Oekonux 4 OSE Transcript

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Introduction by Franz Nahrada of Global Villages.

He is a doctor of physics by education. His thesis was about atomic fusion, so he is a technologist of wide scope. And he has done almost the opposite of what he was supposed to do by his studies – he reinvented a physical SUPPORT SYSTEM which makes something like self-supported living possible and that’s a gigantic task consisting of many different components and I am very curious as to how you will react to this endeavor which I hope will work as a community of villages around the globe.

Presentation by Marcin Jakubowski

Thank you. Please take one of the handouts. You can look at the presentation online – at openfarmtech.org. What we’ll do is introduce the topic, and I’ll show this 10 minute video to get you a real picture of what’s happening on the ground, as we have practical experience and theory to boot.

The presentation is about building the world’s first, replicable open source, off grid global village to transcend survival and to evolve to freedom. That’s a big task. We’re talking about reengineering civilization. I want to go into a little bit of what all this means. Global village – wer’re talking of a globally linked community, with a real economy. Off grid – we’re not talking about not having electricity, which is one way to go off-grid, or buying expensive solar panels, which you can do if you have a lot of money – but we’re talking about building our own solar power system. We also mean getting off grid on the financial system and on the productive system – meaning producing all of our own food, energy, housing, fuel, transportation, and production/fabricatoin infrastructures. So this is Smari’s small-scale republics, all of that- is a spinoff from this work. Open source – we know what that means – it’s open documentation of all of this work. Now Replicable – that’s a big one. To make sth replicable, you not only have to be open source, but you also have to be able to teach people the real skills and capitalize the real, physical infrastructure. So if you develop optimal, low-cost means to build a village, then you are in business. That’s what we mean by replicable.

As of today, we’ve done a bunch of on-the-ground on this. I will explain the whole Global Village Construction Set, but in the meantime, we’ll watch a video on our village building experience so far – which covers the building, construction, agrculture implement side of our story.

Video – CEB Story. - http://blog.opensourceecology.org/?p=485

We are talking about a Global Village Construction Set consisting of 41 key technologies which are sufficient to build a new economy – in fact, a new civilization. It’s the stuff you use every day – we’re actually talking about very simple things - it’s cars, tractors, the food that you eat, housing, fuel and energy production, and so forth. We are talking about the essential items of a productive economy.

Just to back up to how we selected the items, you start with obvious needs like food, energy, housing, fuel, transportation, technology items – then we say what is the most robust, optimal, wdely usable, economically significant, simplest way to do that? So with that, we say, here’s our Construction Set. There’s also a metric that was used in the selection process – regarding the liberatory, productive, local, post-industrial, limited but sufficient set. You can see this is the OSE Proposal of 2008. We invite you to examine this proposal – to evaluate the items we selected – and if you have better suggestions, please let us know.

Some simple things to say here as we go through the Construction Set. Everyone drives a car. If you eat, you are using a tractor. Maybe not you directly, but whoever is growing your food for you. The same goes for an agricultural combine or dairy operations. Then we go into productive operations, which are used to generate the entire construction set itself. These include the Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Multimachine, which is an open source project out there, an induction furnace for melting metal so you can start from scrap – where you can recast civilization at the cost of scrap metal. There’s the energy aspect – such as pyrolysis oil, where any biomass can be turned into it. The set also contains a solar concentrator thermal electric power system. There is HydraRaptor, or a more advanced version of the RepRap 3D printer. There is also the steam engine as a central power source.

Moving on – we’ll go into more detail, but for now remember that we’re talking about local food systems, energy, housing, mobility, personal fabrication, and implements for construction, agriculture, and a wide variety of utility tasks.

Say you want to build a village, here’s the set to do it. We want to make a case that this is doable, and we want to show that massive replication can happen – by optimizing a set of tools that enables people to do this.

We cover agriculture, housing, energy, fuels, transportation, and technology – all the things you might need to build an economy. Here I go through some detail. For the food infrastructure, you have LifeTrac the open source tractor, MicroTrac, the small, walk-behind version of LifeTrac – working the land and feeding people. You also have the nursery which proides fruit trees and can be used to build an orchard. We also have freeze-dried fruit powders as another aspect of a full economy, as well as bakery, dairy, haying equipment. There there is a well-drilling rig, plus agricultural combine and spader. The blue items are actually not part of the Set – we either didn’t create them, they already exist, or are easily accessible.

