Thursday, June 1, 2017

Geothermal Potential of Gulf Coast Could Power Entire U.S 24/7 at $.06/kw

Between this and the imminent move to electric vehicles, we could undermine Trump & Republican efforts to destroy the environment. And because the power of petrochemical companies threaten Democracy all over the world. Lets make the industry all but obsolete. 

This is cheap, green power, 24/7 unlike solar & wind which require storage for when the sun doesn't shine & wind doesn't blow.  

Getting the word out will hopefully get investors on board. They have plenty willing to jump on the bandwagon later, but no one willing to be the initial investor.  
  • Miles below Texas are zones of hot, pressurized brine
  • The potential of these zones was investigated & documented by the DOE in the 70s. 
  • Proven by the DOE in the 90s with a small power plant that produced and sold power to Houston Lighting & Power. 
  • It uses assets discovered & logged and wells already dug by the oil & gas companies.  And there are 10s of thousands of these all along the gulf coast.
  • It uses off the shelf hybrid generators. They are hybrid systems that produce both power from the hot water & pressure as well as the dissolved natural gas and put the carbon emissions back into the ground. 
  • It is a blackstart technology. That means it requires very little power to start up. When other power plants start up, they require hundreds of megawatts to crank up.  They also need little maintenance and thus will have very little down time. 

Frank Smith of SoloGen Systems  is developing geothermal power plants in the gulf coast region of Texas. Not heating & cooling as in your heat pump, but electricity.  Green power 24-7.

Miles below Texas are zones of hot, pressurized brine. Sologen is going to use that pressure and heat to make electricity, introducing a new source of clean power to the grid that has the potential to exceed all other sources.

Power from these wells comes from three sources: the heat, the pressure, and from burning the dissolved methane found in the water in a hybrid geothermal power plant. The methane is used on site to generate electricity and the emissions are injected back down an adjacent well along with the brackish water, sequestering the carbon.

Research and testing for the use of hot water from old oil and gas wells has been began in the 1960s, but was largely shelved. Since then, more than half a million oil and gas wells have been drilled in Texas.

In the 70s & 80s, the D.O.E. mapped geothermal potential of the U.S. including the Gulf Coast Region and in the early 90s ran the Pleasant Bayou Power Plant project in Brazoria County. Just one well produced enough power for about one thousand homes sold via  Houston Lighting & Power. Then, before deregulation, it wasn't feasible for small power producers to sell power to the grid. And it couldn't compete  with coal at the time. That has changed

Sologen has purchased and is developing 4 wells near that power plant.

You can find more info here on SECO's geothermal page. Scroll about halfway down to get to the relevant info:
Some here include the DOE's test project in TX and another in LA.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Unlock Phone for Free - Device Unlock App

Best Deal on a Mobile Phone

First, always buy a phone & go with a cheaper prepaid service like Cricket. Even if the phone seems expensive, do the math.  You'll find it's way cheaper.  Add up what you pay for the phone and the 2 years worth of service in your contract at $70 or more per month.  Versus buying the phone out right & going with a prepaid service at a far cheaper rate for 2 years.

Then, look for a good deal on the phone.  I wanted a good camera at a good price so I googled best camera phones of (insert prior year). Then picked a model & searched for a deal.  I ended up with a T-Mobile overstock which is needless to say. locked to T-Mobile. And I can't get quite as cheap of a plan with TMobile.  So it needed to be unlocked.

How to Unlock a Phone

So T-Mobile wouldn't do it for me without my having a T-Mobile account & service on that phone.  I spent hours exploring options, reading forums and articles.  There are services that do this for a fee. But it sounded like there was some risk involved, at least for my situation. I don't recall exactly.  But after hours of arguing with T-Mobile and searching the internet, I finally find a post in a discussion forum in which someone pointed out there was an App on the T-Mobile phone called Device Unlock.  You just click on it, choose Permanently Unlock. Restart the phone & viola. It's unlocked.   I notice in the app store, there are many unlock apps. I don't know if there's a fee for those. 

Let me repeat the pertinent part in case someone is looking for it.  I'm making them Headings as well to help SEO results.

How to Unlock a T-Mobile Phone without a T-Mobile account for free. 

Inside the T-Mobile folder is an App called Device Unlock

Click on the Device Unlock app.  Select Permanently Unlock. Restart.  Your phone will be unlocked. 

