Free State Project Forum

New Hampshire -- The "Live Free or Die" State => Moving & Housing => Topic started by: Chuckster on March 22, 2004, 07:39:22 pm

Title: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Chuckster on March 22, 2004, 07:39:22 pm
Here is an idea I've been kicking around for a few months now.  I was thinking of locating a parcel of undeveloped land, perhaps 200 acres or more, to purchase for the purpose of subdividing into smaller parcels for people who want to go off-grid and build their own dwellings and live in a rural setting away from the established towns and cities.  I know from reading the forums for the past several months that there is some interest in off-grid or "Homestead" living as well as some interest in unconventional housing.  The question is how much interest is there among Porcupines and does that interest equate to a desire and ability to purchase acreage in a planned off-grid community.

By "Planned" I refer only to the initial subdivision and a very basic access road network.  The sort of people who would be attracted to something like this won't want a lot of structure beyond property lines and access roads.  The absolute bare minimum subdivision I would consider would be ten acres and personally I wouldn't be much interested in anything smaller than forty. Although I have heard of people doing it on as little as two and a half acres, that size lot does not offer much in the way of privacy except in very dense woods and even then, not in winter.

So the question becomes "Is there any interest?" and if so, I would ask the following:

What would the optimum lot size be?
What should the minimum lot size be? (Considering that two or more lots could be combined)
How elaborate whould the access road network be?(This will affect prices of course; a paved road costs more than gravel surfaced dirt, costs more than graded dirt, costs more than two-wheel-tracks-through-the-woods)
What other infrastructure (if any) would you expect the "Developer" to provide?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This is not part of my personal wealth building plan, believe it or not.  I recognize that most of the people who would be interested in this sort of thing are not the folks who buy half million dollar homes and hire decorators to buy the furniture; nor are they ordinarily the type to have large credit lines and lots of cash.

Having said that; I am interested in supporting the back to the land movement (If there is such a thing) to the extent that I am able.  To that end, I would like to do something like this and make enough $$ to cover my costs and pay for the time invested while offering reasonably priced land to people who will respect it for what it is.

What do you think?
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Tracy Saboe on March 22, 2004, 08:10:38 pm
Quote
What would the optimum lot size be?

I for one wouldn't need more then a quarter acre.

As long as my neighbors don't build their houses too high (Don't want them to block my sun.)

Heck, I'd probably get buy with half that.

I don't know. How large is a city lot typically?

Tracy
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Chuckster on March 23, 2004, 03:25:01 pm
Dream site would be 5 acres of good bottom land with a stream on one side of the lot.
(Chuckle) Mama said "If you're gonna dream, dream BIG!" so, for me, it's more like eighty acres with a forty acre wood lot, a half mile of river frontage and a home site a thousand feet from the nearest property line.  If I can buy the south forty of my neighbor's farm I'll have it.  Unfortunately, the forty acres I already own are in Vermont :-\
And of course affordable.

When I was in my twenties, "affordable" meant something quite different from what it means today, thirty years later. What this tells me is that there should be a range of options, i.e., lot size, proximity to the highway, open water, woods etc. which will create a range of prices.
Road at first could be a gravel road, and who would be responsible for the  up keep of the road?  All land owners putting money into escrow for repair and up keep of the road? Propotional to the road frontage?

Personally, I don't much care for asphalt or concrete surfaced roads in rural areas.  Several years ago when we were looking for a place in Vermont, I specifically looked for properties on dirt roads.  Because we plan to keep horses and other livestock, we wanted low traffic and low tech. the town roads in North Troy Vermont range from two wheel tracks through the woods with a little gravel spread in the boggy areas to full two lane asphalt highway.  Engineered crushed rock and gravel surfaced roads that are kept open year round serve the farms in the area that are not on the main highway. The lesser roads may or may not be kept open by the neighbors who use them.

What I propose is to find a large property with town or state maintained road access.  I would then lay out a network of access roads to the individual properties.  These roads would be graded dirt, possibly with gravel surface depending on the ground.  Maintenance would be a cooperative effort by all of the land owners.

In practice, someone will have a snow plow, someone will have a skip loader and/or back hoe etc. and neighbors will work out mutually beneficial arrangements to keep the roads open by trading services and products like cordwood, maple syrup, butchering and, in the modern world, computer services etc.

I suppose it all comes down to just how self sufficient you want to be?  Do you really want to live off-grid?


Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Top Dollar on March 25, 2004, 03:29:43 pm
I've been looking into starting a similar project, perhaps in Grafton.  The concept in mind is to layout the development so that individual lots are surrounded by public greenbelt as circular lots in a hexagonal array, say 1/2 acre lots surrounded by 1/2 acre right of way.  The lattice of greenbelts has a network of trails and single lane roads.  A middle parallel pair of trails serves as a road for cars with another winding trail on each side of it for pedestrian traffic.  two wheeled vehicles can go in two direction on the center trails, with pedestrians using the outer trails.  The intent is that the houses are not visible from the paths.  You can build whatever you want, and no one else has to look at it.  There would also be a high density commercial area, though people are free to use property as they wish anywhere in the community.  All members have use of the public right of way greenbelt area to travel and run utilities provided that the utilities are buried from view.  The utilites may be run in cement trenches covered with removable pavers which double as the center two trails for the road.

Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Chuckster on March 25, 2004, 05:09:03 pm
Your idea is more "developed" than mine (http://forum.freestateproject.org/YaBBHelp/images/wink.gif)  Still along the same lines however.   I was thinking of parcels of sufficient size to provide fuel, food and cash crops for a family with room enough for livestock like goats, horses etc. This would allow for a greater degree of self suficiency. Smaller parcels would work if there were a "Commons" and no one abused it.  I'm afraid I have more faith in private property ownership though.

What I'd really like to do though is  something like this (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/) or like  this  (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/) but it will take more organization than I can handle by myself.  And no, I don't want to get eveyone dressed up in homespun clothes in eighteenth century styles.  I just think that there are surely a half a dozen families and individuals who would like to live a more natural lifestyle and I'd like to provide the opportunity.  We could call it "Liberty Village" (http://forum.freestateproject.org/YaBBHelp/images/rolleyes.gif)

Laura and I spent our honeymoon as crew aboard  HM Bark Endeavour (http://www.barkendeavour.com.au/), six weeks at sea living and working in the eighteenth century (But with 20th century galley, showers and lavatories) and I've been intrigued by the concept ever since.

 Well, I've wandered far from the original concept but that's what we're here for, to float ideas and kick them around.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Top Dollar on March 25, 2004, 07:33:02 pm
If there is sufficient land available, it would be great to have larger lot sizes.  Also, the above plan would allow lot buyers to combine them to make larger contiguous areas, at the same 1:1 developed land/greenbelt ratio.  The commons areas can be landscaped as produce gardens with aquaculture ponds in an attractive manner, as in the April issue of Martha Stewart Living.  This would provide a source of income for the association to maintain the commons.  Other income sources would be utilities and communications, though anyone would be free to compete to provide service.

My main area of interest and expertise is in the engineering layout and design of an integrated infrastructure system with an aesthetically appealing  environment.

There can be a publically accessible zone with RV lots and trucking facilities with businesses catering to this clientel.  The commercial area is a buffer between the public business area and the members only area.

The layout encourages the use of horses and bicycles in the private commons trails preserving a woodsey natural setting. Cars can be garaged along with horses in a livery stable at the entrance.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Chuckster on March 26, 2004, 02:55:12 pm
Top that sounds good.  

The downside is that it would require a lot more WORK![/i](http://forum.freestateproject.org/YaBBImages/shocked.gif) (In my best Maynard G. Crebs voice).  An ongoing formal business plan would be required and professional management services to carry it out.  Revenue would have to be generated to finance it and a board of directors would be needed for oversight.  Now we have a sort of community association that could wind up telling property owners what kind of grass to plant  (http://forum.freestateproject.org/YaBBHelp/images/cool.gif)

At a minimum, the ownership of the commons would have to be handled like a condominium development with monthly maintenance fees assessed the individual property owners and managed by a paid property manager.  In my experience this would add an onerous additional expense, not unlike a tax, to the property owners.  I would favor a plan that keeps the monetary expense to an absolute minimum, substituting perhaps "Community service" time for maintenance of the common areas.

We are not seeing the same vision here Top.  When I say "Commons" I'm seeing the eighteenth century model.  somehow I don't think that someone who reads Martha Stewart Living is going to like a herd of goats grazing in what they view as their "Park", or even on their neighbors property.

