Update 21-JAN-2013: this crowd fund was launched prematurely - shortly after the Phillipines disaster and Warsaw climate change talks. It is likely to end without reaching it's target on the 23rd January 2014 so all funds will be returned. A new crowd fund will be started alongside direct approaches to the supermarkets, a crowd/community investment and participation opportunity - watch this space!
To ramp up carbon reduction, we need to achieve mass uptake of energy saving and green energy generating solutions. This can be done by making it a "no brainer". This crowd funding project and PETITION is focused on giving consumers the means to permanent reduce their electricity, gas and fuel bills by spending a few pounds more on groceries each week.
To do this we need to convince the big retailers to offer us the option of buying everyday products in REPURPOSABLE PACKAGING that is purpose designed to be used - by anyone - as ultra low cost components for home insulation projects, electricity generating wind turbines, thermal solar heat panel, ground source heat pumps and other carbon reducing solutions.
If enough of us sign the petition, the retailers will fund the development and production of the packaging, so this campaign is NOT about raising money, but bybuying a £1 perk, you will show the big retailers that we are willing to pay a small price premium for packaging that can REDUCE OUR BILLS and SAVE THE PLANET FOR OUR GRANDCHILDREN.
RESEARCH & ASSUMPTIONS
To avoid re-inventing the wheel, the products that I have focused upon as having most beneficial impact are based upon the findings documented in the book "Sustainability Without the Hot Air" by David MacKay FRS published in December 2008 - a free download is available here: http://www.withouthotair.com/endorsements.html.
None of us has all of the answers which is why this project includes support for our 'ReDuce-ReUse-ReCycle challenge' crowdsourcing initiative. This will help deliver a continuous stream of innovative solutions and the 'packaging components' from which they can be created.
CLIMATE CHANGE...TIME IS RUNNING OUT
My original intention was to spend another 6 to 12 months building working prototype packaging based wind and solar installations before launching a crowd fund, but after seeing the devastation caused by the typhoon in the Phillipines and disasters in the US, India and Sardinia - I decided to at least try and make this happen faster. Working on the issues - alongside my day job - over the past 18 months has helped me to identify problems and conceive solutions, but it has been relatively slow. Ideally, we want as many people collaborating to finalise and implement the best solution as fast as possible.
Please help by:
(1) Clicking here to SIGN OUR PETITION (opens in a new window) to ask the supermarkets to give us the option of buying our everyday products - food, drink, toiletries and cleaning products - in packaging that is DESIGNED FOR REUSE.
(2) Buying a £1 PERK you can put yourself in the queue to buy the redesigned pakaging (which is likely to be onitially sold pre-order only, get your name on our supporters page and help fund the rest of the development.
(3) Run a 'ReDuce-ReUse-ReCycle' challenge at your school to get parents, teachers and children working together learning about science and the environment. We'll help publicise the event and provide guide materials. You can raise funds for your school by selling tickets to the final exhibition and prize giving and if you come up with designs that are adopted, you could possibly even earn royalties for your team!
(4) Please TELL YOUR FRIENDS. This crowd fund is only 60 days long and if we can't drum up much support in that time, it's not going to help convince the supermarkets that we need to make this happen.
A LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT ME
My relevant qualifications skills and experience is as follows:
- A BSc Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering from Southampton University.
- Experience setting up and running a production line machinery manufacturing company - MSA Engineering Systems Limited. This includes designing and building machinery for well know ready meal and confectionery companies, recruitment and management of staff including long term unemployed, raising debt and equity finance, UK and international sales. In addition, I sold automated bespoke motor winding machinery for my industrial investor and gained a good knowledge of their patented electrofusion (hot wire pipe jointing) solutions.
- Extensive knowledge and experience of production machinery, packaging and supply chains. In addition to my work at MSA Engineering, much of this was gained as a former Industrial Systems Sales Engineer for GEC Avery. This role included the management and support of a team of 7 standatrd product sales executives, designing and selling of bespoke shop floor and weighbridge systems.
- Most recently, I have been involved in the design,prototyping and go-to-market activities for a number of innovations ,business systems optimisation across a wide range of industries and the build of a large format Rostoc Max 3D delta printer.
WHAT WILL THE FUNDS BE USED FOR?
