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Pedal-powered washing machines.


Gizmag writes, “The rationale behind Haier’s IFA display is that, like almost every major electronics manufacturer, it’s keen to make consumers aware of its environmental commitment…That’s not to say that the human-powered washer is a total gimmick. Haier told us that it is gauging consumer response at the show and might consider bringing the idea to market.”

Even with a big company looking at pushing it forward, whether or not someone would bring this into their home is up in the air. I can see it being like one of those NordicTrack systems that seem so brilliant around the holidays when we’re keen to loose a couple pounds but loses its shine a couple weeks later. After all, the Cycleanhasn’t exactly taken off in the last four years.

But I have to say, as someone who likes to cycle for exercise and multitask, I’d definitely consider something like this. It’d not only save me money from the energy bill each month, but I’d be able to quit my gym and save money there too. Not a bad deal. And I’d be forced to exercise since being lazy means no clean clothes.

Even with Haier’s backing, it seems very unlikely to be popular if it makes it to market. Plus, the bigger environmental issue with washing machines isn’t their energy use but their water use. A bike-powered system would be better suited for the clothes dryer portion of a wash load.

Would you use it? Or better yet, would you convert your existing washing machine to run on pedal power?

On Building a house using ‘hempcrete’ MORE


New gadget for water purification: a ‘nano tea bag’
August 18, 2010 by Lin Edwards
Source: wikipedia
( — Scientists in South Africa have come up with a novel way of purifying water on a small scale using a sachet rather like a tea bag, but instead of imparting flavor to the water, the bag absorbs toxins, filters out and kills bacteria, and cleans the water.
The bag, which fits into the neck of an ordinary water bottle, was developed by scientists at Stellenbosch University in South Africa to help communities with no water purification facilities to clean their water. The bags are made of inexpensive tea bag material but instead of containing tea they contain nano-scale antimicrobial fibers that filter out contaminants and microbes, and granules of activated carbon that kill the bacteria. The nano-fibers are about one hundredth the width of a human hair.

According to researcher Marelize Botes, one sachet can clean a liter of the dirtiest water to about the same water quality of bottled water. Once the bag has been used it is discarded and a new bag is fitted in the neck of the bottle. The discarded bags have no environmental impact as they disintegrate in only a few days and the materials are not toxic to humans.
Inventor of the filter, Dean of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University, Professor Eugene Cloete, who is a microbiologist, said the filter presents a decentralized, point-of-use technology. As such it should find acceptance in the places where it is needed and where there is insufficient infrastructure for piped water. Professor Cloete specializes in water quality, water resource management and the use of nanotechnology in water applications. He is also director of the University of Pretoria’s Water Institute and a senior fellow of the Water Institute of South Africa (WISA).
The sachet filter is still being tested by the South African Bureau of Standards, but Botes said early testing on samples of river water near the university were successful. The bags are expected to be available by the end of the year at a cost of about half a US cent (three South African cents) per bag, which makes it affordable even for poor communities in Africa, where millions of people do not have access to clean drinking water, and where water-borne diseases are a major problem.
© 2010


About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

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