And we did, after all, begin with the premis that this development would be "Off-grid", meaning that individual property owners would be required either to do without or generate their own electricity.  Also there would be no water or sewers provided.  Property owners would be required to put in septic fields or use composting toilets and dig or drill wells or haul in water to be stored in tanks.  There would need to be sufficient acreage in woodland to provide a sustainable harvest of fuel as well.

The object, in my vision at least, is to keep initial costs to an absolute minimum and to allow, and in fact promote, as close to a cashless lifestyle as possible.

Your model would be great for more affluent folks and/or those with a desire for a more conventional modern lifestyle and I think it warrants further discussion and development.  The business planning and management presents no special challenges, that's what Laura and I do for a living now and we have quite a resume of varied and wide ranging experience.  If anything, a development like you describe presents an interesting profit opportunity and is certainly worth pursuing.

Unless of course I misunderstand. (http://forum.freestateproject.org/YaBBImages/huh.gif)
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Top Dollar on March 26, 2004, 08:58:37 pm
It would start out very minimal, with the commons areas just graded with paths and lots staked off.  Levying any kind of homeowner's fee is absolutely out of the question.  Any operating expenses for developing and maintaining the common areas would have to come out of profit making business run by the association.  Private business is encouraged where possible to provide any needed service.  No exclusive franchises are allowed-the market and rights of way are open to any member.  I had intended to have a more formal presentation of the plan, but saw the opportunity to mention it here when the subject came up.  I am looking at keeping the price in the $2000-$3000 range per 1/2 acre lot, based on the land prices I've seen for 50+ acre tracts in the market.  These lots have the additional appeal of being isolated from adjoining lots by the commons.  Purchasers also own shares in the association, which can return a dividend off of any profits left over after its costs of operating its businesses.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Chuckster on March 30, 2004, 03:25:46 pm
Very interesting Top.  I think there is tremendous potential with this idea.  I'd like to take some time to develop it more fully.  I still think that the scale needs to be somewhat larger than your concept but I see no reason why at least some smaller parcels shouldn't be included.  Handled properly, a very high quality of life could be made available for relatively low cost and very low environmental impact.




My main area of interest and expertise is in the engineering layout and design of an integrated infrastructure system with an aesthetically appealing  environment.



And my strong suit is business planning, management, sales and marketing.  My company, The Starlight Group LLC is engaged, primarily in real estate investing.  Perhaps there is an opportunity for advantageous synergy here.

Are you in NH now?

Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Top Dollar on April 05, 2004, 10:56:54 am
I had envisioned the smaller lots to make it easy for a lot of people to participate by buying a smaller, say 50 acre minimum tract, and still have a good sized community without needing financing.  Having an investor who is willing to purchase a much larger property allowing larger lot sizes would be a boon to the project.  It is possible to have a small unit lot size which buyers can combine to make larger parcels.  I'll need to lay out a concept plan which can be used as a template for developing a specific site when aquired.

The closest existing example of this kind of development I am aware of is Sanibel Island in Florida.  Sanibel is much higher end with full sized, paved, straight roads than what I have in mind but it does show how development can occur in an ecological preserve.

I am not in New Hampshire yet, as I have a couple of years of loose ends to tie up.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: jnoyes on November 22, 2004, 06:48:29 pm
Hi all

would love to join the off grid subdivison idea...

I'd need probably 1/2 acre for the house, 1/2 for the garden, 2 for the orchard, and  2 for the animals so 5 acres
is probably the minimum assuming we choose land close by to national/state park land thats got wild area for hunting critters wood scavenging, and animal habits

....Id always figured on starting a commune/coop anyway so maybe I could get by on a lot less if the animals gardens and orchards could be shared.

please email me at jeremy_noyes@hotmail.com
Id like to start a buyers group for off grid land huge parcles are cheaper per acre but need large chunks of cash that none of us have access to.

ps Ive got about 4K to start the till. and probably double that if I liquidate a few things I dont really need.

pps has anyone read
Christopher Alexanders "A pattern Language" there are some great ideas in that book for community planning
 
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: RidleyReport on November 22, 2004, 08:32:40 pm
Are you the same Chuck who got in all that hot water over the Grafton situation ?  Or someone different?
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: lloydbob1 on November 23, 2004, 07:42:28 am
By 'off the grid' do you mean no electricity?

