We’re far enough out of town that natural gas isn’t an option for fuel, so our home uses propane. We had reduced our household propane use to about 200 gallons a year. Then we started making cheese, heating the water with two propane-fueled tankless hot water heaters. It takes about 20-30 gallons of propane to [...]
Posts under ‘Renewable Energy’
Students at Rensselear Polytech are designing a solar-powered pasteurizer that can be used by village farmers in Peru. The sun heats water to boiling, and the hot water is used in a HTST (high temperature short time) pasteurization system. This will allow village farmers to obtain certification to sell their dairy products at market. Solar [...]
Our new facility houses a 150-gallon vat pasteurizer with which we have begun to make cheese. Fresh cheeses must be pasteurized, which means raising the temperarture of the milk to 145 degrees and holding it there for 30 minutes. Heating 150 gallons of milk by 110 degrees requires a lot of energy.
In order to cut our heating costs, as well as our environmental impact, we installed a solar hot water system. The system incorporated used solar panels that someone gave us for free. Instead of spending thousands on a commercial heat exchanger and storage tank, we elected to build our own using the principles (if not exactly the plans) we found on BuildItSolar.com.
(DJ Mitchell Photo) On January 25th I posted about the strong winds that bent our wind turbine http://jackrabbitcheese.com/2010/01/25/ranch-picture-of-the-day-12/ Since then the wind turbine has been brought down. This picture shows the top of the wind turbine (working). The pole is now laying on the ground and this top part is in the barn. We have decided to [...]
(DJ Mitchell Photo) (Brigette Adams Photo) With one anchor wire already broken the strong winds last week bent our wind turbine. We will have to bring it down. We can’t bring it down if it is windy. We will need to get the guide pole that we use to lower it off the roof of the [...]
Our solar hot water system for the new cheese room is coming along ever so slowly. I built a coil of about 90 feet of 3/4″ copper pipe as a heat exchanger to preheat the water we use for washing. I’m no plumber, but surprise! No Leaks! I also constructed a rack of PVC plastic [...]
The United Nations FAO offers this analysis of solar-powered dairy projects. Their conclusion: It’s feasible, but not cheap. Note that, in 1981 dollars, a cheese facility of the size we’re building would cost over $150,000. That’s over $355,000 in 2008 dollars. Using innovation, used equipment, comparison shopping, and just plain Yankee frugality, we’re putting ours [...]
Despite today’s chilly weather, I finished installing the solar panels today. I bolted the frame to the roof, with 1″ spacers to keep the frame from actually contacting the shingles (and trapping water). I connected Pex tubing to each inlet and outlet of the panels, because there isn’t enough room to reach the connection once [...]
(A warehouse in Los Angeles covered in solar panels.) Ed, an urban dweller in Arizona, writes: Looking at your web site, I was struck by the difference between urban and rural approaches to solar hot water. You can make anything, put it wherever you want, and its appearance is governed only by your own aesthetics. Where we live we are [...]
As we continue our development toward solar hot water heating for the new cheese facility, I’ve found a couple of very interesting resources: This page tells how to make a solar water heating panel for under $5. Yes, you read that right. It’s not of sufficient volume to heat a house, but it’s an interesting [...]