Activities to be undertaken will include:
Developing up to 5 different ReUsable packaging container types including drinks bottles, cereal packets and carrier bags - together with the production line tooling and handling solutions required to support them. The crowd sourcing activity previously proposed will be used to gather the best, most fit for purpose designs:
(i) Most importantly, the new packaging should not be cost prohibitive - see below for a full analysis - the predicted packaging cost replacing the main mechanical components of a small wind turbine or thermal solar system is under £100!
(ii) Capacity needs to make the container not too heavy to lift or pour.
(iii) There should be a comfortable handle in the right place for balance - or a reusable holder or clip would need to be made available.
I would make and consumer test more prototypes. For example:
PET plastic bottles this would need:
(i) a screw cap on both ends - one internal & one external.
(ii) longtitudinal wire to give strength and enable electrofusion parallel jointing.
An effective domestic wind turbine, this would need:
(i) a multi-tube bottle shafts of differing lengths up to 100m.
(ii) a 30m high shaft affixed to the side of a house.
(iii) Blades - and one-way sail - based turbines.
(iv) Bearings of different types.
(v) An alternator - wire & foil - magnet and no magnet.
(viii) A grid tie invertor - and/or - flow battery.
(ix) Struts from bamboo, plastic and other materials.
(x) UV coating - porosity and breakdown.
(xi) Strength and safety - failover testing.
The build and test process would involve:
(i) Injection mould blank - tool, moulding machine.
(ii) Blow bottles - empty and hot fill test.
(iii) Handling on line to blow, fill and carton up.
2. Legal and commercial
I would initiate discussions with the following parties with the aim of of coming to a workable solution to fast track domestic green energy to market - initially just in the UK, but then with the help of interested local officials - other parts of the globe.
(i) Consumers, retailers and manufacturers - to a commitment to make this happen and support to complete the development.
(ii) Residents, government and planning officials - with the aim of getting widespread blanket planning permission where a vast majority of residents are in favour of installations.
(iii) Product roll out would need to be carefully planned to prevent issues. One of these might be up front buying and dumping of the contents. This could be tackled by making the ReUsable packaged products up front order only - for collection or delivery - but only available in consumable amounts over a 6 to 12 month period.
PROGRESS TO DATE
Having undertaken experiment for the last 18 months, I do have a good idea as the issues and how all of them can be addressed as well as the knowledge and experience to work the ideas through to a solution. The text and images below outline some of the work that I have undertaken.
Having said that, building the prototypes out of existing packaging is extremely problematic. For example, to provide strength with lightness, I need to pressurised the PET plastic bottles. This need a precision screw fit at both ends. To hack each existing bottle by adding a second screw opening at it's base is a lengthy 8 step operation - see details below. Even then, hot melt glue joints leak and constantly need to be repaired so getting 250 bottles for a full size domestic turbine is quite a challenge.
I have spent £1,500 building a large format 3D printer to achieve repeatable precision, but the bottles produced are built up in layers which aren't as strong. They need to be thicker than their moulded and blown equivalents to achieve the same strength.
Image above: an example of why I need the funding - without moulding components it is difficult to get the precision, strength and repeatability required to build working prototypes.
This will be hired or bought from suppliers offering the bast value - to be determined using the standard three quotes approach.
i. Premises with connected services (3 phase electricity) in North London.
ii. Technical, marketing and administrative support staff.
b. To build one off (printed instead of moulded) PET bottle consumer test prototypes:
i. £1500 - 3D printer ------------------- already purchased
ii. £500 - Filament ---------------------- already purchased
iii. £500 - PC and CAD software ---- already purchased
c. To produce the moulded PET bottle blanks:
i. £? - Use of an injection moulding machine capable of a 50g shot weight and 500mm x 150mm x 150mm part size.
ii. £? - Low volume complex tooling that allows undercuts and apetures and easy mould release.
iii. £15 - PET and HDPE plastic pellets.
d. To test the production line blowing and hot filling of the PET bottle blanks with upper and lower openings:
i. £15,000 - A hot fill machine or ideally production line
ii. Modifications to handle two aperture bottles.
PROJECTED TIMELINES - past and future
Note: the best way to view the Gaant charts below are to save the images down to your PC or tablet, then open them and zoom in as required.
