Month of September, 2006

Biorock®/ Mineral Accretion Technology

September 05, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

This posting provides some more info on some of the technology used by Dr. Thomas J. Goreau, namely the Biorock® Process. I wonder if he used geodesic and tensegrity structures as the frame for the Biorock(R) if there would be an advantage?

Biorock Technology, or mineral accretion technology is a method that applies safe, low voltage electrical currents through seawater, causing dissolved minerals to crystallize on structures, growing into a white limestone similar to that which naturally makes up coral reefs and tropical white sand beaches. This material has a strength similar to concrete. It can be used to make robust artificial reefs on which corals grow at very rapid rates. The change in the environment produced by electrical currents accelerates formation and growth of both chemical limestone rock and the skeletons of corals and other shell-bearing organisms.

The Biorock Process is owned by Biorock, Inc. and is licensed to GCRA for applicable projects.

Biorock methods speed up coral growth in damaged areas and restore authentic coral reef habitat and species. Biorock structures become rapidly colonized by a full range of coral reef organisms, including fish, crabs, clams, octopus, lobster, sea urchins. Species typically found in healthy reef environments are given an electrical advantage over the weedy organisms which often overgrow them in reefs stressed by humans. The advantages corals gain from mineral accretion are cancelled if they no longer receive current, at which point weeds will overgrow the corals. If the current is maintained, coral reefs can often be restored even in areas where water quality would prevent their recovery by any other method.
Biorock structures cement themselves to the hard bottom providing a physical wave barrier which over time, grows larger and stronger. Biorock materials are to an extent, structurally self healing. If a section is damaged, the cracks will fill making them ideal for breakwater shore protection.

Biorock projects can be powered by a wide range of electrical sources including renewable energy like windmills, photovoltaic solar panels and tidal current generators. This enables their construction in areas where conventional electric power is unavailable.
The mineral accretion process was first developed by architect Wolf Hilbertz in order to provide alternative construction materials. He and Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Alliance later developed its use for reef restoration and shore protection.

Biorock® is a registered trademark of Biorock, Inc. The Biorock Process is owned by Biorock, Inc.


posted in:

Flexible Plastic Nano Solar

September 21, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

Using oil to produce flexible nano enabled polymers that generate electricity from the sun is certainly a higher and better use than burning such complex hydrocarbons in cumbustion engines. This is the innovation upon which Massachestts based Konarka is building its company.


According to the company, "Konarka’s products take light in and deliver power out. This direct current (DC) electrical energy can be used immediately, stored for later use, or converted to other forms of energy. Because Konarka’s technology utilizes a wider range of the light spectrum than conventional solar cells, all visible light sources — not just sunlight — can be used to generate power."

With funding from investors Silicon Valley Bank, Chevron, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and a host of venture capital firms, Power Plastic (tm) might actually get to market.

Guess who is getting a first crack at this new technology? Why the military of course! Currently Plastic Power is being developed for portable, electric-generating quonset huts. Other military applications include battery charging on the battlefield, remote power for unmanned vehicles and soldiers, and solar-powered sensor networks.

Konarka also envisions using the power-generating capabilities of Power Plastic(tm) to structures including tents, awnings, roofs, windows and window coverings. And they plan to be the power supply of choice for consumer electronics such as cell phones and portable music players as well as business products such as PDAs, and laptops.

There are no hard specs or effeciency analyses on the company's website as far as I can tell.

The big breakthrough lies in the claim that the photo reactive material is lightweight, coatable, flexible, more versatile, printable and uses ubiquitous roll-to-roll, easy to scale manufacturing technology. All this is supposed to translate to truly affordable photvoltaics.

No wonder they won the 2005 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award among numerous others.

Bring it on!
http://www.konarka.com/  READ MORE »


WhisperGen™: Domestic Cogeneration Appliance

September 27, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

Not exactly carbon free but certainly doing lots more with less.

The engineering of this sleek home appliance combines a stirling engine with a patented 'woble yoke' transmission technology. The yoke converts the linear motion of the engine's four pistons into rotary motion able to drive an alternator.

The result is a domestic cogen boiler unit that produces hot water for space heating, showers and electicity to feed back to the grid ( AC models) or to charge batteries in off grid applications ( DC models).

The product is currently available in the UK on "advanced trial". The AC system runs on natural gas or LPG only. The DC unit runs on automotive diesal and a kerosene version is available. Potentially the AC unit could run on Biogas and the DC unit could run on Bio Diesal or other natural oils. According to the comapny use of alternative fuels will involve a 2-3 year testing and certification process.

In 2004, Whisper Tech signed an agreement with Powergen, a German-owned electricity distributor which is one of Britain's largest energy companies to supply at least 90,000 of the units over five years.

I have yet to find pricing but I know this is not going to be as cheap as a dishwasher even thought it looks like one. I imagine prices will come down if and when mega mass production gets into full swing. If you think of the cost of a conventional hot water heater / furnace plus the value of instalation and electrical generation your talking mucho dinero.

http://www.whispergen.com/main/applications