This year I have been building a new workshop that will give me much needed space to work on my various projects but also acts as home for my renewable energy developments.
It replaces the old engine shed that I used for a couple of years, and it puts all my technical equipment under one roof - with the solar water heating panels on top.
On Friday, with the Lister generator in place and plumbed up with cooling, batteries and inverter, all was ready to start up the generator on vegetable oil and make real heat and power for using in the house.
The generator was started around 1pm and run for about 3.5 hours. During that time it heated a full tank of hot water, ran a 1700W electric storage heater to warm my office throughout Friday afternoon and evening, and powered the two PCs and other equipment in the office. During this time it used about 4 litres of waste vegetable oil.
The office has been running all weekend from the battery powered inverter and already it has started to show a 25% reduction in the amount of electricity that I use from the grid daily.
As my experience and confidence grows, I will run the engine for longer periods and use it to power more of the household appliances, in particular the dishwasher and the washing machine which are otherwise quite heavy power users.
The next step is to complete the changes to the pipework which will allow the heat from the engine to contribute directly to my central heating system, which will make more efficient use of the waste heat generated by the engine and also start to reduce the amount of gas I use for home heating.