(1) If the project gets the support of one or more big retailers:
(2) If the project needs to be progressed in my spare time:
Please get in touch if your organisation would like to publicise or support this project.
RESEARCH: ENERGY CONSUMPTION PER PERSON IN THE UK
According to the energy consumption figures in 'Sustainability Without the Hot Air', here in Britain, we consume a scarily high 195kWh per day per person!
Of this total, the energy that we pay for directly - per person - comprises of 37kWh per day of gas, around 20kWh per day of electricity (comprising of 12kWh per day washing and cooking + 5kWh per day on gadgets + 2.7kWh per day on home lighting) and 40kWh per day of fuel for the car.
When considering generation to meet this demand, we should remember that David Mackay uses the units kWh/d which is equivalent to 40W continuous usage (40W x 24hrs = 960W). For a household with two adults, this gives a need to generate 3.1kW/h to meet gas fulfilled needs, 1.7kW/h to meet electricity needs and 3.4kW/h to meet our car fuel (petrol/diesel) needs.
As a quick check, I have compared these figures to a 2011 report by OFGEM - the UK regulator which stated that average consumption per household over the course of a typical year was 3,300kWh for electricity and 16,500kWh for gas. These equate to daily consumption figures 9KWh of electricity and 45kWh of gas which seem to indicate that David Mackay's 37kWh figure for gas should be per household as opposed to per person and that his electricity usage is very high (double) compared to the OFGEM figure. The latter is based on estimates for light and gadgets which seem high eg. 10 100W light bulbs burning at home for 5 hours per day.
GREEN ENERGY PRODUCTION
If storage through the grid or high capacity batteries is available to smooth out generation needs and all appliances were converted to electricity, a continuous 24x7 generating capacity of 2.25kW per hour ((9KWh of electricity + 45kWh of gas)/24 hours) would be needed to meet needs.
Image above: an attractive solar installation.
PHOTO VOLTAIC PANELS
In the UK, the sun shines for an average of 34% of the day, so for solar power we would need the panels to deliver 6.6kW per hour to meet our total energy needs.
Currently, the main emphasis on domestic green energy generation is based around low cost photo voltaic panels to meet just our electrical - not our gas - consumption needs. Such an installation rated to produce 4kW peak power from a well known supplier would typically consist of 15 panels each measuring 1.58 metres x 1.06 metres requiring a south facing roof area of nearly 27 square metres. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) state that the set of panels would cost around £7,000 installed and generate energy worth around £799 per year at today’s prices.
As electricity is much more expensive than gas, photo voltaics offer the best return on investment right now, but typical payback periods are 7 to 9 years. Even with 'pay no more than your current bill' financing options in place, this is still proving too long to get mass market uptake...which is why we need the ReUsable packaging solution.
THERMAL SOLAR PANELS
According to the energy saving trust, the cost of installing a typical solar water heating system is around £4,800 (including VAT at 5%). Savings are moderate - typically £80 & 500kg of CO2 per year. Systems can provide most of your hot water in the summer, but much less during colder weather.
Image above: this document - http://www.ideassonline.org/public/pdf/PannelloSolarePlasticaENG.pdf - provides the instructions for a PET plastic bottle bases system first installed in Brazil in 2002 that has now been replicated thousands of times. Like many of the hobbyist renewables projects on YouTube or Instructables, the build process involves cutting, painting and other steps. For mass adoption, the parts should deliver similar predictable performance and ease of assembly to manufactured systems. The major differences here with purpise built system is that the tubes are evacuated (like in a thermos flask) to more effectively retain heat and that a pump is used instead of relying on thermal flows.
For solar thermal panels, my development efforts would therefore, focus upon creating packaging prototype PET bottles suitable for low cost volume manufacturing with:
- A half silver coating to reflect the light into the heat collecting tube.
- Achieving adequate strength to enable the bottles to be evacuated.
- Adding a UV resistant, anti reflective coating for heat absorption & protection.
- Coating the inner pipes with nano particle coating - if this doesn't infringe IP rights.
SMALL WIND POWER - THAT COULD WORK IN URBAN AREAS
A BBC Panorama programme shown in May 2009 highlighted the fact that domestic wind turbines DIDN'T WORK!
