electricity versus diesel or other Internal Combustion

Dear Troy,

Evaporation for the week 18th to 24th October 2015: 9,9,9,8,8,9,9

This is higher than my average for this time of the year, but with the lack of humidity in the air, hardly surprising. You ought to be aware that 2015 is set to be the hottest year ever recorded (since we invented accurate thermometers). You should also be aware that 2014 was the previous record holder. These increases in temperature are still small, so they probably don’t have much direct effect on our evaporation figures….but will eventually have a bigger impact on our overall climate.

I have been spending a lot of time researching solar electricity, inverters and even batteries. Especially with the solar cells and batteries, there is always the promise that next year will be better. Prices are falling all the time, and the ‘breakthrough’ in batteries is just around the corner. It makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t wait for that breakthrough, or for prices to fall further. Then I realised that, as long as the investment in Solar can be justified now, I should go for it. The big advantage of electricity over diesel engines (or other Internal Combustion Engines – ICE) is that electricity is SO much more flexible….just match the voltage and away you go. Even the voltage match doesn’t have to be perfect, most electrical machines will work within a +/- 10% range….though obviously we have to be careful at lower voltages not to expect the same power output. So, I can spend money on PV panels, Inverters and batteries knowing that the investment will never become obsolete. If that new miracle battery comes onto the market in 5 year’s time, I can eventually replace my old batteries with the new technology, and it will connect very easily to my PV panels, inverters and electric motors. The same cannot be said for my ICE technology. When the water pump goes on my stand-by generator I have to get the exact part….if I cannot get that exact part (or a Chinese/Indian copy) the whole investment in that engine has to be written off. And there are several hundred parts in the engine which are critical, plus as many again in the gear-boxes.

Which is why I am starting to look very closely at an electric vehicle for trips around the farm and into Choma. They don’t use gearboxes and swapping older motors/inverters/batteries with newer versions, is simply a case of connecting the wires correctly.

Best4now,

Bruce

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