Saturday, July 24, 2010

Facebook Archives July 10 through July 12

 My kind of video-game! I wrote a proposal to create a video game like this back in 1989 when I was working at the Good Samaratin Hospital when I arrived in L.A. determined to improve science education for the disadvantaged. A colleague of mine at the hospital was a computer programmer and during our breaks we sketched ...out a game that would teach immunology. But the technology was too primitive and we gave up. Now the Federation of American Scientists has gone and done it! Bravo!!! I hope everybody plays through this awesome edutainment piece!
You must navigate a nanobot through a 3D environment of blood vessels and connective tissue in an attempt to save an ailing patient by retraining her non-functional immune cells. Along the way, you will learn about the biological processes that enable macrophages and neutrophils – white blood cells ..

 ‎"Bioaugmentation—taking existing beneficial bacteria, culturing them, and
then adding more of them back into a biological system (not too
different from eating probiotic
yogurt for its purported beneficial effects on the human gut)—is the
key to restoring amphibian populations". You know I love this stuff - exploring mutualisms I believe is not only the key to saving amphibians, but our civilization too... :)
A symbiotic bacteria may help frogs and other amphibians ward off the chytrid fungus plague wiping out populations worldwide

If you are into phosphourous and nitrogen recovery from urine wastes, and are looking for a way to produce your own urease to hydrolize the urea, this website shows a simple way of extracting it from soy beans.
Anna Lorenc from the Volvox project explains the importance of the enzyme urease and presents a protocol to demonstrate urease activity in the classroom.

 Make your own struvite fertilizer from your urine waste stream (great for users of Ecolet separation toilets like we saw happening in urban Kigali, Rwanda) using urease derived from jack beans, and MgCl. This provides a simple form of nitrogen and phosphorous recovery to radically improve agriculture. (Actually, you ca...n skip the urease if you let the urine sit in a bacterially active chamber for a while to hydrolize the urea into ammonia). Liquid Magnesium Chloride is sold in Europe and America as a de-icer solution but it is also a food additive (a type of table salt) sold in Japan as Nigari and is an ingredient in baby formula milk. It is derived from seawater when the sodium chloride is removed. Should be available everywhere.
We all think of human pee as gross and something that ought to be vigorously “cleaned up” or sanitized. However, human urine is actually sterile (unlike faeces, urine is bacteria-free). This liquid by ...

Asdiqa'i, here is one sketch such as Mansour asked for, and photos and descriptions of my "patent-pending Solar CITIES HDPE Bio-digestor design" made from HDPE tanks. Hope this helps you replicate and spread the technology to all our suffering brothers and sisters who dream of clean cities and pollution free homes and waterways, and clean energy that is abundant and available to all.
This blog describes the activities of global nomads T.H. Culhane and Sybille Culhane as they work on the Solar C3.I.T.I.E.S. mission: "Connecting Community Catalysts Integrating Technologies for Industrial Ecology Systems"

 Here is an even better 3D model of the type of IBC totes we are using for our biogas systems, thanks to spijkstaal. Download it and let's play. You can also get most of the plumbing parts for the system from 3D warehouse. Let the serious games begin.

July 12 at 2:30pm ·I'm preparing an animation for how to build the Solar CITIES IBC system, but in the meanwhile, here is the google sketchup model that I'm using.
IBC tank on pallet

what I need is a sketch for whole biogas unit with more details including the amount of produced gas ,how many kilos per week or month for such unit ? and any useful information like different designs for different purposes
July 12 at 11:00am
With a 1000 liter tank that is fed between 1 and 2 kilos of food waste in about 10 to 20 liters of water each day you should get between 1/2 to 1 cubic meter of gas a day if the temperature of the slurry is between 30 and 40 C. This will power a single burner stove for about an hour to 2 hours per day, enough to cook all of a family's meals usually.. This is free methane from the previous day's kitchen garbage and it eliminates smells, rats, flies etc, and no need to take out the organic waste. The result each day is also 10 to 20 liters of liquid fertilizer. If unused the fertilizer can be ported to the sewer drain (but what a waste of resources!). The 1 cubic meter of gas can also run a 2KW generator for about 45 minutes. Hope that helps.
July 12 at 2:27pm ·
thank you Thomas very much, so we can keep the process continuous .what about winter time where the temperature about 12 c in average ?
July 13 at 9:45am ·
This is why Dr. Katey Walter Anthony and I are working on with for the Blackstone Ranch Foundation and National Geographic and we are trying to get a Citizen Science project going where as many people participate in answering that question as possible. One thing we are doing is experimenting with cold-tolerant "psychrophilic" bacteria from Alaska... Another thing, of course, is that we insulate the tanks with 4 mm of styrofoam. Yet another is that I have my tank connected to a solar hot water heater on a thermostat that pumps hot water in whenever it gets to 37 C. If you fill the tank with 37 C water before you insulate it and never add cold water with your food waste, the daily addition of body temperature water (or slightly hotter, say 40 or 45 C) should compensate for heat loss because of imperfect insulation and the system should produce all year. I will be monitoring this in Germany this winter. It would be great if you did the same, and we can all report in our findings.
July 13 at 4:15pm
The mounting of the gas regulator that comes with the kit is shown in this video. This is the second part of the simple process of converting the engine.

