Appropriate Technology Roundup #21 [12/05/07]

AIDG’s somewhat weekly roundup of appropriate technology stories. This week: greener charcoal, 8 Watt computing, recycling sewer water, and more.

1. Why One Suburban Atlanta County Has No Drought Problem from Treehugger

Clayton County wastewater and storm water runoff are diverted to a series of man-made, wetland ponds and channels that eventually feed two small reservoirs. Afterward, naturally polished wastewater can be withdrawn for human consumption via the existing potable water treatment and distribution system.

2. Wood stove from an old computer case from Make

Wood stove from an old computer case

3. Orange County Recycles the Backwash from Earth2Tech

Starting today, the Orange County Water District will put into operation the world’s largest sewer water treatment plant for reclaiming drinking water. The $481 million groundwater replenishment system will supplement the Southern California county’s potable water by processing some 70 million gallons of municipal sewage each day through the use of reverse osmosis, which involves forcing water through a semipermeable membrane to remove solutes

4. 8 Watt Computer for Rural Africa from Sustainable Design Update


During peak performance, the Aluetia E1 consumes just 8W of power, 4% of what a typical (200W) desktop uses. Runs off a car battery or a cheap solar panel.

5. Give the gift of tools – Make:tools! from Make Blog

The MAKE:it – Electronic Makers Toolkit ($99). Hand picked by our Makers this kit features everything you need to get started with electronic construction. When people ask me how to get started and what tools to get when learning electronics this is the way to go.

6. Cleaning up an oil spill with hair and mushrooms? from Inhabitat

The recent Cosco Busan oil spill in the San Francisco Bay may have just met its match in an eco-cleaning solution that uses human hair and mushrooms! A group of intrepid volunteers has embarked on a project to clean up oil at San Francisco’s beaches using an unusual, yet totally organic, method of waste removal: hair mats and mushrooms.

7. The Hot Poop on Toilet Design in the Developing World from Treehugger

8. 8 big ideas to watch in ’08: A greener Charcoal from Fortune Small Business

Jules Walter

Cooking fuel doesn’t seem like much to ask for, but an estimated 2.4 billion people worldwide struggle to find it. Consider Haiti, where 700 tons of wood is burned annually, and smoke from thousands of charcoal fires has led to widespread respiratory infections. “Propane is not accessible, and electricity is not affordable,” says Haitian native Jules Walter. “These people do not have any alternative.”

That’s why Walter has started a company called Bagazo to sell low-cost charcoal briquettes made from plant waste to his countrymen. Bagazo is Spanish for “bagasse,” or sugar cane waste, but corn cobs and banana leaves can also be used in Walter’s process.

9. Underground farm in Japanese office building from Make

Japanese underground farm

An underground rice and vegetable field has been planted beneath an office building in Tokyo’s Otemachi business district. This urban farm – in what used to be the vault of a major bank – is maintained using computer-controlled artificial light and temperature management. It was brought into being by a personnel company as a means of providing agricultural training to young people who are having trouble finding employment and middle-aged people in search of a second career.

10. Tankless: what you need to know from Green Daily

Tank-less water heaters, common in Europe and Asia, are an efficient alternative to the conventional tank heaters. Since they don’t heat your water until the hot water knob is turned on, they use much less energy, and they produce continuous hot water on demand. That said, there are a few shortcomings differences that you need to be aware of before you invest in one of these contraptions.

Not so much appropriate as interesting:
Man (Re)Builds Mexican Island Paradise on 250,000 Recycled Floating Bottles from Ecoble