Sunday, February 28, 2010

Paul Hawken's 2009 Commencement Address

This incredible speech pretty much sums up everything I would want to say to my students (so I used it in both of my classes just now!). For example: " The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the
dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be
hopeful. This is your century. Take it and... run as if your life depends
on it".Thanks to Anna da Costa for bringing this to my attention!

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When I was invited to give this speech, I was asked if I could give a simple short talk that was “direct, naked, taut, honest, passionate, lean, shivering, startling, and graceful.” No pressure there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

20th Biogas system in Seattle

Now in Seattle building our 20th biogas system with Mike Rimoin, this one using the Solar CITIES HDPE tank as digestor but trying out a simple telescoping system for gas collection (much as we had planned for system 3 at Sekem farm in Egypt) and a solar heat exchanger to keep temperatures up in the tank.

February 21 at 8:31am

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First commercial application of Solar CITIES biogas design at Harborside Pizza in Alaska

  Finished building the first commercial application of our National Geographic/Blackstone Ranch/Denali Commission funded psychrophilic biodigester for the Harbor Pizza restaurant (in the freezing rain, with the Adam Low and his students and the staff of the restaurant, and Nat Geo's Cheryl Zook), now off to make a presentation to the Cordova community about "where we can go from here."

See MoreFebruary 18 at 4:07am

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Psychrophile preliminary results

  Interestingly, only the psychrophilic digestors (HDPE design #'s 1 and 4 and telescoping design #7) are producing gas; all the others with mesophiles (even the mixes) have stopped. Could temperature explain this? Meanwhile, we built a system for Harbor Pizza today that we will deliver tomorrow and load with effluent from the producing reactors.

February 16 at 8:16am ·

Further meanwhile, Iran continues to enrich fuel for another kind of reactor... can we convince them to apply their expertise to biogas instead?

The Art of Bacterial Warfare

  My friends know my obsession with microbial symbiosis; this artilce 'Stopping Infections: The Art of Bacterial Warfare" has more fun info, for example: "Most bacteria are well-behaved companions. Indeed, if you are ever
feeling lonely, remember that the trillions of microbes living in and
on the average human body outnu...mber the human cells by a ratio of 10 to
one. Of all the tens of thousands of known bacterial species, only
about 100 are renegades that break the rules of peaceful coexistence
and make us sick."

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chena Hot Springs Absorption Chiller

  This innovative absorption chiller that we visited, developed by Bernie Carl at an R and D cost of 200,000 dollars but able to be built for 50 grand, refrigerates the entire ice museum in the hot summer using a hot water source at 155 degrees Fahrenheit. It can thus be run not only on low grade geothermal power but other modest heat sources like biomass heat, biogas heat and solar heat. Ideal for hot countries like Egypt!

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Welcome to Alaska's only year round 100+ year old hot springs resort!

 There are 150 spots in Alaska that can be tapped for this economical and ecological solution to large scale energy production. Tell Sarah Palin that this is the right way to "drill baby drill". The innovative technology developed here is so good it can be used with hot water sources as low as 165 degrees fahrenheit. This makes it good for many places in Egypt too, and all over the world.

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Welcome to Alaska's only year round 100+ year old hot springs resort!

February 14 at 10:06am

  Leaving Fairbanks after seeing thermokarst lakes with methane seeps, making a presentation to research group at U. Fairbanks and visiting incredible low temperature absorption cooling system (155 F) and low temp geothermal electric generation plant (165 F, lowest temp water in the world) cleanly running entire heavy electrical, heating and cooling loads of Chena Springs Resort Community.