Housing. You’ve seen the CEB, tractor, bricks and building parts in the video. To this, you add the lumber sawmill – such that with CEB brick and lumber, you have a large part of the needs for building. On top of that you have a set of supporting building equipment, which goes into the building of a home.

Power infrastructure. This includes fuel, electricity, space heating, cooking gas, and hot water heating. If you look at the energy ecology on the back of the handout, it reflects a flow of how you fo from solar energy either directly when you use solar thermal concentrators – or – you harness the solar energy in the form of chemical fuels – like biomass. The noteworthy things is that this is a real experiment that we are carrying out – so we want o take an 1cre of fuel grass crop – where each acre yields 4000 lb of dry biomass, or about 200 gallons of liquid fuel through pyrolysis oil, assuming 50% conversion yields. You can burn this oil in the flex-fuel Babington burner, which generates steam and powers a steam engine. The steam engine can power the entire infrastructure – from hoesehold electricity, LifeTrac, MicroTrac, and open source car – which we call UnimOS – for Universal Mobility Open Source. The open source car is based on the Mercedes Benz Unimog, a multipurpose utility car with power take-off. All these devices are powered by hydraulic power – such that the same technology used in the tractor can also be used in the car. We thus have, effectively, already worked out the drive train of the open source car. We look forward to collaboration with Cmmn, the more ambitious open source car project from the Netherlands represented by Jakko at this conference.

What about Fabrication? There is five main tools that we use. The Multimachine is a computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling, drilling, lathing machine. The HydraRaptor is a more advanced version of the RepRap 3D printer in plastic - plus it is a micromill and microdrill for doing circuits. I will actually visit Chris Palmer of the HydraRaptor project after the conference. Continuing on the Hydra concept – Hydra meaning the multi-headed creature – HydraTable torch table for acetylene and plasma torch cutting, which can also carry a laser, router, or other head for precision cutting in a plane. Induction furnace – that’s big stuff – in fact – that is perhaps the most important tool in the Construction Set. While the Multimachine, HydraRaptor, and HydraTable, as well as MIC welder and plasma cutter – operate on metal, the induction furnace generates the matal. For now, we can take scrap metal from the waste stream, which can be found in abundance as a byproduct of the fossil fuel economy. Later, we will address the metals issue by smelting aluminum from clay. This can be done – the question is – do we have energy to do it – and that’s why we’ll be developing our energy system prior to smelting metals. The flexible induction furnace can be applied readily to ram metal extrusion and case hardening. At present, we can run the LifeTrac power generator to obtain 20 kW of industrial power – which is sufficient to melt 300 lb of steel per hour – or about 2000 lb per day – which is quite sufficient for efficient productivity in terms of generating useful metal. Using this molten metal, you can do further operations, such as casting, hot rolling, cold rolling, and forging – all doable on a small scale. This capacity is sufficient for self-replicating the entire hardware part of the GVCS.

There are a couple of unique features that I want to mention about the set. The first thing to start with is the extreme modularity. For example, LifeTrac, and indeed most of the other devices, is bolt-together assembly – using primarily stock steel parts and minimum amounts of welding and machining. The really unique modularity feature is that just 2 types of hydraulic motors can be used to power everything here – from car, tractor, rototiller lathe and well rig. – meaning that these can be interchanged between the various devices. This is the flexibility that comes from hydraulic drive. The car, tractor, bulldozer, and MicroTrac can all use the same motors. This is really a life-size erector or lego set. Moreover, the power unit itself – the Power Cube – you can interchange this between the tractor – car- microtractor – such that, for example, if the engine goes out in the tractor, you have a backup that you can plug in from the microtractor. On top of this, you have either solar energy or pyrolysis oil feeding the steam engine power unit, for 100% solar energy option. Thus, you have a whole ecology of technology based on the steam engine – which is comparable to the gasoline engine in terms of efficiency. From an ecological perspective, the steam engine makes a lot of sense – in fact – it is between 2-7 times as efficient as gasoline or diesel engines in terms of fuel efficiency per acre of biomass grown. This is because pyrolysis oil yields are up to 75% yields from biomass, while refined fuel yields such as alcohol or diesel are much lower.

{To the reader: please transcribe the rest - this is not finished}