Energy News: Methane Generator, Alternative Energy Store, and Other Items

This installment of a regular energy news feature covers five stories, including a man who built a methane generator and a man who opened an alternative energy store.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
November/December 1974
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In 1974 John D'Angelo established an alternative energy store selling wind power, solar, fuel cell, methane, and other power equipment.

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The following energy news items were drawn from multiple sources.

Homemade Methane Generator

Bill Patch—who rode a bicycle from Minier, Illinois to Redkey, Indiana to see MOTHER EARTH NEWS' methane generator last spring—turned right around and rode back to Minier, where he and Dale Whitley then proceeded to build a 20,322-gallon anaerobic digester of their own. Does it work? "We burned off 142,450 cubic feet of methane during the four summer months," says Bill. "That's equal to approximately 1,110 gallons of gasoline. As you can see, it's best to get ready to use your gas before you make it!"

Colombia Methane

The methane idea is catching on in South America. Nicole Maxwell, the first white woman to study the miraculous herbal medicines used by remote tribes in the Amazon Basin, writes from Bogota, Colombia: "Organic farming is big at the University and, this being cattle country, everybody's building little plants to convert manure into methane for kitchen use."

Alternative Energy Store

John D'Angelo is a young man who's done his homework. He visited Henry Clews' Solar Wind operation in Maine last February and bought a 2,000-watt wind-driven generator. He contributed to the American Wind Energy Association meeting in Detroit in September. He's visited MOTHER EARTH NEWS' methane plant in Indiana and Bill Patch's anaerobic digester in Illinois. And now D'Angelo has set up his own company—Independent Energy Systems—in Pennsylvania to handle wind, methane, solar, fuel cell, and other "alternative" power equipment. John also deals in 10-speed bikes and backpacking and climbing equipment. Give him a call if you live in the Erie area.

Thermal Mass Heating and Cooling

What costs one million dollars more than a conventional heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system for the same space, but is expected to both heat and cool a 1.3-million-square-foot building at a savings of 20 million kilowatt hours and $200,000 a year? Answer: A 1.6-million-gallon concrete tank filled with water and equipped with computer-controlled heat exchangers. The monster vat is currently being installed in the Toronto headquarters of Canada's giant Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission and its contractors think that "other people are going to want systems like this." Although the storage container's auxiliary valves, compartments, plumbing, chillers and switches seem somewhat complicated, the basic idea of the whole shebang is Harold Hay simple: excess Btu's are pumped into the mass of water when the building's living space is too hot, and extracted again later when warmth is desired. (Harold Hay, by the way, is the California inventor who has successfully heated and cooled a house with a giant roof-mounted "water bed" and a series of moving panels which cover and/or expose the mass of liquid to the sun.)

Hydropower Scam?

UNCONFIRMED REPORT: Stateline Alternative Power Systems (nope, we never heard of the firm before either), is supposed to have found "a small supply of small Pelton-type, impulse turbine water wheels, new, ideal for people who want to build their own hydroplants." The note (from Stateline) which gave us this information was hardly decipherable and included no prices or substantiating photographs. We hope this lead is on the level but advise caution to anyone to whom the news seems too good to be true. It may well be exactly that.