See MoreFebruary 14 at 10:02am · Thomas Henry Culhane
Thomas Henry Culhane
Leaves you wondering "we need more oil and nukes why exactly?" See
February 14 at 10:03am · 

BBC News - Pune in shock at restaurant bombing

 And to think that it happened on Valentine's Day... :(

This is so very sad! The German bakery is the lovely place where we had those meals and delicious juices with Regina before leaving for Mumbai when we were in Pune studying Biogas and Biochar systems with Dr. Anand and Pria Karve. My heart goes out to the victims and to the great citizens of progressive Pune.
Pune, known as the cultural and educational capital of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, is in shock at the bombing of the German Bakery.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How a Propane Refrigerator works : Absorption Refrigerator : Propane Gas Refrigerators : Ammonia Ref

After meeting with the innovative Bernie Carl at Chena Hot Springs Resort north of Fairbanks and seeing his 155 F hot water powered absorption chiller that gets down to -29 F we are convinced absorption fridges are the way to go for the Congo. We checked out a $999 Danby Propane Fridge at Home Depot that is appropriate for biogas; still don't know its bottom temp. More to come...

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propane gas refrigerators and freezers by, EZ Freeze, Consul, Danby, Diamond, Servel, Crystal Cold, Blizzard, JC Refrigeration, Dometic, Norcold, Frostek, and others.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Goodnight Vienna

  Off to Alaska! Tonight brother Michael and I, as a fitting end to this Hollywood journey, attended Ringo Starr's Hollywood Star dedication ceremony outside Capitol Records and were briefly interviewed by Woodstock's Sweetwater on TV talking about how Ringo's Peace and Love musical mission inspired our own Circus Guy Musical Goodwill Ambassador Program with the State Dept. to the Middle East. You da man, Ringo!

February 9 at 7:17am · 
Mike Bonifer
Mike Bonifer
Great seeing you T., and S. and K., too. Keep building those cows!
February 9 at 7:42am ·
Thomas Henry Culhane
Thomas Henry Culhane
You and V too Mike! Thanks for pitching in and for posting those great pics of our Solar South Central reunion with Alvaro et al. The magic you made by introducing us to the Rimoins is also making major ripples; next up, Annie Rimoin's awesome Rumble for the Jungle initiative and the contributions our Solar CITIES technologies can make to public health in Africa; hope you will be involved in that as well!
February 9

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thomas Henry Culhane Nikolaus Correll Jim Pugh Chris Cianci 

With our work turning organic material to biogas I find this fascinating? Do you know or does anyone in your labs know about this robotic technology: "The EATR. It can refuel itself on long journeys by scavenging
for organic material - which raises the haunting spectre of a machin...e
consuming corpses on the battlefield. Its inventor, Dr Robert
Finkelstein of Robotic Technology Inc, insists it will consume "organic
material but mostly vegetarian." How do we get access to this technology for peaceful purposes?

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Can war be fought by lots of well-behaved machines, making it "safer for humans"? That is the seductive vision, and hope, of those manufacturing and researching the future of military robotics.
Jim Pugh
Interesting - I hadn't heard about EATR before, but I've been out of the field for over a year now. I wonder if they can use that technology for a self-powered lawn-mower...
February 8 at 4:18p

Sustainable South Central

In this photo:
Biodigester installation
February 8 at 9:29am · View album
Thomas Henry Culhane

Thomas Henry Culhane Alvaro Silva, Mike Rimoin and I (with help yesterday from Mike Bonifer and Danny Barth) finished the Solar CITIES/Solar South Central biodigestor in L.A.'s famous 'hood; another point of light in our growing map of community empowerment solutions around the world. Now getting ready to meet at UCLA and discuss deployment in the Congo with Dr. Annie Rimoin's fascinating "Rumble for the Jungle" public health initiative.

See MoreFebruary 8

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sustainability album by Game Changer Mike Bonifer

Mike Bonifer

In this photo:

Biodigester installation. T. H. and Alvaro, who was his student at Jefferson High, 18 years ago. The biodigester will supply the cooking and heating fuel for Al's house in South Central.
February 7 at 10:06pm · View album

Thomas Henry Culhane Alvaro SilvaFinal parts to get are: 2 1/2" threaded (one side only) PVC elbows, 1 1/2 " union, 1 1/2 female threaded (one side) junction, 1 1" valve, 1 1" elbow, 2 1/2 thread to 1/2" barbed hose connector (brass), 1 20 or 30 gallon bucket with lid, 1 1/12 HP garden pump (up to 12 foot height pumping capacity.). That should do it! See you in a few.

