Our first post to the element-14 site is up. This is a Group Blog on the element-14 site. You can comment, etc there by joining the element-14 site, then joining the Group.
Basically it gives a background on our space and the Chill Box project. Here is the summary I posted for the project:
Our project for the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge is called The Chill Box. It will be a demonstration of Chilled Soil Agriculture. The basic idea is to use cold water to chill the soil, and air above a garden bed. This has two purposes. First, the water will condense from the air in soil and above the garden, irrigating the plants. With sufficient natural humidity and proper chilling, it is possible to elimiate extra watering. Second, there are many plants that grow well at altitude or in colder climates but do not do well near sea level and/or in semi-tropical environments. When these plants have their roots chilled properly (not too much, not too little), they are stimulated to grow properly. The basic idea and early demonstrations of Chilled Soil Argiculture were done at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). NELHA is an education and research facility founded in 1974 for research into the uses of Deep Ocean Water in ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) renewable energy production. One project uses the cold ocean waters for chilled agriculture demonstration gardens.
Our project intends to demonstrate and educate the use of Chilled Soil Agriculture without deep ocean water. We plan to use peltier elements to provide electronic cooling to the water that will be circulated through our garden boxes. A micro-controller will use temperature, humidity, soil and leaf moisture sensors to determine when and how much chilling to provide. This will allow us to avoid some of the overwatering that can occur, take advantage of high humidity and avoid attempting to dehumidify dry air. Peltier elements can be harvested from CPU/GPU cooling and also from electronic refridgerator and dehumifier systems.
Cole put up an introductory presentation of the technology as a Google Doc. Laura Burkhart of Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) is working with us to build a simple demonstration system for the Maui Agricultural Festival this saturday (April 2).
There is some confusion about what week this is (2 or 3). However, the deadline for completion is April 30. We plan to meet at least every wednesday at a location TBD. Cole may have secured us a small space in Pu’unene with the Community Workday folks.