Thursday, February 28, 2008

DIY Water Purification Systems

With nearly 2/3rds of the planet being covered by water, you'd think that getting a drink of fresh water would be easy! However, there's less than 5% of fresh drinking water to feed the world who's demand is increasing as populations explode! So, how does one go about purifying water?

And by fresh water we mean:

"Freshwater refers to bodies of water containing low concentrations of dissolved salts and other total dissolved solids. Freshwater is an important renewable resource, necessary for the survival of most terrestrial organisms, and is required by humans for drinking and agriculture, among many other uses. Despite its importance, freshwater continues to be wasted and degraded all over the world. The UN estimates that about 1.2 billion people (18 percent of the world's population) lack access to safe drinking water." - Wikipedia

There are several ways to purify water:

  1. Boiling: Water is heated hot enough and long enough to inactivate or kill micro-organisms that normally live in water at room temperature. Near sea level, a vigorous rolling boil for at least one minute is sufficient. At high altitudes (greater than two kilometers or 5000 feet) three minutes is recommended.[1] In areas where the water is "hard" (that is, containing significant dissolved calcium salts), boiling decomposes the bicarbonate ions, resulting in partial precipitation as calcium carbonate. This is the "fur" that builds up on kettle elements, etc., in hard water areas. With the exception of calcium, boiling does not remove solutes of higher boiling point than water and in fact increases their concentration (due to some water being lost as vapour). Boiling does not leave a residual disinfectant in the water. Therefore, water that has been boiled and then stored for any length of time may have acquired new pathogens.
  2. Carbon filtering: Charcoal, a form of carbon with a high surface area, absorbs many compounds including some toxic compounds. Water passing through activated charcoal is common in household water filters and fish tanks. Household filters for drinking water sometimes contain silver to release silver ions which have an anti-bacterial effect.
  3. Distillation involves boiling the water to produce water vapour. The vapour contacts a cool surface where it condenses as a liquid. Because the solutes are not normally vaporised, they remain in the boiling solution. Even distillation does not completely purify water, because of contaminants with similar boiling points and droplets of unvaporised liquid carried with the steam. However, 99.9% pure water can be obtained by distillation. Distillation does not confer any residual disinfectant and the distillation apparatus may be the ideal place to harbour Legionnaires' disease.
  4. Reverse osmosis: Mechanical pressure is applied to an impure solution to force pure water through a semi-permeable membrane. Reverse osmosis is theoretically the most thorough method of large scale water purification available, although perfect semi-permeable membranes are difficult to create. Unless membranes are well-maintained, algae and other life forms can colonize the membranes.
  5. Ion exchange: Most common ion exchange systems use a zeolite resin bed to replace unwanted Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions with benign (soap friendly) Na+ or K+ ions. This is the common water softener.
  6. Electrodeionization: Water is passed between a positive electrode and a negative electrode. Ion selective membranes allow the positive ions to separate from the water toward the negative electrode and the negative ions toward the positive electrode. High purity deionized water results. The water is usually passed through a reverse osmosis unit first to remove non-ionic organic contaminants.
  7. The use of iron in removing arsenic from water. See Arsenic contamination of groundwater.
  8. Direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD). Applicable to desalination. Heated seawater is passed along the surface of a hydrophobic polymer membrane. Evaporated water passes from the hot side through pores in the membrane into a stream of cold pure water on the other side. The difference in vapor pressure between the hot and cold side helps to push water molecules through.
These are great tried and true methods after you've removed heavy materials from the water as well! However, what if you don't want to go to the trouble of building these devices from scratch?
Grass Roots Castle store provides all you'll need for your fresh water needs. So you're next logical question is how much water does an average house hold need per day? The average human requires at least one gallon of water per day for cooking, cleaning and consumption.

Thank you for your attention and time! Have a great Grass Roots Castle Day!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Useful Wind Power!

