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4 Alternative & Dependable Power Sources For A Post-EMP Society

4 Alternative & Dependable Power Sources For A Post-EMP Society

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The deteriorating situation with North Korea has created a resurgence in interest in the chances of our country’s electrical grid being taken down by an EMP.

Sadly, the EMP Commission, the nation’s only true experts on the effect of such an attack, is being disbanded after 17 years. And this is occurring in the face of North Korea’s official news agency talking for the first time about using a high-altitude EMP against the United States.

Many people have said that if such a thing were to happen and we were to lose the electrical grid, it would put the nation back 150 years – and we’d be living as we did in the1800s. But there’s one major fallacy with that statement: We don’t know how to live like our ancestors lived 150 years ago.

A modern, industrialized society requires power. We get most of that from electricity, but we also depend heavily on internal combustion engines, both gasoline and diesel. While non-computerized internal combustion engines would survive an EMP without problem, the available fuel supply for them will be quickly exhausted and it will probably be years before refineries are running again.

This will leave us with a major problem. I seriously doubt that people will be satisfied with going back to living as if we were in the 1800s or even earlier. We, as a society, are accustomed to our comforts and we will want them back. But to get any of them, we will need some sort of power.

While some of this power will be used to provide for our comforts, the biggest portion of it will be needed to power industry, which will be relegated back to the cottage industry or at least local industry level. Even simple things, like grinding grain and plowing fields, require energy, more than what we can reasonably expect to have with human power. So much of our ability to survive and thrive will depend on our ability to find alternate sources of power.

1. Renewable electric

While the electrical grid will be destroyed by an EMP, that doesn’t mean that all means of electric power production will come to a complete standstill. I imagine that there are some power plants which are shielded from EMP, if for no other reason than they are in metal buildings.

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But that power won’t do us much good, as the distribution network that we need to get that power from the power plants to our homes will be destroyed. Until that can be rebuilt, which will probably take years, it won’t matter if those power plants are working or not.

About the only dependable source of electric power that will survive the EMP will be that which we have in our homes — the solar panels and wind turbines that preppers like you and I have.

2. Animal power

Before internal combustion engines and electrical power took over, animal power was the main motive power used in the world. Horses and oxen were harnessed to wagons and carriages. But they were also harnessed to the windlass in order to provide mechanical power for industry. Grain mills, saw mills and even machine shops were powered by draft animals in this way. It was slower than an electric motor or internal combustion engine, but it worked.

4 Alternative & Dependable Power Sources For A Post-EMP Society

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Sadly, the number of draft animals in the United States is extremely low right now, as they are no longer used. The horse population, which was at a high of 25 million a century ago, is currently roughly 9 million, relegated to a few private owners, most of whom use them simply for recreation. That’s actually up about 6 million in the last 30 years.

If you have the land to do so, you might want to consider buying some horses to add to your prepping equipment. Of course, that means more than just having land; you’ll need a barn, feed for the horse, saddles, bridles, harnesses and a host of other horse-related gear, too.

3. Water power

The other major source of power used in the 1700s and 1800s was water power. Waterwheels, which are a quaint historic novelty today, were a major source of industrial power for centuries, right up into the early days of the industrial revolution. Like animal power, water power was used for running a host of different equipment.

The great advantage of water power is that it is free and renewable, assuming you have someplace where you have access to flowing water. That means having property on the edge of a river or stream somewhere — something that most of us don’t have. But if you do, you might want to look into how you could harness that power for your use.

Water wheels don’t work by the speed of the water flowing through them, but rather by the weight of the water in the buckets. This is amplified by leverage, with the wheel itself acting as a giant lever. The larger the wheel and the greater distance the water falls, the more the leverage.

4. Steam power

Other than the waterwheel, one of the earliest means of producing mechanical power was the steam engine. This may very well be one of the best means of power available to us in a post-EMP world. The big advantage that the steam engine has over other forms of power is that any fuel can be used to heat the water and generate the steam.

The U.S. Navy uses nuclear power for this, heating water in a nuclear reactor, which is then used to drive aircraft carriers and submarines through the water. While you and I won’t be able to use nuclear power, we can accomplish the same thing by burning wood. It may not produce as much power as a nuclear reactor can, but it has the distinct advantage of being a power source that doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment to harvest. Besides, it’s renewable energy, as well.

The trick, of course, will be in building the steam engine in a post-EMP world, with minimal power and equipment to work with. We will probably have to adapt existing equipment to do so. Nevertheless, the steam engine will be one of the best sources of mechanical power available to use in rebuilding industry.

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:  

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  1. Wood gas and bio diesel generators are an interesting option. Wood gas can also power older carbureted vehicles. This technology was utilized during WWII to power tractors and other farm equipment. Micro hydroelectric could be another viable option if you a have a great by stream or river.

