Monday, November 1, 2010

Biogas: From Insinkerator to Refrigerator (1 of 3)

When I think of the book and movie "Mosquito Coast" by Paul Theroux, and everything the protagonist went through to make ice in the jungle, I now think "what was Theroux thinking? It is easy and safe to make ice in the tropics -- from biogas made from wastes...
Yesterday at 12:27am via YouTube · ·
  • Ahmed Khalifa likes this.
    • Marcel Lenormand
      Nothing against Insinkerator - what you've demonstrated here is very effective — I'm just wondering about cost, especially in the developing world. You had experimented with a food blender - I'm wondering if a blender can be modified to do... the job more effectively than just one jug at a time?

      A propos, we just recently saw the "Mosquito Coast" movie — it was very exciting at first but got more and more sobering as the story progressed. Went to bed quite provoked.
      See More
      14 minutes ago ·
    • Thomas Henry Culhane
      I remember feeling quite upset and down after that movie thinking that development and the great discoveries of physics and chemistry would forever be at odds with the eutopian Rousseauian existence. His quest to bring ice to the people of... the humid tropics with this massive apparatus now seems to me to be not just naive but irresponsible story telling mired in an era when engineering was presented to us as something that had to be BIG (even though by the time the ice got to the people it was tiny). Perhaps I need to revisit the film/book, because maybe Thoreaux's point was just that, but it didn't come across. Instead it made me believe that trying to bring cold to the hot was a foolish venture and that we should just keep the people who live in "nature" deprived of the applications that their native genius could develop if they were given proper infrastructual support. Now I think I know better -- Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful" taught me to think local, as you know. No giant machinery needed. And ammonia, in manageable quantities, is one of the safest and least toxic chemicals (it is produced every time protien decays after all). So I have a beef with that movie.See More
      3 minutes ago
    • Thomas Henry Culhane
      As for Insinkerators -- the unit cost is of course an equation involving volume sales and markups and purchasing power. It is basically just a rotor with a cheese grater on it. We think nothing of putting these ubiquitous rotor motors int...o everything else for developing countries (water pumps, found everywhere, and hey, even blenders themselves!). The blender is only cheaper, really, because it is so widely mass produced. What is wrong with the blender for this application is the use of blades rather a sheer ring (the cheese grater part). Otherwise both use a motor to spin a cutting surface. So modifying a blender to do the job most effectively would mean essentially inventing an insinkerator! See my point?

1 comment:

magi said...

Enjoying reading the blogs. Great tips. Thank you.

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