Geothermal has significant value potential. It also has potential risk (whether to geologic stability, water supplies…) as indicated by seismic activity occurring in areas where geothermal drilling has taken place. The idea of taping sources such as warm bio mass storage areas (sewer systems) can be extended to any location that may have decaying biomass (landfill composting locations, sewer pipes, reclaiming steam pipe radiant heat or other). There may be a great deal of options through creative innovation. Geothermal System Taps Sewage Instead of Bedrock : TreeHugger.
MIT Research uses 3D design to increase capture rate 20%. See here.
Best 3 minutes I spent this morning. Watch here and enjoy!
Image Courtesy: Cheng Tsung Feng
When I saw this design I was excited. Ok, fine, laugh. But the exciting part is that it is a very robust, lightweight design that ilustraites the power of solar thermal. It is more effective at capturing the Sun’s energy than photovoltaic and simply requires thinking about how to work with the heat you are capturing. Solar Thermal is not just limited to cooking, the process is also used in residences for heating hot water and is an effective process for distilling water. With a little imagination and inginuity, there is real potential for sustainable solutions where heat energy or heat for conversion to other forms of energy are needed. See article here
Portable solar power is useful for laptops and other lite power needs such as cellphone recharge. When the panel is linked to a battery during the day, they may be useful in providing additional nightime LED lighting support if you are looking to place LED lights around your house exterior or interior and would like to get them off the grid. Solar is also helpful in remote lighting or other off grid needs. See article here.
This is a hot idea, a brilliant concept. I started thinking about the powerful concentrating abilities of concave mirrors with respect to solar energy many years ago after seeing it in a James Bond film. The upshot in my thinking was if we can concentrate the light, why couldn’t we redirect it with mirrors/fiber optics, channel it though magnifying glasses or filters to increase or decrease power to compensate for high or low sun light in summer or winter months for tasks in a house for example. Or perhaps compensate for the weaker ultra violet rays falling on solar cells during the winter or in green houses thereby creating a more natural artificial growing cycle if you will permit my oxymoron.
How would this benefit disaster relief? Perhaps the disaster zone is in a cold climate and steam heat or steam driven turbine power is the only option because refueling is constrained but sun is available during a short window of the day. Perhaps concentrating the sun’s rays could increase solar cell capture in the winter. In hotter climates where sun is plentiful and heat is used to purify water, sterilize in a hospital, again produce energy. Another potential for a disaster zone would be if a single power generating system could be flown in and rapidly deployed that uses a steam turbine to generate electricity. Perhaps it could be used as a high intensity steel or stone cutter in earthquake zones where there building or landscape has collapsed.
There are many possibilities that could be presently met with existing technology by simply redirecting and concentrating the sun’s rays to do work we have furnaces, blow torches, lasers or combustion engines doing. Innovation is the key.
See article here
Courtesy of Inhabitat
Inside a disaster zone, often the most basic infrastructure is lost (water, power, and the systems that depend on these resources). A company by the name of Essential Element has created a vehicle that brings a solar power generator and water purification system into disaster stricken zones.
The vehicle, named the Hydra, uses solar power to generate electricity that can be used to power communication systems and other necessities. It also has a water purification system that can produce clean water for victims in the disaster zone. The water purifier can push up to 87,000 liters of clean water in a single day.
It would be interesting if this technology could be tailored to residential use where residences could purchase a small footprint pre-fab package that could simply be dropped and plugged into place to help reduce strain on public power and water utilities (purifying rain, lake or river water) as well as the resources they consume. It would also be helpful if the water purifier can perform full distillation so it can convert toxic or ocean salt water into safe water.
See article here
Courtesy N.Y. Times
I’ve commented in a previous post that the U.S. Military is using sustainable technologies as a strategic direction. Their efforts are in two areas that we highly support here at Perpetuation: 1) proactively using sustainable technology strategies to reduce potential disasters from occurring and 2) leveraging sustainable technologies to aid in disaster zones where other technologies either don’t work or are less efficient. Any war zone has the same dynamics of a disaster with lives lost, people displaced and resources wasted.
Sustainable solutions are proving to have the most practical value in averting disaster and mitigating the impact. What organization is likely to test the most bottom-line benefits of sustainable technologies in practical terms than an actively engaged military force? It is important to track the success the military is having with sustainable technology as it can have direct application to disaster response.
Watching the military’s use of sustainable strategies to avert conflict and the disasters caused by these conflicts can be a good proving ground for developing solutions in other areas (e.g. climate change, community development, business risk…).
See article here
The US Military has long been a progressive fighting force adopting strategies and technologies leading the path of great innovation. They have done this in many cases long before mainstream America and our political parties. Amory Lovins was interviewed by Charlie Rose where he indicated how seriously the Pentagon was looking into alternative means to reduce oil use, risk, cost and disaster. One of the most obvious reasons was that Oil dependency was clearly drawing our sons, daughters, parents and friends who serve in the service directly into harms way.
A recent study by the Center for a New American Security has stated that they need to get off of oil dependency by 2040 to mitigate the ever increasing risk to our forces in both life and economic terms. This information is helpful in supporting something the military has been looking into since before 2006.
See article here
It is well worth watching the interview with Charlie Rose and Amory Lovins. We can’t underestimate the importance of our citizens serving in the armed forces and the risk our dependency on oil creates in the international strategic arena. To see that the Pentagon has for some time taken a strategic role to implement sustainable technologies for the purpose of reducing military threat is an act of leadership many in our country would do well to consider. Sadly, our experiences on September 11, 2001 have shown us that response and relief is not just for natural disaster but from a very real risk within the US as a result of war.
See video here
Accessing electricity in a disaster zone can be simply impossible. I remember a friend of mine saying his car would become his emergency generator by simply adding a 12v inverter to its cigarette lighter. I thought this was interesting but pretty limited if your car is buried, can’t refill your tank, don’t have a portable battery to charge or a long extension cord. Not too long ago, a sustainable solution was simply out of the question.
Fortunately there are currently field tested solutions available that provide a lightweight, rugged, portable power source for expedition teams, response teams or the stranded. Nature photographers, the US Military, sailors and mountaineers have explored the frontier of sustainable portable power solutions. Portable solar rolls or flats have become essential for some wilderness field operations. An additional resource being tested by the US Military in Afghanistan are backpacks with solar panels built into the design. We are in the beginning stages of the development of these power sources and I suspect many inspiring designs are on the horizon.
See links here:
Also, worth considering are compact wind generators. I first encountered these in operation about 10 years ago when sailing with a friend. We passed a sailboat sporting 2 small wind turbines on its stern. I was fascinated. Since then I’ve become convinced that disaster relief teams and refugee villages could benefit greatly from sustainable design technologies to help improve the conditions in these camps, those stranded reaching out for aid and the field relief teams.