Sudbury man uses hybrid car to provide electricity
Posted by keelynet on September 26, 2009
One of the beauties of having a hybrid car, it can be your emergency power source if house power goes out.
“Fall is in the air and if New Englanders lose power this winter as more than one million homes and businesses did in last December’s ice storms, energy conservationist and Sudbury resident, Dean Holden, won’t be left out in the cold. He will power some of his home with his Toyota Prius and save money and energy, too.
After his friends used their hybrids when the storm weighed down power lines, Holden read on the Internet how to use his Prius as a generator. “Generators pollute the environment and are more costly to operate,” said Holden.
“They have to be filled with gas about every eight hours,” said Holden, president of Sustainable Sudbury, a chapter of Massachusetts Climate Action Network, an environmentally focused nonprofit organization. “One of my friends hooked up his Prius for three days, without interruption, and only used a half of a tank of gas.”
After investing in a 1,000-watt inverter, which converts the DC power from the car into AC current for his home, Holden took four circuits out of the main panel in his garage and put them in a second panel. When the power goes off, he will switch off the main panel box with a toggle switch to isolate the four circuits and prevent a repairman from getting injured, Holden said.
“The inverter draws energy from the hybrid’s auxiliary 12-volt battery, which gets recharged from the main 230 volt battery, allowing us to use the refrigerator, lights in the kitchen and dining room and watch television,” he said.
“People can use a regular DC power supply even in other cars, but the Prius, which was made to idle, is ideal and clean burning,” said Holden. “It’s best to run the car outdoors.” To save more money, Holden offered a few more tips.
He suggested using fluorescent light bulbs, turning off the lights and the coffee pot. “When you leave the coffee pot on, it wastes 1,000 watts,” said Holden. “It’s like having the whole house lit with electricity. Now they make them so you can pour the coffee into an insulated jug.” – Source
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