Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Groundingbreaking Indoor Growing Technology (Vertical Aeroponics) Is Changing How Food Is Economically Grown In Indian Country

 Native Indoor Farms—Tribes for Food Sovereignty, Health, & Economic Dev

News provided by
Native Indoor Farms
Contact: Eugene Wilkie info@7generations.us
Feb 28, 2017

Seattle WA, Feb. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Native IndoorFarms, a joint venture between Indoor Farms of America LLC (“IFOA”), and 7 Generations LLC (“7G”). IFOA is the leading AgTech R&D company, with multiple patents on its highly scalable indoor farm equipment, and 7G leverages its extensive network within the Native American community.

Native Indoor Farms embraces a commitment to Native American food security and sovereignty. All decisions are carefully considered—the past, present and future with respect to our ancestors, ourselves, and those to come. Each generation is responsible to teach, learn, and protect the three generations that have come before us, our own, and the next three generations.

The global vertical indoor farming market is the fastest growing segment in agriculture. The projected annual growth rate is 27 percent. Estimated revenue by 2022 is $6.81 billion, and more than $8 billion by 2025. A mega trend and the fastest growing segment in the food industry has been “locally produced” fresh produce. “Local food” demand grew from $1 billion in 2005, to $7 billion in 2014.

Native Indoor Farms provide access to sustainable, year-round, smart indoor vertical farm systems that grow affordable nutrient-rich produce, for local and adjacent off-reservation markets. Ten times the volume of food is reliably produced in any geographic region and climate; without pesticides; with a renewable energy option; using 1/20th the amount of water as traditional farming. Fresh produce is sustainably grown locally allowing same-day as harvested delivery, creating local, reliable, year-round jobs. Aeroponic systems use 70% less water than hydroponics, which uses 70-90% less water than traditional land-based farming. Indoor farming without pesticides and zero waste consistently produces 20 to 25-day average grow-cycles, year-round vegetables and fruit. Imagine 12 to 15 grow-cycles per year, with little to no waste. More produce goes to market consuming fewer resources. 

A system was delivered to the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Nation," said Ron Evans a partner in Native Indoor Farms. Evans noted, "We had the folks from the PB Nation visit our Las Vegas facility for training, and it was a great day. We learned about their plans to use the vertical aeroponic equipment for education within their community, and for interaction experiences between tribal elders and Native youth, who are the future." 

Smart indoor vertical farm systems allow our customers to set up “locally” anywhere in the world. Containerized farms can be nestled on the top of a casino parking garage to serve local restaurants and grocers in the community, or farms can be constructed in an underutilized building, or an urban building to serve the fresh local produce needs of a large population. Indoor farm systems can be contained within mobile units. Victory Indoor Gardens™ can serve residential needs. 

The indoor vertical farming business model is scalable and replicable in every marketplace. An indoor farm that is self-contained within 320 sq. ft. of floor space (8’ x 40’ with 21 grow panels) produces vegetables and fruit equivalent to four-acres of land having a 544 times larger footprint, and it would employ one-person (30-hour week).

A 12,500 sq. ft. warehouse space will incorporate 1,000 vertical grow panels that can produce the equivalent of 156 acres of farmland, and will employ 25 people—indoors.

Incorporating Agrilyst, an award-winning automated remote management system, into each farm provides operators with powerful tools to achieve consistent successful yields and harvests, while controlling costs. We believe our farm operators will greatly appreciate built-in best practices," said Eugene Wilkie a partner in Native Indoor Farms.

Each week the company hosts business owners, growers, and farm managers from around the U.S. and the world who want to see for themselves the equipment that can grow more crops in any given space that any other brand or type of equipment in the world.

Native Indoor Farms will be exhibiting and providing private offsite tours of a working indoor vertical farm at Res 2017 (http://res.ncaied.org/), in Las Vegas, March 14-16, 2017.

