Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

My Evokation - Portable Helical Watermills

1. The Place – where will you make a difference? Describe the institution, community, town or other geographic or virtual space in which you will focus your efforts.

Although my business may be based on the University of Portsmouth’s business campus, I truly want to develop my project in one of the most difficult places in theworld: the Third World. While the majority of us have lived in a form of luxury for years in nuclear-prolific countries, most people in the Third World live without food, without water and without adequate shelter. It is time we give back to these countries and then they will support us in the future if Climate Change still acc**ulates into a global natural disaster.

It is thought that electricity is not as much a necessity in times like these, but one must take into account that their civilisation will only thrive if all forms of infrastructure (food, water and power) are developed harmoniously. Renewable technology may also help speed up the restoration of agriculture and water purification in its largely barren lands, to provide greater quality of resources already available, instead of depending on humanitarian aid. We must build for a better tomorrow, but build wisely by turning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable power that can provide the same benefits without further polluting our environment.


2. The Challenge – what will you aim to change, and for whom? Highlight what is the need that you perceive and who will benefit from this change.

We have always benefitted ourselves with technology that damages the environment by dumping massive amounts of CO2 and other emissions, threatening the Monsoons every year. Global temperatures are steadily rising, lush farmland is becoming barren deserts and water shortages are increasing. People from my background may not be suffering as much as those in Africa, China and similarly affected parts of the world, but if we don’t change our principles, it’s only a matter of time.

We must examine renewable energy more carefully and not aimlessly build projects that will amount to nothing over the long-term; what’s needed are projects that will take the best science we have available and develop new, sustainable systems. Adding a few thousand wind turbines or solar panels to a hill somewhere is not as useful as it once was – we need to explore other devices in-concept or making prototypes that will achieve far better results.


3. The Idea – your solution: what is the action, product, service, project, change that you will initiate? Tell us how your idea will succeed where others have failed.

Power Generation
The watermills will be meant either for areas where a natural disaster has occurred (thus requiring the use of a simple and portable power generator for triage sites), or for areas that have an abundance of drinking water that has become polluted. In simple terms the device is a source of power that doesn’t depend on erecting massive generators that disturb a landscape. Similar to a large watermill used by old breweries or homes here in the UK, it is a relatively small, modular and easy-to-assemble hydroelectric generator for areas where electricity is needed, but getting it to people is impractical because of the surrounding terrain.

It works a lot like a set of dynamos specially designed for the water... once assembled, it is comprised of a pair flexible but durable fishing cables situated each side of five (or possibly seven) helix-shaped turbines in a single metre. These turbines would be arranged in a staggered pattern above and below the cabling apparatus and be made to catch the flow of a waterway or waterfall’s currents as they pass through. Using the mechanical movement they would stream energy along the cabling to the rear of the apparatus, into a series of waterproof power cells that can be easily removed, or a six-metre output cable for direct transfer. If more generators are needed, the watermills will be designed to connect to more of themselves using a “daisy chain” structure end-to-end, so the power requirements are augmented easily.

Water Filtration
The generator may also have a secondary component where the turbines themselves aren’t actually solid objects, incorporating some form of filtration system. In this manner their outer shell will be a 1cm Teflon coating to protect them from algae or silt in the water from building up on their surface, but inside this there will be an easily replaceable cartridge containing a chemical (such as a combination of iodide crystals and vitamins) that break down in the stored water, collected through drip-filtration system.

When the turbines rotate they carry a small amount of water through a pump, through a charcoal filter, to a sealed container located onshore. This filtered water is then purified using a UV Light to remove pathogens. Like the generators, the filtration system is modular and could be linked together into a single purifier, drawing some of the electricity from the turbines collectively to power the UV filters...

At time of writing, only a small amount of research has been performed in regards to water filtration, so it is possible that the purifiers won’t appear until the first generation of helical power systems have already been tested in the field. These may also use helix wind generators; to operate a turbine pump once the water is in the container and a Solid State heating process to boil for removing bacteria.


4. The Money – what would you do with your first US$1,000 given or invested in support of your vision?

All the money will probably be placed in the bank to gain interest on its value, until an appropriate digital prototype has been made that properly shows the system and how it will work. The plan is that these devices will cost no more than £50 each to manufacture and then a lower, more affordable price for communities in the Third World with aid support, following a two-year period of rigorous testing.

The first generation of Helix Watermills will be developed at the Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise (PCE) in co-operation with a humanitarian organisation such as the Red Cross, who will work with the prototypes of the system when they are ready for deployment. Testing will initially occur in areas recovering from a natural disaster and facilitate the efforts of providing portable power supplies for makeshift triage sites. This is before they are sold for general purpose use in communities that has a waterway, in which people can sufficiently generate the electricity themselves.

Once testing has been completed for the first-generation Helix Watermills, it is likely work will commence on either a second-generation prototype, or the filtration units that will augment the existing technology. An official business plan for this product is in development and will be ready by 13th May 2010.

