Make your own biodiesel for 80¢ per gallon

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #101 • September/October, 2006 My Ford F-250 diesel crew-cab pickup did not cause me to become interested in making my own bio-diesel fuel. No, the final straw was when I...

Is steam power in your future?

By Skip Goebel Issue #43 • January/February, 1997 If you're thinking steam is old-fashioned, consider this: Almost a century ago, steam cars and ships attained speeds and efficiencies which are still difficult to attain, even with...

Making and using a solar cooker

By Joe Radabaugh Issue #30 • November/December, 2004 Solar cooking is a delightful alternative to conventional cooking methods. The solar cookers available today really work and they deserve serious evaluation by a much larger audience. For...

Solar-powered refrigerators

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #102 • November/December, 2006 In Issue #99, I discussed the importance of using the most energy-efficient appliances you can buy for any remote cabin or off-grid solar application. I also...

Build your own solar-powered water pumping station

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #91 • January/February, 2005 In the last issue, there was an excellent article by Dorothy Ainsworth on water pumping using mechanical windmills. In this issue I will address another form...

Don’t discount a generator, especially a diesel generator, as your primary power source

By Skip Thomsen Issue #28 • July/August, 1994 There are three major reasons that wind, solar or hydro-electric systems are impractical for some folks: not enough wind, too many cloudy days, and no stream. In that...

Build Your Own Car Wash

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #133 • January/February, 2012 Completed car wash in operation If someone told me a year ago that I would have a commercial car wash behind my garage, I would have laughed....

7 Solar Water Heating System Designs

By Michael Hackleman Issue #65 • September/October, 2000 (Rob Harlan is a general and solar contractor with 25 years of experience with solar water heating systems in Mendocino County, California. Rob primarily designs and installs photovoltaic...

Homemade electric power

By Jim Van Sant Issue #131 • September/October, 2011 Ever wonder how you could live off the grid when the sun isn't shining on your solar panels? Our homestead alternative energy system is based on 12 volts...

Hydronic woodstoves

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #105 • May/June, 2007 Do you realize there is an entire field of woodstoves that the general public rarely hears about, even though there are specialty woodstove stores in every...

Build a simple solar-powered outdoor light

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #92 • March/April, 2005 Figure 1. Pole-mounted street light showing a front view of the solar light In our last issue, I discussed how to use solar energy to power a...

Add solar power to your truck camper

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #93 • May/June, 2005 The recreational vehicle (RV) world is having a major comeback with the influx of baby-boomers. Today's travel trailers, 5th wheels, and motor coaches now include everything...

Water: a safe supply when you’re off the grid

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #71 • September/October, 2001 That remote mountain property seemed like a steal until you found out you could not drill a well. Four years ago we were approached by a...

Amateur Ham Radio – The Ultimate Tool for Survival Communications

By Jeffrey R. Yago, P.E. N4LPE During any major disaster or grid-down event, communications will not only be critical for coordinating rescue efforts, but could actually save your life by receiving alerts and evacuation instructions. Unfortunately,...

Solar Power 101 — Batteries: Part 2

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #88 • July/August, 2004 This article is the second in a series of what will be a beginner's course in solar electricty. Simultaneously we have instituted a Home Energy Information...

Solar Food Drying

By Marcella Shaffer Issue #58 • July/August, 1999 The oldest known method of food preservation is drying food using the heat from the sun. Unfortunately it has become the least used as freezers and pressure canners...