For more information, visit the company website at NativeIndoorFarms.com

About Native Indoor Farms

Native Indoor Farms’ mission is to form partnerships with Native American tribes to reduce diabetes 2, improve tribal members’ overall health and wellbeing through access to fresh, nutritious, affordable, local produce, educate Native youth and adults to improve healthy eating habits, and create sustainable year-round jobs. We accomplish this by providing the best in the world smart indoor vertical farm systems that enable tribes to grow year-round produce 24-hours a day, with no pesticides, using 90% less water, producing 10-times more crop yields per square foot of land than traditional farming. These low-risk indoor farm systems are owned by Native enterprises, supported remotely with Native Indoor Farms grow experts. Farms with a light footprint can be located anywhere in any climate. They deliver local produce with a local workforce from the reservation, which addresses key reservation issues of chronic unemployment, poor access to affordable fresh produce, and health issues of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Own Your Own Arched House For Under $1000

   By: Eugene Wilkie

In their time building Arched Cabins they have seen them used for everything you can think of, including workshops, animal shelters, vacation homes, RV shelters, retirement homes, and hunting lodges. No matter what your need is, an Arched Cabin can be adapted to suit you. Arched Cabins can be fully insulated and built out with lofts and finished interiors to be the home or cabin of your dreams, or they can be minimally insulated and finished with basic end caps to be used for an animal shelter or garage. The beauty of an Arched Cabin is in part due to their very fast build times, and also because each one is an empty canvas waiting on you to finish it to suit your personality and needs! Very cool. For all those looking for a cost effective tiny house solution this is a great shell to start with. If you look at all the different styles folks have done you can see the options like any home are endless. Very easy for the DYI folks. Sizes range from the smaller 8′ x 8′ unit right up through to a massive 24′ x 40′ unit! www.archedcabins.com


New Generation Of Excavator Has Spider Ability!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Linesman classic video (you will appreciate your electricity more)

"There are only three things that I have been afraid of electricity, heights and women. I am married too."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Elon Musk releases master plan! Read it here.

By Eugene Wilkie

I won't go into a deep analysis on this but I will say this is completely expected. One needs to clarify the vision in order to execute. Energy, communication and transportation seamlessly integrated plus a path forward to space. What more can we ask for? So here it is.


Master Plan, Part Deux

The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn't all that complicated and basically consisted of:
  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car
  4. Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.
The reason we had to start off with step 1 was that it was all I could afford to do with what I made from PayPal. I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn't want to risk anyone's funds in the beginning but my own. The list of successful car company startups is short. As of 2016, the number of American car companies that haven't gone bankrupt is a grand total of two: Ford and Tesla. Starting a car company is idiotic and an electric car company is idiocy squared.
Also, a low volume car means a much smaller, simpler factory, albeit with most things done by hand. Without economies of scale, anything we built would be expensive, whether it was an economy sedan or a sports car. While at least some people would be prepared to pay a high price for a sports car, no one was going to pay $100k for an electric Honda Civic, no matter how cool it looked.
Part of the reason I wrote the first master plan was to defend against the inevitable attacks Tesla would face accusing us of just caring about making cars for rich people, implying that we felt there was a shortage of sports car companies or some other bizarre rationale. Unfortunately, the blog didn't stop countless attack articles on exactly these grounds, so it pretty much completely failed that objective.
However, the main reason was to explain how our actions fit into a larger picture, so that they would seem less random. The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That's what "sustainable" means. It's not some silly, hippy thing -- it matters for everyone.
By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.
Here is what we plan to do to make that day come sooner:
Integrate Energy Generation and Storage
Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world. One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app.
We can't do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies, which is why we need to combine and break down the barriers inherent to being separate companies. That they are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history. Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.
Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport
Today, Tesla addresses two relatively small segments of premium sedans and SUVs. With the Model 3, a future compact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market. A lower cost vehicle than the Model 3 is unlikely to be necessary, because of the third part of the plan described below.
What really matters to accelerate a sustainable future is being able to scale up production volume as quickly as possible. That is why Tesla engineering has transitioned to focus heavily on designing the machine that makes the machine -- turning the factory itself into a product. A first principles physics analysis of automotive production suggests that somewhere between a 5 to 10 fold improvement is achievable by version 3 on a roughly 2 year iteration cycle. The first Model 3 factory machine should be thought of as version 0.5, with version 1.0 probably in 2018.
In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.
With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses. It would also take people all the way to their destination. Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don't have a phone. Design accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.
As the technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability, meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely. It is important to emphasize that refinement and validation of the software will take much longer than putting in place the cameras, radar, sonar and computing hardware.
Even once the software is highly refined and far better than the average human driver, there will still be a significant time gap, varying widely by jurisdiction, before true self-driving is approved by regulators. We expect that worldwide regulatory approval will require something on the order of 6 billion miles (10 billion km). Current fleet learning is happening at just over 3 million miles (5 million km) per day.
I should add a note here to explain why Tesla is deploying partial autonomy now, rather than waiting until some point in the future. The most important reason is that, when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.
According to the recently released 2015 NHTSA report, automotive fatalities increased by 8% to one death every 89 million miles. Autopilot miles will soon exceed twice that number and the system gets better every day. It would no more make sense to disable Tesla's Autopilot, as some have called for, than it would to disable autopilot in aircraft, after which our system is named.
It is also important to explain why we refer to Autopilot as "beta". This is not beta software in any normal sense of the word. Every release goes through extensive internal validation before it reaches any customers. It is called beta in order to decrease complacency and indicate that it will continue to improve (Autopilot is always off by default). Once we get to the point where Autopilot is approximately 10 times safer than the US vehicle average, the beta label will be removed.
When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.
You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you're at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost. This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla. Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.
In cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will operate its own fleet, ensuring you can always hail a ride from us no matter where you are.
So, in short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:
Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Boston Dynamics releases robot SpotMini, Creepy and cool. (video)