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8/10/2014 8:22:52 PM
There is a new concept that creates the different approach to alternative energy arena. We are at a threshold of a very beautiful planet filled with clean, costless and endless energy and a time to enter is at our disposal now. This is a concept to manipulate the power of interactions between air and water in our surroundings by comprising unique gadgets into a working system. Introducing HYDRO-ELECTRENERGY, the system that can harness the kinetic energy of airflow created by these powerful interactions. The perpetual-motioned machine that can generate electric current every minute around the clock by itself anywhere on this planet regardless the weather conditions at any given locations. Further more, there are technically no running costs because this apparatus is driven by the most powerful, reliable and costless forces in the world, the forces of gravity and buoyancy. Ironically, we utilize these two forces on our everyday living unawares of a great potential that can benefit our lives in a very big way. This concept unveils this potential and brings it out to serve our energy needs. This concept ultimately becomes a powerful tool to remove the roadblock for hydrogen production. Good things that hydrogen can do are nothing new to scientists they have discovered that decades ago but they haven't been able to find the sensible way to produce it. So hydrogen production has hit the roadblock and died on its track, going nowhere until this day. It requires a significant amount of electric current to extract a usable amount of pure hydrogen out from water. In fact, it is too costly to use electric current from burning fossil fuels. On the other hand, free electric current from renewable technologies available today can not produce hydrogen enough to fulfill our growing demand for consumption. Thus hydrogen has become tantalizingly out of our reach since then. This concept can generate electric current to feed the household as well as to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. Hydrogen gas will be produced even greater amount to satisfy our needs over time because HYDRO-ELECTRENERGY can feed electric current to the electrolyzer continuously and unconditionally around the clock. Water can be from any natural sources as a raw material for the process. So this is a sensible way to produce hydrogen because there are no running costs no matter how much hydrogen is produced. Finally, roadblock for hydrogen production is removed. The turnout of this path is even more festive since we are now enable to recycle water to facilitate all of our energy needs. When hydrogen is used as a fuel, it is forced to cohere with oxygen in the air forming water molecules and being released back to earth. Hydrogen is the only one kind of fuel that is right for humans when it comes to the energy we need from combustion. Due to its nature of being practically benign for natural elements that nurture our lives from its production to consumption. We start off by splitting water molecules for oxygen and hydrogen. Oxygen is released into the air but hydrogen is kept in pressurized tanks for heating, hot water system, cooking and more importantly, fueling our vehicles. The existing ones can be converted to be hydrogen propelled vehicles. Now that we have ample supply of free electricity and hydrogen we can transform our lives from being mainly reliant on carbon footprint to be entirely extricated from it. There will be no worries of depletion to this energy because we obtain our energy by recycling the source of energy(water), unlike fossil fuels that we consume the source of energy(fossil deposits). So there will be a depletion at some point of time, not to mention about pollution being emitted into our atmosphere as we live on. Additionally, we now enable to decentralize our energy structure which would eradicate problems we are facing from time to time on centralized energy that we now depend on. Because of this concept that allows us to do so. The whole thing can be scaled down to fit in a household. Finally, we can have a full control over our lives. All these will have to start with the apparatus prototype which is still a project. Please go to to learn about this system and if you agree with the concept, please contribute small donation to the project. Remember! many hands can lift the big project off the ground, anything is possible when a lot of us congregate to do the same thing and finally we all will benefit from it.

10/14/2013 7:25:36 PM
COMMANDABLE GREEN ENERGY TO ETERNITY HYDRO-ELECTRENERGY is an apparatus that can generate an ample supply of electricity continuously under our command. Regardless of time in a day or the climate conditions in a given location. This apparatus can generate electricity by itself at no running costs because it does not need any combustible fuel to feed in. It can harness the kinetic energy of the moving air caused by the interactions between water and air in our atmosphere. These interactions are driven by the gravity and buoyancy. This apparatus is prominent over any other "green energy" methods because it does not have pros and cons to discuss about. It will generate free electricity wherever an energy is needed around the clock since it is propelled by the most powerful and reliable forces. Thus, we have this apparatus under our command to provide the energy whenever and wherever we need. That is why other "green energy" methods can not call themselves "commandable green energy" like this one. We can not only conserve the elements in our surroundings but also can secure the certainty of our later generations. Finally, we can extricate ourselves out of the "save energy" notion. It will take some efforts for this to happen. HYDRO-ELECTRENERGY is a "green energy" project that just emerges on horizon. It needs the supports. So go to the website, investigate this system and participate in. This is a non-profit ideal that with a small effort from the people, the apparatus will be up and running. When that happens, everybody benefits from it. Let's make this project the project of the people, by the people and benefits the people.

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