Now, the next thing that happened to me is that turns out the phone I bought, an LG G4, has an overheating issue that makes it not boot up one day. Or do what they call Bootlooping. So, after spending hours researching that as well, I had to send it in for repair, or rather, a motherboard replacement.  I was pleased that it was returned to me in less than a week from the date I sent it. So, happily I installed the Cricket SIM, SDHC card, etc & began to reset up my phone.  Problem.  It wouldn't connect to Cricket.  I removed & reinstalled, rebooted, etc.  I realized that when you start the phone up, the display says 'Network Locked." On my unlocked phone! I try the app & it says the device is permanently unlocked.

Searched for hours on the internet, etc. Finally I find one post where someone has the same problem & he solved it.  Here:
Again, let me state it again with phrases I think people will use to search for answers. At least, they are what I searched for 

How to Unlock your already unlocked phone with Device Unlock App when unlocked Phone says Network Locked and Mobile Networks is grayed out. 

  1. Go to App Settings for the Device Unlock App.  
  2. Stop the App, & clear all data & Cache. I had to go to storage settings to do that.
  3. Restart the Phone. 
  4. Then go to the Device Unlock App & unlock the phone again. 
  5. Restart again, I think. The app will tell you. 
You know, when I first switched to prepaid, I took my old Iphone to AIO which has since become Cricket.  Then I lost the Iphone & not wanting to spend much money, I bought a super cheap, slow, small Chinese ZTE phone for $50.  And I have never had a single problem with it.  I've switched back to it when other phones had problems, such as when I sent the LG in for repair.  I pop the Sim into the phone & it works. Probably because it was always a no contract phone.  Just felt like saying that. I rather like the little phone, nice size in the hand or your pocket and AIO had a cheerful friendly vibe and so does this phone.  Cheerful notification &  ringtones & other messages. Unfortunately, it can't be upgraded to the latest android & some apps I want won't install. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Media in a Box: Modular TV & Hi-Fi-Speaker Sound System

No need for cables is the best part. I've been complaining for years about the mess of cables in even a simple system.  Half the time, the components are stacked on upon the other, so why do we have to use 3 foot or longer cables to plug them together?  This modular system connects together like legos.

Media in a Box: Modular TV & Hi-Fi-Speaker Sound System

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Description of my Future Small Smart Cheap Green Home.

Basic Design Principles for my Future Small Smart Cheap Green Home

Passive solar design, a high thermal mass, shade trees  & structures in the right places to block afternoon sun, deep eaves to keep summer noon sun of walls & windows and to cover outdoor living areas, a stairwell that doubles as a ventilation stack, a cool roof, designed for solar, rainwater retention and gray water collection. 

It will be a rectangle because corners are hard to insulate  although that isn't an issue with ICFs or AAC block. Also, to minimize exposure to the West.  And It's just a good design principle. Also, dimensions will be divisible by two feet. For the ICFs  (or advanced framing).  Narrow for cross ventilation. The open living area of the house will be only as wide as a good size living room.. 20' maybe.  The sleeping area may to the side tucked behind carport or to the back back and that section may be wider.

Will keep costs down with a small home and small footprint, open floor plan to minimize ductwork and wet walls/stacking to reduce plumbing costs. I hope it will be so efficient all that's needed in this climate is a mini-split unit to supplement. I'm wavering between combining kitchen or bath with laundry. I think bath.  Mechanicals in a central core, i.e. shared wall unit between the kitchen/bath/laundry/pantry. AC. Water heater.

There will be a large thermal mass in the form of a rocket stove/oven/fireplace of some sort. Maybe rustic, maybe modern. I've seen designs I like for both.

The style is a rustic mid-century. But the friendly kind with porches & eaves. Like my Grandmother's house was.  It will have transoms  & clerestory windows for ventilation and light.  It will have working shutters for severe weather & sun. And situated for home food production and outdoor living.  Foodscaped with fruit & nut trees and perennials. Plus some beds for annuals.

It want it to be stuccoed outside and plastered inside. Not sided or sheetrocked. Done DIY.  A pretty pale green color.

All or most of the living area is single story with a flat white roof deck above. The second story area has a shed roof sloped towards the south for solar panels &a rainwater.

