Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

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Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by Halfapint » Sat May 04, 2019 4:21 pm

First off this is just kind of a brainstorm/share your knowledge thread. I'll go into some detail about what I plan on doing with wind power. But if you have a solar set up feel free to chime in. I changed the name of this thread about 5 times after I typed it all out. So lets just call this the renewable power options/battery bank brain storm BSing about home stead power options. Heck if you have a natural gas well on your property and you're using that, get on in here and tell us about it (saw that on homestead rescue and was in awe)!!

I'm looking into setting up a fund that the gf and I can throw some extra money into to start saving for a decent wind power setup. This is a 5+ year project, so nothing that's super quick, but I want to pick the hive minds brains on good quality wind turbines, batteries, charge controllers, etc.

I found Missouri Wind and Solar to have some very nice stuff. They don't have a made in the USA badge but the stuff looks to be quality build and done to their specs. Little things like a concaved ridge on their PMAs where the turbine mates with the PMA so water doesn't drip onto the shaft, and less little things like bearings that are about 2 times larger than normal.

Their 1600w 7 blade turbine
Image

Does anyone have any personal experience with wind turbines? Anyone have any they would recommend?

Next on this 2 part thread would be a power bank. I know about deep cell batteries, power banks using 18650's, even LiFo systems. I was actually thinking a 2 part deep cycle lead acid and a power bank build off 18650's. I was also thinking of running a couple inverters instead of a single large one.

The biggest issue I admittedly do not know about is when I should start looking at 12v/24v/48v etc. I know how to wire the batteries to accvieve that but I don't know if I'll have the wind to run 24v from the wind turbine, or if that even matters when charging a say 24v system.

Anyone have a power bank they build they would be willing to show off explain?
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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by raptor » Sun May 05, 2019 9:00 am

My experience with wind generation on boats was generally positive. There are a lot of decisions that must be made and they seem complex. However they are more engineering preferences than right or wrong answers.

In general the voltage question hinged upon the final application. In my appluxation 12volt systems were already installed and increasing voltage would only add complexity.

In a marine application there is frequently enough wind to run a wins turbine 24/7 and my wind turbines far out produced the solar panels for that reason. I actually removed the panels due to the fact that they took up so much deck space vs. Thier output.

Getting back to the voltage question. In any system like this you will have inefficiencies caused by power transmission losses, voltage conversions and perhaps the biggest loss due to the inverter conversion from dc to ac.

In general the higher voltages reduce tranamission loss. So if it is a greenfield ibstalltion a voltage a higher is desired. If there ia a long cable run a higher voltage is greatly desired.

A wind generator or really any power generator will not require more effort to produce higher voltages since in doing so the amperage it produc3s is proportionately lower. The effort required basically temains the same. Now obviously you should observe and follow the manufacturer's recommendation. So for instance you should order the 48 volt version of the wind generator if that is what all of the other components are designed to accept.

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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by Halfapint » Sun May 05, 2019 10:15 am

raptor wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:00 am
My experience with wind generation on boats was generally positive. There are a lot of decisions that must be made and they seem complex. However they are more engineering preferences than eight ir wrong answers.

In general the voltage question hinged upon the final application.
Obviously full offgrid power would be the dream end result, but it would take time and a lot of money to get up to that point. I'm planning small, 4 marine batteries, a cheap small charge controller, and probably the wind turbine shown above. I'd like to have data on how much power is generated daily, weekly, and monthly on the small scale to see if its feasible to go larger. worse case i have extra batteries I can use of other applications, a wind turbine that I could gift/sell or use as a tickle charger for vehicles, really going small scale doesn't have a down side to me at all.

I've been looking at charge controllers now, there are a LOT of options. Not long ago there were only small scale stuff for sale and it was either stupid expensive, or harbor freight. It's nice looking online and seeing 20 different options for things that there used to only be 5. These are where I'm really ignorant. Anyone have a good resource for reading up on them? maybe a utube video that goes into some detail? I've been watching all kinds of utubes on wind/solar setups recently and haven't found a good one on charge controllers.
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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by raptor » Sun May 05, 2019 11:48 am

Since this is a small scale test...i would take the path of least resistance...sorry bad joke.

A serious note a full scale system would be more efficient at a higher voltage. Therefore i would suggest that you plan your system to run on 24volts or 48 volts since that is likely the voltage you would want for a full scale system.

This higher voltage also would allow you to use smaller wires and thus reduce initial cost.

