Originally inspired by my search for a simple, cozy, exciting, and sustainable lifestyle, this project has been helped tremendously by one man in Wales. He's already doing this, but on a smaller scale. I don't have any sort of drawings or visuals for this project yet, but a quick tour of what he's done is more than sufficient to show nearly exactly how I wish to build and live. Please go watch the video that follows to really see what I envision here. I'm interested in any feedback on this project, even if it's just to say that I'm insane.
This project is meant to span an entire lifetime, if not many. I have been hesitant to mention this project to most people as their responses have been quite negative. Most people seem to think it's impossible to do what I want without endless funding. I'd been quietly working on this for years now, and gathering knowledge and skills in preparation. I found the Kris Harbour Natural Building channel on YouTube a year or so ago and have seen just what is possible. I have been trying to find a place to post this and to gather resources for years now, and settled on Hackaday.io as I enjoy the system and the people here. I suspect this project may not be typical of the platform, but there will be many aspects of it that fall squarely in line with most of the work done here. Things such as custom automation systems, and building one's own tools and software.
I have been gathering the skills for such a project for years, and am finally at a place where I'm ready to start looking for land and tools. Most of the jobs I've taken over the years have taught me very useful skills that will apply here. I have experience running heavy equipment, I can drive a tow truck, plan, prepare, and serve large feasts, operate nearly any hand or power tool I pick up, design, document, and build things in multiple materials, do basic programming of microcontrollers, and am currently learning metal fabrication, welding, and vehicle restoration. I have restored a vintage camper and fitted it with solar and lithium batteries, and even designed and built a custom controller for a solar electric water heater.
The scope of this project is immense. It will probably take me a few years just to get the documentation roughed out on this project. The sheer number of critical decisions that need to be made to make even the smallest step forward are staggering. I've already made quite a few big ones that I will try to outline here. The logs will hold most of the information, as with all of my projects. As with my other projects, this is a slow, long term project that I take long breaks from, then have large breakthroughs with. Below are my current big picture decisions that have been made or at least thoroughly researched. I may have missed quite a few things and will need to come back and update this. Bare with me here. There are many different options for every need, and I intend to implement as many as possible to ensure redundancy in every system. A good example is my truck, which can run on gasoline, woodgas, biogas, and propane with little modification. Biogas and wood gas can be produced and stored as a renewable resource, which enables fuel production if all other options are unavailable.
Energy Production and Storage
Vehicles: Diesel, vegetable oil(in diesel engines), electric, wood gas, biogas, compressed natural gas.
Electricity generation: Solar, wind, hydroelectric, steam, wood gas, biogas, compressed natural gas.
Energy storage: Lithium batteries, lead acid batteries, iron batteries, gravity batteries, flywheel storage, ice, thermal mass, compressed air.
Heating and Cooling: Geothermal, electric, biogas, natural gas, diesel, direct solar, ice, heat pumps, wood burning.
Multi-fuel truck: gasoline, woodgas, compressed natural gas, biogas
Diesel truck or car: diesel, biodiesel, vegetable oil
Bicycles and ebikes
Motorcycle: gasoline,...Read more »