Building a solar heater with recycled cans.



Building a solar panel heater out of aluminum cans is not as far-fetched as you might think. A company in Canada, Cansolair, Inc., specializes in building these units and has won awards for their design.

Their heaters have been described as “green energy and recycling all rolled into one”, and have proven to be very cost effective and efficient as well.

How do they work

The units are typically installed on the outside walls of houses, and of course, in a location that gets a lot of sun. The idea is to draw air from near the floor of any room in a home, and pass it through the heating panel, which contains several columns of cans.

The air is then returned to the same room near the ceiling. The cans are stacked and have large holes cut in both ends to allow the air to pass inside them while the outside of the cans is getting hot from the sun.

What you’ll need

  • 240 aluminum cans.
  • 3 – 8 ft. 2x4s.
  • 4 ft. x 8 ft. x 1/2 in. sheet of plywood.
  • High temperature silicon.
  • 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheet of Plexiglas or Lexan.
  • A can of heat-resistant flat black spray paint.
  • Plastic tubing.
  • Drill Press with wide drill bits.
  • Screws.
  • Optional Air Blower (consider a solar-powered unit).

How to build the solar panel

  1. Construct a wooden frame out the the 2x4s, approx. 4 ft. wide x 8 ft. high x 3 1/2 in. deep.  Next cut a piece of plywood this size and nail it to the back of the frame.
  2. Drill a hole in the top center of the frame – this is where you’ll connect your outlet hose.
  3. Drill a hole in the bottom of the frame – this is where your inlet hose will be connected.
  4. Drill large holes in the tops and bottoms from all the cans except for 16 which will be on the bottom row.  For those, drill the holes in the tops and sides.  Caution!  Aluminum cans are sharp – use heavy work gloves or other means to hold them in place as you cut the hols out.
  5. Start placing your cans into the frame.  Create 16 columns of 15 cans each.  Stack them one at at time, sealing them together as you go along.  Make sure the ones with side holes are on the bottom row.  Allow the silicone sealant to cure.
  6. Spray the cans and frame with the heat-resistant flat black paint.
  7. Cover the frame with the sheet of Plexiglas or Lexan.
  8. Cut holes in the side of the building that line up with holes in the top and bottom of the solar panel.  Air will be drawn from the building through the lower hole, which should be just above floor level, and be returned through the upper hole.
  9. Mount the completed panel on the exterior wall of the home.  Alternatively, you might mount the panel in a separate frame that will allow it to be tilted more toward the sun for better exposure.
  10. Install the blower at either the inlet or outlet.  This is not essential, but will increase the efficiency of your solar heater.

This unit allows air to flow all around the cans as it moves through the panel. A more efficient design will force all the air through the inside of the cans.  This will also avoid exposure of the air to the black paint.

You can look here and here for more information.

Originally posted at

Here’s a video by Kirsten Dirksen explaining a similar DIY project by Peter Rowan from Seattle, Washington:


India is building Solar Canals.



Close on heels of commencing use of wastelands in northern districts and rooftops in towns and cities, Gujarat is set to potentially use the existing 19,000 km-long network of Narmada canals across the State for setting up solar panels to generate power.

The Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, will inaugurate the first of a series of this project, known as Canal Solar Power Project, when he launches a 1 megawatt (mw) pilot project, which is already commissioned, on Narmada branch canal near Chandrasan village of Kadi taluka in Mehsana district on Tuesday.

Last week, he inaugurated a 600-MW solar power project spread across 11 districts. This included a 214MW Solar Power Park, the largest such generation centre at a single location in Asia. Also, Azure Power, leading independent power producer in solar sector, announced a 2.5 MW rooftops project in Gandhinagar.

Gujarat, which invests nearly Rs 2,000 crore an year on renewable energy, has attracted investments of Rs 9,000 crore so far on solar energy projects.

The pilot project has been developed on a 750-m stretch of the canal by Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSECL) with support from Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), which owns and maintains the canal network.

To read more click the link at the top!

Build Houses From Trash.


This Chinese Company Built Ten 3-D-Printed Buildings in One Day From Recycled Trash.


Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the city of the future sure might be. A Chinese company, Shanghai Yingchuang Design & Engineering Co., has built 10 buildings in an astonishing 24 hours, and it has done it all with a 3-D printer. The 3-D-printed structures, which are in the Qingpu District, a suburb of Shanghai, are constructed of a combination of recycled industrial waste and a mixture of sand, concrete, and glass fiber.

“The material has been transformed from industrial construction waste. It is lighter but five times as hard as common construction material,” company CEO Ma Yihe told China’s CNTV. “All the layers are firmly connected with each other. They won’t separate or deform or collapse.”

Similar to the world’s first 3-D-printed house, which went up in Amsterdam earlier this month, the building’s parts can be printed and then clicked together like Legos. The design “can save up to 50 percent of the construction material,” said Ma.

To read the full article and view the video click the link at the top!

UN Panel Confirms Renewables, NOT Nukes, Can Solve Climate Crisis.



The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has left zero doubt that we humans are wrecking our climate.

It also effectively says the problem can be solved, and that renewable energy is the way to do it, and that nuclear power is not.

The United Nations’ IPCC is the world’s most respected authority on climate.

This IPCC report was four years in the making.  It embraces several hundred climate scientists and more than a thousand computerized scenarios of what might be happening to global weather patterns.

The panel’s work has definitively discredited the corporate contention that human-made carbon emissions are not affecting climate change.  To avoid total catastrophe, says the IPCC, we must reduce the industrial spew of global warming gasses by 40-70 percent of 2010 levels.

Though the warning is dire, the report offers three pieces of good news.

First, we have about 15 years to slash these emissions.

Second, renewable technologies are available to do the job.

And third, the cost is manageable.

Though 2030 might seem a tight deadline for a definitive transition to Solartopia, green power technologies have become far simpler and quicker to install than their competitors, especially atomic reactors. They are also far cheaper, and we have the capital to do it.

To read more click the link at the top!

Water-Harvesting Towers!



Check Out These Amazing Towers In Ethiopia That Harvest Clean Water From Thin Air.

Unveiling the WarkaWater Tower, an innovative new way to harvest safe drinking water in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa.

Water gathering in Ethiopia can be an onerous and gruelling task, with trips to the nearest source often taking hours, if not all day. This task is commonly carried out by the females in the family, who are not only taken out of school, but may encountersexual harassment on the journey. The end result is also dangerous, as more often than not, the water that is collected is highly contaminated and harmful to drink.

But, it seems that the VittoriLab has found a solution!

The Warka Water Towers were inspired by the Warka tree, native to Ethiopia and commonly used as a central community gathering space. The tower, developed by architecture and vision is a vertical system that harvests portable, clean water right from the air through condensation. Each tower costs approximately $550, and can be built in a few days by village residents, and using locally available materials. The Warka Water Tower uses a fog-harvesting fabric and can collect up to 100 litres of safe drinking water per day, and uses a fog-harvesting fabric.

To read more, click the link at the top!

Biobattery Fuel From Sugar!


Sugar-powered biobattery has 10 times the energy storage of lithium: Your smartphone might soon run on enzymes.


As you probably know, from sucking down cans of Coke and masticating on candy, sugar — glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose — is an excellent source of energy. Biologically speaking, sugar molecules are energy-dense, easy to transport, and cheap to digest. There is a reason why almost every living cell on Earth generates its energy (ATP) from glucose. Now, researchers at Virginia Tech have successfully created a sugar-powered fuel cell that has an energy storage density of 596 amp-hours per kilo — or “one order of magnitude” higher than lithium-ion batteries. This fuel cell is refillable with a solution of maltodextrin, and its only by products are electricity and water. The chief researcher, Y.H. Percival Zhang, says the tech could be commercialized in as soon as three years.

Now, it’s not exactly news that sugar is an excellent energy source. As a culture we’ve probably known about it since before we were Homo sapiens. The problem is, unless you’re a living organism or some kind of incendiary device, extracting that energy is difficult. In nature, an enzymatic pathway is used — a production line of tailor-made enzymes that meddle with the glucose molecules until they become ATP. Because it’s easy enough to produce enzymes in large quantities, researchers have tried to create fuel cells that use artificial “metabolism” to break down glucose into electricity (biobatteries), but it has historically proven very hard to find the right pathway for maximum efficiency and to keep the enzymes in the right place over a long period of time.

To read more click the link at the top!