Visiting Auroville 2020

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This article will be used to collect information about my (Michael Altfield) visit to Auroville in 2020.

Auroville Earth Institute

First Contact

Goal: Meet with Satprem, introduce him to OSE, and ask to schedule an online, recorded Interview w/ Marcin to discuss and invite him to Summer X 2020.

Marcin's Availability

Marcin has limited availability leading up to the Steam Camp, but he's most available on the week of 2020-01-20, ideally:

  1. Wednesday night 20:00 or 21:00 CST/Missouri = Thursday morning 07:30 or 08:30 IST/India.
  2. Thursday night after 23:00 CST/Missouri = Friday morning after 10:30 IST/India
  3. Friday night 20:00 or 21:00 CST/Missouri = Saturday morning 07:30 or 08:30 IST/India

Relevant Wiki Articles

  1. Main Page
  2. CEB Press
  3. CEB Design
  4. CEB Press Genealogy
  5. Power Cube
  6. Soil Mixer 2019
  7. Soil Preparation for CEB
  8. CEB Soil Preparation Concept

Relevant Links

  1. OSE CEB Press v17.08 BOM

Relevant Photos

Relevant Videos

Interview Questions

Auram Press 4000

The Auram Press 4000 is the semi-automatic compressed earth block (CEB) press used by AVEI and built by Aureka.

Auram Press 3000

The Auram Press 4000 is a manual compressed earth block (CEB) press used by AVEI and built by Aureka.

Block Moulds

AVEI's Auram Press 3000 can fit 18 moulds to produce about 70 different CSEBs.

  1. Which machines support the ability to use moulds that press blocks for rebar-reinforced composite CSEBs? For example, the Round 240 & Round 290?

Auramix 5000

  1. Does AVEI mostly stabilize with cement or lime? What are the pros/cons of each?
  2. Did AVEI publish any studies comparing cement vs lime that we can read?

Auram Crusher

The Auram Crusher is the huge machine used by AVEI and built by Aureka that crushes and screens the soil to be a uniform consistency ready to be pressed into bricks.

  1. What particle size of clay soil is considered finely enough pulverized for CEB stabilization? 6 mm? 1 mm? 0.1 mm? We plan on beginning to produce our soil mixer next year, and to sell stabilized block.
  2. See Soil Mixer 2019 article and ask them for tech review.

Water Resistance

  1. No plaster? Really?
  2. No roof? Really? Are the exposed, roof-less arches at the Auroville Visitor center made of 5% CSEB as well? Did any part of that arch use pure cement? Footer? Header? Core?
  3. Have there ever been leaks in the roof of the Dhyanalinga (22m-diameter CSEB dome)? How was it waterproofed? Is it just CSEBs + mortar or did you use some plaster?
  4. You have a CSEB soaking in water for decades? Can I see it?

Collaboration w/ OSE

  1. Ask them if they are open to collaboration on a workshop where we take the two machine sets (OSE + Auroville) and compare them side by side for workflow, cost, performance. This could be the greatest CEB workshop in the world.
  2. Would Satprem be willing to come to FeF for our Summer X program in Summer 2020--sometime in August, ideally August 18th?


  1. Document the practical side of their block production. Do they sell their block? What does their business.model look like for selling block?
  2. Document the labor requirements for a full stabilized CEB pressing operation. I'm counting from their 2 videos on the Soil Crusher and Mixer/Brick Press - that there are 15 people involved in the overall operation if soil crushing and mixing/pressing is happening, and capital cost of $48k for crushign/mixing, not counting tractor . For OSE, we need 3 people for the overall brick pressing operation, and $3k in materials for the OSE Soil Mixer crushing/mixing machine - so 24x cheaper if you build it yourself. Next step is to determine if our machine works - at the CEB build in Belize.
  3. What is the cost of their semiautomatic brick press?

Auroville Soil Type

  1. What is the grain size distribution of Auroville soil?
  2. What are the plastic and liquid limits of Auroville soil?
  3. What is the clay percentage of the sieved Auroville soil?
  4. Do you ammend the soil with sand? If so, how much?
  5. How much do you process the soil before it goes into the crusher? How?


  1. Get contact information for any folks at AVEI or Aureka that have an open-source mindset.

Comparison of Machines

This section will attempt to provide a side-by-side comparison of the Auram 3000 vs Auram 4000 vs the OSE CEB Press.

Comparison of OSE vs AVEI press machines
OSE CEB Press AVEI Auram 3000 (manual) AVEI Auram 4000 (semi-automatic)
Year of first prototype 2007 [1]  ?  ?
Material cost (no labor) $3,000-$6,500 [2]  ?  ?
Cost to build (no labor) $4,092.79 [3]  ?  ?
theoretical blocks per hour N/a 125 [4] 400 [5]
practical blocks per hour 360-600 [6]  ?  ?
size of hydraulic cylinder 5 inch diameter, 19.6 inch area; 2.5 inch rod [7]  ?  ?
fluid pressure at compaction stroke 2200 PSI. 3000 PSI max.  ?  ?
max compression ratio  ? 1.83 [8] 1.83 [9]
compression force 21.5 tons [10] 15 tons [11] 20 tons [12]
human operators needed  ? 7 [13] 3 [14]

Sadhana Forest

See Also