We all need electricity to power the infinite set of energy-sucking appliances that we depend upon so much. However, the rise in the cost of electricity has made homeowners think about means to fuel their technology-driven lives with alternative sources of energy. Though there are a variety of renewable energy generators available on the market, there are several DIYers who use their skills to create energy generators at a fraction of the cost of market available products. Check out a list of 12 such projects that can allow you to generate free electricity at home after the break:
• 250W Wind Turbine:
Created by Kevin Harris, a college student, this DIY wind turbine features a simple design and easily available products to generate an output of 250W. The designer wanted to keep the cost as low as possible, for which he used materials like PVC pipes and a simple DC electric motor. This easy-to-build wind turbine was built at a total cost of just $150.
• Pedal Gen:
The Pedal Gen is a modified bicycle with its front wheel removed and the rear wheel attached to a simple electric motor. The bicycle can be used as any other conventional exercise bike, but here apart from burning your calories, it generates renewable electricity as well. The designers believe that an average human can generate a constant 100W of power in 20-minute sessions, which if stored in a battery can be used to power three 11W CFLs in just one hour. This DIY won’t cost you more than $10 if you already have an old bicycle in your garage.
• Battery made from old aluminum cans:
Created from easy to find materials like an old aluminum can, saltwater and charcoal, this DIY project has been made to reduce the number of batteries that are discarded every year and to generate a few volts of electricity as well. The battery can churn out a maximum of 0.5V at 3.6mA, which should be good enough to power a few LEDs in your backyard or charge your music player.
• Aermotor Replica windmill:
This homemade Aermotor Replica windmill by Jim Duda is a pretty nice project that will introduce you to the power of off-the-grid efficiency. Made from salvaged materials, the wind turbine automatically adjusts itself to wind direction to generate the maximum possible output.
• Green Twist Machine:
Created from an old table and a salvaged electric motor, this machine is a DIY spin-art system which also generates renewable electricity from the creator’s electronic gear. The system can power radios, lights, cellphones, PMPs and other similar devices as well. The designer states that the spinning operation generates up to 5-volts DC, 190mA of electricity.
• Vertical Axis Wind Turbine:
Vertical axis wind turbines have always been applauded for their noise and vibration free operation. While commercial turbines might cost you thousands of dollars, this amazing DIY will set you back by just $200. Made from PVC pipes and other recycled materials, the turbine can generate about 100W of electrical power at 35kph wind speeds.
• Foot-powered Generator:
We all love listening music in our PMPs, but charging them isn’t an eco-affair unless you have the ability to design something as innovative as this foot-powered iPod charger. This device has been made using a spring, some wood, a small piece of re-bar, some thick wire, some small screws, and a cell phone charger. After attaching the system to the sole of your shoe, all you have to do is to walk to juice-up your iPod’s battery.
• Beer Battery:
Beer batteries create energy from bacteria that feed on waste water. These microbial fuel cells can be easily made at home and generate a few watts to power your cellphones and other electronic devices, without sourcing any energy from the grid. Though the setup might look dirty, the end result is mostly clean electricity.
• Wind Turbine from ABS Pipes:
After purchasing some remote property in Arizona, Mike was in need of a system that can generate a few hundred watts of electricity. After reading information on some other DIY wind turbines, this DIYer started building his personal turbine with a small generator, blades made from ABS pipes, a mounting that keeps the turbine turned into the wind, a tower to mount the turbine and batteries to store all that charge. With some components purchased from EBay, this DIY wind turbine was built at a cost of just $140.
• Pedal-Powered Generator:
Using the simple principle of an exercise bike, DIYer David Butcher has constructed what he labels the “Pedal-Powered Prime Mover”. This pedal generator keeps David fit and charges batteries that run an inverter to produce 100V AC. This electricity can be used to power LED lights, computer monitors or a TV as well.
• Electricity from walking:
Based on the use of a few piezoelectric devices, this project lets users generate electricity whenever pressure is applied on the piezoelectric crystals that are deployed over the crystal lattice. The system can generate an output of about 14V, which is much more than what your cellphone or iPod will require.
• Steam-powered Battery Charger:
If you are not yet ready to catch the solar era of eco-friendly gadgets, then try this out – a steam-powered battery charger that will give more meaning to the junk lying around in your home. The project makes use of a “Look Out” brand boiler from the 40s, a 6 HP steam engine from 1903 and a self-made magnetic alternator that uses all that steam to generate electricity to power your batteries. This magnetic alternator charges a 48V battery bank at 120 rpm and at 200 rpm it generates 2000 Watts of power, which is pretty good considering the hardware that is involved in the DIY.