Sunday, September 16, 2007

Clean home fires

News this week of a 14 year old girl in NZ who won a science competition for making a device that takes out the carbon content from wood burning fires. She found that by spraying water inside the chimney it took out the carbon but left a black liquid so she turned that into a briquette to be reburned.
Now it doesn't sound like ground breaking science but it begs the question, has any research been done around the world by big grown up scientists into stopping this pollution at it's source in the chimney? I had just assumed that they had tried and failed. In the city of Christchurch they have estimated that in winter 50% of it's pollution is caused by household fires. Imagine the worth of such a simple device.
I have used a wood stove in my homes a lot, giving me cooking, heating and hot water but have been increasingly concerned about the effects of the smoke if everybody was using them and in fact with the building code now in some areas you aren't allowed an open fire and other fires have to be approved. Bring on something that will allow us to toast our toes in front of the fire again!
Also in the news are engineering students from Waikato University who have designed an electric car with a 150kg battery that will take you 200 kilometres for a $5 charge. The idea is that you will pull into a station and they will replace your depleted battery for a charged one and you are on your way for the next 200k's. It's going to cost $10 million to set them up to be made commercially and could be out in 18 months. I hope the old Subaru is going to last that long. I told it a long time ago that it can retire when I find a green alternative. It's still waiting.


L.M.Noonan said...

That's brilliant. We have a fire going during the winter months here as well. It never ceases to amaze me that often the simplest solutions are overlooked.
The battery exchange idea is also very interesting.

chook said...

I'm an early riser so the woodstove goes on for a couple of hours even in summer to cook breakfast and bake bread. I hear someone has developed a stove for poorer countries that cooks, warms, runs a refrigerater, creates power and warms water. I think it's called a Scope but google hasn't helped too much yet. Combine that with no smoke and it's quite some package.