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Mining with renewable energy.

Discussion in 'Mining' started by stan.distortion, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    I've little experience with mining but a fair amount with renewables, mainly wind power and storage methods and always interested in sharing what I've learned over the years and learning more. Anyone using renewables for there setups? I'd be interested in hearing some of the pitfalls and experiences. Cheers.
     
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  2. splawik21

    splawik21 Grizzled Member
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  3. raganius

    raganius cryptoPag.com
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    I'd love to know where to start. I have never actually moved in this direction because I suppose it might demand quite a big investment. Also, I have never been sure if it would be a lucrative activity.

    But it has always attracted my attention, not only mining, but better, mining using renewable energy sources.

    I have got the perfect place for it, a house in a city in the Northeast of Brazil (Natal), sunny and windy 365 days/year.

    When I retire, I'll possibly set something like this:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Sounds like an ideal spot :) As far as I can see the panels in the second pic are solar heating though, the best move you can make in terms of bang for your buck but not much good for running miners ;) You wouldn't get a whole lot from a turbine that size either but they're well worth experimenting with because they've often a far better return on investment time than bigger units and energy storage is far more manageable. That's an area often overlooked, you can have a serious surplus of power in high winds and even dumping it can be problematic and adequate storage can cost way more than the turbine its self.

    I've very little experience with solar, not much sun here in Ireland but I'd imagine its the best thing to start off with in Brazil, the tech race is advancing pretty fast with panels and its easy to feel left behind but its simple to figure out how long they'll take to pay for themselves and so long as space isn't really tight then that's all that really matters. A bit jealous now, turning cold here at the mo and some sun would be nice :)
     
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  5. splawik21

    splawik21 Grizzled Member
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    All yours Stan! :cool::cool::cool: Big one! :)
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Lol, cheers :) Not feeling much warmer on the outside yet but much more cheery on the inside :)
     
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  7. Solarminer

    Solarminer Well-known Member

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    Thanks for the ping on this Splawik.

    I have a 10KW solar grid tied system and about 6TH of miners undervolted to run a 3TH. The solar system feeds into the electric grid and there is no direct connection to the miners. The decision to add solar and miners was made independently. Here is how you would decide.
    For Mining:
    Low electric rates are the main requirement for a profitable mining operation. Right now about 8 cents/kwhr electricity will give you about 1 year return on a mining investment. And even then, you would need to keep mining or sell your equipment to get be ahead. It really isn't profitable except for those that live by hydroelectric plants with 5 cents/kwhr electricity. Right now, I am converting my BFL Monarch miners to heat water when my solar water system doesn't keep up in winter. It really isn't profitable for me now without getting creative.

    For Solar:
    There are incentives by the utility, state, and federal in the US to install solar. We have a 30% federal rebate and a utility rebate that is about 10% of the cost. So first check what incentives are available. High electric rates give a better return with solar. And in warmer climates you get more solar energy. For our commercial customers our systems return about a 5 year payback and residential customers closer to 8 years. This is for Minnesota(coldest climate in the US) with about 10-14 cents/kwhr electricity. The decision to go solar is a long term investment, and you will want a local installer to help you with the details.
     
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  8. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Ever look into running everything from DC? We're limited to supplying a max of 5kw/h to the grid for domestic setups here and the rates are atrocious, paying 0.18 euro per kw/h and receiving 0.09 so using the grid instead of batteries makes little sense plus the grid tie inverter specs are different to the rest of europe and its about 5k euro for an inverter. I guess running off DC for regular PC hardware could be tricky but ASIC hardware should be simple enough.
     
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  9. Solarminer

    Solarminer Well-known Member

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    My suggestion would be to skip the wind generator. Wind generators will require maintenance and replacing parts, and typically, this is a lot more that what the manufacture claims.

    Solar is the way to go. Solar water heating in your area, is going to give you a lot of hot water for just 1 or two collectors. I would suggest considering building these yourself. Check out this site for details on building your own:
    www.builditsolar.com

    For electric, you can get photovoltaic panels. Your payback will depend on your electric rate and if they pay you for the energy you produce. We have net metering here: utility pays you the same rate for what you produce as what you use. Also check for any incentives. You are right about this being a big investment. But if there are incentives, it may be attractive. There are also companies that lease solar systems and offer 10% reduction in your bill. It is better to pay for a system because you get that invested value back when you sell your house, but it is an option.
     