By: Eugene Wilkie

It has been fun and interesting to watch the team at Boston Dynamics. Their progression of robots has been amazing. Well they have done it again with their new SpotMini.

From YOUTUBE page: SpotMini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot, weighing 55 lbs dripping wet (65 lbs if you include its arm.) SpotMini is all-electric (no hydraulics) and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing. SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built. It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance. For more information about SpotMini visit our website at www.BostonDynamics.com

Monday, June 13, 2016

On Kodiak Island, flywheels are in and diesel is 99.8% out

Margaret Kriz Hobson, E&E reporter

KODIAK, Alaska -- Darron Scott, CEO of the Kodiak Electric Association, unlocked the door to a small building on a gravel road along Chiniak Bay and pointed to two innocuous metal boxes tucked into a corner beyond a bank of computers.
"Those are the flywheels," Scott said, turning on a computer screen to follow the ebb and flow of the system's electrical output.
More than a mile down the coast, a 340-foot-tall electric crane operated by Matson Inc. shipping company lifted a series of heavy metal cargo containers from the shore and transferred them onto the deck of a waiting ship.
Each time the regenerative crane raised a container into the air, it pulled electricity from the flywheel energy storage system. As it lowered its load, electricity flowed back to the flywheels.
"It's sort of like a Toyota Prius," Scott explained. "When you hit the brake [on the car], you actually make power, which goes back into the battery.
"Well, the crane does the same thing," he said. "When the crane drops the load, it will actually inject power back into the flywheels, which helps speed them back up again. The flywheel has just enough time to get recharged as the crane gets ready to pick up the next box for the next lift."
KEA's two flywheels can each store up to 1 megawatt of electricity. That's enough power to lift a heavy cargo container from the dock and move it to the ship.
Matson's $10 million electric gantry crane, which looks like a giant praying mantis perched along the island coast, began operations in Kodiak just this winter. The new machine is twice the size as the rusty, 40-year-old diesel-powered machine that it replaces.
Company officials say the new crane, the largest in Alaska, is designed to accommodate the new generation of wider container ships. The process of loading a vessel can take four to eight hours, depending on the size of the shipment and the weather conditions, according to Scott.
KEA was initially reluctant to agree to provide power to the shipping company's energy-gobbling electric crane. After all, the cooperative's electric grid is designed to supply energy to the region's 13,000 residents, as well as the city's small businesses, massive fish processing plants and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak. It also serves the island communities of Chiniak, Pasagshak and Port Lions.
On an average day, KEA's customers use about 17 MW of power, with demand climbing to 20 MW during the island's peak fish processing season.
Scott said the initial request to install a large electric crane came from Horizon Lines Inc., which owned the local shipping company before it was acquired by Honolulu-based Matson.
"The company called us a few years ago, and our first reaction was, 'No. We're not set up for this,'" Scott said, referring to the vast amount of energy the crane would draw. "We have to balance our electric system at all times. And the crane has the ability to go from 0 to 2 MW [of electrical demand] in a couple seconds."
But after studying the project and the potential solutions, KEA joined forces with Matson and the city of Kodiak to buy the $3 million flywheel system to manage the crane's fluctuating electricity demand.
The flywheels are just the latest addition to the company's impressive lineup of renewable energy systems. Roughly 76 percent of KEA's electricity comes from hydroelectric energy, with wind providing another 23 percent. The utility also relies on a storage battery system and the flywheels to back up its variable wind systems.
In total, the electric cooperative provides a remarkable 99.8 percent of its power from renewable sources of energy. The shift away from diesel energy has been good news for Kodiak residents, who now pay less per kilowatt-hour of electricity than they did in 2001.
It's also brought Kodiak praise from high places. During President Obama's visit to Alaska last fall, he applauded Kodiak as "the first in the world to put flywheel and battery energy storage together to stabilize its variable electric power from wind turbines."

