to every story.

Poker with Property
Knee Jerk replaced by Cynicism

My initial knee jerk reaction, to the posted YouTube video of the Famine style eviction, has been tempered with a healthy dose of cynicism.

This is a substantially wealthy family which could perhaps have been worth tens of millions had the Celtic Tiger not been poisoned by the extreme greed of the richer half of the Irish Nation, who, along with the bankers, played poker with property, severely hurting the nation in the process..

If you gamble at poker and you happen to lose, then don't come moaning to the public or looking for too much sympathy.  I personally have no love lost on property speculators at any level.

I still think the way it was done was at least harsh and ham-fisted.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

IMF Ireland and Cow Puckie


Funk Off IMF
Are You Codding us?

The IMF have issued a statement that said that Ireland's and Portugal's financial "adjustment programmes have placed the burden of adjustment on the better off". - OMG What a complete and massive load of Cow Puckie that statement represents, at least in Ireland's case.

The richest in Ireland are some 10% better off with these adjustments having taken place, and the poorest are some 25% worse off - with these "adjustments".

The poor have taken huge cuts both in their income and in services, and some 20% of Irish children experience hunger, while on the other hand, the government people have taken a lousy little 15% cut in average salaries of €150,000 and no cut in their immoral, unjustifiable, and massive expense accounts.  They are so removed from the ordinary people they probably believe the IMF bullshine. Evidently the IMF people either have their eyes tightly shut while spouting their rhetoric, or they simply lack the ability to add up numbers.

The poor are paying a huge price, and the country is on the verge of a Celtic spring, or at least large scale civil disobedience, while Nero fiddled - while these IMF gobshites spout out this sewage!!

I will need to have my blood pressure checked!!


Monday, April 09, 2012

Cetik Multi-fuel Solid fuel Central Heating Boiler


Solid Fuel 
Central Heating Boilers

I have been looking at various affordable alternatives to both overpriced heating oil and to overpriced wood-pellet and geo-thermal heating systems. The one that keeps popping up again and again is the use of some form of multi-fuel solid fuel heating.

The humble free-standing multi-fuel stove is turning out to be a major winner in Ireland. With over 750 stoves a week having been sold in recent months in Ireland. The main problem with stoves is that they lack any form of automation.

Another alternative is the use of a solid fuel central heating boiler like the one shown above. This type retails about €1,600 plus shipping and is capable of fully heating a fair size house and has a degree of automation and has high output capability..

Some of the newest types of solid fuel central heating boilers are fully multi-fuel capable, meaning they will happily burn wood, coal, turf, briquettes etc. and their design has been refined to the point where they are 90% efficient, that is a higher efficiency than many oil boilers.

I recently took a look at an installation

Where this type of boiler would have an immediate and most rewarding application is with someone who has access to turf or wood, it would pay for itself in no time. But even run one on coal, especially if that coal comes to you at €14 per 40Kg bag, you will still beat the cost of oil hand down.

Water filled Fire Grate

The picture above shows the boiler I examined make name Cetik. The first thing that struck me was the flexible hose loop out the front - it looks unfinished. What was that for? The hose is part of the circulation to the water filled grate. Having a fire grate with water running through it makes it last for a long long time - it won't burn out like a cast iron one would. The flexible hose is so the grate can be riddled or shaken to knock down the ash, it would also mean that replacing a grate would be relatively easy when the time came.

90% Efficient Multi-Pass System
DIY servicing saves money

Another point that impressed me was the size of the boiler. Two factors account for the larger than usual size. (1) There is a highly efficient multi-pass flue system which gives the boiler up to 90% efficiency and makes cleaning very easy. These boilers are DIY self maintenance - for the most part. You do your own cleaning. That represents another saving over oil boilers and a MASSIVE saving over wood pellet systems!!

The more common flue baffle system is a pipe system there are a number of disadvantages to a pipe type heat exchanger. (a) It is very difficult to clean, (b) Generally it is a less effective pathway for the gasses, (c) It is difficult - if not impossible to attain very high efficiencies with solid fuels using a pipe system, without making the pipes very small - which in turn leads to the need for frequent cleaning and the danger of blockage.

The firebox of the new Cetik multi-fuel boiler. What you see burning is a combination of bits of old pallets and some coal. The boiler was lit only minutes before I took the picture and you can see how the fan assist has got in going in no time. The fire door is nice and big for easy access and re-fuelling.

Heat in less than 10 Minutes

This photo give an impression of the height of the 35Kw model which is nearly 5 feet, and shows the control panel. Within 10 minutes of it being lit, the Cetik multi-fuel boiler had heat circulating to the radiators. Many oil boilers will take longer than this to get the heat circulating, I was impressed with the speed of heat delivery.

Overall the design of the Cetik multi-fuel boiler impressed me. It is rather large when compared to an oil boiler and this may be a disadvantage in some cases. Where is would be ideal is where there is an existing boiler house or a garage with a bit of room.

