Alternative Energies


There are many different views on alternative energies, ranging from powering vehicles to creating electricity. We got started a little bit in a different thread, but I think this subject deserves it’s own thread.

With my limited knowledge, I’m leaning towards hydrogen because from what I understand, it can run existing engines. I envision filling my gas tank with water, and converting it to hydrogen as needed to run all my needs, driving, heating, cooling, cooking, hot water, and even electricity generation and battery charging. A single do everything, non fossil, non polluting, renewable energy fuel.

I don’t like batteries because they’re consumables, and an extra step between energy creation and energy usage. This seems terribly inefficient to me. Just create what you need, when you need it, and eliminate the need to store it whenever possible.

If they could create and utilize hydrogen in ancient times, I suspect they are withholding important technologies from us.

In more modern times, like 100+ years ago, there were external combustion engines like the stirling engine. These could be powered by any heat source, including the sun, and create much more power than today’s solar panels, in a compact & portable size. Basically you can power these engines with a candle. If you can power an engine via a heat source, you can power anything via a heat source, including creating electricity or running an air conditioning compressor, and they don’t care how that heat source is generated. It could be the sun, a candle, or any type of fuel.

I have a Lake Breeze 18" stirling engine (heat powered, external combustion) fan from the 1800’s that I paid a fortune for because it’s an antique, but it will run for hours powered only by a tea light candle. No electricity required. Some day I hope to make it into a candle powered swamp cooler or air conditioner, but even now, it is a cool, powerful, candle powered fan. With a baby food jar sized liquid candle, it will run for days on end. I’ve used both kerosene and vegetable oil liquid candles with it, AND!!! it can be powered by the sun and a magnifying glass!!! I think the possibilities are almost endless.

My point is that there are, or there has been, technologies that could change the world as we know it. As frequently off the grid nomads, I think we should explore and exploit these forgotten or suppressed technologies. I think settling for what they choose to offer us is a poor choice.


"Always avoid expensive solutions to cheap problems." ~ OffGrid

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Some interesting ideas. Turning water into hydrogen (and its byproduct oxygen) requires more power than it can produce to run an internal combustion engine. Why not instead, use that power to turn the wheels instead of the two step process? It takes energy to separate hydrogen from oxygen (or carbon if you’re making it from fossil fuel such as natural gas), and then it takes more energy to compress it for storage small enough to make it feasible to carry in a vehicle.

The whole push for hydrogen right now is to use hydrogen in a fuel cell, not internal combustion. Hydrogen fuel cells have been around for a long time. They were used during the Apollo lunar missions as a power source, and the technology is fairly mature. A hydrogen fuel cell is nothing but a fancy battery; it pushes electrons to power electrical devices such as an electric motor, or whatever. Separating hydrogen has always been energy-intensive, and the whole idea is to concentrate hydrogen into a small and lightweight package that can power something like a spacecraft. When compared to battery technology it’s not very efficient in the cost and energy standpoint. Being energy-intensive with only a couple ways to produce it, it’s not exactly a renewable energy resource unless you’re using renewable energy to separate it from water. But clean water is also in short supply in most of the world. Is it really smart to use energy and clean water to make hydrogen when both are in short supply? I don’t think so.

The whole “hydrogen economy” ideas I see being thrown around are to me, nothing more than the promoters trying to make a buck. Hydrogen, since most people can’t make it at home, will only be available through some kind of supply chain similar to fossil fuels you see today. (Do you really want to make and compress something so flammable and explosive at home?)

Electricity can be produced in many ways, most of them being renewable and/or carbon free. It can be wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, even nuclear. Dirty ways to make electricity are with fossil fuels, mainly coal. Most of us, with a little study on the subject, are capable of making electricity ourselves. Instead of using that electricity to make and compress hydrogen, it’s far more efficient to simply charge a battery. Electric vehicles, when you compare the fuel cost per mile, are far more efficient than fossil fuel powered vehicles. Most electric vehicles get a mile per gallon equivalent of more than 100 miles per gallon when comparing the cost per mile. Hydrogen costs more than fossil fuels per mile driven, on the order of 10 to 15 miles per gallon.

