Appropriate Technology Roundup #27 [7/11/08]

1. High School Captures 280,000 Gallons Of Water Per Year from Metaefficient

Rainwater catchment at Langston High

A great example of rainwater harvesting can found at the Langston Brown Community Center and High School in Arlington, Virginia. The community center has two 24-foot-tall 11,000-gallon cisterns that store rainwater.
The center captures 280,000 gallons of water a year. Regrettably, the rainwater is only used for onsite irrigation, sidewalk washing, and other non-potable uses. However, the center has waterless urinals which result in a 23% reduction in potable water use.

A LEED Summary of the other environmentally friendly features of the high school.

2. Affordable Biomass Stoves Fight Pollution in India from Ecogeek

Envirofit Stove

Indoor pollution is a major cause of death for people in developing countries due to the inefficiency and uncleanly burning of indoor stoves. Indoor air pollution-related deaths claim the lives of 1.5 million people a year, mainly women and children.
The newly designed stoves reduce harmful emissions by as much as 80% – a significant percentage that will go a long way to improving not only air quality, but the quality of life of people who use the stoves. They’re less expensive to run because they use half the fuel of traditional stoves, while still using the same sources of fuel such as wood, crop waste and animal dung that the users typically burn. And the stoves have an added perk of speeding cooking time up by as much as 40%, which I’m sure is helpful to harried mothers.

3. Bio-Diesel From a Small Village in Sierra Leone from Afrigadget

Palm kernel crusher

Makeni is a small town in Sierra Leone. Like the rest of the country, it is trying to recover from years of internal strife. Unlike the rest of the country, they have the Binkolo Growth Centre, a small industrial project near Makeni where the manufacture of small farm implements, tailoring, carpentry and blacksmithing takes place, and includes the use of disabled people. Two VSO volunteers, one from Kenya one from Canada, work to train and bring new ideas to the centre.

One such idea was to create a fuel replacement for their pickup by using local palm nuts, a by-product of the palm kernels, which are generally fed to pigs or used for fertilizer. Since diesel fuel for their truck runs approximately $5/gallon, it wouldn’t hurt to try.

4. Brain surgeon operates with DIY drill from Times Online via Little Devices that Could

When working for the National Health Service, Marsh uses a £30,000 compressed-air medical drill, but he uses a £30 drill with the standard medical drill bits when operating in less ideal settings in Ukraine. How does he ensure patient safety? “The traditional way… by talking to them throughout the operation.”


5. California cows start passing gas to the grid from Reuters via Treehugger

Biogas from cow manure

Imagine a vat of liquid cow manure covering the area of five football fields and 33 feet deep. Meet California’s most alternative new energy.

6. Galapagos Islands Gets Wind Turbines: Halves Diesel Imports, Reduces Risk Of Oil Spill from The Seitch

Wind Turbines in the Galapagos

In January 2001, the world held its breath when the tanker Jessica, loaded with 150,000 gallons of fuel, struck a reef and began breaking up in the heart of one of the most precious, famous and fragile ecosystems on earth – the Galapagos Islands.
[T]he sight of thousands of gallons of oil pouring into the ocean off the Galapagos island of San Cristobal triggered a determined international initiative to mitigate risks of future spills by dramatically reducing the islands’ dependence on diesel fuel to generate electricity.

7. Welding – A Primer @ MAKE from MAKE Magazine

MAKE Magazine Welding Primer

8. How To Stop Paying for Gas and Run on Free Vegetable Oil in 8 Easy Steps from The Traveler’s Notebook via Celsias

VW conversion to veggie oil

Note: Needs to be a diesel engine.

9. Promising New Service Tackles e-waste in Mumbai from Inhabitat

Managing e-waste in Mumbia, India

Several efforts have been made, by NGOs and the Government, to make the process of [electronics] recycling safer and more eco-friendly. In continuation to these efforts a newly launched company, Eco Reco (Eco Recycling Limited), looks promising. It is the first of its kind in the state of Maharashtra and fourth in the country.

The way the system works is simple and straightforward. The company pick-up vans collect discarded electronic items from homes, institutions, offices, schools, etc. The e-waste is brought to the company’s advanced facility for processing and recycling. The e-waste goes through the shredder and then metal extractor for the separation of components. Finally, the plastic is separated manually.

10. 17 Reasons Why Bicycles Are the Most Popular Vehicle in the World Today from EcoWorldly

#12. Bicycling could save the average American at least $250,000.