I was thinking about an Air Compressor but your solution is really simple, I will be publishing my vid when its done. Thank you very much!
July 12 at 2:25pm ·

On Kilian's 2nd birthday we followed in the Culhane/Rimoin tradition of biogas birthday parties by celebrating with a conversion of a 2000 W electric generator to run on biogas. This is part 1 of the simple 15 to 20 minute process of doing the con...

Nothing fancy here, just a video we made while I was doing the conversion, but about 3 minutes in our family member on camera started doing close ups and if you want to do your own conversion you can easily follow this. This is part 1 of 2, showing the placement of the venturi air flow bushing adaptor that goes between the air filter and the carb, which is the real thing that makes it work and run on gasoline, propane, methane or biogas. The second part is just the mounting of the regulator.
July 12 at 12:38am ·
man, you are genius
July 12 at 10:37am
Shukran, Aatif, that is very kind. Actually I'm just a guy (a former circus clown actually!) who isn't afraid to read the manuals (most of the time) and tinker around. Everything I do is off the shelf, and I figure if a mechanically inept person like me can do this stuff, anybody can! The hope is that real engineering and mechanic types will say.."I can do this stuff much better than this clown| and make it even easier for everybody. I am particularly interested in these simple technologies helping the people of Gaza and the West Bank and the slums of Cairo and Mali etc.
July 12 at 2:24pm
i am telling you man.... our countries need these kind of skills and knowledge...unfortunately the modern life has corroided our life won't believe it some people here for having their grocery just next door drive! our elderly people make fun on us and call us childern of atificial milk! believe it or not... arabs have lost their real strengths and abilities.... they don't care at all about environment though their religion and culture calls to save environment and do not waste on earth but i guess the west invested lots of things which make our lives easy but we forgot the impact of these machines and emissions on the environment. hope you would help me... i am a contractor and looking to help my customers to use solar power but it is damn expensive to purchase this system and install and build it in modern home in oman. do you have any idea how to cheaply build and install it? do we have alternatives? Oman is largely depended on its LNG power as 95% of power houses supplied by gas..... I just want to cut down this concept and save the planet by using alternative renwable power..
July 12 at 2:32pm ·
Hi Aatif, I agree with what you are saying. Edwin Black in his book Internal Combustion points out that this happened in America too, and President Roosevelt (FDR) told Congress in 1935 "It is time... to reverse that process of the concentration of power which has made most American citizens, once traditionally independent owners of their own businesses, helplessly dependent for their daily bread upon the favor of a very few, who, by devices such as holding companies, have taken for themselves unwarranted economic power." So this has happened all over the world to all peoples; the fiction of nationality has blinded us to what has really been robbed from all our heritages, despite supposed gains in "Istiqlal" and "hurriyah".
As to Solar power -- if you are talking about PV I suggest that you find a way to source your panels and components from either California or China to get the best prices and work with a local NGO partner to avoid the stupid import taxes which kill everything. PV should be no more than 3 or 4 dollars a watt uninstalled. If you buy in bulk through an NGO and donate a portion to the NGO to help the poor you will increase volume sales on the back end as demand picks up. Right now people need to see more examples of the systems at work and build a culture of familiarity. Installationk, which normally consumes about half the price, can be radically reduced in price if you work with NGOs to do what Californians call "Boots on the Roof" green-collar job trianing -- i.e., you supervise installation by unpaid or low-paid volunteers who want to learn a new skill or trade. And you don't need expensive racking systems; in the "solar guerilla" movement in the L.A. Ghettoes me and Alvaro Silva used to use 2x4's. All you really want is that the panels are secured to the roof (or some other structure) and that there is a gap of 10 cm or so for good air circulation. Talk to Sam Sal (look him up on my facebook friends) from Brother's Engineering in Palestine to see about making your own charge controllers. When it comes to solar hot water, we build our own in Cairo, but again, we don't get economies of scale. Really though, talk to Brother's Engineering (look up Amer Rabayyah too, from Engineers without Borders) in Palestine, they make all of this work for our beloved Middle East region.
July 12 at 2:52pm
man, its my pleasure to have you on facebook! thank you for your valuable piece of information.... surely i will be inviting them on board....
July 13 at 6:49am
Beliebt auf
how to build a reedbed filtration system to recycle domestic greywater.

