Wednesday, August 06, 2008

No Level I Love After All......,

So, as it turns out, the Nocera electrolysis breakthrough is 1 part breakthrough to 50 parts hype. The kinetics (meaning efficiency) of Nocera's oxygen-evolving electrode isn't really that good compared to what has been developed over the last 20-30 years of research. An anode with a thin film containing cobalt isn't new either. The *breakthrough* (if you can call it that) is the simplicity with which it is made, period. It remains to be seen whether this will spawn new avenues of fruitful electrochemical research. Which takes us squarely back to reality and to the increasingly pressing need for responsible folks to prepare themselves and their loved ones for the INEVITABILITY of the formal economy's declining ability to feed and house us.

With no level one deus ex machina in sight, it's time to roll up the old sleeves and take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge right here at our fingertips. Some years ago, my wife and I spent a wonderful couple of weeks at my father-in-law's former homestead on Bermuda. It was a masterpiece of environmental and economic efficiency - and a model for how we need to set about remaking routine aspects of our way of life. On Bermuda, his was not a re-engineered green exception, rather, it was the standard procedure for how folks lived. As for this remaking, nothing between it and us but initiative, air, and opportunity.

We're in luck in the opportunity dimension. Right here in our midst we have an invaluable knowledge resource in the person of RC who has 30 years of experience implementing the powered-down, highly economical and efficient modus operandi required to thrive in an energy, commodity, and resource constrained island setting. We're not talking survivalism and reactionary earth-marine type measures, rather, we're talking about the type of sustainable and doable measures implemented throughout the Carribean by folks who live well but vastly more efficiently and less wastefully than we do here.
In the meanwhile, for those not right in a downtown somewhere, I recommend a few small boat/marine type prop generators, a few solar panels, a small, but high quality invertor and a small marine gel battery bank combined with a super efficient, home made deep freeze/fridge and maybe a small gas generator for once a week use to run the washing machine.

Store all your water from runoff and reuse all the gray water from the sinks and showers for plants. We have these places running now and they are highly successful off the grid operations that I have been setting up since the mid seventies. Many of them start out with just the propellers and gradually add on until they leave the grid. Others are in remote areas and have to have all the components at the beginning. Others use a liquid propane gas input to run the refrigeration. Whatever we will be using in 2020 I bet no one has an idea right now. Meanwhile these setups have been in use, do work, work well, are proven and have been in place for more than thirty years.
For the homeowners among us, I believe that folks like RC can help us make incremental changes in how our houses are configured for power, lighting, water usage, gardening and overall efficiency suggestions rooted in first-hand practical experience. Doing some of the things that RC knows how to do will put folks on a path leading first to reduced costs, a smaller environmental footprint, and ultimately, if fully implemented and embraced, moving the homestead partially or even entirely off-grid - right there in the city where you live.

I need to figure out a way to permanently showcase solutions, and, to keep the valuable solutions dialogue top-of-blog so that it can serve as a useful reference and resource for folks who are serious about taking matters into their own hands.