Aid Projects, Energy Systems — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 15, 2012
Lighting in much of the ‘developing’ world is provided via expensive and polluting kerosene. Kerosene lamps are dangerous, require constant replenishment, and come with significant negative health impacts.
So, for the potential benefit of millions of people, London based designers, Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves, have spent four years working on an inexpensive, safe and health-neutral alternative — a gravity powered LED light! It’s clever, and well intentioned. Nice!
Martin and Jim initially looked at creating a light that would be powered by solar, as would most of us. But the idea of utilising gravity took hold of them — where the end user can do away with the need for expensive solar panels and batteries, which use a lot of resources in their manufacture — and the gravity light was born. The gravity light will work whether it’s day or night, sunny or cloudy.
At time of writing, Martin and Jim’s Indiegogo campaign to raise funds has already surpassed its basic goal of $55,000, but if you wish to donate it’ll help them further their goal of refining the design to make it even more useful, efficient and inexpensive.Comments (3)
Energy Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Tim Barker November 23, 2012
by Tim Barker
The basic unit, minus the rocket stove and piping
In my last post, I showed a picture of a wood powered water heater, so now we’ll roll up our sleeves and get into how this was designed. But first a warning! Boiling water is easy to do, but boiling water in a closed container and not blowing yourself up is much trickier — in fact I’ve heard it said that there is the equivalent of a stick of dynamite in 500 grams of boiling water! So if you blow yourself up, be it on your own head. Having said that, I have spent a fair bit of time creating a design that is simple to build, safe and efficient.Comments (16)
So where does the ‘appropriate’ in ‘Appropriate Technology’ come from? To me, it is technology that ‘fits’ well into a place or setting. You’re not further enlightened? Okay, I’ll make some generalizations and go from there. For the ‘technology’ part, I like W. Brian Arthur’s definition, whereby technology is the capture or use of a phenomena for a specific purpose. So this could be everything from construction of a compost pile (consciously promoting the action of bacteria to break down organic matter for whatever reason) to a system of community governance. The ‘appropriate’ comes in when you recognise that some ways of developing local communities resonate better with human behavior than others — say, community land trusts as opposed to landlord/tenant arrangements.
The appropriate part is generally covered by the following:
- it is human centered and human scaled
- it is easily replicable and understandable
- it focuses on locally available resources
- it tends to be labour intensive but energy efficient.
Energy Systems — by Earth Policy Institute November 9, 2012
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
In the race to transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy and avoid runaway climate change, wind has opened a wide lead on both solar and geothermal energy. Solar panels, with a capacity totaling 70,000 megawatts, and geothermal power plants, with a capacity of some 11,000 megawatts, are generating electricity around the world. The total capacity for the world’s wind farms, now generating power in about 80 countries, is near 240,000 megawatts. China and the United States are in the lead.
Over the past decade, world wind electric generating capacity grew at nearly 30 percent per year, its increase driven by its many attractive features and by public policies supporting its expansion. Wind is abundant, carbon-free and nondepletable. It uses no water, no fuel, and little land. Wind is also locally available, scales up easily, and can be brought online quickly. No other energy source can match this combination of features.Comments (2)
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
The great energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way. As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about pollution and climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new world energy economy is emerging. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced with an economy powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The Earth’s renewable energy resources are vast and available to be tapped through visionary initiatives. Our civilization needs to embrace renewable energy on a scale and at a pace we’ve never seen before.
We inherited our current fossil fuel based world energy economy from another era. The 19th century was the century of coal, and oil took the lead during the 20th century. Today, global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)—the principal climate-altering greenhouse gas—come largely from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Coal, mainly used for electricity generation, accounts for 44 percent of global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions. Oil, used primarily for transportation, accounts for 36 percent. Natural gas, used for electricity and heating, accounts for the remaining 20 percent. It is time to design a carbon- and pollution-free energy economy for the 21st century.Comments (0)
Building, Energy Systems — by Tim Barker November 8, 2012
The first post on the rocket oven left many with more questions than they started with so this is a follow up to cover some aspects in more detail. It would probably help to re read the first article and my replies to comments as I’m just going to forge ahead with more detail on the design.
On my first design I was prepared, even expecting, to have to modify things to get it to work properly. One fundamental question I had was how small the rocket oven cross section could be and still do the job.
I consciously made the decision to start with the smallest cross section I thought would work which just happened to coincide with some square section of steel I had lying around. This was 90 mm square (3.5 inches). The plan was then to work my way up in size as needed. It’s a good idea and simplifies construction if you keep the cross section constant all the way through the rocket stove part of the design (feed tube, burn tunnel, heat riser) — this reduces turbulence and restrictions where you don’t want them.Comments (9)
Aquaculture, Building, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Fish, Land, Retrofitting, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Rene Michalak November 6, 2012
The "MEGGA-watt" Project (Micro-Energy Generating Garage Assembly) is a demonstration / prototype to turn everyday detached garages from simple storage units (aka ‘car-holes’) into food-growing and energy-generating systems using permaculture design.