Beliebt auf
An art installation and DIY kit for turning urine into fertilizer.

this is a good way to make a garden bloom. The kit they sell that is advertised in their exhibit is available here andl is basically a source of urease, the enzyme that hydrolizes the urine in about an hour and a half, so that it is more ammonia than anything else, and then MgCl (... magnesium chloride) which bonds with the nitrogen and phosphorous so they can be recovered as struvite, which is a soluble precipate that can be put on your plants.
July 12 at 2:59pm ·

 ‎210 kgs of rice from your rooftop per year using household detergent laden wastewater and phragmites as initial filter -- this is urban brilliance. I hope we can replicate your work around the world! Keep doing your great experiments and posting ...

 When you watch this excellent German narrated, English subtitled French documentary, there are scenes at the beginning (part 1) and particularly at the end (of part 2) that prove that Jean was compressing his own biogas, putting it in a steel tank mounted on the roof of his truck, and driving around Southern France's... rural roads with it. So why is this considered difficult or overly expensive to do? Can we find out what Jean was using for compression? - Jean Pain (1930 - 1981) was a French innovator who developed a compost based bioenergy system that produced 100% of his energy needs. He heated water to 60 degrees celsius at a rate of 4 litres a minute which he used for washing and heating. He also distilled enou...

 The great French forester Jean Pain (who sadly passed on in 1981 in his early 50s) proved for permaculture that forest brush (which must be cleared regularly to prevent massively damaging and expensive fires) could be used to produce enough heat (aerobically) and biogas (anaerobically) to completely heat and power his ...massive Southern France home and his truck. An 80 m3 pile of chipped brush (40 tons of wood waste) saturated with 20 tons of water produced continuous heat and gas for 18 months before needing replacement. Savings were 4000 liters of oil equivalent from hot water and 5000 liters of oil equivalent from biogas. Set aflame and burned the same amount of wood material would have yielded only 3000 liters of oil equivalent. The heating of the home alone through compost heat produced 1/5 more thermal energy than people get from burning the wood, and instead of leaving smoke and ash, the composting of the wood yielded him a nitrogen rich - Jean Pain (1930 - 1981) was a French innovator who developed a compost based bioenergy system that produced 100% of his energy needs. He heated water to 60 degrees celsius at a rate of 4 litres a minute which he used for washing and heating. He also distilled enou...

July 11 at 6:32pm ·

Why Nitrogen rich? Isn't wood N poor? Yes, but the bacteria add value to the mix -- their SCP (Single Cell Protein) is the source of the much needed Nitrogen. Thus by composting the wood waste he improved his agriculture by improving the value of the fertilizer. Note to all my friends in Indonesia, Guatemala and Tanzania -- there is no need to use.traditional Swidden (Slash and Burn) practices - the resulting ash is nutrient poor as we now. Compost the forest resource waste in a large pile with irrigation tubing running through it, win heat and power from it, and return to your holdings a fertilizer that will keep them fertile and productive indefinitely. It is the "good bacteria"(Vijidudu Sivya Magonjwa in Swahili) you want to work with. I learned the same from Dr. Karve of ARTI India when I visited him. We need more people out there harnessing the promise of bacteria so that we can produce more food on less land, save our forests and stop using charcoal, coal and oil. Can we do it? Yes, we can.
July 11 at 6:38pm ·

The home of Alvaro Silva, director of our NGO "Solar South Central", former student leader in Jefferson High School 's D.E.M.M.O. Productions (Digital Engineering for Multi-media Occupations), Solar Electric installer, Trade Tech graduate. Here Al is working on his Solar CIITES backyard urban biogas system.