In urban areas - with currently available small, heavy and high friction rotor designs - the average air flow is just too turbulent and wind speeds too slow for wind turbines in generating electricity. My packaging based, oversize wind turbine design with low inertia should work even in turbulent, low speed urban wind conditions. Even if it only produces a small contribution to our energy needs, it's low cost could make it viable.
Image above: our one-way-sail design (patents pending) - wind blowing in one direction pushes the flaps up against the mest capturing energy, whilst others on the return path minimise resitance by blowing open to let the air through.
Page 32 of 'Sustainability without the Hot Air' shows that the wind speed in Cambridge is around 2 to 3 metres per second on average as opposed to the 6 metres per second (13 miles per hour) previously assumed.
I am continuing with my tests. If my one-way-sail or even just scaled up existing proven rotor designs work, widespread adoption of the solution would make a valuable contribution to our energy needs. Being transparent, they would also compliment by solar thermal panels and 400% efficient heat pumps that could also be made for a lower cost using packaging based components.
This video shows that small vertical axis wind turbines can operate well in close proximity - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc4GRaAyE9c#t=1701. A typical town house could accommodate two turbines and as the light would shine through this structure - the 4kW photo voltaic or some lower cost part-packaging based hot water solar panels.
Image above - this mesh and flap design...
Image above: ...could be made out of extremely lightweight, plastic carrier bags. This are one of the most polluting types of packaging. Redesigned with UV protection, one netting side and zips at their edges for easy jointing - they are the perfect component to make low cost, but effective make sails.
Image above: early days - testing a helical rotor design. This is currently the best proven design for vertical axis wind turbines. Savonius (cupped) rotor blades had to be added to get startup, but then the light weight construction meant that it turned even in light winds.
Image above: to keep the weight down whilst still achieving the strength and rigidity required, the packaging would be pressurised. Current design 2L PET bottles can take between 80 and 150 psi.
Image above: turbines would be supported by tie bars below the rotating blade section - extra rigidity could be provided by building a frame onto buildings and supporting the top of the rotor too.
When pressurized, my experiments have led me to believe that to build a vertical axis wind turbine out of pressurised 2L PET plastic drinks bottles - with a 5 metre high rotor that was only supported at it's base, at least three parallel 'bottle tubes' would be required to give sufficient strength and rigidity. Alternatively, a frame could be built around the turbine to allow it to be supported top and bottom.
If the whole shaft length of the wind turbine from ground to tip was 15 metres (7.6 metres house height + 4.6 metres rotor height + 3.7m clear shaft above th pitch), then 180 bottles (15 metres x 3 / 0.25m bottle length) would be required just for the shaft.
Image above: Shaft base prototype - three parallel tubes significantly increase rigidity
A further 55 bottles (3 blades x 4.6 metres high each / 0.25 metre bottle height) would be required. We found that these containers were not rigid enough to form the struts linking the shaft to the blades, but found that coated, fast growing bamboo provided both the strength and lightness to fulfill this requirement.
A family of four consumes a 4 litres bottle of milk every 2 days. This means that to accumulate the 235 2 litre bottles required to build a turbine, it would take around 235 days (8 months).
PREMIUM PRICED...BUT NOT BY MUCH
To make the production of reusable packaging viable, retailer and manufacturers are going to need to charge a premium price - at least initially - to cover the costs of additional raw materials, retooling, updating production line machinery and other parts of their supply chain. The price premium over and above that of current packaging will eventually be based on the demand and production volumes.
For example - in the case of the PET bottles, a second opening at the base would require more complex injection mould tooling with retractable elements to create the blanks. Similarly, the bottling lines would need to apply an additional bottle cap to the base of the bottles and possibly resistance wire to the sides of the bottles for electrofusion jointing - before the existing hot or cold fill process. These changes are likely to slow down both the moulding and filling line speeds which would impact costs - as overheads are split over production volumes.
Based on the retail price of the cheapest 2L PET bottled product in a UK supermarket - 17p for filtered tap water and assuming a 100% retail mark up, this puts the cost of the packaging at around 9p to 10p factory gate price. Even if this cost were tripled, it would still only cost 30p which is a small fraction of the price of typical milk, juice and branded soft drinks that could be sold in the new ReUsable packaging.
