Solar Power isn't Feasible!

Solar Power isn't Feasible!
This cartoon was on the cover of the book "SolarGas" by David Hoye. It echoes the Sharp Solar slogan "Last time I checked nobody owned the sun!"

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Heliostats for Heliopolis!


Our friend up north, Marcel Lenormand, the inimitable and ingenious engineer from England, has blessed Solar Cities with a fantastic 21st century way of communicating information across borders and cultural boundaries, creating domain general information that is at the same time intimately domain specific.

In this "videmail" (is that a word?) posted on Youtube, Marcel uses a devilishly simple and clever animation to help answer a question plaguing us in our efforts to bring solar power to urban rooftops in congested Cairo: "what do we do on buildings that don't have full solar exposure?" Marcel's doesn't just write a possible solution -- he makes his ideas manifest!

Marcel's suggestion for solving our specific urban Cairo problem can be viewed below:

This video gives great confidence to Solar CITIES coordinator Mahmoud Dardir, who is facing exactly this problem on his roof in Abu Nomros in Giza and who has been thinking of using reflectors (inspired by the traditional Egyptian use of having men with silvered boards posted at corners of the Saqqara pyramids shining and reflecting sunlight into the tombs before there were electric lights -- the use of torches was prohibited to keep soot from damaging the antiquities and to keep carbon monoxide from killing the visitors.

Now the question is, "how do we make a diy heliostat?" :)

As Mauro Cherubini over at EPFL would probably agree, the medium of animation is ideal for communicating these concepts across cultures!

Thanks Marcel!! You are inspiring, not only in your willingness to share and help the world with your expertise, but with the examples you set of the best way to use the multi-media available to bring the world together and get information to everyone!

Sincerely, T.H. and the Solar CITIES team


pele said...

Dear Mr Culhane,

I am so inspired by your activities. Hopefully some of the knowledge you share will eventually find expression in my life.
A few years ago I was looking into the concept of humanure and found a post you had made about your indoor system. I was then camping in a friend's yard in Los Angeles. Can you update me about the end result of that experiment?
Is there anyone you know who can show me alternatives for apartment living here in LA?

P. Peng

Marcel said...

Dear Mr Culhane,

I fear you may be over-egging the pudding a little there, but thanks.



T.H. Culhane said...

"over-egging"! I like that! If it "eggs others on" to use the internet this way (rather than all the useless youtube stuff filling up servers in this time of climate change urgency) then lets stir the pudding a little more, shall we? It is hard to curb my enthusiasm when I think back to how hard it was to share technical information when I was trying to fix solar panels in the jungle villages of Borneo back in 1985! Letters took 5 weeks either direction and a three day canoe and boat trip to town to find books and buy parts...

T.H. Culhane said...

Hi Pele,
Good to hear from you! My wife and I are installing a greywater system a rain water catchment system and a composting toilet in her parents home in Germany, where we are living. I will post pictures and evaluations here once we are done and have some data. Blessings to you and all at the Eco Village!