Cost and Availability

So down to cost and availability. What does it costs for 88%+ efficiency in a multi-fuel, water grated, semi-automated, central heating boiler with an output of 23 Kw for the smalled and 34Kw for he larger one? And where are these available from?

Econ Fuels in Tralee are local agents in Ireland. Econ are also coal merchants and sell a smokeless mix at only €14 per 40Kg bag. Sean at Econ can be contacted at 066-4011099 and he can give you a quote and some more information on the Cetik range of multi-fuel boilers.

Econ Fuels currently have the 25Kw Cetik multi-Fuel, multi-pass, water grate boiler on special on DoneDeal at only €1,350 plus the VAT. At the current price of oil, two seasons should easily see it pay for itself.

Cetik, the makers, have a very modern manufacturing facility in Turkey with robotic welding and are full CE compliant.


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Irish Taxes Make Coal an Economic Option


Taxation is 
Pushing People 
to use Eco Unfriendly Coal

Take exceedingly high oil prices, add a Double-Dose of Carbon Tax, on top of that place a 13.50% Irish VAT rate, and you have succeeded in making heating oil an unrealistic domestic option

Most Eco Friendly Systems are only for the rich

Now, SEAI and the Government would hope that the taxes would drive people to use eco friendly heating like Geo-Thermal and Wood-Pellet systems. However, there is a BIG problem in that these systems are only for the relatively rich, costing on average €6,000 to €12,000. So where does that leave perhaps 80% of the population?

The practical answer for much of the rest of us has been multi-fuel stoves, that can use coal, wood etc. with some 40,000 having been sold in one year AFAIK.

Standard stoves that come in 3 basic configurations. (1). The basic free-standing stove. (2). The free standing stove with a boiler to heat water and radiators, and (3). An Inset or insert stove to fit into an existing fireplace.

Rip-Off Price of Oil - Use Coal instead

I personally have totally gone away from heating oil - it is simply a rip-off and I detest being ripped off. Last winter I used 100% solid fuel, mostly coal, for all heating and hot water. I have a free-standing 6Kw stove in the kitchen - dining room, and I have my experimental closed fireplace.

I really would have liked to have used carbon neutral fuel like extruded wood briquettes, the ones that don't swell up and crumble to bits in the fire, but these are just too expensive due to 13.50% VAT and the fancy little bale packaging they come in. Cop on there Government and drop the VAT!

I used instead a fantastic coal mix called Calco which is a blend of lignite nuggets and pet-coke. I used this in my experimental modified fireplace. The fireplace is now essentially a solid fuel central heating boiler.

The fire has an 18" Firebird back boiler and a Baxi underfloor ventilation and ash system. I fitted a fire front door and made efforts to tightly seal and control all the air intakes to the fire. That single fire has heated  our 4 bedroom home and kept the average temperature of 22C almost rock steady 24/7 for months on end. Additionally it provided all the hot water. Currently in the milder weather about €18 worth of coal does the whole week of heat and hot water!

Multi-Fuel Boilers are a Realistic Alternative

I have been doing some looking into the alternatives to crazy oil prices topped by crazy tax levels, and to crazily priced wood pellet and geo-thermal heating systems.

Much of Eastern Europe commonly use solid fuel boilers. These come in many configurations. (a) Ones that specialise in coal, (b) Log burning boilers, (c) Wood gasification boilers, (d) Multi-fuel boilers. etc. etc.

Multi-fuel central heating boilers that can burn just about anything are becoming a real option in these crazy times. I will be looking at some of the option out there, and a close look at an up to date and highly efficient boiler I examined recently. This type of boiler could become a viable alternative for many.

Keep an eye out for the posting - coming soon.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Citizens - Legislature - Judiciary Expenses and Allowances


Justice, Fairness 
and Balance in Ireland.

Currently there is a debate going on in Ireland about the much hated "Household Charge" or Poll Tax. The Minister for Justice has said that it is a "Fair and Just" tax.

I would have to very strongly disagree with the Minister, and it would seem that more than half of the citizens feel the same way. There is IMHO no equity or justice in the tax, nor in many other aspects of the way in which the country operates..

My mother had a saying that "there is one law for the rich, and another for the poor". It would seem today that Ireland is a sharply defined two-tier country. Those running the country live in a rarefied insulated atmosphere and simply do not appreciate what it is like to live as a bottom feeder in society. One can almost hear them say; "let them eat cake"

A Deputy in the Dail (Irish Parliament) can claim 60cents, and more, per Kilometer in actual expenses. Judges, it would seem, can and do - do the same. Joe and Sheila Citizen cannot however even make an income tax deduction for the costs of getting to and from work despite the fact that the cost of this essential travel has increased some 50% in the last few years.

My mother had another saying; "Don't do as I do - but do as I tell you". How fair and just is this society today?