Power for Barangays in the Philippines could it be a reality?

Bio mass power plant in the Philippines

The container structures are pretty obvious as well as the solar water heaters but what may not be so visual is organic power generation. Its not new technology either like most things sustainable its been in Africa for over 10 years.

The interesting thing about this technology is that although watching in the video you can see a very large scale operation. Fact is for Barangays it often doesn’t need to be anywhere near the same scale. Just as important is that remote areas can produce their own fuels which in troubled times as such where the Philippines is seeing earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters a solution can be met if cut off from the world.

Adding to that the very fact its using waste products makes it a very useful solution to areas with limited wealth.

The concept for the Philippines I picked up from JC Greg Solutions although its not a new one the thought is in the right place. But I also believe that keeping the systems small and even better out of politicians hands would be the benefit of the communities in the Philippines.

Shipping Container Homes For The Poor, A Good Idea?

There have been problems with not only shipping container homes for the poor but other housing developments and its mainly down to one thing.

People make decisions for others based on assumptions, they haven’t integrated with the communities they are trying to help to assess not only the daily needs but also if the project is viable.

Bamboo homes on stilts offer natural ambient temperature to the home due to the airflow as well as the ground beneath the home heats up during the day and at night that heat rises to keep the home warm. The space beneath the home sees air travel and for tropical climates its been a naturally good home for centuries. How do you adapt a shipping container home to supply the needs of people who will not be able to afford air conditioning or electric?

Also remembering people are used to the outdoors and opening the home to the elements is also essential in maintaining that natural environment that people come from. Doesn’t need to all be “in house” but communal areas that allow people to congregate and meet up are essential in maintaining the normal community.

But what else about cooling? You need to take on ideas from existing architects as the information is already there. It may not be developed for shipping container homes but a lot of it can be. Researching Indian, Thai and African home designs with “natural cooling” will give you plenty of ideas. E.g. mud huts due to the natural properties offer a great cheap home construction method yet is it out of place or too old to be used? I would look at modern mud home design as I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

Water can offer a natural cooling affect in homes as well and has been utilised in India for a long time in areas such as central pool areas in courtyards. Learning how air and water can work together and developing courtyard communal areas there are ways to get cooler air to move round housing developments. Some of these ideas will be a bit hit and miss initially but long term learning how to use them saves not only money but also needs. E.g. naturally cooling means no need for fans or air conditioning, which also means a reduced need for electricity.

There are solutions to every problem but I have seen many a project messed up and not because shipping container homes or in fact large scale brick and mortar homes are wrong. But simply the planning and designs haven’t been thought through properly on immediate and long-term needs of the community. Yes we all want to help but if it makes peoples lives harder it defeats the object of what we are doing.

Shipping Container Freight Farm Video

I am extremely keen on this idea as we have started Hydroponics here in Cebu,Philippines and although sunlight isn’t an issue or heat often what is here is theft. Having lockable units may be the solution for that problem as prices in the Philippines for food are often inflated. We seem to get the lower grade stock at the same price people are paying for high grade in UK supermarkets. But back on tangent I do think they are onto something with the idea although likely more useful for government buildings such as schools and hospitals as a provider of good quality food than general population use. May yet to be proved wrong mind!

Make Your Own Wind Turbine

Ted Baer has created a series of small windmills designed for third world use over a period of three decades. This first in the series has evolved in simplicity and power. The aluminium vanes are constructed from a building flashing roll utilizing the pre-existing bend of the roll in construction. Two 16 " sections are rivet together to make one vane. The vanes clip on the spokes of the bicycle wheel using a "bent nail" and a bend in the vane. Detailed pictures will be provided shortly. The generator is a surplus permanent magnet motor and the endless belting is purchased to length from online sources.

Output is a respectable 2 amps at 12 mph providing a cost effective alternative to a solar photovoltaic panels (if wind is available). The total cost of the windmill is less than $80 purchasing most items new (off-the-shelf).

Now the interesting thing here is that not only are there enough details on how to build the wind turbine but also its simple enough for most people to follow. The parts list also fits into use for developing nations and not only off grid living for shipping container homes and buildings. I am tempted to build one here but need to do a wind test to see if I have enough airflow to justify the construction (as I will need to place it on my water tower for it to work). At the same time this wind turbine is a good starting point for many people due to its low cost (free if you can salvage bits from places) to assess its viability for bigger projects and also to get a better understanding of how wind turbines work. I could imagine a similar turbine setup being used for pumping water from wells for example which for most in the Western world isn’t an issue but here in the Philippines I still see people wandering along the road to collect water every day the further you get up the mountain.