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Building a very hot parabolic solar cooker using pedal power tools.
Notice how the focus is the same for the various parabolas.
Aleiha's parabolic solar cooker. The paraboloid is an interesting shape with some amazing qualities. It has the power to concentrate light, electronic waves, sound, etc. to its focus at the center. To find the focal point of a paraboloid, one must use the formula, y=p*x^2, where p is a constant. The variable y is the depth of the dish, and x measures the distance from the center axis to the maximum circumference of the dish. You have to pretend that there is an x axis going through the center of the base of the dish and a perpendicular y-axis passing from the center of the base of the dish to the focal point. The two numbers, x and y, represent a point on the paraboloid, and from that, you are able to determine where the focus is.

Parabolic cookers have been used for centuries now. The idea to concentrate light using curved mirrors was developed by the Greeks, Aztecs, Incas, Romans and Chinese. The Incas used bronze and gold for their mirrors and they built structures that were several stories high. This technology seems to have appeared around the same time for each of the civilizations. It is thought that Archimedes harnessed the technologyW to defend Syracuse from invading Roman fleets in 212 BC.

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AEF greywater

Recreating a failing greywater marsh at the Arcata Educational Farm.

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Community action news

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Dec 5 Citizens data initiative: The most innovative ideas in data are going to come from communities [1]

Dec 4 London news: London Mayor Seeks Revival of Public Drinking Fountains [2]

Dec 4 Community energy USA: Microgrids Keep These Cities Running When the Power Goes Out [3]

Dec 3 100m trees to be planted till 2021 under Green Pakistan’s initiative [4]

Dec 1 Sharing news: Reverse Advent: The calendar that gives something back [5]

Read More...


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Albert Einstein
Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Albert EinsteinW
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The Sun photographed by the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA 304) of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.

Solar powered electrical generation relies on heat engines and photovoltaics. Solar energy's uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.To harvest the solar energy, the most common way is to use solar panels.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Spring 2009: WaterPod: The Spring 2009 semester of ENGR215 Introduction to Design worked with the WaterPod to research, design, and build systems that foster the artists living sustainably onboard a barge in the waterways of New York City.

Spring 2009 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - WaterPod
Bicycle Energy Generator
An alternative way to convert kinetic energy to AC power by means of a bicycle energy generator  
Soil-less Growing System
A system that would grow food for the occupants of the barge without the presence of soil  
Filter Commander 9000
A water filtration system to make drinkable water from rainwater catchment  
Tour de Volts
A bicycle as a power source to provide a bit of extra energy to the WaterPod  
WaterPod Hang Thyme
A hydroponic green wall that is used to grow herbs in minimal amounts of space  
FBD Rainwater Purification
Exists to provide clean drinking water for the WaterPod Project  
Coopatron 5000
A chicken coop designed to supplement the dietary needs of the inhabitants of the WaterPod  
Rocket Stove
To provide a reliable and sustainable means of cooking by minimizing fuel use and optimizing efficiency  
Pico in a Bucket
To harness the kinetic energy of the falling water from the overflow of the WaterPod's water tower  
WindPod Turbine
A vertical access wind turbine that uses the power of the wind coming from any direction to create energy  
Composting Toilet
Duchamp de Loo, is a composting toilet system that can be used and can educate people about environmental ways to get rid of human waste  
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