RE: SOC/TECH: Greenstar <--- MUST SEE

From: altamira (
Date: Sun Jun 25 2000 - 10:40:24 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> I'd especially be interested in comments from our
> engineers - is
> this as good as we can do RIGHT NOW to get electricity, medicine
> and the net
> (which means education and working around the tin-pot dictators and local
> thugs who run most of the poorer part of the world) into villages in the
> Third World? It sure looks like it to me.

This is Waaay Cool, Greg! I'm not "officially" an engineer, but I've had to
figure out how things work in order to build my house, get clean running
water, etc.

I use a UV purifier for my drinking water (the one I use is sold for use in
aquariums; I could get it at a fraction of the cost of a larger unit). The
lamp itself is enclosed in a glass tube, and the water flows around the
outside of the tube, so that the water never comes into contact with the
lamp. There are some disadvantages of UV purifiers, one being that as the
lamps approach the end of their useful lives, they become gradually less
effective. You'd have no way of knowing when this happens unless you
periodically test the water for pathogens. The other disadvantage is that
the water must be perfectly clear. Particulate contamination blocks the UV
rays. Purifying with chlorine is cheaper, and the chlorinated water can be
run through a carbon filter to remove the chlorine before the water is used.
I use chlorine with a carbon filter on my household water system.

In researching photovoltaics, I found that they're cost effective in low
lattitudes if you take great care in desigining your system and use energy
efficient appliances. There are companies which specialize in making
appliances for use with solar and wind power, for example Dankoff pumps.
The efficiency of their pumps blows my mind! I found that I'd come out ahead
costwise by not purchasing mounts for my solar panels but rather by building
my own mounts. They're fixed, so I don't have the option of rotating the
panels as the relative position of the sun shifts. However, when I took
into account the fact that my greatest use of electricity is during hot,
sunny weather (I irrigate more, the fridge compressor spends more time
running, we want to run the a/c) I found that it made sense to install the
panels at a relatively shallow angle. At this angle, they catch the maximum
amount of light during the summer.

I've found that the greatest cost effectiveness can be had in my area by
combining wind power with solar (my system isn't yet complete, because I
haven't come up with the money to buy a wind generator yet. But I just
started a new business making concrete rings to go around lawn sprinkler
heads. There's no one making these things around here. Perfect niche for a
small business! So I may have the money soon). In order to get the most
efficient design, a person would need to carefully study the annual
variations in the climate of the place where the system will be installed.
The local people would undoubtedly be able to provide this info, especially
if they farm. For this reason, I would tend not to want to buy a package
deal but rather to work with the local people in designing the most suitable
system for their location. This would have the added benefit of giving the
people of the community the opportunity to take part in the creation of
their community center, which I think is pretty important.

Thanks for posting this link, Greg!


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