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  10. Solarminer

    Solarminer Well-known Member

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    You can get battery backup inverters for your situation. Basically, the solar will offset what you are using. If it has extra it charges the batteries. If you are using more power it pulls from the batteries. Basically, you save that .18 euro power. We don't deal with this much here, but check out these sites.
    http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall
    http://outbackpower.com

    As for running DC, no. The ASIC miners I use take about 4000W of power. A DC cable to power that would be handling over 300 amps and would be a thick 2/0 cable. Plus the power needs to be regulated and it ends up costing a lot to get regulated DC from batteries.
     
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  11. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Cheers. I'd had a look at the Tesla ones before and wasn't that impressed, very highly priced in terms of capacity but good for residential setups, clean and compact and ofc there's the branding. Hadn't come across Outback Power before but they look more tailored to the application, will add up their rates in a while. One thing nice with the Tesla systems is they'll raise public awareness, the erratic nature of renewables really screw up the grids distribution so the more storage the better, they make a hell of a lot of sense when cheap rate electricity is available and the more storage in use the more chance power companies will bring in dynamic rates and then folks can make really big savings.

    Your 10Kw setup, what sort of area does that cover and what does its average output during the day?
     
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  12. Solarminer

    Solarminer Well-known Member

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    Solar really matches the AC load of buildings. It is almost a perfect match, so I don't see the problems you see with erratic power. Of course, that is more of a neighborhood level. If you want to run offgrid, batteries are needed and usually a generator too.

    The Tesla unit is expensive and personally, don't see much benefit. But who knows. The outback units will also cost about $5K vs $2.5K for a standard inverter.

    I have 230W panels on my roof, but newer panels are 260W, so a newer system will use less space. I have 43 panels and each panel is 39" x 60"(1m x 1.5m). They pretty much cover my entire roof. If I am not mining, I will get $50-100 checks back from the utility in the summer and pay $80-100 in winter. Pretty much nets out my average $80 bill each month.
     
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  13. Sub-Ether

    Sub-Ether Well-known Member

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    How do you calculate the perfect angle, I appreciate most people just stick them flat on the roof as is, I have often seen solar placed in what appears to be the wrong angles to get the most sun light, so what is the formula to calculate from your latitude and time of year, the very best optimum placement ?
     
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  14. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    I mean erratic for the grid its self, not so bad for solar but wind really messes it up and makes loads very hard to plan. The head of the electricity board here made a laughing stock of himself a few years ago when he said wind power was "the wrong type of electricity", I guess he was just doing the best he could when explaining it briefly to non-technical folks :)

    Sounds like it was well worth the investment for you :) I was wondering about the figures because its hard to find anything consistent, the manufacturers tend to be a little over-optimistic and there's a lot of outdated data but even then its regional, as far as I can see Ireland averages about 0.4kwh/day per square meter but that data's from about 5 years ago.
     
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  15. Solarminer

    Solarminer Well-known Member

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    Ah, perfect angle...Sounds like you want a tracker. There are ideal angles, but then the real world comes in and says, the house faces here....make it work. If you have a flat roof, a ballasted racking system is typically 10 degrees, to put minimal weight on the roof. Residential, we are doing flush mounts on E/W and S sides. We don't put panels on north facing roofs, it just won't payoff. But we do run numbers based on where we 'can' put panels and then the customer decides if they want to go forward.

    Here is a good site to calculate watts and power output specific to your location and angle the sun faces.
    http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/
     
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  16. Solarminer

    Solarminer Well-known Member

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    Utilities look at renewable energy as an added pain to deal with. They also lose revenue as more people add solar/wind. So they are usually negative about renewable energy. Funny that he mispoke and got called out on it. See my link above to answer your question.
     
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  17. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Impressive, thanks. Really wasn't expecting that to work for Ireland but it came up with very detailed info.

    Yes, the supply board here is making things very difficult individuals trying to get started with it, quite accommodating to foreign investors setting up big operations though... :/
     
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  18. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Just read something that reminded me of something I meant to ask. Solarminer, do you use DC to DC converters or know if they're in common use? I mean for turning a variable output voltage into a fixed voltage suitable for batteries? Not sure if it comes up with solar much but with wind the output range is so variable that windings in permanent magnet alternators can't really be spec'd correctly for fixed voltage, DC to DC converters would solve that but I've very rarely heard of anyone using them.
    Cheers.
     
