Organic Waste Collection Services….

I have just received a super friendly and slightly confusing letter from my local council, stating our area is going to start an organics and garden waste collection service because our local dump is quickly filling, and we need to do something about it.

I agree.

I am very glad that this service will be starting up. I guess….

However,

The letter states the service will cost $360 whether I request to have 1 bin, or 6 bins for waste collection each week.

I would like to suggest to any other residential dweller in the area, instead of spending that quarterly $360.00, on and on for the rest of our lives, to hop on down to the local hardware store and invest in a worm farm and a composter. And never throw out anything organic ever again.

Worms eat just about anything and everything, and the things the don’t (onion peel, citrus rind, garlic) and all your garden waste- goes into the composter.

My garden is SMALL – it’s about 10 paces across and 4 paces wide.

In that space I recycle, compost, tend to my worms, grow eggplant, basil, parsley, strawberries, lettuce and lemongrass.

Why pay for the Council to take away something that can grow your food? Gives nutrients to your soil? Give nutrients to your soul?

I understand that restaurants throw away so much food, and I wonder why that is so easily excused?

Why not have that alley way down the back made into a herb garden?

Is it really too hard?

Really?

I would like to thank Hungry Beast on the ABC, for another golden piece of information that keeps me motivated….

“A quarter of the food wasted in the first world could feed all the people starving in the Third World.”*

http://hungrybeast.abc.net.au/episodes/episode-2

Carbon Emissions= Water Levels Rise.

In the application for a building permit, I recently visited the  website titled:

Richmond River Flood Plain Management Study, 2010“*.

In this study our city fathers, or the NSW government, presumably under the management of our previous leader, is using as a basis for planning, that by the middle of this century ocean levels will have risen by  approximately half a meter and by the end of this century, the study predicts a rise of one meter.

This is bad enough in itself but also adding two things: this has not been widely published and secondly, it is being used as a basis for council town planning for future coastal subdivisions into the future. This is ludicrous.

I believe quite firmly that a build up in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a bad thing and I believe it should become every business’s and individuals priority to address this problem, in both their business activities and their daily lives. That is: a reduction in the amount of carbon output that we all generate, however – I don’t believe that  such a build up will result in such an outrageous rise in ocean levels.

If this prediction, however, is correct, and it is based on irrefutable data, then the fact that our government  is keeping it tucked away in insignificant reports, such as this one, defies comprehension. If ocean levels are to rise by one meter, the consequences for life as we know it, on the East Coast of Australia, in  particular, will be catastrophic.

Major storm surge protection will be required in the form of Holland style engineering dykes; storm surge gates will be required on all of the rivers on the east coast, and in general terms, if we don’t start planning, real engineering solutions to this NOW, we, or our children, and their children’s children, are going to be severely  compromised, and will not enjoy the lifestyle that us baby boomers have enjoyed over  our lifetimes.

Far more importantly, is the emphasis that must be placed on reducing the amount of carbon production by every single person.

We believe that the solution to possible climate change problems in the future, is in individual companies developing innovative products and services that are carbon neutral or assist in the removal of carbon from our atmosphere.

Designing future coastal subdivisions will not be of any use, if they are simply underwater. Engineering storm surges gates may be a good option. But reducing each and every persons carbon emissions has by far more positive outcomes.

Flood predictions of The Northern Rivers. NSW Australia

* http://rrcc.nsw.gov.au/

A Good Idea Gone Wrong.

Nothing infuriates me more than a good idea gone horribly wrong.

And as I see the current generation of electric motor vehicles coming on to the market, it fills me with absolute horror that this is one idea which is literally driving itself straight off the rails.

To me, the entire concept of having electric motor vehicles is to:

Save the  environment;

Save carbon; and

Save on noise and air pollution in our cities.

However, if you simply remove the petrol engine from a standard motor vehicle and replace  it with an electric motor and batteries there is almost no saving to the environment whatsoever as the electricity, particularly in the case of Australia,  is still being generated by filthy coal powered stations.

Cars on the road today are aerodynamic nightmares. It’s like driving a brick. Look out your window – you’ll see bricks with wheels. Heavy, angular, made-out-of-the-heaviest-materials BRICKS. This is justified by the term “safety”. You want a big, strong, heavy car around you in case of accidents and mishaps yeah? So, don’t get us wrong, we, in NO WAY, mean to backseat the complete requirement of safety in vehicles, (and this argument is supported by our award winning, safest aircraft in Australia – Australian LightWing Aircraft)  – but safety does not have to be the expense of efficiency.

If we, as a society, are desperately trying to reduce carbon emissions, we need to stop expelling exorbitant amounts of energy to push “bricks” around, and instead, use just the energy required to propel extremely safe, and extremely aerodynamic vehicles.

How is this possible? Don’t look at bricks. Look to light and safe, well designed aircraft.

Our concept with ‘The Roadie‘ is to create a super light weight and extremely aerodynamic vehicle which is efficient both in terms of its aerodynamics and its power usage, therefor cutting emissions drastically — by hopefully up to 70 to 80 percent, using electric power for  the vehicles propulsion .

Your complete safety is provided by the lightweight, quality, structurally tested, welded, aircraft-grade, chrome moly steel AERODYNAMIC safety frame that encloses the driver and passengers in a protective cocoon.

To conduct a totally Green Car Rally would in my opinion be the ultimate achievement in this region (The Northern Rivers of New South Wales – Australia) and I would  hope that all of those that have opposed the ‘Speed on Tweed Classic Car Race‘ would welcome, with open arms, a car rally held using super quiet, clean, electric cars powered on the basis of having negative or zero carbon impact on the environment.

The Roadie:

Designed By Australian LightWing.

http://www.lightwing.com.au

http://www.lightwing.com.au/roadie.html

Fully Sustainable Road Transport System

To create a fully sustainable personal road transport system, there are two ways to go.