4 new photos

Al wrote:

Hi T.H.,
I just started pumping the water to the top storage tank and creating storage room for the gas. I'm starting to feed it more regularly, but smaller portion. The weather here in L.A. is pretty nice and warm, will consider painting the tank black. The first thing I'll be hooking up is my barbecue grill and then my generator, and other thing that will run on methane.... Keep up the good work Mi Amigo. Most definitely will be making a how to do it your self video Spanish and English version.

Alvaro Silva
July 11 at 6:33pm
Nice work TH and Alvaro!

It was so awesome to see Mike's digester get going in Seattle this past weekend too!
July 12 at 6:26pm ·
From North to South and from Sea to shining Sea -- we will make America the Beautiful beautiful again Les!
July 12 at 10:36pm ·

 What works best, we have found, is to put only manure in the bucket on day 1, nest it in the compost pile and wait for first flammable gas. That means your methanogen population is working. Then open the bucket back up and put your compost in and...


Thomas Henry Culhane Great, inspirational work guys! re: the biogas, Hanna Fathy and I from Solar CITIES Egypt experimented with sealed compost to make methane and it does work but ONLY if you add methanogenic bacteria to the mix. That normally means putting animal d...


"Function stacking!". You gotta love it. Compare this with the 3 to 4 days of labor it took for us to make solar hot water heaters (not bad in itself) - but this system, which gave reliable hot showers 24/7 (even at cold dawn) to 20 interns a day for 2 months from one pile of leaves and detritus took a mere hour and a... half of labor to build. They are running 100 feet of 1/2 inch coiled poly pipe in a lasagna like stack. 9 such piles would give reliable hot water all year, even in the winter. And people are deforesting for fuelwood why? Brian Kerkvliet from Inspiration Farm tells us about his little compost pile that provided 500 hot showers. Compost heat can, indeed, be captured to heat water. After the hot showers, you have a lovely pile of compost! ...

 You can feel the quickening -- the world is pregnant with great ideas to get us off of oil and bring health to our peoples (again, as in the 70s), and once you join the ranks of the tinkerers, the assemblers, the boot-strap pullers and the bricolage artistes, you find this is all rather simple really. And you are still using fossil fuels why?
This is an example of a compost heated shower, built by Geoff Lawton for the students of the Permaculture Research Institute's 10 week internship. The shower itself is a temporary setup while the student centre is being built but the water temperature is excellent and is almost too hot. It's been go...

I so hope youre right Thomas
July 11 at 12:56pm ·
Thanks to Marcel Lenormand for passing this on. Judy, jump in and try it. Talk about "Homeland Security" -- I got into all this while in Urban Planning studying disaster management to prepare for another earthquake (the 94 quake in LA opened my eyes). I wanted the security of knowing that when urban infrastructure collapsed it wouldn't necessarily imply a "trigger effect" for social unrest and chaos. I figured if we could find ways in the urban and peri-urban environments to provide the main necessities (clean water, hot water, minimal nutrition, shelter, climate regulation) we would be more likely to cooperate during the long rebuild phases (I observer that people bond and band together during a crisis, but in the aftermath tend to become more and more tribal and territorial and competitive as resource scarcity goes on. So I trust people during an earthquake or hurricane or other disaster and for the first couple of days afterward, but it is during the follow up month that I worry). Knowing about these systems and having experience building them has made me feel very secure -- an insurance policy that would be hard to buy. As I say, try it. You won't regret it at all, and you'll probably make a lot of great and enduring friends in the process.
July 11 at 1:17pm ·

 Home-made robot lawnmowers, biogas projects, solar cookers, heliostats, poverty relief and more... our UK friend and idea-exchanger Marcel Lenormand has launched a fun and empowering blog that I will be following regularly. I suggest it to the rest of you as well! Good stuff Marcel!

