Wednesday, October 26, 2011

German designer makes bowl from sand using concentrated solar power and envisions a tool for solar powered production.

By way of the SASL Facebook group here's a video from Markus Kayser in which he installs a solar powered sintering* 3-D Printer which uses sand instead of they typical resins used in 3 D printers to make a rough bowl.
Although the film is beautiful and some have viewed it an artistic performance, Kayser sees his machine as the beginning of a productive tool for creating objects.

"In August 2010 I took my first solar machine - the Sun-Cutter - to the Egyptian desert in a suitcase. This was a solar-powered, semi-automated low-tech laser cutter, that used the power of the sun to drive it and directly harnessed its rays through a glass ball lens to ‘laser’ cut 2D components using a cam-guided system. The Sun-Cutter produced components in thin plywood with an aesthetic quality that was a curious hybrid of machine-made and “nature craft” due to the crudeness of its mechanism and cutting beam optics, alongside variations in solar intensity due to weather fluctuations.

In the deserts of the world two elements dominate - sun and sand. The former offers a vast energy source of huge potential, the latter an almost unlimited supply of silica in the form of quartz. The experience of working in the desert with the Sun-Cutter led me directly to the idea of a new machine that could bring together these two elements. Silicia sand when heated to melting point and allowed to cool solidifies as glass. This process of converting a powdery substance via a heating process into a solid form is known as sintering and has in recent years become a central process in design prototyping known as 3D printing or SLS (selective laser sintering). These 3D printers use laser technology to create very precise 3D objects from a variety of powdered plastics, resins and metals - the objects being the exact physical counterparts of the computer-drawn 3D designs inputted by the designer. By using the sun’s rays instead of a laser and sand instead of resins, I had the basis of an entirely new solar-powered machine and production process for making glass objects that taps into the abundant supplies of sun and sand to be found in the deserts of the world.

My first manually-operated solar-sintering machine was tested in February 2011 in the Moroccan desert with encouraging results that led to the development of the current larger and fully-automated computer driven version - the Solar-Sinter. The Solar-Sinter was completed in mid-May and later that month I took this experimental machine to the Sahara desert near Siwa, Egypt, for a two week testing period. The machine and the results of these first experiments presented here represent the initial significant steps towards what I envisage as a new solar-powered production tool of great potential. "

SOLAR SINTER (2MIN EDIT) from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

From Kayser's website:

"Markus Kayser was born near Hannover, Germany in 1983. He studied 3D Furniture and Product Design at London Metropolitan University from 2004 - 2008 and continued 2009 with the study of Product Design at the Royal College of Art and gained his Master in 2011. Markus Kayser Studio was set up in London, UK in 2011.

From early works of furniture and lights in his father’s farm workshop through to today Markus Kayser developed an understanding of materials, processes and technologies which he sees as being key in combination with the natural given. He wants to engage by producing objects that one can relate to, that speak about something else other than just their utilitarian qualities. The layers to be discovered as well as one’s associations with objects interest him.

Experimentation plays a central part in developing his designs. Kayser’s recent work demonstrates the exploration of hybrid solutions linking technology and natural energy to show the great opportunities, to question current methodologies in manufacturing and to test new scenarios of production.
In his process it is important that behind the thorough research and the theory there must be a realistic proof of concept, which elucidates the real potential of a given subject. He tries to tell a story and to balance the seriousness with a sense of humour. This kind of storytelling makes his products as well as his experimental works digestible without losing its depths in content.

The aim of the newly formed Markus Kayser Studio is to engage in discussion about opportunities in the production of design involving new as well as forgotten processes and technologies. The studio draws from science, art and engineering and aims to blur gaps between seemingly separate fields. "
(SASL Finder: Chris)

Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC's) and bio-electrochemical systems (BESs) produce electricity from biological action

Collecting electric power from the action of bacteria may prove a better solution than solar or wind power for far flung individuals and communities for low watt but highly critical needs.

In the video below one sort of MFC is explained. These are not batteries (to store power) but fuel cels (to generate power)

Lebone (pronounce the final e as a long A) recently announced that they have created an MFC (Microbial Fuel Cell) based in a bucket.

Hugo Van Vuuren, a 2010 TED Fellow founded Lebone Solutions "a social enterprise working in off-grid energy and lighting technology. We work to create global awareness for “Dirt Power” and end the energy and lighting crisis in Africa. We leverage our African roots and growing first-world experience to develop emerging technologies and models in a commercial and sustainable way."

A number of other researchers and aspiring manufacturers are working on the perfection of the biologically based electrical generators which initially would serve off the grid and impoverished communities with small but critical amounts of power.

A great source of information on Microbial Fuel Cells is

By the way Keegotech sells a Mudwatt battery for under $50 if you are inclined to experiment.

