Appropriate Technology Roundup #20 [11/20/07]

  1. THE SOLARROLL: The Go-anywhere Solar Gadget Charger! from Inhabitat

    Brunton SolarRoll connected to laptop

    Looking for an eco-friendly and convenient alternative to charging your cell phone, camera, or laptop? The Brunton SolarRoll beats out solar-powered bags and backpacks and, certainly, the hassle of trying to find an electrical outlet when you’re traveling with mobile devices in tow. All you need is a little sunlight, and you can easily charge laptops, cell phones, cameras, and even car batteries!

    Brunton SolarRoll
    See also Millet Solar Pads

  2. GaiaLux Ecolight: A Light for the Developing World from EcoGeek

    Imagine you are one of the billion people on this planet who live with intermittent power. You may live in Baghdad, or more likely you live in one of the many Squatter Cities where power is bootlegged or in short supply.

    When your lights go out, which is every night, you get out your trusty kerosene lamps and light your home with the most inefficient light source known to man. If you are like most of your neighbors you will spend $60.00 – $75.00 per year to keep your home from going dark.

    The GaiaLux light is a new design I’ve entered in the NASA Create the Future Design Contest. It is a simple, inexpensive, sustainable alternative to kerosene lamps. The key components are a recycled cell phone charger, a set of rechargeable batteries, and very efficient LED lights. When power is available, it charges the batteries; when light is needed the batteries can provide up to 40 hours of continuous use.

  3. Could the Solar Bug bring the sun to the car market? from the Christian Science Monitor via Practical Environmentalist
    Titus Solar car

    On display at a recent alternative-car expo here, this is Titus’s second and latest rendering of a solar-powered car concept. It gets up to a fourth of its 60-mile capacity from 200 watts of roof-mounted solar panels.

    Titus is among those entrepreneurs trying to create and market an affordable, renewable-energy vehicle – a step beyond gas-electric hybrids.

    The ranks of potential buyers for such cars are growing by leaps and bounds, say many car-industry analysts. But don’t look for them on normal streets just yet, they add quickly. Limitations of batteries and solar panels – though lessening – are still issues, among others.

    It looks like a tuktuk.

    Related:Another up and coming electric vehicle
    The Aptera, absurdly futuristic but pri-tayyyy!

    Duration: 1min 49 sec

    This was Kurt’s first time in the Aptera. As the lead ME, he designed the suspension and all things mechanical. We thought he was going to drive real slow and careful……as it was the only prototype! Instead, he starts tearin’ it up causing us to laugh uncontrollably. This particular prototype was VERY noisy due to the kind of drives system we were testing at the time and the fact that there was no soundproofing or wheel-pant panels installed.

    See also: Around the World on Sunny Days

  4. The Future IS Mud: Earth Architecture In Africa (And Lots Of Other Places) from Treehugger

    Though it may sound primitive, it’s not. Building with earth is a venerable world tradition dating back at least 4,000 years, with the oldest surviving specimens found in the Middle East and South America and ending up today in places like Britain, France, USA, Peru, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, India, Morocco, Mali – the list goes on. In the Future of Mud: A Tale of Houses and Lives in Djenné, a documentary on the rich heritage of earth architecture in one town in Mali, Africa, one gets a true sense of love of craft combined with a love for the creative and integrative possibilities of earth.

  5. BITUBLOCK: Building blocks made from compressed rubbish! from Inhabitat

    If we told you there was a sustainable substitute for concrete you’d probably say rubbish!… and you would be right. The dream of a resource-saving, emissions-reducing replacement for concrete is becoming a reality in the form of BituBlock – made from post-consumer waste. Dr. John Forth of the University of Leeds is behind the revolutionary process that turns rubbish into a strong, less-energy intensive structural material that is poised to make concrete obsolete.

  6. Recycling Cooking Oil at Guantanamo from Green Daily

    The U.S. Navy, taking inspiration from the legions of folks who scavenge used cooking oil from behind Chinese restaurants and fast food joints, have constructed a biodiesel processor for their Guantanamo base. This machine turns the cooking oil that the base produces into biodiesel, which is then be mixed with regular diesel fuel to create a blend. They use approximately 1,500 gallons of cooking oil a month, which previously had all been disposed of in the base’s landfill.

  7. The Drip that Saves from Celsias

    How do you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to water usage? In Israel you look for the drip.In a suburb of Tel Aviv, the municipality has started implementing a creative water-saving method: recycling air-conditioner unit dripwater for garden irrigation.

  8. A Picture is Worth… Grenivik Houses in Iceland from Treehugger
    Grenivik Houses in Iceland
  9. BBQ from Pwoje Espwa

    Kevin and his team fabricated a cool BBQ grill with metal leftovers.

  10. $30 White River challenge from MAKE

    My brother and I built a canoe for under $30 using mostly materials rescued from dumpsters.

Bonus: Make yourself a nice workbench

Also: Help Shea Gunther with his quest to create the Gunther Green Home by buying a bale for the strawbale house. He is also (overtaken by madness) spending the Maine fall and winter in a tipi. Follow his trials and travails on his twitter feed.