Ecopolis - City-Scale Aeroponics in Singapore

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Ginger
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Ecopolis - City-Scale Aeroponics in Singapore

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Ecopolis is a series on the Discovery Channel (US) that my daughter and I have been watching. The setup is ways to reduce the environmental footprint of an 18-million person city of 2050. (Or an 18-million city today, one imagines, though the technologies aren't all mature yet...)

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Ginger
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Yikes re $25k to go 90% solar

Yikes re $25k to go 90% solar in ABQ... In Connecticut, and even more so in Oregon I woulda thunk, it's just not a cost-effective way to use sunlight. Solar panels need to be

a. more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity, and

b. cheaper

Or it's better to use sunlight for light and heat and skip the electricity. It was the $0.10 per square foot projection for the printed solar, that made my eyes go wide. At that price point, it's practical to add to roofing, driveways, umbrellas, awnings... Whole new ballgame.

I'd like to see better tech to use sun for heat and light, too, though. Electricity's been a very interesting all-purpose power. But it's not very effective to turn something into electricity, at a loss, transport it, at a loss, etc. I'm kinda annoyed that my new place has gas heat, but an electric dryer. I don't approve of converting electricity back to heat, no... But, haven't gotten around to replacing a perfectly good dryer, either.

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You and I have the same

You and I have the same tastes on those kinds of programs! Albuquerque has a fantastic hi tech business park and Schott is just one of several bleeding edge photovoltaic companies here, it's pretty exciting. Not sure what the hold up is on the roll-up photocells or the printed ones but we get teasers in the newspaper's business section every month or so. Maere would love to go full solar and sell power back to the electric co. but it's just not practical yet, even here with about 320 days of sunshine a year. I've put numbers to it several times over the years and as of three months ago, going just 90% photovoltaic would cost over $25K, require maintenance, a slight lifestyle change, and we'd never come close to breakeven in our lifetimes. She says Oregon does 50 times the solar stuff we do here. Weird, huh?

Ginger
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Know the feeling. Though my

Know the feeling. Though my daughter loves the environmental/science programs. More of a problem with her watching and forgetting I haven't seen it yet and deleting off the DVR.

Have you seen EcoTech, too? Awesome! I'd saved up the alternate energy ep for when I could really get into it, and finally watched it last night. I want the double-helix wind turbine and the printed plastic sheet photovoltaics!

Actually, I first read about that printed photovoltaic-on-plastic quite a few years ago. I wonder what the holdup is, bringing that technology to market. If they can bring that in at $0.10 / sq foot as they hope... with good wear... well, that changes everything...

"I'll take two of the 40 watt sunshades on smokey substrate, please. No, the simple vertical stripe photovolatics will be fine, thanks."

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

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I loved Ecopolis, hope they

I loved Ecopolis, hope they bring it back. Some of the ideas are way out there but as fast as technology is progressing we will see some of the ideas or something better way before 2050. Haven't watched the episode you mentioned yet, we've got 4 on the TiVo we haven't watched yet, anything more technical than a #2 pencil is beyond Maere's grasp so I have to watch them alone.

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I think they would, it's the

I think they would, it's the injection of more air into the growing chamber.

It's not going to have any major impact on my plants, I'm hoping for better growth, but this remains to be seen...Also, if I ever want to clone then I just get hold of some neoprene cloning collars, fix them in the holes, and I'm good to go.

With me, it's the experimenting, pulling it all apart, and trying things that have not been done before - there had better not be another Peat out there! If the results are the same as what I have then I'm not too bothered, I've had a good go and have enjoyed the challenge.

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Heheh. Actually, if you could

Heheh. Actually, if you could hear it, the acoustic refrigerator would cause ear damage - higher decibels than a jet engine. But - sealed in helium, so you don't hear it. Helium is the refrigerant.

I think my pump's rated at 10 gallons (~40 liters). Seemed more than equal to less than 2 gallons in 2 minis. I keep it tuned down so bubbles pop, but not roiling too much. It gets loud that way.

Sounds like you already have a fairly aeroponic system then. So would the sprayers actually accomplish anything more? Aside from more dripping out the sides of the unit?

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That's interesting gisette,

That's interesting gisette, aeroponics has always had a fascination for me, the crops grow so much quicker and it's a perfect environment for plants to thrive - 100% humidity with masses of air to the roots. Also, if you want to clone anything, then look to aero for the answer; it leaves any other method way behind.

With my air pump (rated for a 250-400 litre tank!), and air stone I have in my Classic, there is indeed quite a bit of water being splashed around on the maximum setting. Not exactly sprayed as such, but more from the bursting bubbles on the surface. There is enough water thrown up to make the back leak, and also the front... If you look inside there is water dripping everywhere, with a powerful enough pump then the spraying water, as stated, can easily be accomplished.

Acoustic refrigerators, sounds really good - sorry.

 

 

 

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Peat - didn't want to clog

Peat - didn't want to clog your Aeroponic conversion topic with this, but it was pretty interesting. Apparently there's this guy in Singapore, who's trying to address the carbon footprint of feeding the city. Essentially all food in Singapore is imported, from four continents. It's all city, no farms. His goal is to eat locally, by growing aeroponically, on rooftops, in food-growing towers, and on ramps between high-rise buildings.

Anyway, he's got this going small-scale now. But he's growing lettuce, in a city where the temperatures hang around 90°F (32 C). Can't keep carbon footprint and costs low by air-conditioning the crops. Unfortunately, the TV script/editors kinda skimped on the details here. But apparently only the roots need to be cooled to keep the lettuce alive (at least, in humid environment   - cool roots wouldn't save summer lettuce in Bruce's backyard...)

They did this by switching from aeroponic sprayers, to aquarium air-pump tubes, and having the air jets scatter up the water.

Of course, I had to try this. I stuck my hand into one of my modified-minis. And I found that bringing the airstone close to the surface of the water does not in fact spray much water into the air. That device is for aerating water, not hydrating air.... But maybe if the holes were bigger and the airline running close to the surface? Or... possibly still an airstone, but a much, much stronger airpump?

Back to the show's purposes - the final rating on this possible technology for "Ecopolis" was a whopping 23% savings in the carbon footprint of the food - water - transportation - cooling (food preservation) system. Wow.

Another interesting tech on this episode was an acoustic refrigerator...

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