Cutting back on a costly diesel habit

Kodiak Island, the nation's second largest island, is a lush, green 3,600-square-mile landmass with snow-capped mountains and rocky bays. The island is accessible only by boat or airplane and is located about 250 miles south of Anchorage at the edge of the Gulf of Alaska.
Inhabited by Alutiiq natives for thousands of years, the island was settled by Russian trappers in the 18th century.
After the Japanese bombed the Aleutian Islands during World War II, Kodiak became the heart of the U.S. government's Alaska military operations. Remnants of concrete lookout posts, gun emplacements and other installations are still scattered across the island.
During Alaska's devastating 1964 earthquake, the island was hit by a 30-foot tsunami that killed 15 people and wiped out several communities and businesses. The quake also changed the shape of the island, raising some coastal lands by as much as 30 feet.
Since then, Kodiak has grown into one of the nation's top five fishing ports in both volume of seafood caught and monetary value. Fish processing plants dot its shoreline, and commercial and recreational fishing boats fill the harbor. The island is also known for the Kodiak bears that crowd the rivers during the region's abundant salmon runs.
When KEA's Scott moved to Kodiak in 2000, the electric cooperative was providing almost 70 percent of the community's power needs from the Terror Lake Hydroelectric Generating Station, a hydro unit fed by a remote high-altitude lake located 25 miles outside of town.
The other 30 percent came from diesel generators powered by expensive fuel oil that was regularly brought to the island on barges.
Kodiak's hydroelectric unit was one of four dams built in southern Alaska in the 1980s by the Alaska Energy Authority to lower the communities' reliance on expensive diesel power.
In 2001, Kodiak, along with the other Alaskan communities served by the dams, bought the four hydropower units from the state and created the Four Dam Power Pool Agency to operate the systems.
Eventually, KEA acquired the local Terror Lake unit from that group and assumed sole control of the local hydro operation.

