James, a friend of GEAI presented us his farm, a different farm, where you can find a ‘little’ wind turbine, a big wood boiler and plenty of solar panels.
He was one of the first people around to install a wood boiler.
“Buying wood is very expensive, that’s why I burn only my own wood that I plant in my fields and sometimes I use wooden waste like pallets”, says James.
He was a lucky though because his family owns some hectares of forest land and the wood that he cut is estimated to last between 5-8 years. Before to be useful, trees should grow up during 20 years minimum, that is the perfect age when the size is enough to burn it but not too large to be difficult to cut. Next step, wood must be dried in a hangar and after to be cut in logs fit for the boiler.
The boiler has a 40 kW capacity and in the 10 years of use he only replaced 4 small parts.
We were amazed how huge the boiler was but also his house is big.
The wind turbine
Near to his farm, James decided to construct a small windmill as part of his master degree project. In this place, the wind in sufficient to rotate the palm. Inside the windmill, the system is easy: the rotary movement moves the electric generator. A power cable leads the electricity produced to the James’ house. “I chose this place for my windmill because here is the windier field of my farm. There are no land forms or forest around and it is not so far to my house but not too close to hear it” explains James. The energy produced is controlled by an electricity meter. The turbine is mostly active at night time and he uses the energy to charge his electric car.
His car has a 60 miles autonomy, is not much but is good to go to work and back!
But James is very proud of his solar panels. He installed them almost one year before – 16m2 of solar with a 44 kW power and in a sunny day they would produce 3.5 units.
For him are a very good option and even in winter he can get some electricity despite the weather.
We were impressed with all that we saw, but we also understand that you have to have a passion for tinkering to be able to manage and maintain all that, he really like what he does and he is always looking for new ideas. Is a lot of work involved, of course, but Ireland, because of the climate, is a place where you have to be very resourceful and take in consideration many options for heating and electricity if you want to be sustainable and to save some money.