For basic homesteading without large animals 2-5 acres.  Gravel Roads are fairly easy to maintain. No common property would lessen problems.
Lloyd
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: JasonPSorens on November 23, 2004, 01:15:58 pm
Are you the same Chuck who got in all that hot water over the Grafton situation ?  Or someone different?

Someone different!
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: lloydbob1 on November 23, 2004, 02:00:44 pm
I'm gussing that this is the Chuckster from Hawaii who intends to buy some income property in the Free State.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Pat McCotter on November 23, 2004, 06:53:30 pm
Off-grid - not connected to the utility wires; producing your own electricity

Pat
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: lloydbob1 on November 23, 2004, 07:03:23 pm
Diesel Generator running on grease?
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: George Reich on November 23, 2004, 07:57:00 pm
Off-grid - not connected to the utility wires; producing your own electricity

Either that or using no electricity at all. I have a friend in Wells, Maine who lives perfectly well without electricity and has done so for years. This must be hard to imagine for most who are accustomed to having electricity, but she considers this lifestyle to be incredibly liberating.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: George Reich on November 23, 2004, 08:40:15 pm
Diesel Generator running on grease?

Wind, photovoltaics, and microhydro would be much more common, I think.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: lloydbob1 on November 23, 2004, 10:08:08 pm
Good wind and hydro aren't available everywhere.  While photvoltaics get cheaper every day, I've been looking at this stuff for a long time and I don't see it catching on in any big way.
Lloyd
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: George Reich on November 23, 2004, 10:32:52 pm
Good wind and hydro aren't available everywhere.

Well, some consideration needs to be given to site selection before building an off-grid home.  ;)

Quote
While photvoltaics get cheaper every day, I've been looking at this stuff for a long time and I don't see it catching on in any big way.

I don't either, but some people enjoy the idea of being off the grid so much that they will use them even if the economics are not there.

One thing that surprised me when I started looking into renewable energy is the wide variety of microhydro systems available for very small streams (as little as 3 gpm and a 25 foot drop). Apparently the cost per watt produced is about 1/10 that of photovoltaics, and these systems are much more reliable as well.



Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: DC on November 23, 2004, 11:26:49 pm
Quote
One thing that suprised me when I started looking into renewable energy is the wide variety of microhydro systems available for very small streams.

Would these work in New Hampshire in the winter or would they freeze up?
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: George Reich on November 27, 2004, 07:08:17 pm
Would these work in New Hampshire in the winter or would they freeze up?

From what I can gather, this depends upon the particulars of the site and especially the depth of the water in the inlet area.
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: dghizzoni on April 08, 2005, 11:14:49 pm
I had been kicking this idea around for several years. One possibility of community revenue to support common areas is Selling green tags from the comunities generated renewable energy.   http://mainstayenergy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4

A FSP developement company would be an excellent idea. Profit driven for other homes and at or close to cost for FSP'rs. As a custom cabinetmaker I'd love to hear more about the possibilities. I've been trying to work out what kind of renewable mix would be necessary for running a full cabinet shop off the grid. It would be a project that would certainly bring some attention to the FSP also.

Not a member yet, but seriously concidering it. Was getting ready to move to MA from RI but don't want to give up my guns  ;D Found this site and have been perusing the boards..... Liking NH more by the thread.
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: ke6ziu on April 16, 2005, 02:54:45 am
Here is an idea I've been kicking around for a few months now.  I was thinking of locating a parcel of undeveloped land, perhaps 200 acres or more, to purchase for the purpose of subdividing into smaller parcels for people who want to go off-grid and build their own dwellings and live in a rural setting away from the established towns and cities.  I know from reading the forums for the past several months that there is some interest in off-grid or "Homestead" living as well as some interest in unconventional housing.  The question is how much interest is there among Porcupines and does that interest equate to a desire and ability to purchase acreage in a planned off-grid community.

By "Planned" I refer only to the initial subdivision and a very basic access road network.  The sort of people who would be attracted to something like this won't want a lot of structure beyond property lines and access roads.  The absolute bare minimum subdivision I would consider would be ten acres and personally I wouldn't be much interested in anything smaller than forty. Although I have heard of people doing it on as little as two and a half acres, that size lot does not offer much in the way of privacy except in very dense woods and even then, not in winter.

