Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Air cooled wok to reduce water use

Single Burner Luus Waterless WokDiagram showing heat shield around the wok ring and air gap, eliminating the need for water coolingCSIRO has developed an air cooled wok for commercial kitchens to reduce water use. Usually water is used to cool the wok. This saves about 5,000 litres of water a day, per stove. The unit has a heat shield around the burner and an air gap, reducing transfer of heat to the stove top and removing the need for water cooling. While the units are described as "waterless" they still use some water, but have features such as a timer to automatically turn off the water so the operator can't leave it running. An example is the Luus Waterless Wok range.
CSIRO Food Sciences, supported by Sydney Water, has developed an air-cooled wok burner with a user-activated spout, which not only reduces water consumption by 90% but also halves gas consumption. It is understood that Sydney Water is working to make the design commercially available. All models commercially available at present are of the conventional water-cooled type. ...

From: Switch on Gas - Revised Work Plan for 2007 to 2007/08, Report No: 2006/11, DRAFT DISCUSSION PAPER, EQUIPMENT ENERGY EFFICIENCY GAS PROGRAMME, E3 Gas Secretariat, Australian Greenhouse Office, October 2006

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Low cost water filters for developing nations

Stuart Forsyth talked about Abundant Water at the Engineers Without Borders Canberra meeting in Canberra on Thursday. AbundantWater.org is a non-profit organisation developing a system using low cost clay pot water filters for developing nations.

The water filters are made from local clay mixed with organic material to make pots using traditional local craft techniques. When fired, the organic material burns away leaving fine pores in the clay which filer out bacteria.

The filters are claimed to have been developed by materials scientist Mr Tony Flynn of the Australian National University. There is a step-by-step guide (PDF 169k) to making the filters.

However, while Mr. Flynn may have researched how to make an effective filter, it is too much to claim to have invented the clay pot filter. Potters have known since the discovery of fired clay, that if you mix some organic material with the clay you end up with a porous pot.

The key to the Abundant Water project seems to be to transfer the technology to the local communities. The local existing potting techniques can be used and local staff employed.

While Abundant Water appears to be a worthwhile project by sincere people the way the project is promoted could be improved. In this case the presenter told a stories about family planning and corruption, which was inappropriate and insulting to people in developing nations.

One part of the talk claimed that Abundant Water used a tertiary model of technology transfer, with a partnership between the first world educator and the third world learner. However, it was still assumed that the people of the first world are needed to teach and the people in the developing nation are doing the learning.

The talk also diverted into a factually incorrect analogy to open source. The claim was made that Open Office.com started out as a European open source project. This is not correct: OpenOffice.com started as a closed source product: StarOffice. This product was purchased by Sun Microsystems and only then became an open source project.

The Abundant Water approach to development seems to be for trained engineers and other professionals from developed nations to go to developing nations to tell them what to do. This is a slow and expensive process. In the Internet age it would seem more efficient and effective to put the information and education online, so that those already in these nations could apply the technology. This could be done by providing a mobile phone compatible training course. Engineers and other professionals can be educated in place in developing nations in place. As an example of this, staff at the ANU and CSIRO work online with students in Indonesia.

Another problem with Abundant Water seems to be its charity business model. It is assumed that all the funding for the work will come from donations from the first world and be directed to projects in the third world. This may well perpetuate the poverty such projects are supposed to be working against. Abundant Water should look at business models which will make the project self supporting and allow the project to expand without donations.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Atlas of the Global Water Cycle

An Atlas of the Global Water Cycle An Atlas of the Global Water Cycle by Wee Ho Lim and Michael L. Roderick is available free online from ANU ePress. This has maps of estimated rainfall, evaporation and runoff for the 20th century and predictions for the 21st century. There are maps for the globe and more detailed ones for Australia.

The book is available for free in PDF format chapter by chapter, as one large PDF file or can be ordered as a paperback. The data files used can also be downloaded.

Unfortunately the PDF is difficult to read having been formatted for print publication, not for on-line viewing. The text is in multiple columns, making it difficult to read on screen and the maps are small and blurry. However, this is a useful publication.

An Atlas of the Global Water Cycle

Based on the IPCC AR4 Climate Models

Wee Ho Lim and Michael L. Roderick

ISBN 9781921536885 (Print version) $95.00 (GST inclusive)
ISBN 9781921536892 (Online)
Published July 2009

- Whole Book (8.7 MB)

What do climate models predict for the rainfall where you live? What about evaporation or runoff? Should your local community consider constructing new dams or do the existing water storages appear adequate? What about the availability of water for irrigation farming? Do the predictions differ between different climate models or do all the models basically predict the same changes in water availability where you live?

These are all simple questions but it is surprisingly hard for an individual, whether they be a farmer, water resources engineer, teacher or interested citizen, to answer them. As researchers active in the field we could not answer the questions either. In fact, we had never seen a compilation of the rainfall, evaporation and runoff predictions made by all the different climate models.

The Atlas contains maps and tables that document model predictions contributed by international climate modelling groups to the 2007 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The predictions are made available here via the wonders of the internet and ongoing cooperation by the international climate modelling community who routinely archive their results.

The maps and tables in the Atlas document rainfall, evaporation and runoff estimates for the 20th century along with predictions of the same quantities at the end of the 21st century. Whatever your interest, we hope you find the Atlas as helpful as we do.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Leaking water pipe in Annanale

At 2:30pm I noticed a MWS&DB SV cover leaking water at the corner of Booth and Johnston Streets Annandale Sydney (outside the North Annandale Hotel). I have report this to Sydney Water and will see how long it takes to fix. Worryingly Sydney Water say they normally take five working days, but currently are having in delays with a response. Curiously Sydney Water do not appear to have any way to report an emergency water or sewer fault via the web, only by telephone. At this stage the leak in Annandale is not an emergency, but if not fixed will risk public safety.

Labels: , ,