These are the facts as we know them now. I really don’t think you can get away from the fact that it takes energy to separate hydrogen from oxygen from water, and then compress it enough to fit inside a vehicle. Also, burning hydrogen in a piston engined vehicle is far less efficient than using an electric motor. Burning hydrogen in a piston engine is only about 30% efficient, while energy from a battery to turn an electric motor is about 90% efficient. (Sorry Van Dweller, it doesn’t make much sense to run your Dodge on hydrogen.)

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I think we’re talking apples vs. oranges here in a way. You’re referring to modern technology, while I’m referring to resurrecting ancient technology. In ancient times, they knew how to make flaming water, and turn water into an explosive, and it did not need to be “clean” water, because they used sea water, river water, and possibly lake water, or maybe even rainwater.

With water, and whatever they did to it, they could blow up mountains, and have flames on top of water. Was it what we call hydrogen? Who knows… I suspect that it might have been, and if it was, there must be a fairly simple and uncomplicated way to convert it. They did have batteries in those days too, so maybe they were using some sort of electrolysis. Nobody knows, or at least nobody is talking. I do know they used those batteries to electroplate things dating back to the pyramids. If it wasn’t hydrogen, maybe it was something else of similar value. The important point is that if they could do it 1,000+ years ago, we should be able to easily duplicate it. I strongly suspect that the technology is purposely being withheld from us by big business or the government.

I’m not talking about a hydrogen cell or battery, I’m talking about replacing gas/diesel/propane etc. with hydrogen as the fuel. Not in addition to, but instead of. By hydrogen generator, I’m talking about creating the hydrogen as needed, similar to how HHO torches work. I’m sure this link: is over simplified and needs improvements, but it proves that water can be turned into fuel pretty easily. A friend built one and it worked, and he didn’t use distilled water either. A 6,000° torch powered by water! WOW!!! I see a lot of possibilities here.

They only want us to have what makes big biz & government’s money. They don’t want us to be self sufficient or autonomous. That’s what it’s really all about. History proves that governments & the greedy want to keep us under their thumb, and will use whatever tactics necessary to accomplish it.

I can’t help but to believe that our brighter future lies in history, posssibly ancient history, and when combined with more modern things, we can have the best of all worlds. We need to reject the nonsense they are spoon feeding us (for their benefit, not ours), and rediscover better and cheaper ways of doing things. They had indoor plumbing & toilets in ancient Rome and Greece, yet until somebody figured out how to make it profitable, we’re still using outhouses in many places. History holds the solutions to many of our modern day problems.

A free or dirt cheap renewable energy fuel that can run our current fuel fed engines and equipment would change thee world we live in. Electricity and batteries are not the solution, they’re a footnote. We know how to create electricity via portable mechanical means, and we know how to store it with batteries, but the solution is to be able to create the power as we need it, and not need to store it, but be able to do it free or cheaply, and easily.

Switching choices, take a look at the following video’s. He’s using gas vapor to increase fuel economy and reduce pollution. I like this guy, and he touches on the infamous Pogue carburetor, and even mentions a guy doing hydrogen.

Pogue created a 200mpg carburetor nearly 100 years ago! He was bought out by big biz, who promptly made it disappear. Pogue believed that with refining it, he could get 400mpg out of it, but even so, 200mpg was PROVEN!

These are just a few examples of why I believe that history might be our best teacher. I just don’t believe that the best future is electric, that would require everybody to buy, buy, buy. Not if/when we can cheaply convert what we already own. Spending big money to save money is usually a scam. We need to break the chains of consumerism, not embrace them.


"Always avoid expensive solutions to cheap problems." ~ OffGrid

It’s interesting to think about those things, and I agree that big business does try to suppress things that benefit us, but hurts them. Just look at the electric car debacle a few decades ago where the fossil fuel industry was successful in eliminating electric cars in California (General Motors EV-1). There was a documentary made about it - “Who Killed the Electric Car.” They were afraid that too many people would buy them - just think what would happen if 10 to 20% of the cars on the road were electric! The price of gas would plummet and the petroleum industry would lose hundreds of billions every year. As long as they keep us addicted to fossil fuels there’s huge money to be made. It’s also why they’ve been caught red-handed with misinforming Americans, casting doubt about the reality of global warming. The fossil fuel industry stands to lose trillions in profit if we start to do something about global warming! (Read “Merchants of Doubt” by Naomi Oreskas. There’s also a movie.)

