• Phlogiston

last modified October 6, 2011 by strypey

The Phlogiston Network

A networking, info-sharing and organising network for people developing, building and testing neighbourhood-scale renewable energy systems.

Phlogiston Email Network - Share ideas and practical tips on energy systems with people around Aotearoa

Journey to Forever - Some great information on bio-fuels
Photovolatic Solar Energy Systems - A free course designed by MIT

Biodieselnow.com - Biofuel forums and how-to pages

Alcohol Can Be a Gas - David Blume's pages on making bioethanol fuel from wastes

Methane Digesters - bio-waste like manure (including humanure) and noxious weeds can be put into a digester (anaerobic composter), producing a natural gas (methane). The gas may only have the energy output per volume of fossil gas, but since it is a byproduct of turning unwanted bio-waste into renewable nitrogen-rich fertilizer, any energy obtained is a bonus. The fertilizer is in the form of a forest floor-like humus, which means nitrogen release is slower than powdered industrial fertilizer, reducing the likelihood of nitrates leaching into waterways and polluting groundwater. To top it all off, methan digesters can be made from readily-available materials at home and neighbourhood scales, meaning both energy and fertilizer are being produced at the point of consumption. Brilliant!

Free Information - Unlike "think big" energy systems, which we connect to as a consumer, small-scale energy systems will need to be built from scratch, many thousands of times. A key part of making this possible is ensuring public access to accurate, detailed, and up-to-date information about how to build and run the different renewable energy systems. Sites like Journey to Forever have gathered together hundreds of articles about energy system, creating valuable research archives, but much of this material is still governed by all-rights-reserved copyright. I would like to see such archival material - which is crucial to the survival of human civilization - released under a libre license eg GNU Free Documentation License, or a CreativeCommons license allowing derivatives. That way relevant material could easily be incorporated into wiki pages,  that lay out, in plain language, the key information about each renewable energy source, and steps to building a small-scale system to generate and use it. These pages could be updated regularly, as new information and designs emerge, and the language, diagrams, and photos improved. Magazines articles, pamphlets, books etc could adapt and use this material to help people as they see fit.

Solar furnaces+ - A solar furnace or solar concentrator uses reflectors to focus sunlight on a small area, creating enormous heat. Large scale solar furnaces can get hot enough to melt steel. SolarFire is a free design project for developing solar furnace technology. Working with Open Source Ecology, they have developed a design for a  small-scale solar furnace, which is now part of the Global Village Construction Set.