Project: Solar Forge

January 30, 2020 4 Comments

People are always asking us, ‘What’s next?’, well here is the short answer:

We are going to try to disrupt the failed, disengaged, industrial recycling system and donate a technology to the world that will be able to rescue the billions of aluminium cans that are NOT being recycled. And if we succeed we just may be able to help with the renewable heating revolution too.

Solar Forge Aluminium Rescue - Elvis & Kresse

And now for the long answer…

Problem

Each year in the UK 16 million aluminium cans are littered in our public spaces and over 2 billion aluminium cans don’t get recycled because they are put into the wrong bin. Why? There are a lot of contributing reasons: the public is not engaged, or in love with recycling, we don’t have the right incentives, like a deposit system, and we don’t foster a deep love for the materials we rely on or our home, our environment, this amazing planet that supports all known life.

Solution

This is a complicated problem, so the solution we propose is also complex. Equally, given the scale of our environmental crisis, we must always have multiple positive objectives: 

  • Collect littered aluminium cans,
  • Hack the industrial aluminium recycling process by designing/building testing and open-sourcing small scale renewably powered forge; we will be exploring all potential processes including but not limited to mirrors, solar panels, lens designs, sintering and induction techniques. We have a few key goals for the machine:
    • It must be safe
    • It should be easy to build around the world for around $500.00
    • It should be adaptable, and able to solve many other problems
  • design and manufacture hardware (buckles, clasps, D-Rings, rivets) and trial a ‘returns’ based circular business model for hardware. 
  • Share our solution with all kinds of partners who can
    • Use it to recycle all kinds of materials
    • Use it to cook, purify water, run off-grid heating systems etc.

Progress

  • Established a budget and timeline for the project
    • We are aiming to build our first forge within 20 months
  • Received a grant to cover costs of academic support
  • Assembled an academic team with Queen Mary University
  • Recruitment to begin for project manager role in February 2020

Getting Involved

This open sourced project officially launches in January 2020 and we would love for you to follow along and contribute. We are specifically looking for corporate sponsors who are keen to contribute:

  • Engineering help
    • The output is designed to be shared, so the better the machine we collaborate to design, the better the outcome for anyone who would like to use it
    • Many companies have pro bono days for their team, we would love as much of this time as possible
    • Anyone can contribute - we see 3 key contribution phases
      • Feb-May: Bold ideas - initial brainstorming
      • June-Oct: Landing the design
      • Oct-Onwards: Tweaks and other uses
  • Legal
    • We would like this tech and all tech that stems from it to be used only for good. We would love to have some kind of ‘moral license’ to issue all designers and developers.
  • Communications 
    • A website for collaboration and sharing
    • A serial style podcast to follow and share our progress
  • Additional Funds. Elvis & Kresse are matching the grant of approximately £100,000.00 which is fine, however, we would love additional funds to hire additional academic support.


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