Cleaner power that's also cheaper

Kodiak's hydropower success led the KEA board to investigate other sources of clean, low-cost renewable energy. In 2007, the board adopted a bold vision statement proposing to generate 95 percent of the utility's electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
"We were looking at the price of diesel, which was going up," Scott explained. "At the same time, you had the pollution issues. Wind looked like the most likely avenue to go, because hydro and wind have some good synergies.
"We have very strong winds," he noted. "When we were talking to General Electric about purchasing the wind turbines, their sales rep came down here and we took him up to the site. The wind was so strong that we had to stand basically at a 45-degree angle. We were really only out there for a minute or two before he said, 'Yeah, I'm good.'"
In 2009, KEA installed three 1.5-MW wind turbines on Pillar Mountain, a 1,200-foot hill that rises up behind the city of Kodiak. Three years later, the company added another three turbines to its lineup, along with a 3-MW battery storage system.
To build those renewable projects, KEA was able to ride the wave of funding opportunities that were then available at the state and federal levels. The wind turbines and the backup battery system were funded through a series of grants from Alaska's Renewable Energy Fund. That program is expected to be defunded by the Alaska Legislature this year as a result of the state's fiscal crisis.
The electric cooperative also secured a low-interest loan from the federal clean renewable energy bond program.
KEA estimates that power from the company's Terror Lake station costs 6.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Wind energy is a little more expensive at 11 cents per kWh. But the two renewable sources are significantly cheaper than diesel generation, which costs 28.9 cents per kWh, given an average cost of diesel fuel at $3.50 per gallon.
Scott said the company still maintains four diesel generators on "hot standby." But thus far, those units have been turned on only during maintenance work on the hydropower facility and every few months to make sure they're still functioning.

Finding reliability in renewables

In recent years, the Kodiak electric cooperative board has revised the company's long-term vision statement. KEA now promises to use renewable sources of energy for at least 95 percent of the electricity it sells its customers for the foreseeable future.
That will require the company to find new sources of renewable energy to serve Kodiak's expanding fish processing industry. The cooperative is already working on a plan to enlarge its hydroelectric system, which now has three turbines delivering power to its customers.
"Right now, we're looking at diverting some nearby creeks through a tunnel" into Terror Lake, Scott explained. "That would add a lot more water and a lot more energy to the system." The company also plans to install a fourth hydroelectric turbine.
The project is designed to increase KEA's hydroelectric output by roughly 25 percent, enough to handle anticipated growth on the island through the late 2020s. The company is now pulling together the permits for the expansion project and hopes to begin construction in 2018. Under that timeline, the new system could begin operations a year later.
Scott said he is frequently asked when the electric cooperative will add more wind turbines to its hillside fleet, which has become a symbol of Kodiak's eco-friendly reputation. But he explains that despite Kodiak's history of strong winds, energy from the turbines is not always reliable.
"If we went too much further with the wind, we'd have situations where the lights would go out because it's just too variable at times," he said.
"We had an issue last November," Scott recalled. "We had hydro and wind running just like normal. And just over a couple of seconds, all the wind stopped. The wind went from 20 miles an hour to nothing in just a matter of two or three seconds."
But KEA's system was equipped to handle the abrupt change.
"Everything came up. The flywheels fired, the batteries fired, the hydro started picking up over time, and everything worked perfectly," he explained. "And we stayed above our trip points. Because the next line of defense is that you start turning people's power off to keep things stable. And obviously we don't want to go there.
"We've never had to go there due to a wind incident so far," he said. "And we'd rather not have to do that."
After they enlarge the company's workhorse hydropower system, they may consider more wind turbines. At the same time, Scott said he's also watching promising technologies like wave and tidal power.
Kodiak has several promising wave and tidal power spots, he noted. "But neither one of those technologies has really been commercialized yet," he said. "So we'll keep an eye on it."
By contrast, Scott doesn't consider solar energy to be a viable option in stormy, foggy Kodiak, where rain or snow falls during more than half of the year.
Scott said the company's renewable program appeals to the wide variety of Kodiak Island residents, who work primarily for the Coast Guard, fishing industry and shipping companies.
"We're a cooperative that's owned by the folks up here," he noted. "Part of the community is very concerned about the environment. And then there are some folks that are equally concerned about the cost, because they've got businesses to run. Well, our costs now are cheaper than they were 15 years ago.
"So it's kind of a win-win for both parties," he said. "The lights are more reliable than they were before. The cost is lower. And the environment is a whole lot better off."