Firstly, you can charge your electric car using standard  battery charging system form 240 volt power and this is a relatively  simple straight forward process. However, to operate  your electric vehicle in a a completely sustainable manner, our concept is to use a  combination of both wind and solar  power to charge a bank of 120 volt DC batteries, then connect these to the 90  volt lithium volt batteries  located in out  electric vehicle, which we call: “The Roadie“, and charge the vehicle without using any mains  power at all.

Of course, when it hasn’t been either windy or sunny, for a lengthy period of time, which will happen, The Roadie will also incorporate a 240 volt ac power charging system. However, this shouldn’t occur too often. Particularly here in the Northern Rivers (of New South Wales, Australia), where  it’s always either windy or sunny.

So, if our system works as planned, our plan is to market the entire package as just that, a Sustainable Road Transport Package.

The Roadie will be capable of a range up to, or between, 150 and 200 km on a single charge and the coast to the driver in terms of immediate fuel costs will be zero. Of course, The Roadie requires batteries  which have to be replaced from time to time and also our wind and solar generating system, also requires batteries. However, with cycle times measured in many thousands, the coats per kilometer will still  be acceptable, compared to a petrol driven vehicle of a similar size, but that’s not  the point of this exercise.

The point of the exercise is to asses whether this concept is either practical or simply requires too much effort, investment and work.

We plan to store the solar and wind generating electric power in normal lead acid deep cycle batteries which should  cost somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000, whereas the more expensive and far lighter lithium iron batteries which will  be located along the middle of The Roadie’s body will cost  upwards of $5,000 with a maximum  of $10,000, depending on the range of the vehicle required by the owner.

The Roadie will also have a backup 12 volt system to power lights, radio indicators etc.

If our system works and it looks even remotely viable, the next hurdle to overcome will be that of attaching a reasonable sized wind generator to the average suburban house and it’s for this reason  that we have selected the ‘Comet’ or ‘Southern Cross’ style windmill as the primary source of energy for the generating systems.

We have hopefully added to the  efficiency of our chosen Comet Windmill by the creation of curved wingtips, similar to those found on current  generation of both light and commercial  aircraft. The 18 inch blade fan with a diameter of 10 feet has been increased to an overall diameter of 12 feet and its hoped that this will give us a total power of  somewhere between 1 and 3 kilowatts.

Sustainable Road Transport

To add somewhat to the simplicity of the system we have elected to  mount the generators at the bottom of the tower rather than at the top, which is usually the case. We have  a small right angle gearbox mounted at the top of the tower attached to the 12 foot diameter fan blades. This transfers  the energy to a rotating shaft which is then coupled to a net work of four 24 volt generators, located at the bottom of the tower. These generators can be both electrically and mechanically switched in and out depending on the wind speed.

Windmill Alterations

Occupational Health and Safety issues involved in climbing a 30 foot  windmill tower, and working on  electric equipment dictated  that the best place for the generators was at the bottom of the tower. Accordingly, we have had to rethink the method of  orientating the windmill head relative to balance both the torque from the generator and also the rotational direction of the fan.

Watch this space as developments of this aspect proceed.

So why the combination of wind and solar?

The answer to this question lies in our  experience of weather conditions  here in the Northern Rivers where it is literally either blowing a gale and sunny, or blowing a gale and raining, but rarely is it overcast with no wind at all. If the objective of this system is to provide personal transport with a maximum efficiency  and reliability then we feel that the combination of wind and solar is the way to go.

Particularly if wind generation can be achieved without the  expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars as is currently the case. Once again, watch this space and the project progresses!

Save money and stay hydrated!

Remember the old soda siphons?

Those quaint little glass bottles usually encased in a wire mesh cage, no doubt in case of explosion.

Well way back when, these were the primary method of getting fizzy water for either soft drinks or to mix with spirits.

Bring Back The Soda Siphon!!

>>> Fast forward 50 or 60 years and most fizzy drinks  come in aluminum or plastic containers, which are now found to add considerably to the immense quantities of waste generated by our non green society.

Well, I say — BRING BACK THE SODA SIPHON!!!

Fortunately a company  called Soda Stream, which is based in the UK has  done exactly that with a nifty dispenser, complete with a large  carbon dioxide cylinder and a number of plastic  recyclable bottles.

Some years back I purchased my first Soda Stream dispenser and haven’t looked back since, making no doubt tonnes and tonnes of fizzy water at a very  low cost; at initially  5 cents a bottle thanks to the  large and also recyclable  CO2 container. However, one day, on a trip to Kmart, in order to recycle my carbon dioxide cylinder, I was told that the cylinders weren’t available. Damn, I thought.

After that  thought- came “I’ll do it myself”.

So.

After a trip to the local plumbing shop, I was able to produce a fitting which, when attached  to a bulk carbon dioxide cylinder, was easily able to fill my Soda Stream containers.

Fresh Sparkling Water!

Thus reducing  the cost of a litre of soda water to less than one cent.

Well.

OK.

The cost was already pretty low, at about 5 cents, using the standard soda siphon Soda Stream, recyclable CO2 containers, but, being intent on reducing costs, I produced my own system.

If anybody would like to avail themselves to this simple fitting, in can be screwed to any bulk  carbon dioxide bottle, I use a bottle which weighs around 15 kilos, which sits outside my kitchen door and lasts  for around 6 months, filling some hundreds of litres of water with CO2 bubbles.

The fitting is  available from Australian Lightwing. Call (02) 6686 8658.

Of course, you will need to purchase a bulk  CO2 cylinder for around $40.00, and also  pay the annual rental on the cylinder, but rest assuered even with these costs taken into account, the cost per litre is absolutely minimal.