Appropriate Technology Roundup #16 [10/19/07]

  1. HAPV – Human and Animal Powered Vehicle in South Africa from Afrigadget

    Human and Animal Powered Vehicle

    The HAPV (Advertised as HAPPY) is a twist on the ‘horse and buggy’ mode of transportation, making this a donkey, cart, solar panel on a canopy FUV (Farm Utility Vehicle) that is quite ingenious and absolutely AfriGadget. A donkey drawn carriage is commonplace in many countries in Africa, and this retrofit by the organization Water and Wheel adds more functionality and utility especially suited for rural Africa.

    Related Story: Mule Bookmobile from BBC via Streetuse

    Mule Book Mobiles
  2. Solar powered immigrant shelter provides Internet access from Boing Boing

    From We make money not art:

    Robert Ransick has completed a 6 month Residency at Eyebeam developing Casa Segura (Safe House).

    The artwork combines a sheltered room on private land in the Sonoran desert in Southern Arizona with a bilingual web space that facilitates creative exchange and understanding.

    Casa Segura proposes private property owners on the border to create a life-saving beacon in the desert, a platform for engaging with the anonymous individuals crossing their land in search of a better life, and a non-aggressive means of protecting their homes.

    Casa Segura on exhibit at Eyebeam in New York City: Sept. 27-Nov. 10th, 2007

  3. Juicing Up Your Cell Phone with Microbial Fuel Cells from Treehugger

    a group of MIT students has devised a microbial fuel cell (MFC) that runs entirely on plant waste. The students’ BioVolt MFC prototypes use electrons released by cellulose-munching bacteria to generate electricity. Because the technology has already been around for a few years, the main challenge for the students was to develop a cheap, yet efficient, device – one they tackled in part by making use of a non-platinum catalyst, which allowed them to keep manufacturing costs to a minimum.

    Though they weren’t willing to share the exact specifications for the fuel cell – having decided to file a patent for the device – the students claimed that it could be produced for as little as $2.

    Also see In the Lab: MIT’s Two Buck Eco Charge from Earth2Tech

  4. New Farming Method Reduces Water Needs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from The Sietch

    A new method to grow rice could save hundreds of billions of cubic meters of water while increasing food security, according to a study by the World Wildlife Foundation published today.

  5. Energy Bookshelf – The Power of Poop from Green Options

    A review of Dave Praeger’s Poop Culture: How America is Shaped By Its Grossest National Product.

    On consideration, there are several key arenas where Poop Culture relates to critical energy issues:

    1. Sewage systems are a huge infrastructural investment, that take major energy investments to create and operate.
    2. The system is quite wasteful in terms of resources and opportunities exist, in some ways, to turn this around toward a more fruitful energy path.
    3. The sewage system is an excellent example of how decisions made decades, even century+ ago, related to infrastructure drive our choices today and into the future, constraining options. And, well, it is not just physical but cultural as well — our mental constructs sometimes constrain even more than the physical. (For example, how many of you recycle and do composting yet do not (as I do not) do Humanure using some form of a composting toilet?)

  6. Stroh Haus, Unbelievably Modern Straw Bale Home from Jetson Green
  7. GE Dims Its Incandescent Bulb Business from Earth2Tech

    The bulb as we know it is dying a flickering death. OK, so that’s a tad dramatic but states and even entire continents are considering plans to ban the incandescent bulb. Here’s yet another sign: General Electric (GE) said late yesterday it will restructure its lighting business toward energy-efficient lighting technology, which will speed up the shrinking of its incandescent light-bulb business.

  8. Beating brownouts: building a super UPS from Make Magazine

    Peter writes in –
    Tiring of South Africa’s incessant power outages, Mike built his own super DIY UPS. It’ll run multiple computers for over 5 hours and protects them from power surges.

  9. What would you do with a used Boeing 747? Winner! from MAKE

    2 solar collectors, of course!

    According to emperor_dane:

    a used Boeing 747 could be turned into 2 huge solar-thermal collectors. The cylindrical shape of the passenger area would be perfect for 2 half-cylinder concentrators. these concentrators, once covered with mylar or similar reflective material would concentrate solar light onto a central pipe, painted black. finally the systems could use the plane’s internal coolant/ temperature control systems as a heat exchanger. finally the fluid that convects through the exchanger could run through the original jet’s fuel pump to act as a generator, using convective forces to generate electricity from otherwise considered refuse. here is a diagram -emperor dane

  10. Design Improves Life With Diabetes (INDEX: Award) from Treehugger
  11. Diabet-Cool, designed by Nicolas Nicolaou, is a solar-powered device that keeps insulin cool without the use of electricity. It has been especially designed for diabetics who live or travel through places without electricity but who depend on insulin products. This well-designed object fits up to 5 insulin pens, is effortless to handle and does not require strong sunlight. Instead a handle allows it to be attached to a wall or the back of a rucksack and to be easily adjusted to face the sun.