You don’t always have to brainstorm to find new solutions. Usually needs and problems come up in areas where you would think solutions exist, but they seem to be overlooked.
Finding and seeking niches or cross-pollination of ideas and solutions is another way to innovate. I have five minute to type, so here we go.
The past few days have been an interesting time as what I perceived as a need in the overall market has indeed shown its face. That area is off the grid energy, and the mystery of science meeting a bit of art to not only know all the variables, but come up with a way to bring them into a place where you can optimize the systems, make them reliable, and minimal in maintained.
Perhaps how I got into this area of work is from an orphanage in Uganda that really was on the right path for getting self-sufficiency. They (nor I) subscribe to the traditional way so lining up a few hundred or thousand kids into a building, more like a school dormitory than a home. We caught on to the idea of creating family units when we leaned that many widows in India are kicked out of the family when the husband dies.
It leaves you with a lot of widows to go with the growing number of orphans.
When people ask, “why do you do this work?” The only answer I come up with is, “if I were hungry, would I want someone to give me some food?”
While I realize this might be too simple or general of an answer to many. It is the core of where all this belief started. The second step is “you need a family type unit and a home with a kitchen” for the family, be it CHH, or WHH – child or widow headed household – to grow
The interest in power supplies came with this one group we shipped solar ovens to. The need was to cut the expense of charcoal cost for them, get rid of the cooking near the houses that causes lung issues with breathing – and get rid of the flame, which could cause a fire and burn whatever house they had down.
The problem was there was no infrastructure, not grid power, nor off the grid power. When one put up a solar powered light bulb, the entire village came and stared at it. A better analogy would be my friend in the gulu explaining how the safe camps wouldn’t feed people because they didn’t want to become a draw, and instead had plasma screens and cartoon videos. “Mark, the kids just stared at them in amazement.”
The same can be said with one light bulb at night in an area of the world that didn’t have power. People stared at the amazing new "thing."
That was the day Agrowbox morphed into something bigger. We call it Agrowvillage – the variable section of ways to bring food, shelter, water, and industry to some place – anywhere on the planet.
Did I ever imagine this knowledge would ever be used inside the United States or a developing nation? No. I never really realized how dependant we are on the grid in the United States till the power company in Colorado was shooting laser distance to the nearest pole in the mountains.
“That is 500 meter…that is 1200m….”
I asked, already knowing the answer, “Uhm. Bigger numbers are not good right?”
“Not for us. Maybe for you.” was the reply.
Thus, the work into wind, solar, hydro and ways to harness and store it went into action. It was similar in how we took our own power supply with shows around the planet. A 320kw diesel generator. For a big show take two of them – you have 640kw of power on demand and a fuel bill to match.
The issue with grid, grid tied, or off the grid is simply economics. For Uganda we designed a mobile pineapple processing ship of sorts to move around and allow more than 20% of the pineapple crop to not rot in the fields. There was land based, container based – you name it, we have a sketch for it.
Working all over the world also taught us about power supplies and inverters and various voltages and cycles…
When biomass and gasification came into the play as affordable and reliable – we had the solution for year round living and growing with Agrowbox
Who ever knew that it would be a path for a larger test area in Colorado, and a possible venture to help people? A mistake in this game isn’t inexpensive. You blow up a battery bank and you are out 10k. You screw up wind calculations and a 30k tower and 20k blade just sit there for birds to rest on. While not a lot of money from a corporate standard – for the average person in America, they would rather use that to purchase something else.
Thus – that is the story of how we have spent the past 8-9 years with Agrowvillage power.
It started with pineapples and a lake in Uganda? Seeing the current orphan raising mentality was doomed? watching the corruption in 3rd world countries? the innefficiency in many not for profits? or was it a bit of all?
That concludes the 6 minutes I had to type this message. May it make sense to someone.