This is the question I asked myself 20 years ago, and for most of the time since, I have been designing and building prototype equipment to try and find the answer. I have built wind machines, heat-pumps, wood-chip boilers, heat storage systems, inverter systems, gasifiers, methane producers and much more. Some of these are now powering my house.
It's obvious that many other people might be attempting something similar and, possibly, it would be useful if I share some of my experiences and designs.
The internet has been vital in my search for information and has also been a big help with theory and concepts. Despite this, it seems to me, that there is a real shortage of good quality detailed guidance on how to build simple, practical, cheap energy equipment that will actually work. So many times I have been tantalised reading about a super idea, only to find it would be impossible to make anything from the limited information given.
As with any research I have had some failures, but I have had a good share of successes too. My plan is to put details on the web of anything that worked well and make the information open-source for everyone. To commit the time to do this, I need to know the level of interest from other DIY energy enthusiasts out there? In addition to this, I certainly need to raise funds for my future projects, so I am also looking for sponsorship and donations from companies and individuals that want to support this type of work (see Sponsor & Donate). If you found something particularly useful, I would really appreciate a voluntary donation. I am also arranging some short courses to offer first-hand advice on how to construct my designs. Please email for a list of dates email@example.com
So far I have done everything on a shoestring, and my basic rule is to re-cycle common scrap items as much as possible. This helps to keep costs down but it also means that anyone with a few basic skills can attempt to build my designs. I'm non-profit-making and not interested in the commercial development of my ideas (see History). In fact, I would go as far as to say that commercial development can often be the kiss-of-death to renewable energy projects. The point is that we don't want to pay a fortune to big companies for equipment that costs only a small amount to make. My interest is in research and development of free energy and in encouraging other people to get involved. I firmly believe that making our own energy will become more and more important in the next few years as energy prices rise further out of our reach.
Anyway, please click the photos on the left to see more pictures of what I have done so far, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like further details. I'll usually respond within 24 hours, but if I'm on top of a pole with a windmill somewhere, it may take a little longer!
Local, individual power systems are the real answer to our future energy needs. So whatever you are doing - good luck, keep going, it's all worth it in the end.