Alternative Energy - Propane

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Dave Thacker
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:18 pm
Location: Tipp City, Ohio

Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by Dave Thacker » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:59 pm

Yikes! How can that be alternative? We'll, it could be free. I use a portable catalytic propane heater for auxiliary heat all through the winter. Making regular trips to the propane supply to refill the tanks, I've noticed they have a constant and changing supply of tired looking propane tanks on the side of the building. One day recently I asked where all the old tanks came from. They said the city trash pick up drop them off for recycling several times a week. Interestingly, landfills and incinerators don't accept old propane bottles.

I presume some people throw these way because they are out of certification, too rusty, or perhaps, they simply no longer own a gas grill. Some of them are heavy, so some contain gas.

The propane company removes the valve (brass) and sends the tank to steel recycling. If they are nice, they re-certify them and sell them. The question is, when they get a tank with gas do they vent that to the atmosphere? I don't see any equipment for pumping them down. In an exceptionally strange moment, I noticed a natural gas meter. So, they don't heat with propane. Where does it all go? Answer, I don't know!

So, the question becomes, what happens to the many discarded tanks collected in your area? Can you get into the recycling chain ahead of the propane dealer as a user who can consume any energy in the tank to avoid it being vented into the atmosphere? Is there a source of found energy here?

Dave Thacker
I am for Liberty
www.radicalrc.com
Dave Thacker
Radicalrc.com, Owner
Radicalrc.com/blog Blogsite

techman
Site Admin
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by techman » Mon May 06, 2013 6:40 pm

I sort of agree with you that propane is not fully off the grid. I do use it for now but hope to be fully free of all outside energy soon. That is the goal of The Off Grid Project

It is a long, slow process of moving away from outside energy though, so please bear with me until then.

I pick up old, rusty propane bottles from the forest and take them to True Value hardware to get a shiny, new and full bottle in return. I do know that a lot of propane gets vented into the air, but at the same time jet liners dump fuel into the air all the time. Is it good for us? No. Is it legal? Sort of.

I never throw out anything that may be useful. I have looked into propane bottle wood stoves and may make one this summer just for fun. Need to get my sawzall working better first.

There are other uses for empty propane bottles out there, but I cant think of them off hand

phoneguy1212
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:37 pm
Location: Frankfort, In

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by phoneguy1212 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:38 pm

Troy: A rocket stove made from propane tank comes to mind. Seen it done on u-tube.
Jerry

MotherLodeBeth
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:50 pm
Location: California Nevada Sierras

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by MotherLodeBeth » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:32 pm

Here in the California Sierra bwteeen Lake Tahoe and Yosemite propane is very much off the grid because one owns their propane tank. Some folk have the tank on a secure licensed trailer so they can take it to town to get refilled or often just so they can drive down their half mile or mile long driveway to meet up with the propane company to have the tank filled. It's when the propane company owns the tank that we consider you still connected to the grid and you pay more, since you are renting their tank.

And the only two towns in Calaveras County California that have natural gas are Valley Springs and San Andreas. And since we have so many tiny home folks in the county folks don't need a huge propane tank. And we spend around $125 a year for propane, which we use for cooking, and back up generator. We can get snow up to the roof line and those on the grid can lose power for weeks if there is a bad storm of any kind. You can lock in the price so if the prices go up you are not paying more. Was selling for $2.20 per gallon, but we and some friends got it locked in at $1.98 when the price had dropped.

One thing about RV's, trailers is they tend to do best at staying warmer if there is heat on even at a low low setting. Whereas our tiny house (400 sq ft) is conventional and has lots of insulation in the walls, under the flooring and in the ceiling area. Most of us have wind, solar. We heat with wood. Lots of oak trees on the property. Propane is more of a back up with us.

MotherLodeBeth
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:50 pm
Location: California Nevada Sierras

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by MotherLodeBeth » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:12 pm

Forgot to ask if Troy has considered using a small heat proof pot of some kind to keep warm/hot water going so that warm air is in the RV, which helps make better use of whatever heat is being used for keeping warm.

There is a guy in an RV near us who installed under floor heating in his RV and insulation under the rv since its a stay put RV house set up. The heat rises from the floor and heats the place fall to spring and for very very little cost. He did large ceramic tiles over the healing coils.
Anyone else think of doing that

techman
Site Admin
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Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by techman » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:45 am

I think that not having any lines, wires or hoses to your home is off the grid. I carry my own propane tanks to the shop for a refill. It is only used for cooking and secondary heating. It is a backup so to say.

Propane I believe is the most controversial topic of being off the grid. Most people would agree on other things but propane is always up for discussion.