As a starting point, I have assumed that consumers would be willing to pay premiums such as 20p on a £1.40 300ml bottle of shower gel, £30p on a £2.40 4L container of milk or 25p on a £2.50 1L container of Orange juice for reusable packaging. Based upon this, 235 2L PET bottles at a cost premium of 30p, would mean that the majority of the mechanical structure of a 4kW sized wind turbine would cost just £70.50!
DESIGN FOR STRENGTH & SAFETY
Milk is currently packaged in HDPE bottles whilst juice, water and carbonated drinks come in PET plastic bottles. I do envisage these continuing to be sold in these bottles en masse, but a few standard sizes and shapes of PET plastic bottles being developed for reuse.
A 2L PET fizzy bottle can hold up to 80 psi safely and up to 150 psi at the limit when moulded in its current form. We know that a bottle weighs 42g, has a diameter of 109mm, a height of 301mm and a usable straight edge height of 250mm.
A single tube of bottles 15m in length would comprise of 60 bottles. For the purposes of an estimate, lets assume we adopt a shaft design that comprises of three tubes running in parallel to give more rigidity- the 15 metre shaft would use 180 bottles. With 55 bottles used in the rotors and coated bamboo struts, the total weight of a 235 bottle structure would weigh 9.78kg plus 2kg for the bamboo. The pressure rating of 80psi = 0.06kg/sq mm and the three bottles at the base of the shaft would have a cross sectional area of 1027 sq mm. This means that they could support a weight of 61.6kg, so there is plenty of safety margin built in there.
Compared to a metal, fibreglass or kevlar blade, our plastic equivalents would weigh well under 1kg each, so even if they became detached, the risk to people and property would be negligible. With the weather set to become more unpredictable, this benefit combined with the ease and cost of replacing a blade is hugely beneficial.
The shaft would be supported in bearings at various points along the side of the house and to a lesser extent (only in one direction) by guy wires up to the base of the rotor above that. This means that it would need to be designed to cope with bending moments above that height and also the torque transmission twisting moments along its entire length down to the alternator(s).
More crucially, then, the abount be which the shaft would bend would be determined not by the pressure rating of the bottles, but by how much the PET material that they are made of would stretch or elongate under side loads. we need to measure how elastic the material is as this will determine by how much a shaft will bend when a side load is applied.
PET has an elastic modulus of between 2.0 and 2.7 GPa which is not particularly high, but maybe we can solve two problems with one solution. The bottles need to be joined longtitudinally, so that the tubes can be attached in parallel. One of the was in which this could be done most reliably is to use electrofusion - the melting of the plastic using heat generated by a length of resistance (nichrome) wire. If we incorporated one (minimum) or three (to be sure) lenths of nichrome wire along the lengths of each bottle, then this would both enable heating and provide extra resilience to the elongation of the bottles. Nichchrome has an elastic modulus of 450 GPa - 200x that of PET plastic.
Image above: hacking together prototypes from existing packaging is a lengthy and problematic process - low volume injection moulding is required for precision.
ELECTROMECHANICAL COMPONENT - COST REDUCTION
Image above: magnet free reluctance motor design. Image courtesey of Benutzer Wolfgangs.
My development includes innovations that could bring down the cost of the alternator using a variable electromagnetic field instead of costly rare earth magnets, using bottle labels printed with conductive ink in lieu of curcuit boards and so on.
Without this work, current solutions - see below - would push the installed price of a 5kW turbine to around £3,000 including VAT - well over our 12 month energy bill target price for an installed 5kW facility:
- maglev bearings - £200
- a low speed, permanent magnet 5kW alternator - £1,200 ($2,000)
- a grid tie inverter (or battery storage) - £1,600
KEEPING DOWN THE COSTS OF INSTALLATION
A cherrypicker mobile lift platform (image - courtesy of Paul Farmer)
As with the mechanical structure, the best way to minimise installation costs for the wind turbine installation is to achieve volume. If a number of neighbouring houses or preferably a whole street all arranged to have their initial installations carried out at the same time, then a cherrypicker mobile high lift platform would generate big savings over permanent scaffolding.
