Posts by — techstar

Harvesting Excess Man Made Energy
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 27, 2014 - 1 Comment in ENERGY

Albany NY designer, Manoocher Zarif is piloting a device that converts vibrations found in urban traffic into electricity.

The industrial design graduate came across the idea while he was experimenting with a Piezo device that converts pressure and movement into electricity, lighting up an LED lamp. He is in line for a JAmes Dyson award for his idea. (more…)

Trout Pout – off-gridders ticked off with obscure fish
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 25, 2014 - 0 Comments in WATER

Off-Grid Cabins in Holy Joe are victimised by trout-lovers

Fire chief says human needs trump trout

ORANGE COUNTY, Aug 24th – Mike Milligan trudges up the canyon, gesturing at bone-dry trees, streams that have turned to trickles and thick carpets of tinder- ready, dead leaves. A cigarette dangles from his lips, slowly becoming ash.
Milligan, the volunteer fire chief for Holy Jim Canyon and longtime cabin owner in the area, frets about fire. His firsthand experience tells him that the driest year on record – 2013 – has only grown worse. The first seven months of 2014 were the hottest ever in Orange County.
“I’ve been coming up here 50-plus years, and I’ve never seen it this bad,” Milligan said.
One problem? The canyon’s alder trees are dying. In healthy times, the alders shade fishing holes. During this drought, the tall, dead alders serve as potential torches. The desiccated trees also shed duff – dead branches and leaves – that in some spots is a foot deep.
The last time the entire forest burned was in 1908, though the smaller Indian Fire took out great patches of forest in 1980. (more…)

Platinum fuel cell trials in S Africa
by TECHSTAR on AUGUST 4, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Renewable Energy mag reports Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems and Anglo American Platinum, the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, have launched a field trial of a methanol-fueled fuel cell home generator system in an off-grid residential application in South Africa.

Rural field trial

Ballard and AA Platinum have partnered with South African power utility Eskom and the SA Department of Energy to conduct the 12-month field trial. (more…)

UK industry weaning itself from the grid
by TECHSTAR on JULY 22, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

British business lobby group Confederation of British Industry says UK manufacturers are looking to generate their own power to sidestep fears of rising energy prices and threats to supply security.

Nicola Walker, director of business environment at the CBI said more and more firms are going off-grid, especially in energy intensive industries.

A CBI survey showed over half of businesses believed the UK’s energy security has declined over the past five years, reflecting a 2013 report by Ofgem that showed capacity margins would be at a historic low next winter. (more…)

Gear you need in your bug-out location
by TECHSTAR on JULY 16, 2014 - 0 Comments in MOBILE

Imagine the collapse of society because there is an extreme weather event or the Chinese economy implodes bringing down the global system

No reason for you to suffer a moment’s discomfort with this list of handy gadgets to keep in your bug-out bag.

Fend for Yourself Related

1. Medical Kit

What: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/WaterTight 7 Medical Kit

Features: It’s super lightweight and has enough supplies for four people for up to four days. Bandages, dressing, tape, and more are included. The DryFlex waterproof liners help the bag stay waterproof.

How Much: About $27 (more…)

Apple to leave the grid behind
by TECHSTAR on JULY 14, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Apple Corporation facilities are self powered -  is 94% off grid

Apple Power – megacorp goes off grid

Computer maker Apple has long been providing its own power at its HQ in Cupertino CA.

Now the company has announced it is extending the policy to its server farms and new campus in Research Triangle, North Carolina – a $55 million investment to build solar farms spanning over 100 acres of land. (more…)

off the grid but on the cloud
by TECHSTAR on JUNE 13, 2014 - 1 Comment in MOBILE

Cloud computing may seem incompatible with being off-grid, but there are ways to live in the cloud even when you don’t have an Internet connection. The most common situation occurs when you are actually in the clouds — stuck on a remote mountainside with no Wi-Fi, or, more likely, Wi-Fi so slow it might as well be nonexistent.

The key to using your cloud services without a connection is preparation: You must set up offline access before you head off the grid, either to individual files or to an entire collection. Here are instructions for some of the popular options. (more…)

Tiny Homes – the Big Picture
by TECHSTAR on JUNE 13, 2014 - 0 Comments in SELF-SUFFICIENCY, URBAN

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OFf-Grid News reports on the booming Tiny Homes movement.

The houses are the size of a regular settee or a little bigger. They are painted in happy colours — yellow, pink, blue — and have names, RDX2, The Chuck Wagon, Uni-Bomber and so on. The floors are made of wooden pallets reclaimed from leftover construction material; the windows are discarded washing machine doors. The insides are insulated with the help of pizza delivery bags. And these dwellings have wheels. Total cost of construction: $30-40 per house. Selling price: Free. (more…)

Tiny home UK – £2500
by TECHSTAR on MAY 19, 2014 - 1 Comment in OFF-GRID 101, WORK

Apaulafallowshome quiet corner of a farm near Birmingham has become a workplace for a busy mum-of-two.

Just 20 yards from her house is Paula Fallows’ office, inside what looks like a beach hut.

It took about three days for her and her husband to build it.

“It’s really good because it’s totally separate from the house,” she says. “You can go in there, work away and shut the door at the end of it. You don’t cross that line of having your work in your house.

“But you don’t have very far to go, it’s just across from the house, literally a 20 yard walk. For people who do work from home, the cost savings are enormous and the commuting time as well.”

Paula put the hut on wheels to avoid planning permission problems – and to make the most of the sun.

She designed the chassis and recycled other parts, including the wheels to cut expenses, with the finished hut costing £2,600. (more…)

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