The other key question will be inverter sizing. You need to decide if you want a larger and more expensive inverter that will fit into expansion plans or buy one sized for the planned capacity.

In a marine application I used a 2500 watt inverter. In that application it could run anything i had on the boat so long as it had power in the batteries or the propulsion engine was running.

BTW the marine world is a great place to look for equipment and advice. We have been working with systems like this for over 50 decades. The technoligy has changed and improved but process remains the same.

As an engineering preference i always prefer a charge controller separate and not integrated into my wind turbine. A spare controller was always easier to install and i did not have to take down the turbine to replace it.

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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by NT2C » Sun May 05, 2019 12:18 pm

raptor wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 11:48 am

This higher voltage also would allow you to use smaller wires and thus reduce initial cost.
Ummm... Yes, but no. Ampacity (how much current a particular wire gauge can carry) does not change with voltage. What may change with voltage though might be the current draw of a particular load. This is why you see things like a dual voltage appliance with a label that says it draws 2 amps at 120vac but only 1 amp at 240vac.

Handy chart:

Image
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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by raptor » Sun May 05, 2019 11:13 pm

Typically but not always a DC powered device's amperage draw will decline as the votage increases. So a device like an anchor windlass that may need 20 amps at 12 volts will draw 10 amps at 24 and only 5 at 48 volts. So for the 40 foot wire needed for this device you could use a smaller lower cost copper wire by using a 24 - 48 system. That is what i meant by that comment.

In this case however i am addressing the power lead that comes off of the wind turbine and goes to the battery. This cable will likely requuire a long run since the turbine will likely have to be mounted higher. The wind turbine will have a fixed wattage output and by increasing the voltages the amps sent down rhose transmission lines will be lower. In this case a 48 volt turbine may be able to utilize a smaller size wire than the 12 volt model.

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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by JayceSlayn » Mon May 06, 2019 7:19 am

My notes on overall efficiency:
  • Running a higher voltage system for the same design power will allow you to use smaller gauge conductors for equivalent efficiency. Consult the NEC chart posted by NT2C, or also consider using the ampacity guidelines from the USCG for reference (Google for a table, or calculate each run yourself), which includes guidelines for cable run length as well - with preference to the 3% drop recommendations. I like to err on the larger side, if my project costs can afford it.
  • Conversion losses share the top spot for system inefficiencies, and fewer conversions will improve the total efficiency of the system. Also as a rule-of-thumb, the higher the voltage difference in conversion, the greater the efficiency loss will be (e.g. all other things being equal: a 48 VDC to 120 VAC inverter is likely to be more efficient than the 12 VDC to 120 VAC version).
  • Related to conversion losses: many appliances, lights, motors etc. you already own can be run on DC, which could remove the need for AC conversion altogether. Although, since some appliances may need to be modified/designed to run on DC instead, and if you aren't planning to buy new ones anyway, then it may just be easier to include a good DC to AC inverter for convenience.
  • Batteries have storage losses associated with charge/discharge efficiency and self-drain, although there isn't much you can do here other than choosing a good manufacturer or different chemistry.
  • If you are looking at maximizing the lifetime of your batteries: Know how to care for them i.e. balancing/desulfating/watering/etc. Balance the storage capacity with your system generation/usage rate to keep them within their recommended charge/discharge capacity rates (i.e. 1/20 C for lead acid, ~1 C for most lithium chemistries). And avoid discharging them below 50% Depth of Discharge (DoD). All of the previous recommendations typically means you need a much larger battery bank than you'd initially think, which can get expensive - it will rival the cost of the entire rest of the system.
  • Plan your cable runs to give you a little wiggle room, but remember that cables longer than they need to be will add to project cost and efficiency loss.
While it isn't an efficiency-related note: on my choice preference between lithium and lead acid chemistries: If it is mobile, then lithium is the clear winner, but if it is stationary then lead acid might have a cost/capacity advantage. The superior power to capacity rating of lithium batteries means you can use a very small (and light, both from capacity and metal density) battery in place of a similar lead acid. However, since lead acid batteries are so inexpensive, comparing equivalent power batteries between the two chemistries costs about the same, but the lead acid battery will have superior capacity. Rough example:
12 V 20 A charge/discharge design, ideal battery capacities:
Lithium: 12 V 20 AH battery (1C rate) = ~$190, weighs ~5.5 lbs.
Lead Acid: 12 V 400 AH battery (1/20 C rate) = ~$165, weighs ~120 lbs.
Roughly the same cost, with the lithium battery far lighter, but the lithium battery can only sustain the load for 1 hour (1C 100% DoD) vs. the lead acid able to sustain for 20 hours (1/20C 100% DoD).
Last edited by JayceSlayn on Mon May 06, 2019 8:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by CrossCut » Mon May 06, 2019 7:45 am

Will you be able to mount it at the height recommended by the manufacturer Halfapint? If so you can probably stop reading here.