But for the most part off the grid simply means not connected to the utilities directly. Its not about being self sufficient, which is what confuses many people. You can still shop, drive a car and buy groceries or propane. But you are not paying for utilities anymore.

I have seen where people have run under floor heating in an RV but its not for me. You need to gut out the whole thing in order to do that or loose a lot of floor space. One way or another its a lot of work. Sure would be cozy though.

I would be happy just being warm this winter either way.

mr bugsier5
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:36 pm
Location: Brielle , west coast of holland(europe)

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by mr bugsier5 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:45 am

Hy Troy.
as you know , i'm following your video's on Youtube, watching almost every day.

what about the idea off using the old heting blowers in the camper itself, so replacing the plastic airducts with the modern alu ones , and then drawing heat from directly above the barrelstove , using a heatshealt about a few inches above the barrel, than a duct with the smal inline fan (put a rpm regulator on the fan(adjustable voltage regulator or so)blowing heat directly in the hot air ducting , you put heat in the camper on more places to get it equally warm everywhere via a few openings, the old plastic duct was from hot air heater??

just an idea to inprove the system! ;)

btw , sorry about my rusty english, it has bin a while! hope you can read it!! :lol: :roll: :oops:

grts Richard (mr bugsier 5)
dont be afraid to ask!, a stupid question does not exist!
forgive me my bad English!, as long as you know what i mean it,s fine for me!
(you thry dutch, wont be easy to! HA HA!)

Frozenoem
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:41 pm

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by Frozenoem » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:29 pm

Troy,

I've wanted to ask this since I started watching you on youtube, wouldn't it be cheaper just to use a 60 lb. 14 gallon propane tank or two - then all of those BBQ type tanks you have. BBQ being 20lb 5 gallon or 5 lb/1.2 gallon.

When I was off grid* I used auto switchover to 2 tanks (60 lb) at least 6-9 months per tank using it for cooking stove/propane lights/and fridge/freezer. Local heating contractor would deliver the tanks for a swap out or I could haul in by pickup or boat to my camp depending upon the weather conditions.

Think the most I ever paid for propane was $70 bucks for 2 tanks.

* My off grid was 2 hours from anywhere, on lake(s), with a 7 month outta the year road. Admit I only used the propane stove when it was too hot to use the 1880 wood cookstove.

techman
Site Admin
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by techman » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:55 pm

mr bugsier5 wrote:Hy Troy.
as you know , i'm following your video's on Youtube, watching almost every day.

what about the idea off using the old heting blowers in the camper itself, so replacing the plastic airducts with the modern alu ones , and then drawing heat from directly above the barrelstove , using a heatshealt about a few inches above the barrel, than a duct with the smal inline fan (put a rpm regulator on the fan(adjustable voltage regulator or so)blowing heat directly in the hot air ducting , you put heat in the camper on more places to get it equally warm everywhere via a few openings, the old plastic duct was from hot air heater??

just an idea to inprove the system! ;)

btw , sorry about my rusty english, it has bin a while! hope you can read it!! :lol: :roll: :oops:

grts Richard (mr bugsier 5)
The old blower vents are on the other side of the RV. Sadly not reachable from the new wood stove shed. I show that in the newest video uploaded this morning, Nov 4, 2013

I hope to use a floor baseboard heating system soon when I get some copper pipes and connectors collected for it. I bought the baseboard heaters brand new last year for a dollar each.

techman
Site Admin
Posts: 1326
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Alternative Energy - Propane

Post by techman » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:58 pm

Frozenoem wrote:Troy,

I've wanted to ask this since I started watching you on youtube, wouldn't it be cheaper just to use a 60 lb. 14 gallon propane tank or two - then all of those BBQ type tanks you have. BBQ being 20lb 5 gallon or 5 lb/1.2 gallon.

When I was off grid* I used auto switchover to 2 tanks (60 lb) at least 6-9 months per tank using it for cooking stove/propane lights/and fridge/freezer. Local heating contractor would deliver the tanks for a swap out or I could haul in by pickup or boat to my camp depending upon the weather conditions.

Think the most I ever paid for propane was $70 bucks for 2 tanks.

* My off grid was 2 hours from anywhere, on lake(s), with a 7 month outta the year road. Admit I only used the propane stove when it was too hot to use the 1880 wood cookstove.

Yes it would be much cheaper in the long run. But I have a bunch of small tanks and none of the larger ones. That being the main problem. Plus I cannot yet find a place that fills them cheaper around here. Need to drive quite a way to find a dealer.

Maybe one day I will get it worked out but for now I am using propane on the side and not as the primary source of heat. I hope to eventually get away from all purchased fuels.

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