Thomas Henry Culhane

Thomas Henry Culhane Alvaro Silva Hi Al, we will go pick up the horse manure, hopefully at the Equestrian Center (should have thought to ask the Zoo for more exotic poop for the "biodiversity digestor" :) ).

February 7 at 7:07pm · 

Mike Bonifer

In this photo:
Biodigester installation
February 7 at 5:58am

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Alvaro Silva and T.H. Culhane, working with Mike Rimoin and Mike Bonifer (with assistance from Sybille and Kilian Culhane) will be building a Culhane style Solar CITIES biodigester system this weekend to turn kitchen waste into cooking gas and fertilizer. Students from Pfitzer College will be in attendance as well as... possibly some UCLA faculty and friends and we will be videotaping and photographing the event to help in the construction of a Spanish/English how-to booklet for do-it-yourselfers. Mike Rimoin will also be discussing ways of converting trucks to run on waste vegetable oil (one of his specialties) and exploring different designs for hot water systems and renewable energy systems. While we will be very busy but visitors are welcome to come and observe, photograph, pitch in, bring food and drinks and network (though we will be focused on building).
T.H. apologizes to friends and family in the area for the short notice and for not being able to arrange to get together during this brief in/out visit to the U.S. but hopes you can make it to the workshop!

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A home-scale workshop for garbage-to-gas production
Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 12:05pm
Solar South Central, home of Alvaro Silva

Energy efficiency equals job creation and home improvement

Byron DeLear Good luck with AL? Pls check this out:
All over America, the news is spreading that long-term investment in our national infrastructure, is -- amazingly --a good idea. I guess people start to wake up when bridges start tofail, schools ...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Buying IBC Totes for Biogas system in L.A.

 Having a hard time finding a tank for your Culhane-style biofuel system? Here is a good resource for those of you in the U.S. who want to replicate the Solar CITIES IBC Tote Biogas Digestor system in your own home or community.
IBC stands for Intermediate Bulk Container. These are referred to interchangeable as TOTES and TANKS. IBC Totes are large tanks which are used to store and transport fluids and other bulk materials. ...

Thomas Henry Culhane @Alvaro Silva @Mike Rimoin @Mike Bonifer
We may end up wanting to purchase
our IBC Totes from Ontario, from a guy named Paul, phone 951 905 8155.
The food grade containers are $125, the non-food grade $100 . Given
that we are only putting cow manure (and/or lake mud) and food waste in, we don't need food grade as long as it wasn't really toxic chemicals before , so just ask
what was in them. Delivery is 20 dollars per 20 miles. We should get
them delivered tomorrow so we can build on Saturday before noon.

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Beware any deal involving Western Union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow, or any promise of transaction protection/certification/guarantee. More info

February 5 at 7:14am

Thomas Henry Culhane Alvaro Silva Hi Al -- I called these people in Moreno Valley (909 241 7043) and spoke to a guy named Steve. They have the best deal : about $25 per tote, but we'd need a pick up truck. They are at 26589 Ironwood Ave in Marino Valley, open from 8 to 5. A little closer is the other guy, Paul, in Ontario and he will del...iver for $40, but charges $100 per tote. His number is 951 905 8155. Give me a call and let's see what we should do!

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Beware any deal involving Western Union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow, or any promise of transaction protection/certification/guarantee. More info

Thomas Henry Culhane
I meant Moreno Valley, near Robidoux mountain, which belonged to my ancestors, the Robidouxs, near Riverside. Isn't that ironic? But it is about a half an hour further than ontario.
February 4 at 8:02pm  ·

Franklin Elementray School

  Just finished a presentation on Solar CITIES at Franklin Elementary School, Glendale. The parents, the students, the teachers and the visionary principal are all on board for green retrofitting the school and will incorporate hand-made solar HW and biogas & greywater gardening/aquaponics into the curriculum; similar response to what we got at Alex Cole's schools in Seattle. Bit by bit the map of team-members grows!