In terms of the “fire water” you refer to, I think what they might have been experiencing is natural gas (mostly methane). It has been long known that methane hydrates exist at the bottom of lakes and oceans, and as water temperature rises it bubbles to the surface. It’s happening at an increasing rate right now due to global warming.

Even though hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, very little hydrogen exists in a free state on Earth; the vast majority of it is bound with oxygen to form water (H2O). There’s no getting around the fact that it takes energy to break that chemical bond to separate hydrogen from oxygen.


Global warming is real, but blaming mankind is hogwash. Global warming began at the end of the ice age, and the only thing making it progress faster is the shrinking of the polar ice caps.

Mankind is guilty with messing with our weather though by destroying the rain forests, and improper logging without replanting.

The hieroglyphs seem to depict sea water brought by canoe, then filtered though some device, then dumped into a cauldron, lit on fire, then arrows dipped into it to create flaming arrows. In another, the filtered water is put into a container, taken to a hillside, and blowing it up creates a cave. It appeared to still be in liquid form… Regardless of what form of fuel was created, I find it intriguing and think it has possibilities.

Looking at history, I guess I have a lot of faith in mankind. During world wars when gas was restricted, they figured out how to run cars on wood gas. Not environmentally friendly, but still a workable solution.

I’m just not convinced that battery powered cars are the right choice. Batteries are expensive consumables, and only complicating and adding costs to something much simpler. A generator will run for x hours on a gallon of fuel. So why not go from a generator to electric motors, and eliminate the batteries? If you could get just 2 hours on a gallon of fuel, you would be getting better gas mileage than any hybrid, while eliminating the batteries. I’m sure we could get that up to 6-8 hours per gallon of fuel…

Batteries are great for small, low power applications, but for larger ones or higher power demands, the practicality plummets, because it is cheaper, easier, and more efficient to produce the needed power upon demand.


"Beat Murphy's Law with a KISS! (Keep It Stupidly Simple)" ~ Van_Dweller

You’re completely wrong about global warming.

I’m a geologist, and have studied the hell out of the subject, plus I personally know two IPCC scientists who are some of the most decent, honest, and smartest people I know. We absolutely know what causes natural climate change, and natural climate change ain’t happening right now. It’s frightening how easily people have fallen for the fossil fuel industry-supported lies. This is the only industrialized country in the world where such a large segment of the population has fallen for these lies - maybe Australia too.

All else being equal, climate change is caused by the how the Earth orbits the Sun in three ways: eccentricity of the orbit (how oblong or circular the orbit is), the amount of axis tilt away and toward the sun, and how much the Earth “wobbles” on its axis. All of these orbital mechanics are well understood (Milankovitch parameters), and a very good predictor of global climate. Paleoclimate (climate over the last several hundred million years) exactly matches the Milankovitch orbital parameters. Natural climate change happens over tens of thousands of years, not in mere decades!

Other predictors of climate change are extreme volcanic activity and large meteor impacts, but those don’t have a lasting effect. They cause fast changes, but don’t stick around as long and the climate reverts back to the orbital parameters as the natural driver.

The Earth is warming at an alarming rate, and no natural driver can account for it. This has been studied to death, and is continuing to be studied by thousands of scientists all over the world.

We know that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere regulates the temperature - we know this 100%. Since the start of the industrial revolution human activity (burning fossil fuels) has increased the concentration of CO2 by more than 30%. It’s pretty simple cause and effect.

Scientists are not stupid and they’re not lying to you. Whoever is telling you that it isn’t human-caused is lying to you.


Actually, that information came directly from two NASA scientists. Their total explanation seemed perfectly logical to me, very convincing, and didn’t have anything to do with big business propaganda.

Obviously not all the scientists agree with each other, except that there is a ton of junk science that gets circulated.

Personally, I’m mostly a skeptic. Too many scientists can’t seem to agree on too many things. Are they all just theories? We get multiple opposing answers to the same question, and all seem to have supporting evidence. I tend to cry FOUL! If they can’t even convince each other and all agree, why should we believe any of them?