- hire of cherrypicker lift platform @ £500/week = £100 per home
- labour for installation = £200
GOALS AND STRETCH GOALS
Transparency: regular updates detailing spend, progress and opportunities to get involved will be provided to all crowd funders on a monthly or more frequent basis.
Why the £7,000 target?
Without knowing the geographical spread of consumer demand and having detailed discussion with manufacturers/retailers, it is difficult to evaluate the volumes that would be needed to get them on board. Having said that, basic research has shown that it is possible to acquire production PET bottle tooling - when purchasing a
machine - for an existing perform for around $15,000. Assuming that a run of
complex tool with retracting elements and additional raw material can be
fulfilled for 10x that price ($150,000 or £100,000), then based on a £35.25
contribution per consumer it would take under 3,000 customers to fund a pilot.
I estimate that it would cost about the same £100,000 to complete the
development on an optimized and reliable wind turbine, so for this reason, I
have set our crowd fund target at £7,000 - with the aim of getting a minimum of 7,000
consumers to indicate that they would be interested in paying for reusable
(1) If a small amount of money - the £7,000 target - is raised, deciding upon the speed at which this project will progress - or if it will happen at all - will depend upon the retailers, manufacturers, government and planners. I will continue development and a lot will still have been achieved in terms of awareness raising, but the finalising development will need to be funded largely or wholly by them.
(2) If more - £100,000 - is raised, I will be able to work - full time - to fast track the creation of a single working prototype to allow the solution to be better evaluated.
(3) If £500,000 can be raised, I could get the packaging based components to market without supermarket support - so that you could buy them.
Perk 1: FAST TRACK FREE GREEN ENERGY - £1
Show retailers that you would pay a small premium (eg. 50p on a £2.50 container of milk) for ReUsable packaging.
Opt for this perk to get priority purchase rights to the first reusable packaging and get a weekly email update. Buy anonymously or have your name listed on our supporters page.
Come on - let's make it happen!
Perk 2: Support for you to run ReDuce-ReUse=ReCycle Challenge events
Run a 'ReDuce-ReUse-ReCycle' challenge to raise funds for your school, community or commercial space. This will include a listing for your event on our publicised dedicated listings page and downloadable, printable assets such as event activity instructions, ticket designs and advertising posters.
Perk 3: Show off your green credentials with our cotton T-shirt
On the reverse is the wording "Join the Design for ReUse project on Indiegogo.com" together with the web address - http://igg.me/at/NewClimateSolution/x/5061606
Perk 4: For businesses who care about the future
Put your logo on a promotional 20 to 30 metre high wind turbines in your chosen geographical area from the list below. Turbines will be built after the pledged total for a location reached £50,000 and the technical development work on the first production prototype is complete. Logos will also be displayed on the businesses and brands supporters page.
Price: £100 per square centimetre per month
Perk 4: Licence our IP
Price: to be agreed on discussion - typically 3 to 7% of value add (increase in or the absolute retail price for products sold that utilise our IP).
WHY WE NEED TO ACT NOW
Image above: the Gulf Stream today - it's collapse at the end of this century will mean a lot less inhabitable land - impacting our grandchildren at the end of this century. Image courtesy of RedAndr.
1. Global Warming - October 2013 report by the IPCC
As the three havoc wreaking storms in the Phillipines, the US and India have shown us just this week (mid November 2013), something unusual is afoot. The link below gives the main conclusions of the report balanced by comment from Friends of the Earth:
2. Oxygen starvation from ocean warming and pollution
Phytoplankton in the ocean produce the vast majority (90%) of the oxygen in our atmosphere. Their numbers are falling fast and sampling has shown that there is twice the weight of plastic pollution in the ocean as there is Phytoplankton. The two articles below give more information on this topic:
More information on plastic pollution in our oceans can also be found at http://5gyres.org/.
3. Worst case scenario: Gulf Stream collapse - a northern hemisphere ice age, equitorial dessert growth could lead to war around the year 2100.
A recent scientific report above concluded that the continental scale disaster whereby there is insufficient temperature difference to sustain the Gulf Stream is unlikely to happen until the end of this century. The Friends of the Earth analysis of this report outlines the fact that 'unlikely' simply means that we don't know - more research is needed.