(SASL finder: Chris Lee)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meatless Monday Recipe-Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

6 Servings; Vegan

So, I've been wanting the flavors of fall. Between the move to Colorado and a lack of time, this needed little "hands on time". Use a little less sage {about 1/2 tsp. so it's not so powerful; also you can double the dried fruit and quinoa and skip the rice.} This can be modified to fit EVERY taste, enjoy and happy eating!

•6 small acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
•6 cups water
•1 cup uncooked wild rice (genuine Ojibwa if possible), rinsed
•1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
•2 tsp. vegetable oil
•4 green onions (white and pale green parts), chopped
•1/2 cup chopped celery
•1 tsp. dried sage
•1/2 cup dried cranberries
•1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
•1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
•1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
•Salt to taste

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange squash halves cut side down in baking dish or roasting pan. Bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, make filling. In large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to boil. Add wild rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Drain if necessary.

3.In another large saucepan, bring remaining 2 cups of water to boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes.

4.In large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add green onions, celery and sage, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add dried fruits and nuts and cook, stirring often, until heated through. Using a fork, fluff quinoa and wild rice, then add both to skillet. Add orange juice and mix until heated through. Season with salt.

5.To serve, remove squash from oven and arrange on serving platter. Spoon filling into each squash cavity and serve.

Per serving: Calories: 454, Protein: 12g, Total fat: 6g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbs: 95g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 31mg, Fiber: 6g

Found: Vegetarian Times October 1998

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meatless Monday Recipe-Creamy Roasted Garlic-Squash Soup

Creamy Roasted Garlic-Squash Soup
Vegan; Serves 10

2 heads garlic
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegan margarine
2 cups diced onions
3/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
4 lbs. butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and roughly chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped sage
1/2 cup plain soy milk
Sea salt and white pepper, to taste

• Preheat the oven to 350°F.

• Cut the garlic heads in half crosswise. Rub the cut surfaces with the olive oil and put back together. Wrap in foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.

• Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a large pot over medium heat.

• Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until the onions are translucent. Add the squash, broth, and sage. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

• Once the garlic has cooled, remove and mash the cloves. Stir into the soup.

• Purée the soup in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in the soy milk. Season with the salt and pepper.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Meatless Monday Recipe: Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew

Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew

With cold weather blowing in, this is a great recipe to warm your insides!


Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 medium onion, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Fine sea salt (optional)
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4” cubes
7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup brown or red lentils


1. Heat two tablespoons of the broth over medium heat in a large, deep pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Stir in the tomatoes and ginger and cook for three minutes. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, and a small pinch of salt, if using. Cook and stir for two minutes, then taste for seasonings; try to use only enough salt to heighten the flavors.

2. Add the sweet potatoes, broth, and lentils. Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft.

Nutrition Information | Per serving (1/4 recipe):

calories: 256; fat: 1 g; saturated fat: 0.2 g; calories from fat: 3%; cholesterol: 0 mg; protein: 13.9 g; carbohydrates: 50.7 g; sugar: 11.9 g; fiber: 10.9 g; sodium: 275 mg; calcium: 78 mg; iron: 6.1 mg; vitamin C: 23 mg; beta-carotene: 7699 mcg; vitamin E: 1.2 mg

Recipe adapted from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Meatless Monday Recipe-Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Vegetarian; Serves 6

When I made this, I added crushed red peppers to the puree-I just can't seem to remember how much I added. So, to be safe add what you like (maybe no more then 1 Tbs.)..... It was bland if you didn't add the crushed red pepper.

•2 12-oz. pkg. frozen butternut squash purée, thawed, or 4 cups fresh butternut squash purée
•1 1/2 tsp. salt
•1/2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
•1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
•15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
•1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•8 short no-cook lasagna noodles (about 7x4 inches)


To make Fresh Butternut Squash Purée:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place 2 whole butternut squash (about 2 lb. each) on baking sheet, and bake, turning occasionally, about 1 hour, or until very tender when pierced with tip of paring knife. Let squash cool enough to handle.

2. Halve each squash lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Scrape flesh into food processor and purée until smooth.

To make Lasagna:

3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine squash purée, 1 tsp. salt, sage, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in medium bowl; mix well. Combine ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in second bowl, and mix well.

4. Coat 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place 2 noodles in bottom of dish, overlapping slightly. Spread half of squash mixture over noodles. Layer 2 more noodles on top, and spread with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat layers—noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta—then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

5. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake 45 minutes, remove foil, and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, or until golden on top. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: Calories: 265, Protein: 15g, Total fat: 8g, Saturated fat: 4g, Carbs: 34g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 774mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 1g

Found: Vegetarian Times April 2006