So the question becomes "Is there any interest?" and if so, I would ask the following:

What would the optimum lot size be?
What should the minimum lot size be? (Considering that two or more lots could be combined)
How elaborate whould the access road network be?(This will affect prices of course; a paved road costs more than gravel surfaced dirt, costs more than graded dirt, costs more than two-wheel-tracks-through-the-woods)
What other infrastructure (if any) would you expect the "Developer" to provide?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

This is not part of my personal wealth building plan, believe it or not.  I recognize that most of the people who would be interested in this sort of thing are not the folks who buy half million dollar homes and hire decorators to buy the furniture; nor are they ordinarily the type to have large credit lines and lots of cash.

Having said that; I am interested in supporting the back to the land movement (If there is such a thing) to the extent that I am able.  To that end, I would like to do something like this and make enough $$ to cover my costs and pay for the time invested while offering reasonably priced land to people who will respect it for what it is.

What do you think?
How much would it cost?  I'd really be interested in it.  I live in the PRK, and the only good thing about that is that there are a lot of ecowhacko companies that sell solar/fuel cell technology cheap.  PLMK ASAP...
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Greenbacks on April 16, 2005, 07:39:31 am
I had been kicking this idea around for several years. One possibility of community revenue to support common areas is Selling green tags from the comunities generated renewable energy.   http://mainstayenergy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4

A FSP developement company would be an excellent idea. Profit driven for other homes and at or close to cost for FSP'rs. As a custom cabinetmaker I'd love to hear more about the possibilities. I've been trying to work out what kind of renewable mix would be necessary for running a full cabinet shop off the grid. It would be a project that would certainly bring some attention to the FSP also.

Not a member yet, but seriously concidering it. Was getting ready to move to MA from RI but don't want to give up my guns  ;D Found this site and have been perusing the boards..... Liking NH more by the thread.

you should consider setting up a limited equity, land trust eco-village concept...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_trust
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: dghizzoni on April 17, 2005, 10:45:20 pm
I had been kicking this idea around for several years. One possibility of community revenue to support common areas is Selling green tags from the comunities generated renewable energy.   http://mainstayenergy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4

A FSP developement company would be an excellent idea. Profit driven for other homes and at or close to cost for FSP'rs. As a custom cabinetmaker I'd love to hear more about the possibilities. I've been trying to work out what kind of renewable mix would be necessary for running a full cabinet shop off the grid. It would be a project that would certainly bring some attention to the FSP also.

Not a member yet, but seriously concidering it. Was getting ready to move to MA from RI but don't want to give up my guns  ;D Found this site and have been perusing the boards..... Liking NH more by the thread.

you should consider setting up a limited equity, land trust eco-village concept...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_trust

Thanks for the info. Going to be delving into the information to see what I can come up with.
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Josie on May 24, 2005, 06:16:56 pm
I'd like five acres. Really everything fits in that. Little house, ecologically responsible landscaping for "curb appeal," veggies and market goods is the back. Add a micro-woodlot/orchard, some chickens, and a pond, and I'm good to go.

What kind of zoning rules would we have to worry about in that area? I personally would like an Earthship-type design using recycled materials, is that all right? What if I just show up in an Airstream?
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Evenstar on May 31, 2005, 03:20:48 pm
Haven't finished reading all the replies, but I cleared the initial post by my husband and his reply is:

30 to 50 acres (or more), gravel road access, NO HOA, and able to hunt on our property (as that's how we plan to supply most of our food).  Would this be owner financed or would we need to bank finance?  And any ideas on price?  (We're able to negotiate on price, as we're still ironing out our work load versus financial need as we are self-employed -- which makes bank financing harder.)

May post again when I see where the replies go.
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Evenstar on May 31, 2005, 04:19:27 pm
Okay, DEFINITELY prefer off the grid to "Martha Stewart" anything.  We're planning to try solar, wind, water with a propane backup generator (though we've just barely started that research, and plans may change).  A near-cashless lifestyle is VERY appealing, though we couldn't make do without our electronics, so we'd have to do something to generate electricity.  Very interested to see what comes of this!
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Pat McCotter on May 31, 2005, 04:51:32 pm
A diesel generator is more expensive initially but you can run it with waste vegetable oil. Restaurants have to pay to dispose of their oil so they save money if you take it for free.

You just have to settle and filter the oil and have a way of heating the oil to thin it before running it through the diesel generator. Once the diesel is running and warmed up you can use the diesel cooling water to keep the oil heated.

