Dan Phillips has become a celebrity in his city, Huntsville, Texas, after he built no less than 14 recycled houses, totally functional, using only waste and scrap materials.
The 64 year old manufacturer lived a diverse life, being along his life an army intelligence officer, dance instructor, antiques dealer and even puzzles manufacturer. He spent the last 12 years of his life building affordable houses for the poor, from discarded materials only.
Any sustainable object that people get rid off has some potential in the projects of Dan Phillips. The man visits construction areas and construction sites and takes almost everything is thrown away by these places. His houses are not identical, being constructed entirely by hand.
Dan’s philosophy of recycling has changed the mentality of the whole community on the recycling processes and Dan was even contacted by companies that wanted some advice about building environmental deposits.
Dan Phillips uses his own construction company to raise the houses, but he always asks beneficiaries to take part in the construction process. In this way, if something ever fails, they will know exactly how to repair.
A British man had the idea to use the great quantity of fallen leaves in autumn to make them “logs” for fire.
One million tonnes of leaves fall every year in the UK, and Peter Morrison, aged 45 years, being sick of collecting the leaves, each year, from his yard in Birmingham, thought to turn them into a “green” fuel to replace wood.
He started by creating a tablet the size of a coin, which, lited, generated enough heat to boil a liter of water.
Currently, a company called Biofuels International Limited (BIFL) produces cylindrical leaves “logs” – called Leaf Log – with a length of 28 cm, which are already in British shops and are used as fuel in homes.
The “Leaf Logs” ignite easily and burn very efficiently, providing 28,000 kilojoules (the best coal give approx. 29,000 kilojoules)
MIT engineers have built a shock absorber which, in large vehicles, can generate enough energy to charge the battery and power electronics such as lights and stereo. In conventional vehicles, shocks transform vertical vibration caused by crossing a trail with bumps into heat. Heat is then wasted. MIT shock absorber, called GenShock, store energy generated by crossing a bumpy and turns it into useful electricity, easing the burden alternator fuel dependency. This change improves vehicle consumption. Also, the driver and passengers will enjoy smoother journeys due to an electronic system that monitors and responds force generated by the shocks.
Engineers have identified in the suspensions an important source of wasted energy, especially on heavy trucks. This represents the solution for serious problems. GenShock is most useful in vehicles that cross long distances, such as trailers used to transport goods or military vehicles that must go on ruff terrain. Although GenShock is not yet sufficiently effective in terms of costs for product or for small cars, the engineers hope to be able to combine it with other systems to maximize energy collection efficiency automotive consumer.
Some of these technologies are already used in hybrid vehicles: BMW and Honda have devices that recover heat from the engine discharges or from energy dissipated when braking. But the ability to creatively capture the energy of the vehicle is not limited only to the car. London and Israel plan to encompass the generators in roads to collect the energy dissipated from the traffic.