Last week we spoke at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
The topic was the Global Village Construction Set: Open Source Engineering for Sustainable Living. I focused on the construction of economies that utilize local resources. I proposed the route of open source, flexible fabrication – applied to Community Supported Manufacturing â€“ as a viable route to an industrial system free of geopolitical compromise.
See the full presentation for details here.
Moreover, the day was fruitful in terms of other applied contacts towards Global Village Construction.
First, we met Dr. Henry Liu, retired UM professor who succeeded in commercializing fly-ash bricks in the United States. While plain soil is our preferred building material for our Compressed Earth Block press, we would like to apply fly-ash stabilization for bricks as needed. We could use stronger, waterproof bricks for foundations, floors, and driveways. We are planning on these in this yearâ€™s construction program if we find these are feasible.
Second, we met a couple of green developers who are currently working on Bear Creek Prairie, a 20 acre conservation development within the city limits of Columbia. These people are both the general contractors and developers of the development, and they have the right principles in mind. One possibility to pursue is energy farming: solar turbine that sells power back to the grid. The prospects are exciting here, as it would be a practical application of the type of work weâ€™re developing in the Global Village Construction Set. An opportunity is at our door already.
Third, weâ€™ll be getting help from a grantwriter for low-cost, grid-intertie, scalable (10-100 kW) wind turbines. Wind energy is proven. Weâ€™re just planning to slash the cost by at least a factor of two, to make this technology available to average Joe.
Then, we met Dr. Yuyi Lin – who is interested in biomass gasification â€“ and a realistic possibility of charcoal production and liquefaction to fuel emerged. This is what we mean when we talk of growing our own gasoline â€“ from local biomass. Itâ€™s not that difficult if you have a personal gasifier. Plus, charcoal is a versatile product.
Next, we talked to Greg Baka, who sells heavy hoes and other groundbreaking items at Easydigging.com. We discussed the techniques for efficient production of greenhouse glazing from recycled, UV-stabilized plastics. This can be quite a solution for greenhouses if we are using bioplastic from on-site resources.
Plus, we talked to several other professors. We will be preparing a list of potential student research, practicum, in-service learning, internship, and other applied projects in collaboration with Factor e Farm. There is significant interest. For example, UM, Columbia is the first land grant university in the USA that created a Sustainable Agriculture major for undergraduates. I bet that if they keep hanging out with us, theyâ€™ll have a Sustainable Manufacturing major soon.