Thursday, January 26, 2006

Questionaire for potential projects

Max Chen tosses out some ideas for what it takes to evaluate a new project - see his website:
This document is intended to be used to evaluate the needs of present internal projects (e.g. Haiti, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India), to see if there are AT problems that they need solved. To make this a "live" document that can be added to or modified by others it might be put on the FTP site established by Dave, and/or we can comment on it here on the blog, we can put it right in the blog (instead of linked), or some combination of all three. How do you want to use your blog? Interactive or as a place to shout out to the others?

Particularly for outside projects, where groups approach us for assistance, we need to decide what our interpretation of AT projects might be, and how we are going to use this definition to select potential projects which might be suitable for the Design Team to consider.

Max sez... great resource!

From Max Chen: for a really good link leading to many, many short book reviews on AT subjects (Grasses—Their Use in Building?):
They call this a "guide to practical books on village and small community technology". 1150 publications from international and U.S. sources are reviewed, covering small water supply systems, renewable energy devices such as water mill and improved cook stoves, agricultural tools and implements, intensive gardening, conformal education, small business management, transportation, small industries and other topics. Extensive index. Price and ordering information are provided for each publication. At the very least this might prevent you from buying the wrong book, and it should remind you of the full scope of AT.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Design Team FTP Site

I have created an FTP site for file sharing for the design team. Any files you would like to share with the group, please post them to this ftp site. Please keep the site clean and create appropriate folders for different subject groups so that the ftp remains useful. Login info:

user/pass: contact Charlie or others
If you don't have an FTP program already, I recommend Filezilla


Monday, January 16, 2006

Since the topic of refrigeration came up at the last meeting I have a copy of a very good primer on the subject. Refrigeration for Pleasureboats covers in detail how small refrigeration systems work and how to design them. Since almost all refrigerator/freezer systems on boats are custom designs you have to know how to design the box and choose the correct components. This is applicable to the home refrigerator and if you want to know how to increase their efficiency knowing the basics is the starting point.

If anyone would like to borrow it I can bring it to the next meeting.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Some Sources, by Pat Coyle

(from 11/11/05 email to team)

Most will have seen this content before, but I wanted to try the blog.

Looking at the reading list at Toby Hemenway's site,, then looking at titles on Amazon (look for the details using their new "search inside" feature for excerpts, the TOC, index, etc.):

Guide of Appropriate Technology
by Barrett Hazeltine ,
At $70, it is just a bit pricey, but youcan preview it.
This is worth looking at in terms of the lists of types of technologies. It also addresses cultural, social,and business aspects.

There is also:

Appropriate Technology: Tools, Choices, & Implications
(Academic Press Series in Engineering)
by Barrett Hazeltine
It is older, '99 vs 2003; but about $27

I also think I found the title I asked about, the "Red R Book", it has emphasis on relief worker's being able to respond to engineering issues:
ENGINEERING IN EMERGENCIES - A Practical Guide for Relief Workers
Jan Davis & Robert Lambert

Looking at EWB projects, I found a link to CSM's and then to
Where there is a description of the MONDIALOGO ENGINEERING AWARD: Mondialogo is looking for students who want to apply their knowledge and expertise in order to improve living conditions in developing countries on a lasting basis. With the Mondialogo Engineering Award we are challenging young engineers and technologists to enter into an intercultural dialogue and to find solutions for a better world.
The list of winning projects is an interesting cross section and they will be doing 2005/2006 call for proposals, so it may be of interest.

Finally, if you might be interested in the invitation for open source approach to educational, demonstration, sustainable development operation based on 40 acre Belize property, you can check it out at: It presents a number of appropriate technology decisions that will need to be made. (I am going to migrate it to belizeopensource,org but not much there yet)


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Aqua Sun Portable Water Purifiers

Here is some information on the Aqua Sun portable water purifiers. There are 2 models, the PWP-C with a solar panel and the PWP-V without a solar panel. These were designed for groups such as EWB teams who need to bring in the means to make potable water for their own use. Aqua Sun also makes several models of fixed water purifiers for larger applications.

The wholesale/dealer prices are $1500 for the PWP-C and $1300 for the PWP-V. This includes a 2 year replacement parts kit.

Check out their web site for some interesting case studies, partnerships, and history of the company.

I wanted to put a table here with the specifications of the unit but the blog does not display the table correctly once it is published, so go here to see the table on the Aqua Sun website.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Excellent AT Stove Link

Every once in a while there is a great link out there - the Internet has tons of information but too much of it is useless. This is a great one just on appropriate technology for stoves:

It covers everything imaginable - efficiency, indoor pollution, different fuels, environmental costs, etc. And if you include the many links in it, it is a huge amount of information from a zillion sources. If we had more resources like this we would be rich - then when we encountered specific needs in the field (water purification, irrigation, microcredit, livestock, food security, etc.) we could see what has been done and then customize a solution with our engineering skills. For example, most of the stoves described have not been fully developed - the job is not done until they are reliable and you can manufacturer them efficiently and inexpensively in developing countries. And what might be "appropriate technology" in one country may not be in another.