The reason I ask is because I didn't, and while I knew it wouldn't work as well what I found was it didn't work at all. As I recall your place is pretty heavily wooded, but also at least one hilltop? Anyway, my experience was with a Southwest Windpower Air-X (3-blade, 400W, 24v) turbine as backup for our solar array. The manufacturer's recommendation was to install it 30' above any obstructions within 100 yards and I think that's generally the rule for all installations. That would have meant a 60-65' tower to get it above the trees which surround our place but a tower that high wasn't in the budget, and since this was just backup power, I figured I'd mount it about 8' above the roof peak (about 30') and be happy with any power I got. Worst case I figured it'd only work on windy days (like over 15 MPH winds, it was rated to start producing power at 7 MPH), but I might get more in the late autumn to spring months after the leaves fell, which was good since we'd be getting less solar in the winter months.

But it didn't work, even with my lowered expectations. It did require higher wind speeds to get it turning at all, but more like 25-30 MPH winds which isn't common here, and with it about treetop level (plus not far above the roof) the winds weren't straight-line but swirling due to all the obstructions. It'd get lined up with the wind briefly, then get spun about and turned out of the wind. Watching the ammeter inside the house it'd jump to maybe 10 amps, then fall back to zero within a second or two. It'd sometimes take 30 seconds before the cycle repeated. I'd guesstimate I got maybe 5 seconds of power every minute, for maybe one or two days each month. Long story that may not apply at all, just described it in case it might help somebody someday.

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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 06, 2019 12:07 pm

JayceSlayn wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:19 am
My notes on overall efficiency
That was a lot of very good information. My general rule for a battery bank is double the price of everything else for the batteries. I would add that that having different type of batteries is good for other reason. 18650's can discharge faster for something that might need a heavy load for a short burst (motor start up). There are other things as well but I'm no 100% sure on them and I'm running off my memory so I don't want to put something down that might be wrong.
CrossCut wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:45 am
Will you be able to mount it at the height recommended by the manufacturer Halfapint? If so you can probably stop reading here.
Also great information! Yes the property is VERY heavily wooded. This is also the reason I want to start small scale and go from there. The lower part of the property has a 150-200' drop. So that's where I'm thinking of putting the turbine on say a 10' pole the issue I think I'm going to have is actually the trees behind it. they act as a barrier and can cause the issues you described. If it doesn't work I may cut some of the trees down and try that way. The wind blows generally up from the valley so that's blowing east, but it comes up from the south so if I plan on putting multiple turbines I may run into issues of turbine chop messing the ones behind it up.

if that doesn't work I'm kind of SOL, because all the trees at the top of the property (top of the hill) are Doug Fir that are 100' tall. So trying to mount a turbine on a 130+' pole would be rather cost prohibitive.
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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by NT2C » Mon May 06, 2019 2:15 pm

Halfapint wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 12:07 pm
JayceSlayn wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:19 am
My notes on overall efficiency
That was a lot of very good information. My general rule for a battery bank is double the price of everything else for the batteries. I would add that that having different type of batteries is good for other reason. 18650's can discharge faster for something that might need a heavy load for a short burst (motor start up).
Be careful there. Not all 18650s are created equal. Some are made to handle high current drains but most of the more common ones are not. The first signs you might get that you have the latter are the smoke and flames as they combust. Shop carefully and wisely.
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Re: Renewable Power Options/Battery Banks

Post by Halfapint » Mon May 06, 2019 2:40 pm

NT2C wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 2:15 pm
Halfapint wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 12:07 pm
JayceSlayn wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:19 am
My notes on overall efficiency
That was a lot of very good information. My general rule for a battery bank is double the price of everything else for the batteries. I would add that that having different type of batteries is good for other reason. 18650's can discharge faster for something that might need a heavy load for a short burst (motor start up).
Be careful there. Not all 18650s are created equal. Some are made to handle high current drains but most of the more common ones are not. The first signs you might get that you have the latter are the smoke and flames as they combust. Shop carefully and wisely.
Haha very true. Some manufacturers are starting to use letter markings on them for HighDrain or Power. Those have a faster discharge rate. I found a good little resource for IDing good batteries from the fakes
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