If the Gulf Stream does slow and stop at the end of this century, it means that for those of us with primary age children now, by the time our grandchildren get to around forty years of age, they will have to face uo to coping with a much smaller inhabitable area of the earths surface. Without the heat carried north from the equator, the UK, Europe and North America are likely to become a lot colder. At the same time, the equatorial region will get a lot hotter. Everyone will want to shoft to the narrow strips of land between these latitudes with temperate climates and territorial battles may ensue.
TO OPEN SOURCE OR NOT TO OPEN SOURCE...
That is the question!
As someone who has spent much of their life trying to take innovations to market, I love what the open source movement has done. Many fast track development in 3D printing and computing would not have been possible without people giving up their spare time to help push the boundaries. I have also seen and contributed to discussions on forums with innovators - such as myself - who should make the transition from spare time to full time development activity to benefit us all. Quite often, those who commercialise the fruits of an open source community don't support those who create the value.
In this case, I believe that we need a mix of open source - to maximise green energy uptake - and IP rights to sustainably support ReUse innovators and the movement. The amounts needed to bring good ideas to happen would add just a few pennies to the cost of everyday items.
For that reason, I have registered some designs and filed some patent applications. My intention is to limit royalty requests to under 5% of the value add - the difference in retail price between the re-use and non-re-use products.
With sufficient market reach and the positive publicity achievable by supporting open source, larger brands may choose to adopt this approach. Please let us know your own views on the 'to open source or not open source?' question.
EXISTING SUPPLIERS & OTHER EMERGING SOLUTIONS
I would like to stress that this project's main focus is on the shift to reusable packaging rather than a single green energy solution.
For that reason, it is important that you as consumers are aware of a number of exciting technical breakthrough's occuring when considering the solutions that I have outlined above. In my opinion, we should be looking at a combination of both domestic solar and transparent wind turbine technology. Solar will be more productive in the summer whilst wind speeds are likely to be higher in the autumn, winter and spring. Solar works in the day whilst wind works 24/7.
Here are some of the innovative solutions that were emerging at the time of writing that could enable you to make low cost or free green energy in the future:
1. Researchers at MIT have developed a new rechargeable flow battery enables cheaper, large-scale energy storage. The design may support widespread use of solar and wind energy. Reprinted with permission of MIT News - click here for more information.
2. Solar paint - colloidal quantum dot technology could reduce the cost of photovoltaic solar panels in due course.
3. Nanoparticles coatings - have been used to dramatic increase the efficiency of a solar collector. Compared to existing photovoltaics which convert around 15% of energy available, the researchers reflective dish unit collects 24% of the energy that falls upon it and the 'nano shell' coating converts 80% of that to heat. They have managed to turn ice into steam!
I would like to invite any parties working on or already supplying solutions to consider working with us. Are you likely to get a better return on your IP by offering your current products and price points? Or could accepting a lower royalty percentage, but reaching out to many more people yield a better return?
Your resources or intellectual property rights that might be just as profitable serving a wider audience. Do please re-evaluate your go-to-market strategy and contact us if you think that we could work together.
INVESTMENT, JOBS AND GROWTH
Whilst it might appear that giving people the means to make their own products and become increasingly self sufficient might reduce the number of manufacturing jobs and investor returns, it should in fact help give us all back a more productive, manufacturing orientated mindset.
The big, successful eCommerce, auction sites and even the smartphone suppliers have prospered by harnessing the personal productivity of individuals and small businesses. Crowd funding sites and 3D printing are already enabling this to happen to a greater and greater extent.
If recruitment, supply chains, investor and retailer networks can be built around more distributed value creation - perhaps along the lines of our 'ReDuce-ReUse-ReCycle' initiative, then we will have a truly sustainable solution to growth where less (stuff/ raw material) achieves more (wealth creation).
The following individuals have also helped and contributed to this project.
(1) A materials scientist who has In the past conceived a green (solvent free) process for making plastics and also, worked on the team that built the first carbon fibre brake disks for a Formula 1 car.
(2) Francis Sealey, the founder of Globalnet21 - a former BBC educational television producer and time banking pioneer, you can find out more about him by clicking HERE.
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY DONE SO, PLEASE CONSIDER SIGNING THE PETITION OR BUYING A £1 PERK.