How can you harness the wind immediately for your uses? Wind Power has been used for centuries to push our ships, turn our mills and dry our clothes but, how can we use it to power our laptops, lights, and various electronic devices/appliances?

The simplest way is to check out our new Grass Roots Castle Store located in our links! We have all that you need to setup and run your own Wind Power generation station right at your home!

But what is a Wind Powered Generator (a.k.a. Wind Turbine) consist of you may ask? It consist of three basic parts:
  1. A propeller or vein,
  2. A shaft which turns a generator,
  3. And a tower or structure to hold the assembly.

Wind Turbine Generators were used for grinding grain in Persia as early as 200 B.C. This type of machine was introduced into the Roman Empire by 250 A.D. By the 14th century Dutch windmills were in use to drain areas of the Rhine River delta. In Denmark by 1900 there were about 2500 windmills for mechanical loads such as pumps and mills, producing an estimated combined peak power of about 30 MW. The first windmill for electricity production was built in Cleveland, Ohio by Charles F Brush in 1888, and in 1908 there were 72 wind-driven electric generators from 5 kW to 25 kW. The largest machines were on 24 m (79 ft) towers with four-bladed 23 m (75 ft) diameter rotors. Around the time of World War I, American windmill makers were producing 100,000 farm windmills each year, most for water-pumping.[1] By the 1930s windmills for electricity were common on farms, mostly in the United States where distribution systems had not yet been installed. In this period, high-tensile steel was cheap, and windmills were placed atop prefabricated open steel lattice towers.

A forerunner of modern horizontal-axis wind generators was in service at Yalta, USSR in 1931. This was a 100 kW generator on a 30 m (100 ft) tower, connected to the local 6.3 kV distribution system. It was reported to have an annual load factor of 32 per cent, not much different from current wind machines.

The first electricity producing windmill in the UK was created in the 1970's by Sir Henry Lawson-Tancred and was built by Ray Horner and Wilson (Widge) Conning in Boroughbridge near York in the North of England. It could create up to 100 kW of power and looked very much like the modern day turbines incorporating a three bladed propeller. - Wikipedia

Thank you for your time and attention! Please feel free to check out our new Grass Roots Castle Wind and Solar Store!

Have a great Grass Roots Castle Day!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dealing with raw sewage

Human waste to animal waste can be used for everything from fuel to generating electricity! That may come as a shock for most of you but recovery and conversion systems can use raw sewage to provide these necessities! And you can build and/or buy these systems for your home to supply you fuel and power!

Let's look at fuel generation from raw sewage. One method is know as Methane Recovery Systems which takes human waste and recovers the methane gas from decaying matter. It does this by taking the gas produced from human waste material and compressing it into a safe methane storage tank. This tank can be connect to the home and used for heating and cooking. The only thing it requires as stated above is human waste.

Another use of this waste either human or animal, comes from a technology known as Microcellular Fuel Cell Generators. These fuel cell generators have very few parts to them which consist of an electrolyte, such as concentrated phosphoric acid and a silicon carbide matrix is used to retain the acid while both the electrodes which also function as catalysts are setting in both the acid on one side and sewage on the other. As the microbes break down the sewage they release charged particles that flow through the membrane matrix and gather on the electrodes.
Sounds complicated huh? The good news is that you can buy these Fuel Cell Kits and decide what level of fuel cell you'd like to apply to your current living needs.

You can even train your cat to use the facilities to help generate power! Now there's a novel idea! Having your cat do some work that benefits the entire household!

Thank you for your time and attention! Have a great Grass Roots Castle Day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hydroponically speaking... why not?

Not a day goes by that the news has a report on some contaminant found in the food supply. And as more and more pollutants are dumped into the atmosphere and alternative needs to be found!

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel or mineral wool. A variety of techniques exist. - wikipedia

In a nutshell, hydroponics requires:

  1. Seeds of what you want to grow,
  2. Water,
  3. Minerals,
  4. Light source.
And there's wonderful Hydroponics How-to Books that explain step by step how to build your own inside garden!

