Research

Open Biotecture is working on the following research projects:

Urban Anaerobic Biodigestor
Is it possible to re-use organic kitchen waste in an urban environment to produce bio-gas? We tried a simple, low-tech batch anaerobic plant system to set up on rooftops or terraces and produce bio-gas.
Status: on hold. In our first attempt, we have not been able to make the anaerobic bacteria thrive in winter. The batch also is insanely unhygienic to handle. Designing continuous system using passive solar heating to maintain a temperature favorable to the bacteria will be necessary to make this work. The question still remains: if it did work, would it produce enough gas to make the device interesting?

Fresnel Water Heater
Could a Fresnel lens be used to heat up water with sunlight in a more efficient way than the conventional solar panels found in Kathmandu?
Status: waiting to obtain lens.

Fresnel Greywater Purifier
Could a Fresnel lens be used to distillate greywater to domestic water with sunlight? If so a near-closed loop of domestic water (shower and sink) could be created and significantly save water.
Status: waiting to obtain lens.

Urban Mushroom Farming
We have discovered it is possible to grow mushroom rapidly using mushroom spawn and coffee ground. We have tried our hands at growing mushroom once, but failed (rats ate spawns and we didn’t create the right conditions for the mushrooms to grow). A new attempts will be made as soon as we get new spawn.
Status: ongoing.

Rooftop Farming
We would like to occupy the unused space of rooftops (usually flat in South Asia), to grow vegetables and fruits. We have set up a basic rooftop garden at home, and we  are deploying a drip-irrigation system.
Status: ongoing.

Hydroponics
Spinning off from our Rooftop Farming research, we wanted to push further the limits of our experiments in home farming by trying hydroponics in order to spur growth, save space and increase control of environmental factors.
Status: ongoing.

Natural Waterproofing
Together with Abari, we have scratched our heads to find a natural building alternative to cement for the building of water-tanks. We first thought of glazing rammed-earth tanks, but firing the glazing would not only have embodied much energy, but it would have been really difficult to achieve on large surfaces. We have then thought of using natural resin from trees (sal tree and fir tree) to coat rammed-earth walls. The first tests are really encouraging and exciting.
Status: ongoing.

Atmospheric Water Generator
We have become very enthusiastic about the idea of Atmospheric Water Generators to generate drinking water from air. Existing devices are new on the market and therefore rare and expensive. We hope to find out viable low-tech models soon.
Status: designing.

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