I care about the planet and our environment, but I seriously question much of what we “know”. What is fact, what is fiction, and what are just theories? All three often get labeled as facts. I was taught that facts based on theory are invalid, and only facts based upon facts were valid. So many questions, and so few answers…


"If you prepare for the worst, every thing else is easier." ~ Off Grid

Can you please send me a link to those supposed NASA scientists and their peer-reviewed work? I’m very skeptical of your statement.

Obviously you don’t know what the word “theory” means in terms of science. I’ll give you a hint: gravity is nothing but a theory, the fact that the Earth is a sphere and orbits the Sun is nothing but a theory. In terms of science, theory means that it’s a fact that has so far not been disputed through testing, observation, and experiments. It’s been proven again and again and again to be a fact as far as humans can verify that it’s a fact. Don’t confuse the layman’s term “theory” with scientific theory.

Because science is at the very biting, leading edge of human knowledge, sometimes scientists get a few things wrong, but don’t confuse one or two studies or an hypothesis (an educated guess) with scientific theory. Theory = scientific law (such as the law of gravity). To qualify as a theory it must be proven again and again in many different ways and by many different scientists/researchers.

You’re so completely wrong on so many counts. To discount what scientists say as a bunch of hogwash shows a complete lack of understanding of how science works. Nothing is ever set in stone. Science, being at the leading edge of human knowledge is just that, the leading edge of human knowledge. As technology and observational techniques improve, scientific theories become more and more refined as we learn more. That doesn’t mean that they were wrong in the past, it means that the tools have improved, resulting in better data.

The theory of evolution for example, continues to become more and more refined and validated as time goes on. With more information comes more understanding. It’s one of the strongest scientific theories known. Same with global warming. Thousands of researchers are studying it, and as time goes on it’s become abundantly clear that humans are causing it - there is a huge mountain of evidence that would be impossible to honestly dispute.

The “scientists” that you hear of who dispute global warming are nothing but right wing hacks who, if you follow the money trail, are financed by fossil fuel interests. Virtually none of them have published a scientific paper on the subject, and most of them aren’t even climate scientists! Don’t be so easily fooled!

The fact is that out of all scientists, 97% agree that humans are causing global warming, and the ones who actually study it (climatologists, paleoclimate geologists, atmospheric chemists, etc.), 99.99% agree that humans are causing it.

Scientists are not lying to you because they have no reason to lie. The fossil fuel industry is lying to you because they stand to lose trillions in lost revenue if we get serious about global warming.



I can’t give you a link because I saw them in person a few years back at NASA on Merrit Island, FL. I was in the audience of 100 or so people that day. I don’t even remember their names, just what they said, and that their evidence looked legit.

I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on parts of this, but we can agree on the more important parts like we need less pollution and better solutions.

I don’t choose to waste time or energy worrying about whether the scientists agree or not, who’s right or wrong, or even who or what’s to blame. I’m a realist, today is the first day of the rest of our lives, and it is up to each and every one of us to make the proper choices moving forward. After all is said and done, the correct solution to all our problems is relatively simple. Free/cheap, clean, simple, renewable energy/fuel on demand, for private, public, and industrial uses, that works with our existing cars, equipment, & technologies. That solves the problem of pollution, transportation, heating, cooling, cooking, and even electricity generation & filtering our own water. For electricity, it needs to work 24/7 without the need to store it, or the need of the electric companies. We need to be individually autonomous to whatever degree we decide for ourselves, without the need of most, if not all of the utility companies.

Will this new fuel/energy source help with climate change? Doesn’t matter… What matters is that we’re doing the best we can with what we have to work with. Not the current complacency or attitude that it’s someone else’s problem. If we were to defund all the stupid stuff, and redirect just a fraction of it towards real world solutions, it could lead to very speedy change in the right direction.

We can’t trust big biz or governments to do the right thing, so this needs to be an open source grass roots movement that nobody can stop. We might even wind up with multiple choices that meet the proper criteria.


"If you prepare for the worst, every thing else is easier." ~ Off Grid

I don’t just put “opinions” out there. What I say is based on reality.


Good, now can we get back on the topic of figuring out alternative energies or fuel sources…

Batteries are a storage device, they don’t create the energy we need.


"Happiness only comes before money in the dictionary." ~ Smilin Sam