Views: 38

Comment by A.V.Koshy on May 10, 2010 at 1:39pm
a good and sound proejct spencer
i can see it succeeding in europe and usa
wonder if you could make it cost effective for places like india and africa
then it would relly help
Comment by Simon Spencer on May 11, 2010 at 8:30pm
Well as it stands at the moment, £30 would cover a single set of turbines but the price would lower depending on 1) how much were needed, and 2) the level of aid support the organisations could fund for a community. It may cost less than this when a prototype(s) is ultimately ready for testing...

Right now I've been examining the set-up for a business address and financing options to help me build it. After an office is established I also plan to contact the Red Cross and discuss my project with them that will be produced over the next few months.
Comment by Simon Spencer on May 11, 2010 at 8:39pm
As I said in my EVOKATION, initially this would be built for humanitarian organisations so they have adequate onsite generators, for when a natural disaster were to strike. There have been several of these including Hurricaine Katrina, the Haiti disaster and the recent earthquake in China, so I would suspect that based on how many prototypes were used in the field, their approval for mass production would rapidlly increase and help with the rebuilding processes in those areas.

This would then confirm their viability (perhaps within a year), so communites simply wanting a small power generator that may provide water filtration as well in the future would be assured.
Comment by Simon Spencer on May 11, 2010 at 8:41pm
As I said in my EVOKATION, initially this would be built for humanitarian organisations so they have adequate onsite generators, for when a natural disaster were to strike. There have been several of these including Hurricaine Katrina, the Haiti disaster and the recent earthquake in China, so I would suspect that based on how many prototypes were used in the field, their approval for mass production would rapidlly increase and help with the rebuilding processes in those areas.

This would then confirm their viability (perhaps within a year), so communites simply wanting a small power generator that may provide water filtration as well in the future would be assured.
Comment by Ternura Rojas on May 13, 2010 at 4:37pm
I like this doc**ent is neat formal and organized. Congrats! Sure you can't add a pic? this would buy their hearts! :-)
Comment by Simon Spencer on May 13, 2010 at 9:44pm
I probably could, but I think it's much more important to come up with a design that would be made over one that may appear rushed. A proper concept needs to be made, and then a working 3D animation that demonstrates it will be created... in the meantime the overall outline of what this will look like is detailed in the EVOKATION.
Comment by Ternura Rojas on May 14, 2010 at 8:06am
Good luck Simon! don't give up untill you install one in the "Third World" :-)
Comment by Wintermute on May 15, 2010 at 6:37am
Cool technology--

my first criticism, although your plan of just putting the 1k in a bank account might be useful it isn't going to impress anyone--you might as well tell them you are going to bury it :). You need to come up with a way to put that 1k to use immediately. Maybe that can kick start the digital prototyping process, or launch a site to increase the visibility of this initiative.The 1k could fund you to travel and meet with other inventors and share your idea, it could pay for advertising. There are a 1000 and one things that that money could do, just putting it in a bank isn't enough. If you don't like any of these ideas, evoke it. Ask the community directly and maybe you will get an idea that you hadn't thought of.

On a side note, seeing an illustration of this device would help us understand how it works-- even it is concept art it will help get people to see this as a real object, instead of just an idea.

Simon, please don't take this criticism as mean spirited. I really like the idea and want it to be successful. Let me know what you think

- Winter
Comment by Simon Spencer on May 15, 2010 at 11:30pm
I have thought about using the money for something, as it happens. Upon conversion to my currency, the value is only two-thirds in pounds as it is in dollars! But the product in my EVOKATION is not going to be the only one I will be making. An opportunity exists for funding elsewhere through my university that is far more practical that what WBI is offering... a lot of my work is usually in games, not product design, so I figured why not kill two birds with one stone.
There is currently a technology engine that’s been earning a lot of mileage over the past year and right now it’s cheaper for a while, because of some huge updates coming in its next version new customers will receive free of charge, if they purchase the current version now. That engine is Unity3D and, coupled together with some money I already have, I could use the funding to purchase it and some additional software from the manufacturer

This would provide me with some options I don’t get from my existing animation packages – the first is a realistic ‘Night and Day’ system that while 3dsmax Design has, the copy of 3dsmax I use doesn’t have because it’s not meant for architectural or engineering-based projects. The second is physics where I could simulate other conditions on the watermills such as debris in the waterway, or perhaps the introduction of another, foreign liquid into the water (such as oil, similar to the crisis brewing in the Gulf of Mexico) that would cause the turbines to corrode and poison the water supply. Another side to the physics is from mechanics provided in the engine from machinery, like vehicles to test the resilience of moving parts working together... I could go on but you get the idea. But one advantage it does have over its competitors is as long as you (obviously) abide by the terms of the agreement when you purchase it, they do not charge on a per-title basis.

At the moment my wh*** family is down with one of the many summertime bugs that are going around – I’m asthmatic so it’s much worse for me. I’m barely able to stop sneezing every few minutes at this moment, so drawing and building stuff in 3d is a bit tricky  I’d also like to point out that I haven’t even spoken to people I need to yet and found out if I can get any funding, so making plans is rather useless until I do that. If I spent my entire time doing a show and tell I’d never get any work done, so I need to concentrate on getting better before I start anything else.
Comment by Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys on May 16, 2010 at 12:55am

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