    • The only problem with all these extra-EMP scenarios is that if there are any electronics in these set-ups, the EMP will most likely destroy them. I have a PV solar set-up, with a battery back-up for most of my electric power, which works great, cutting my dependence on my local electric utility to almost nothing. It will work great—right up until there is an EMP blast up in space. Then, all the electronics in my battery and the in the solar cells, will be fried by the EMP. So, then I will most likely be back in the 1800’s just like everyone else

      • OffGrid FL Preppper

        Danny, You can build a faraday cage around your solar electronics. and maybe keep a few key back up electronics in a faraday cage as well.. Remember the #1 Prepper Rue, 2 is 1 and 1 is none. Store an extra 12V to 110 Inverter and an extra Charge Controller Unit in a faraday cage metal trash can as well. Have to try and start some place to protect these electronics. I was on this National EMP Study Group, and as I believe I there is no stored electricity in an electronic component then there may not be any damage to that unit. So having backups is important. Because the down time in an actual massive Grid down situation the reason for the years of delays is that the Electric companies do not keep extra transformers around as spares as he ramp up time is at least 2 years just to start to manufacture a massive transformer. And they don’t make them here in the US as I understand, so logistics and politics will play a big part in getting replacements. Learn to cook over camp fires with cast iron cookware and start your food plots rabbits and chickens and other homestead animal food sources. The biggest threat to our survival with be the Human factor where 90% are unprepared at all to do anything and total society collapse and looting and killings will happen due to starvation. So save all your skinny clothes folks, you will need them one day and buy lots of belts to hold your pants up.

  2. natural gas will still be around a lot of these pumps still run a natural gas hit and miss engine powered by a magneto, some still make gas with out the brine pump engine

  3. the big gas wells will be routed the run other things they run 50 to 100 big diesel hooked to natural gas engines to pump about every 3 miles on the big oil gas lines , they look like a citys these big wells they flair with fire to make a vaccum they burn over a 100,000 cui foot a night, but they run at over 3000 psi

  4. OffGrid FL Preppper

    I will also add, that if you are grid tied, your drinking water supply will be disrupted and septic drainage lift stations will also be clogged up, as grid tied electric runs those pumps to push the water and waste down the line. So have your 5 Gal porta potties, plastic liner bags, and a shovel to bury this human waste. Also you better come up with another alternative water source for drinking water and filtering systems to keep your drinking water clean for consumption. Backups to backups, Get your 10 years of supplies now while you still can. Most people will die of disease and unsanitary conditions, and make sure you are caught up on your Tetanus shots. Just a bacterial infection from a scrape or stepping on a rusty nail could kill you in a weeks time. The time to prepare is now folks. Good Luck. Got your ham radio, CB radio and other radios protected in a faraday cage? Have your small animal live traps and snares on hand yet to capture food if needed? Consider all aspects of your prepping plan. I have been off Grid now for almost 3 years. Not a single utility bill has hit my mailbox since. I figure why not be way ahead of the curve and start living the simple life a head of time, work out the kinks and mistakes in a controlled situation for the real deal coming up. I think my chances of survival in a remote country area with a good fresh water source here in FL, will be more favorable than the majority. I started prepping back in 2010 and moved out of the big city trappings, for the country life. No regrets.

  5. OffGrid FL Preppper

    One of the biggest fears that I see in a total grid down situation is your location to a Nuclear Power Plant. They only store about 30 days worth of Diesel Fuel on hand to power the generators to keep the cooling ponds cool for the spend fuel rods. Once the diesel fuel runs out, and the cooling pumps stop running, the fuel rods will begin to over heat, and it will be like Kukashima nation wide, so you need to be located up wind from Nuke Plants and far away as possible or you will get zapped. Keep a current supply of Potassium Iodide on hand for you and for pets to keep your thyroid glands full of good radiation and to keep out the bad radiation. Here is a great Website that is updated every minute of the USA and all our Nuke radiation plants and if there is a problem it will reflect this upgraded threat. Find where you live and see where the closest Nuke plant is to you, and the wind direction it normally flows. Go to: RadiationNetwork dot com for the map. Stay alert..

  6. having loads of time to research items I think useful, finding data on protection from the Emp pulse is problematic. comparing all the data and most conflict and have or cannot present-any scientific background. can anyone provide data that has been collected about a pulse ? what is needed is a way to block it having tons of information on building a Faraday cage to block signals the design requirements. what we dont need is to find our efforts failed we prepare to survive knowing what you need to prepare for is half the battle. this topic is one of the most critical problems we face. if a country wants to cause the most damage and eliminate the possibility of retaliation it would be a pulse it would cause the most damage . it would cause a nation to direct its efforts for the citizens. back to protections. who has reliable information? time to step up and help your fellow prepers.

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