Idea for Local Power Generation (from TB2000)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread
This was posted on the TB 2K forum. It sound like it might work for some local power for shealters and such.
i bet you're wondering what that railroad part is all about. well, it's like this. between the navy survey and the GAO report on the readiness of 21 biggest cities, the news is not reassuring. it's time to work harder on the contingency plans.
with regard to emergency power for cities, it has already been noted that there is a plan for ships to provide power, both in canada and the u.s. this is great for coastal cities, but what about the interior?
yet there is a ready source of power right under our noses, everywhere you look. i'm talking about railroad engines. in most cities, the railroad tracks run close to major facilities/businesses/hospitals that must have power, or run beside large buldings such as schools which would be suitable for shelters. railroad engines are therefore an excellent choice for a contingency plan, y2k or no y2k.
my husband jon suggested to our town that they consider using the local college and its church, which is already registered with the red cross, as a shelter, and that they consider the fact that the railroad tracks are only about 25 feet from the church and the dorms.
jon also called the President's y2k Council a couple days ago, and mentioned the idea of using railroad engines. they had not previously heard of the idea, but ran it by a couple of their technical people, who said yes, that would work. up till then, i had assumed that they knew.
it's late in the game, people. please tell me that there are some other people out there in emergency management or whatever, who thought of this also.
-- jocelyne slough (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 24, 1999
Jocelyne told me that she had posted to this forum, but she left out part of the reason for my idea. This idea is not to run a city, nor to ever be connected to the power grid, nor to run your TV sets.
The idea is to power a shelter that has the ability to hold several hundred to several thousand people. The power main would need to be DISCONNECTED from the power grid. Then power cables would be run from the locomotive to the proper points of connection. I sure would not run a computer, or fussy electronic equipment, but the power will run the heating plant, and the kitchen.
Yes I know that this blocks the rails, but guess what, a few days of power when it is below freezing to keep any body count down is more important than the short term disruption of the rails.
the engines, other than for the main drive motors, have 440 Volts AC, 220 Volts AC, and 110 AC. This is used by the passenger cars that use 110, 220, 440 volts AC. This means that you need to find a locomotove used in passenger service. It is a stop gap, but it is better than having people freeze to death.
-- Jon Slough (email@example.com), August 24, 1999.
-- helium (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 25, 1999
More than just passenger locomotives which are equipped with special HEP (Head End Power) generators for heating and lighting a passenger train, could be used. Every diesel locomotive built since the early 1960's can be used for emergency power generation.
Around 1964 all new locomotives came with an alternator and AC to DC rectifiers, rather than just a DC generator as older locomotives used. At certain engine RPM settings the diesel power plant will drive the alternator to produce sixty cycle power at up to six hundred volts.
This capacity was regularly taken advantage of in South Korea, where the commute train engines would be hooked into the power grid for Seoul, to provide additional power capacity while new power plants were being built. Earlier this year after the explosion at the Ford Motor Company's power plant, several locomotives were leased andd used for use as stationary power plants to replace the damaged coal- fired plant. As far as I've read, that arrangement is still in use.
And an excelent example of emergency use of locomotives as generators was in Quebec during the ice storm. Two locomotives were lifted off the rails and set onto the street and were "driven" to a hospital and civic building to serve as emergency power plants until Hydro Quebec could restore service to the city. The streets took a beating, but power was made available to key facilities almost a mile away from the tracks and there was no blockage of the railways by stationary locomotives.
-- Wildweasel (email@example.com), August 25, 1999.
Nice idea. One caveat, it seems to me that one probably does not want to block the rails for the purposes of heating a few local shelters near the tracks. Coal, oil, food, emergency supplies and equipment and other stuff probably is transported along most active tracks and so its value to the general region and the collective safety of thousands in the region probably exceed the value of blocking the tracks for a few isolated shelters. If this were to be done, it's usually easy enough (at least for RR types) to arrange a temporary spur to be constructed to a nearby street or parking lot with a few spare rails and park any diesels for generation off the main lines. Then you can pretty much have your cake and eat it too.
-- Ann Y Body (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 26, 1999.
This solution will only work in a very limited way.
All power plants on a single grid MUST synchronize the phase of the sine wave EXACTLY. The plants have the equipment to do this. Small INDEPENDENT generators (such as locomotives) do NOT.
Failure to keep the phases EXACTLY in sync WILL result in spectacular explosions. (This is also one of the primary reasons people are urged NOT to backffed their generators into their house wiring.)
Bear this in mind..
-- Dennis (email@example.com), August 26, 1999.
I HAVE A SMALL 12KW DIESEL GENERATOR WITH A TRACE SW4024 THIS INVERTER LETS ME SELL ELECTRICITY BACK TO THE POWER CO IN EXCESS OF WHAT I AM USING. IT [THE ELECTRIC CO] WILL EXCEPT THE ELECTRIC FROM 59/61 HERTZ. AND I DONT HAVE ANY THING TO PUT THE EXACT MATCH WITH THEM. THIS COULD BE BECAUSE THE AMOUNT IS SO SMALL
-- BOB (RCROZIER@KOYOTE.COM), August 26, 1999.
Maybe the inverter can phase-match. I know little about them. But I know that power on the grid MUST be phase-matched.
-- Dennis (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 26, 1999.