There is a new method of hydroponics that is known as Inverted Hydroponics where the plant is growing upside down! Which cannabis growers have been using very successfully.
We in no way suggest you grow cannabis but instead use this method to grow FOOD!

The difference between standard hydroponics and inverted hydroponics is that you use a soda bottle that you can hang upside down with the planet stem hanging out the spout with some packing around the stem to retain the moisture. Whereas standard hydroponics has the planet suspended over a bath of water and minerals.

Using the inverted hydroponic method, the root system will grow more abundantly and thus draw in more nutrient and water allow the plant to grow larger than normal! There a lot more of these new and innovative ideas in: The Hydroponic Garden Secret Guide .

There's nothing like picking your salad right before you eat it from your hydroponic garden!

Have a great Grass Roots Castle Day!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Use the Sun's Power on Power-Outages

There you are working away and a rolling "Brown-Out" occurs or an outright power failure and it's the middle of winter! You have several choices: Freeze, go to a shelter, trust the Sun's Power for your Power!
Whaaat??? For the cost of a few hundred dollars and a little elbow grease, you can build yourself a backup power that will at least give you the ability to have lights and maybe a little more power for other things.
We're talking about building your own Solar Energy Charging Backup Power System!
This can be as small system that provides power for your laptop and cell phone if you wish or you can go nuts and convert you're entire house!

In a nutshell you'll need:

  1. Deep Crank 12 Volt Battery used for Boats,
  2. Solar Energy to charge the Deep Crank Battery,
  3. Power Inverter to change the DC current to AC,
  4. And possibly an extension cord to connect your devices.
Now, of course we've included links to where you can easily purchase your equipment in this article!

We'll assume that you want to start small. Use safety precautions when building this system and wear gloves as well as safety goggles!

  1. Connect the Solar Panel according to it's instructions to the Deep Crank Battery,
  2. Connect the Power Inverter according to it's instructions to the Deep Crank Battery as well,
  3. Connect your extension cord to the Power Inverter and away you go!
In most cases, you should have 8 to 10 hours of power. Grass Roots Castle (GRC) has used this system on their campers for a number of years and we run our heater, lights and other electronic equipment on a day's charge. Even when it's overcast you still receive the UV rays necessary to charge your system. So, even in winter this system is able to sustain itself!

If you'd like to convert you're entire house over to this type of system there are numerous books on Converting your house to Solar!

Thank you for your attention and time! Have a great solar day!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A glaring opportunity for Internet Marketers!

Grass Roots is amazed at the lack of businesses not considering the affiliate programs on the internet! An affiliate program allows internet businesses to sell products and services via the multitude of web sites without the person maintaining the website having do anything but collect their piece of the pie!

There's a plethora of Eco-friendly online business How-to books, DVDs and CDs. But it seems that the internet business guru's haven't got the hint that Eco-friendly online business products could be more profitable than the run of the mill items.

Some of most popular items are PC, Satellite, Phone and Download affiliate programs! These are like cash machines whereby you just generate a website and include the links for the affiliate program and away you go! There's even free submittal services that will push your site around the world instantly. Grass Roots favorite is Free Website Submit. However, if you just want everything done for you for a few bucks you might want to consider Site Builder Elite all in one software.

Grass Roots feels that the Hydrogen Economy is coming and those that are going to be the next billionaires should seriously consider the world's largest communication medium, the internet and it's affiliate programs!

Thanks for your time and attention!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Welcome to Grass Roots Castle!

Grass Roots Castle is dedicated to providing you articles and links of simple How-tos to convert your current home and environment into an environmentally friendly one.

This will not only help to reverse the ravages of global pollution but it will provide a hopefully healthier environment.

As Mahatma Gandhi said: "Be the change you'd like to experience!"

With that said. We also would like to raise world consciousness on green issues that effect our planet.

Thank you for your attention and time! Have a great day!