 Our first experiment in compost heating is showing promising results -- 60 liters went from 25 C to 35 C in two days and was used to heat the kiddie pool. This may not seem very exciting, but the implications for poor areas, like the mountain vill...


the implications for poor areas, like the mountain villages of Tanzania, where we have been working are. broad. In the cloudy winters people generally bathe once or twice a week -- if they can find firewood or charcoal. The impact on the forest is devastating; the impact on people's health is devastating. Compost heating could help! Even if heating is slow (600 liters of compost heating 60 liters 10 degrees in 2 days), if the bathing patterns are use of hot water once or twice a week it makes sense. My Ph.D. surveys in Cairo, and my experiences in other parts of Africa showed that the poor in most neighborhoods used a maximum of 20 liters per capita per bath bucket. We are showing a possibility for 3 people to bath every two days from the heat generated from merely 600 liters of grass clippings or straw or mixed dung composts. I'm sure this will scale up nicely. No kerosene needed, no smoke, no cutting of dwindling forest resources. Just the heat of aerobic bacterial action.
July 11 at 12:49am
WOW 118 degrees thats amazing, thank you so much for sharing this is great information
July 11 at 5:04am ·
Christine Lee
The students here in NE China in the winter also bathe once a week. They use coal here for heat. I think your technology could be very useful in northern China.
July 11 at 5:44am
Thomas Henry Culhane
Christine, it would be a joy to work with you on this; I would love to create a Nat Geo Explorer synergy with you on this topic. Let's figure out a way to get out to NE China together; I know our current Blackstone funds won't cover it, but we should leverage this to another round of funding. We can do this at really minimal cost -- airfare mostly...-- then we can stay in friends homes in the village, right, and make our own food. The only other cost would be polyethylene pipes and some plumbing supplies, maybe some tanks. For a demonstration pile we are probably looking at a couple hundred bucks to show a system that can provide hot water for about 20 people a day.
July 11 at 1:21pm

 Our retirement home?
Photo: Richard Reames, Arborsmith There are houses built in trees and then there are treehouses. Last year, we had one of our first encounters with a home

Why wait until retirement? Unless it is any time soon...;-)
July 10 at 2:59pm
what a beautiful way to live--i agree, why wait!
July 10 at 6:59pm ·

 Hola, amigo! My dear Maya friend, que tal? How are things in Guatemala? You asked me a while back what I thought of the 2012 predictions that so many people of European heritage are panicking about and I'm sorry I've taken so long to answer. This article from NASA Astronomer David Morrison explains v...ery nicely why the "doomsday" predictions are not just silly but dangerous to real actions intended to keep our planet livable. They are sad distractions that are giving people who are doing serious damage to our ecosystems the ability to keep the public thinking about ridiculous threats instead of focusing on fighting the real threats - deforestation, fossil fuel use, air and water pollution, overfishing etc. As Morrison points out, the Maya calendar, like all calendars, is great for recording the past and for predicting cyclical events by finding patterns in their periodicity (like seasonal changes). The destruction of our planet is not cyclical since it h...

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The destruction of our planet is not cyclical since it has never happened before, thus it can not be predicted by any calendars, or any science known to us or to the marvelous Maya.
July 10 at 2:38pm
Pedro Gonzalo Cuc
Hola Thomas, gracias por acordarte de nosotros, como estás, te cuento que efectivamente el calendario Maya termina el 21 de diciembre del 2012, los aj kijes y 0 sacerdotes Mayas deconocen el significado de la no continuación del conteo calendárico, hay teorías de teorías y no precisamente mayas o adoptadas por los mayas, sobre la destrucción del mundo lo que personalmente siento y creo es que deberá de empezar una nueva era con un nuevo calendario y con una nueva actitud del ser humano hacia su casa la tierra, solo si y solo sí, cambia la actitud del hombre sobrevivrá a la destrucción labrada por la misma humanidad, no hace falta ser muy sabio para entender que los cambios ya iniciaron , pero como siempre el hombre torciendo los caminos a este paso solo nos espera la autodestrucción y no hace falta que vengan cuerpos y entes celestiales a destruinos si no queremos cambiar, la filosofía de los antiguos Kiches, segun los relatos del Popol Vuh cuando se despidieron los cuatro primeros hombres inciadores de este pueblo dejaron un mensaje que analizado debiera de orientarnos al respecto y Dijeron "NOSOTROS YA NOS VAMOS, IREMOS A VER EL LUGAR DE DONDE HEMOS VENIDO, LES ROGAMOS QUE MIREN PRIMERO SU CASA, MIREN PRIMERO SU PATRIA, NO NOS OLVIDEN, NO NOS PIERDAN " el hombrre actual ha perdido las lecciones de su pasado, no entiende su presente y le tiene pavor al futuro, por eso estamos al borde de la locura, contestame y si hace favor escribime en español, me cuesta mucho el ingles y te contaré mas de o que pasa aqui en Guatemala
July 13 at 7:09pm