The sleeping area is flexible space for flexible use, divided by modular furniture and panels of some sort.  And may be an exact duplicate directly above. (Or maybe different above: more sleeping area upstairs over more of the living area to shrink house footprint, smaller roof deck because there's a carport that can be a deck)  The 2nd floor bath will be stacked above the 1st floor bath or kitchen. The resident can easily choose between making the upstairs or down stairs the 'master.'  The doors  to these flexible sleeping areas will be double barn doors to open up the small rooms. Plus transoms.

 I'd like to incorporate some tiny home ideas like a loft sleeping area. Loft beds, Murphy beds or beds that slide under a raised platform living area or storage units.

 The Kitchen in my Future Small Smart Cheap Green Home.

Open to the living area.
Island with 4- 5 ft wide top and nothing in it but workspace, except maybe the induction burner. Or counter height table & stools.  The kitchen can be small, but there has to be at least this much worktop.
I want a cool pantry for produce from my garden and our urban farms and space for a freezer.  And ventilation for refrigerator/freezer coils. Could the AC flow into the pantry first? 
Very large deep sink, with covers: solid & slotted to drain dishes. Maybe that in sink dishwasher if it's still available.
Dish draining plate rack cupboard for cups & plates.
Cooking will be via electric induction or  in winter via rocket stove/oven (whether cob or a commercial product). Or outdoors.
2 burner induction cooktop. (portable so it can be put away in a drawer or inserted into counter? I hate cords)

Maybe no oven except the rocket stove or outdoors (solar & otherwise). Ovens just aren't a good way to cook unless you want to heat up the space.  But some kind of broiler is a must.

Shoe removal bench/storage for coats, book bags, purses. 
Mud/utility room with sink &; dog washing, but am thinking it doesn't all need to be inside the conditioned space. 
A carport  that's part of the architecture as was done a lot in Mid-Century Modern design. rather than a garage (3 easy LEED points there!)Extend the roof line into carport.
The stairwell/ventilation stack might be a bump out in which case the space under will be utility. Or if inside the living, something else clever will be done to use the space. Storage wall, library, tuck the sofa under it....

Also considering keeping a certain amount of appliances/lighting DC power for efficiency, with a small amount of battery storage for night/emergency.
 I.E.  Some lights in the kitchen area. some appliances, fans.  Thinking of having a small fridge plus one of those DC powered chest coolers for extra, beverages & what not so you don't keep opening the 'big' fridge or for fruit and other items that don't like the standard cold fridge temps, plus have it for power outages/camping. Maybe have a pullout shelf for it under the counter.

Solar thermal assisted Mini-Split AC.
Dehumidifyer vented to outside.
Heat exchanging ventilation system.
PV with some DC storage, some grid tied AC

Rustic Midcentury.  Most walls will be a pale cheery spring green. or different shades of such a color.
Absolutely no recessed lighting anywhere.  Or ugly vents.
A mid-centrury Mod wooden grid system for walls & ceiling to mount artwork & lights.

Walls of storage.  Natural wood.
I think oscilating fans are more energy efficient than ceiling. Is that right? There are wall mountable fans. Vintage looking.
In addition to the open living area, there's one other small space to get away to. Play/study. But might be one of the flexible sleeping area spaces.
Living/kitchen flow to outdoors.  Maybe bathroom as well. To make it accessible via outside without tracking in dirt.
Shoe removal bench/storage by doors.
Considering large shared closet near bath rather than closets in every sleeping area as rooms are meant to be flexible space. And for sleeping, not living.
Outdoor kitchen with solar oven. 

See my pinterest boards for information & ideas for Better Homes & Building Materials & Techniques, Floor plans, Better Spaces, Alternative Power, Growing Food, and more.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Features any home should have

Dimensions divisible by 2' for advanced framing.

Oriented properly for passive heating/cooling. Minimal west exposure. Deep eaves or shade structures on south & west. roof slanted for solar, water collection.

Thermal Mass on inside.

Wet walls to reduce plumbing runs.  Kitchen back to utility & bath. Other bath stacked above.

Open floor plan with few halls, no sprawl.  Reduces ductwork. I hope to have a mini split or two, only. 

Designed to flow outside. Fit into outdoor space, not just sit in the middle of the lawn.

Transoms &/or other vent for air flow between rooms.