Cheers!
Pat
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Evenstar on May 31, 2005, 08:14:00 pm
Funny thing... I'd heard of diesel engines running on vegetable oil in vehicles, but never considered that a diesel generator could do the same... that's not a bad idea at all!
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Sergeant Roark on June 05, 2005, 10:05:42 pm
As for vegetable-oil burning Diesels, learn from my mistakes:

I spent $800 on a kit from a Mass. company called Greasecar and it simply does not work. It apparently works on Volkswagens, but NOT on Ford short buses, as they claimed it would. Now I'm stuck with this ridiculous bus that gets 12 mpg on Diesel. The greasecar.com forum is full of people who've had trouble with it. It's a cool theory, and our bus did run perfectly on veggie oil for about 120 miles, but now it won't run on it at all. I was a Diesel mechanic for 4 years and I can't make it work. Just a warning.

Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: lloydbob1 on June 06, 2005, 06:51:48 am
I have no firsthand knowledge about running veg in diesels, only theory, from reading, but, it would seem to me that if it ran on veg for a while, something, probably either coking, or filter problems, that you could fix, is the problem.  What does Creacecar have to say about the problem?
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: FreeBoB on June 06, 2005, 08:26:14 am
As for vegetable-oil burning Diesels, learn from my mistakes:

I spent $800 on a kit from a Mass. company called Greasecar and it simply does not work. It apparently works on Volkswagens, but NOT on Ford short buses, as they claimed it would. Now I'm stuck with this ridiculous bus that gets 12 mpg on Diesel. The greasecar.com forum is full of people who've had trouble with it. It's a cool theory, and our bus did run perfectly on veggie oil for about 120 miles, but now it won't run on it at all. I was a Diesel mechanic for 4 years and I can't make it work. Just a warning.



My son converted a Chevy Tahoe to run on waste veggie about 6 mos ago.  All problems are fixable.  He hired a local guy to do the conversion (there are two in Ithaca).  Each problem he had after the conversion was fixed, or the system slightly modified.  Once, early on, my son put the veggie oil fuel filter in backwards and it took them hours to figure out what the problem was!  He's been running for months now without problems of any kind.

Not only diesel generators, but oil home heating furnaces can be modified to run veggie!

Brian
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Sergeant Roark on June 06, 2005, 11:48:47 am
The guys at Greasecar aren't much help; apparently almost all of their customers drive VWs, so the kit is sort of designed for them. VW drivers don't seem to have any problems with it at all, but there are a bunch of us with Fords (well, the engines are made by International) with similar problems. Again, the bus DID run on it, so the concept is sound; I would just recommend making your own kit or buying one from someone other than Greasecar unless you drive a Jetta or something.
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: lloydbob1 on June 06, 2005, 01:14:19 pm
Not only diesel generators, but oil home heating furnaces can be modified to run veggie!

Brian

Altfuelfurnace Yahoo group

and

http://www.econoheat.com/
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Pat McCotter on June 06, 2005, 09:18:01 pm
The guys at Greasecar aren't much help; apparently almost all of their customers drive VWs, so the kit is sort of designed for them. VW drivers don't seem to have any problems with it at all, but there are a bunch of us with Fords (well, the engines are made by International) with similar problems. Again, the bus DID run on it, so the concept is sound; I would just recommend making your own kit or buying one from someone other than Greasecar unless you drive a Jetta or something.

I put the Greasecar kit in a 1985 Mercedes 300TD. 8000 miles on fish & chips and Chinese restaurant oil. I had a 60 mile one way commute. I now have a 1984 Mercedes 300D I am installing the kit into.

Pat
Title: Re: Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Pat McCotter on June 06, 2005, 09:22:11 pm
[
http://www.econoheat.com/

Thanks Lloyd, I hadn't seen this before.

Pat
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Chuckster on June 20, 2005, 03:57:24 pm
Are you the same Chuck who got in all that hot water over the Grafton situation ?  Or someone different?
Not me.  I don't know anything about that and haven't, as yet, done any business in NH, though I have been active in Hawaii and Vermont.
Title: Re:Off-Grid Homestead Subdivision
Post by: Chuckster on June 20, 2005, 04:01:35 pm
Diesel Generator running on grease?

Wind, photovoltaics, and microhydro would be much more common, I think.

We are using a combination of photovltaics and biodiesel generator to power a large business operation in Hawaii.  We are totally self sufficient, energy wise.