Utilities - water, sanitation, home energy

Solar power in our future

We have talked about PV solar power here many times. I have lived off-grid as have at least two other NL members so we know it works. What's relatively new, at least in this region, is grid-tie PV systems. Some are commercial, others are home systems. What generally is getting in the way of more of these systems are laws (that benefit big-scale power producers).

An opinion piece titled Reader Supported News looks at how this is changing, and why.

Green power for more people

I'm not that into it yet (crap has to be cheap to compete with burning dead dinosaurs), but there's a Kickstarter that marries solar and wind in a relatively affordable device. There's been enough talk on here of batteries, inverters, solar, geothermal, and wind that I thought someone might find it useful.


Purification of salt water

Yet one more low-tech approach to producing pure water. While specifically designed for purification of salt water, it should work with any water that needs to be purified.

This particular product stands out because it is made from locally-made pottery and some metal scrap. No plywood, plastic and such.

It is Open Source you you can build on it. All described in A Simple Solar Oven Makes Salt Water Drinkable.

Got bad water? Got shrubs? Problem solved, maybe.

Just found this at Slashdot today: "Water Filtration With a Tree Branch"

Purify your own water

I just saw an article that might be of interest to someone living in rural Nicaragua (or in a US city where they put chlorine and fluorine in the water). The article is titled How to build a solar-powered still to purify drinking water. It appears in OffTheGridNews which probably has some other interesting articles.

Another look at solar power

We have had a fair share of discussions as to whether solar energy is cost-effective and practical (generally meaning "what about at night"). An interesting article in Forbes takes a new look.

As the author points out, things are changing quickly admitting that he was laughing at electric vehicles a few years ago. It's a good read to keep you up to date.

A better windmill?

Who else but the Dutch? There are no moving parts, no rotor blades. It's the EWICON (Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter). Charged water droplets are blown by the wind between two electrodes to create an electric current. There's been a working prototype on the Delft campus since March 27. They're looking for investors.

Less wear & tear than the mechanical monsters that Don Quixote would have attacked, no nuisance noise, suitable for various design shapes, could be place atop a tall building in a city or town, but clearly it needs energy to make energy.

Heart Warming Story


I too believe that the campo is severely impacted by the poorly maintained latrines. It's probably the prevalent reason that most of the campo kids in Nicaragua have worms.

I also believe that a properly designed and constructed septic tank and a flush toilet would go a long way towards solving this problem. The materials are inexpensive, the labor is available, and the toilet can be flushed with a bucket (since running water is a more complex and expensive project).

Water filters for use to create clean drinkable water from streams, lakes, etc.?

Greetings NL-ers:

I have a guest coming down in July who wants to purchase at least twenty water filters of the sort that can create drinkable water out of most any water from most any source, without the use of electricity.

I was wondering if anyone in the community here has a lead on places to buy such things here in Managua? I would imagine that there are at least a few NGOs working on this issue too, so I thought if someone knows of any, I might connect our kind, giving guests with them to coordinate efforts.

Thanks in advance and have a great day!

Maxi-Pali Has

a small Haier AC unit for $350. It's the two part unit, evaporator mounts inside up high, compressor and condenser outside. Very quiet. 4.5 amp draw.

The evaporator unit is about 3 feet wide. I want to check PriceMart first, they had some other Haier refrigeration products there, and they have a guarantee

An idea for some areas of Nicaragua.

Union Finosa "creativity"

My ex-house was rented to my ex-tenant. As is all too common with tenants, he got behind in the rent. Ana did verify that the utility bills were paid specifically seeing the canceled receipt for the November bill. Well, it turns out that while that bill was paid there was apparently some financial creativity conducted.

Apparently he got behind in the electricity bill and went to Union Finosa and negotiated a payment agreement. So, while the bill appeared to be current there was a separate agreement for the other money. Here are the reasons this makes no sense:

UDDTs Again

In case you forgot, that's Urine Diverting Dry Toilets. A friend in Ecuador pointed me at a blog of a usano who has been in Ecuador for decades. The blog is specifically about UDDTs and seems like a good fit for Nicaragua.

Oh, crap, wastewater again

I recently we communicating with somebody about wastewater treatment as it might apply to a rural Project in Nicaragua and thought I would post some notes here. Anyone who has real world experience in Nic might want to add in their comments.

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