The basic concept is to partner a garage with an attached greenhouse and renewable energy to create sustainable 4-season growing systems with minimal fossil fuel input that serves both practical and recreational purposes.
Owners of a MEGGA can then customize how they want the system to function — what they want to grow and how they want to grow it.Comments (1)
Energy Systems, Processing & Food Preservation — by Samuel Alexander October 24, 2012
by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.
I was at the salvage yard the other day and saw some cheap mirrors, so I bought them. Not so that I could look at myself. From my typical appearance it is clear that I do not do that nearly as often as I should. Rather, I thought I could use them to make a good solar oven, and it turned out I could.
As you will see from the pictures, a solar oven works by concentrating the sun’s rays toward a central tub which heats up and thus functions as an oven. My solar oven consists of four mirrors, two cardboard sheets which I covered with tin foil, a black tub (a good colour for heat absorption), and the glass from a picture frame. Within the tub I placed a closed cooking pot with a glass lid. Total cost of these salvaged materials: $38.Comments (4)
Energy Systems — by Kim Hayes October 18, 2012
13-year old Aidan Dwyer designed a more efficient model for solar power by studying Fibonacci sequences. Today, he divides his time between junior high and collaborations with research organizations like the University of Madison’s Resilience Research Center. – YouTube
Energy Systems — by Tim Barker October 16, 2012
We’re using this awesome rocket stove powered wall oven for all the catering here at Koanga — it gets daily use and we’re loving it! The amount of wood required is minimal, a tiny fraction of what a regular wood fired stove would use.
by Tim Barker
During our last workshop at the Koanga Institute, we built a rocket stove. Our design brief was very specific in that the stove had to be practical, easy to use and long lasting, whereas what is being built by most backyard experimenters like myself, while being fun to make and muck around with, are more along the lines of ‘camp stoves’ built from tin cans that quickly disintegrate with use. Another consideration which I felt was important was that most rocket stoves are just that – stoves, as in place a pot on top and boil something.
What I envisaged was not a rocket stove but a rocket oven. This is a concept I had originally developed nearly three years ago when living in a small two room shack. It had a camping gas burner but no oven. Missing those things that only an oven can provide is a great motivator. Of course, due to my previous work making rocket stove powered water heaters (a subject we’ll get to at a later date), it was always going to be rocket powered. The hard part, or so I thought, was making an oven chamber that was insulated, had racks and a fitting door. Plus, it had to look good. It was then that I realised I had described an electric or gas oven. From there, the rest was easy. A quick trip to the local scrap merchant secured an old bench top unit where the hot plates are beside the oven. Cost: $20.Comments (8)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 28, 2012
Edible City is a feature-length documentary film that tells the stories of extraordinary people who are digging their hands into the dirt, working to transform their communities and do something truly revolutionary: grow local Good Food Systems that are socially just, environmentally sound, and economically resilient.
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Surveying, Swales, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Melissa Andrews August 23, 2012
Olive trees stand the test of time in Palestine
All images © Christopher List Photography
It was a brisk, rather harried morning when my husband, photographer Christopher List, and I set off on a trip to delve deeper into the relatively unheard of phenomenon of permaculture.
It felt like only yesterday when we’d announced to friends and family that were were going to Palestine, to study a 14-day intensive permaculture course. After discovering some of the principles of permaculture on a recent trip to SA, I knew we were in for a gruelling, yet worthwhile experience.Comments (4)
Energy Systems — by Earth Policy Institute August 22, 2012
J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute
Wind power is the world’s leading source of renewable electricity, excluding hydropower, with 238,000 megawatts of capacity installed at the start of 2012. Thus far, almost all of this wind power has been tapped on land; worldwide just 4,600 megawatts of offshore wind farms were operating as of mid-2012. Offshore wind capacity is growing quickly, however, expanding nearly six-fold since 2006. Twelve countries now have wind turbines spinning offshore, and more will be joining them to take advantage of the powerful winds blowing over the oceans.
Report on Implementation Activities in Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary Schools in July 2012 (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Rehabilitation, Retrofitting, Seeds, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland August 17, 2012
In May 2012 we ran a PDC at Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge on which we trained four local teachers, along with other participants, two from each of two local schools in Konso, South Ethiopia, where we are based. The selected teachers from the two schools, Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary, are science teachers responsible for the schools’ environmental clubs. During the training they produced permaculture designs for their school compounds, which they have gone on to begin implementing with their school communities.Comments (2)
Building, Energy Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Keveen Gabet August 10, 2012
StrawJet has developed a unique process in response to agricultural waste around the world.
They basically gather agricultural waste (stalks ranging from rye to corn) and bundle them tightly into ‘cables’; solid tubes of condensed stalks tightly wrapped in nylon thread. These cables are then either used as fuel (preferably in a rocket-stove like machine) or rebound into stronger cables to be used as a building material.Comments (8)