See MoreFebruary 5 at 11:05pm ·

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Insulation for HDPE biogas tanks

These are thermoelectric insulator covers for the HDPE tanks we are using. Hey guys, given that this IBC Tote warming blanket for the tanks we are using costs (on sale) $1169, and we would have spent over 6,000 dollars insulating the six digestors if we went this route, the 2000 bucks of our budget that went to insulating the Conex might turn out to be a bargain!

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Stay warm with a quality heater or stove. We have natural gas stoves and heaters, electric stoves and electric heaters, fireplaces, cornstoves and much more from Northern Tool + Equipment.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Alternative fuel project counters deforestation threat to gorilla park

This extremely important project to work with local communities to produce biochar (charcoal made from waste materials rather than forest resources) to help preserve great apes is very similar to our upcoming projects in Tanzania and Rwanda, Nigeria, Botswana and Congo to halt deforestation using our waste-to-biogas so...lutions. If you care at all about our vanishing wildlife PLEASE do everything you can to support sensible projects like this one and ours because it will have a DIRECT impact while improving the livelihoods of the poor. Please read this article by National Geographic's David Braun and comment and and share and see how you can get involved!

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An insidious threat to Virunga National Park, home to the largest population of rare mountain gorillas and numerous other species of wildlife, has been the illegal charcoal trade...

Thomas Henry Culhane
Thomas Henry Culhane
Come on... you know you want to comment on this... you know you wanna... you've been thinking about saving the rainforest for decades now right; thinking about the "1 football field sized area destroyed every second" statistic, wondering how you could help...
February 2 at 9:33am

Psychrophiles produce first gas

  Our psychrophilic digestor in the cold room (#1) has started producing flammable biogas today (yay), disproving the hypothesis that you must feed the mud before production starts, but psych in the warm room (#4) has stopped, as has meso in the warm room (#6). Treatments 3 (meso cold) and 5 (mix, warm) are still chugging away.

February 2 at 5:18am
Thomas Henry Culhane
Thomas Henry Culhane
Mysteriously the meso/psych mix in the cold room (#2) still isn't doing anything -- our last hold-out. We start feeding all digestorsthis week...the little buggers must be hungry... ain't it fun keeping pet bacteria
February 2 at 5:18am · 
Thomas Henry Culhane
Thomas Henry Culhane
Just learned that psyc treatment #4 is producing again. News at eleven.
February 2 at 9:32am · 
Marcel Lenormand
Marcel Lenormand
Interesting stuff. Who needs a Tamagotchi? ;P

Monday, February 1, 2010

Culhane on Philadelphia's WHYY Radio with film director and producer Mai Iskander

  It was an honor for me to share the radio broadcast this morning on Philadelphia's WHYY Radio with film director and producer Mai Iskander, talking about the need for source separation and ways to bring the Zabaleen Recycling Ethic to the rest of the world and give Cairo's Zabaleen the proper returns to their investment in helping turn "garbage into gold".

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The Zaballeen are the people of the poor neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, who have developed an economy from collecting the city’s trash for generations. These 60,000 ‘Garbage Collectors,’ independent from ...
February 1 at 6:21pm · · · Share
Hanna Fathy Rostom
Hanna Fathy Rostom
Also now we preduce gas for cooking and compost for planting our community and use this gas to generat electricity
February 1 at 9:18pm ·
Hanna Fathy Rostom
Hanna Fathy Rostom
and reduce co2 by the most new technology (the biogas) and we have also solar heaters from used material and we are thinking now to make every thing clean and sustainable
February 1 at 9:22pm ·
Thomas Henry Culhane
Thomas Henry Culhane
Thanks for your comments Hanna! It is great for our friends around the world to hear directly from you, a leading member of your community, the Zabaleen community, of the power of visionary Garbage Dreams by those who make the good dream a reality! We've only just begun -- home-made solar heaters and organic-waste-to-clean-biogas, to greywater, ... See Moreself-installed photovoltaics and wind energy, and rooftop gardens, we aren't going to stop until there is no garbage left in the world -- only endlessly recyclable resources properly used! Shukran, thanks for teaching the rest of us your community's ethic.
February 2 at 12:30am