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  19. Solarminer

    Solarminer Well-known Member

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    For off-grid systems we do use the solar panels to charge batteries. Solar panels are 18V for 12V batteries and 30V for 24V batteries. You can just hook the panels up to the batteries directly, but you do risk overcharging the batteries. So we use charge controllers. The simple version just shuts off the panel power when the batteries hit a certain voltage. There are MPPT charge controllers that accept a wide voltage(30-150V) so you can have several panels in series. They step this down to the battery voltage and also stop charging when full.

    Wind turbines generate AC. The frequency of the voltage is tied to have fast the blades spin and the voltage is tie to how fast blades spin and how much load is on the output. With high speed switching devices(IGBTs an MOSFETs) this is getting easier to control. I think this is how the voltage actually gets transformed to something useful.
    Wind --> AC --> Rectified to DC --> Inverted to AC Grid voltage
    Or
    Wind --> AC --> Rectified to DC --> MPPT controller to battery voltage
     
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  20. raganius

    raganius cryptoPag.com
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    I'll definitely research this well. It's a very interesting subject. And I tend to feel attracted to this type of activity.
     
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  21. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Nice :) The turbines are something I've been working on for a while and it's been interesting, modern designs have an almost unbelievable amount of scope for improvement and are at least an order of magnitude overpriced. I've been very lazy with it lately though but hopefully the weather turning bad will get me motivated again, the intention is open designs using mostly off the shelf parts an hopefully a network developing for sales, design tracking, operation monitoring... and accounting. Crypto of some sort will come into it if it gets that far, what I have in mind should allow installation to fund its self (ROI time is a key target), they're effectively money printing machines and any serious design should be able to stand over that and base its own income on it.

    Anyway, I'll be quiet, less talk and more action :) Cheers solarminer, MPPT charge controllers is what I was looking for, sub-ether should be able to knock one together no problem ;)
     
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  22. Sub-Ether

    Sub-Ether Well-known Member

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    What about alternators from trucks, use mass produced none specialist parts, no neodymium magnets makes for less efficiency but can build more for same price, $132 dollars for 250 amp, 12 volts, making 3 kilowatts.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0SA2TCFEG8F7JQE9MYZ6

    If you want the equivalent wind turbine generator its more like $400 for 2000 watts,
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Freedom-II-...hash=item43cabcf9e8:m:m3-CaIIJ84-5u_zN89F-aLQ
     
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  23. stan.distortion

    stan.distortion Active Member

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    Speed ranges are all wrong, alternators are an absolute bargain otherwise, cheap, compact and efficient but they need to run about 5 to 10 times faster than an impeller sized to match their output. That sounds like a simple matter of adding a gearbox but it doesn't work out that simple in practice as gusts and inertia create very high shock loads. Those loads are way higher than you'd expect, toothed belt drives seem well suited but in practice they have to be speced to at least 3 times the calculated load and that puts the efficiency way down at regular operating speeds in the 10 to 20 mph range.

    That's why swapping out the field wound rotor for a permanent magnet type is popular as it allows good output with direct drive but the windings are still a limiting factor, the power available rises exponentially with wind speed so something sized to stay within a 2kw limit in 50mph gusts only puts out a measly 60 watts at 15mph and if it gets hit by a 60mph gust then it spikes up to 4kw. That's where the variable voltage comes in, you'd be very lucky to be producing enough volts to charge a battery with that at 15mph and if you where limited to 18v at 60mph that's 250 amps, double the alternators rated output and the magic smoke will escape but alternator winding insulation handles 200v just fine and at 125 amps that's 25kw, plenty of head room without stressing anything and you can step up the low output voltage at low speeds.

    Another option is to use a gearbox with torque limiting, a clutch to match the rating. I've not gone down that route so far as it has a lot of hazards, friction clutches wouldn't be consistent through wet and dry conditions, static friction is unpredictable and even if all that works out ok you'd have to dissipate several kilowatts in gale force winds which opens up another can of worms. Wet clutches would be the obvious way to go but then all your cost savings from using alternators get swallowed up and you'd be better of making an alternator suited to purpose.

    Commercial turbines get around those issues by putting the brakes on at around 25mph and weathering out the storm. That's where all the videos of turbines on fire come from on youtube, worn brakes trying to dissipate several hundred kilowatts or even worse, worn out brakes failing and runaway turbines breaking apart. Seems crazy to me that the state of the art is something so fragile, high winds are where the really juicy outputs come from and capturing and storing that is the primary consideration with optimisation to make use of low winds secondary. It's doable but for now the state of the art has a long way to go.
     
    #23 stan.distortion, Oct 16, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2015