Places for pets. food bowls, water, litter box, access to outdoors that isn't in the door, facing winter winds, etc. ideally has an airlock &/or can be sealed tight at night or extreme weather.  Outdoor enclosed cattery.

Place for trash can, recycling, compost.  Especially in dense builds. It's crazy they leave no space for this.

Place for small chest freezer.

Utility room with utility sink, dog washing, foot washing, laundry machines, drying rack. Shoes, coats Doesn't all necessarily have to be in conditioned space.

Room size:
Living room - open to dining & kitchen so flexible, but
not much longer than sofa length plus end table width x  ?

Bedrooms - I plan for the alotted bedroom areas to be flexible so you can chose upstairs or downstairs master,  divide into 2 -3 smaller spaces, etc.  But one wall will be the width of a king size bed plus 2 feet on each side rounded up to be divisible by 2ft (for advanced framing)  That's as big as a master bedroom needs to be.  Period.

 My house:
Xella?  AAC cement blocks. Plaster on inside, stucco/limewash outside. No sheetrock over these walls.
"Limewash protects underlying lime coating and masonry as it acts as a sacrificial layer. It also remains vapour permeable thus allowing moisture to evaporate from the building fabric. Most modern masonry paints have very low vapour permeability (if at all) and will trap moisture within a wall or building, leading to greater problems of internal dampness and timber rot. Modern masonry paints also tend to peel and crack, and are affected adversely by UV light, unlike limewashes."

Mostly flat white roof for living/ growing food.

Situated to maximize growing space. Hopefully creating some microclimates. 

Bedroom area divvied up with some prefab materials, wardrobes, etc. Barn doors.

Walls of storage!!! 

Floors:  Plywood sheets cut into 4x4' squares. Separated by the strips used in terrazo.

kitchen/bath/utility in one block to include some kind of utility space in a central core that can blow into the open living area without ductwork.  also want to cool pantry & vent heat from behind fridge.

My kitchen:
Some kind of rocket stove either natural built or purchased high efficiency wood stove/oven in kitchen but open to living.

Pantry-  one of those foot or so wide pull out pantries. But cooled with something.

Small fridge or pair of European sized fridges so one can be turned off if needed to conserve in power outage. Or small fridge plus one fridge drawer.

Butcher block, stainless, aluminum banded formica or that black chem lab stuff made of paper.  No rock hard surfaces. 

Very large single basin sink, stove, etc all with covers to make it all work space. sink covers slotted to double as drain boards, carving boards, etc.

One island @ 4ft long workspace. Don't need a big kitchen, but must have at least that in continuous workspace.  Can have a counter height 'breakfast" table that can double as work space.

Magnetic cook top. 2 burner, could be embedded into island. Otherwise nothing in island. + one portable spare that can be stowed away.

Wall mounted small oven with broiler mounted at eye level.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Quote from Rob Hopkins, Founder of the Transition Movement

it feels like the world has gone from “there’s no problem” to saying “it’s too late” without the bit in the middle “maybe we can actually do something.

Read interview after his recent, probably once in a lifetime since he doesn't fly (carbon emissions), visit to the United States.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Best Plants for the End of the World

 Just starting my list.


MB001 Moringa: Natures Medicinal Cabinet -  Tree - superfood high in vitamin C, calcium, protein, oil,
Moringa may provide the boost in energy, nutrition and health you've been seeking. It's a remarkable tree whose leaves, pods and flowers have seven times the Vitamin C found in oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, three times the iron of spinach, four times as much calcium as milk and three times the potassium of bananas. And its medicinal properties are no less impressive. Besides providing a natural energy boost, people also report their immune system strengthened, skin condition restored, blood pressure controlled, headaches and migraines handled, diabetes sugar level managed, inflammations and arthritis pains reduced, tumors restricted and ulcers healed. Excited laboratory researchers have already confirmed many of these results, and work is continuing.
Moringa also has a well-documented detoxifying effect. Universities around the world have studied Moringa's ability to purify water--attaching itself to harmful material and bacteria, and allowing them to be expelled as waste. The evidence points to this same process going on inside your body.

Hemp - high protein seeds

Other Uses

Hemp - Fiber. Fast growing, low water, low pest

Soap Nut Tree - for your laundry
There are two native varieties. 
Aztec Maxamillian Sunflower  - Rapidly produces a large hedge - Edible flowers, livestock forage,