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€662 pledged of €360,360 goal
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By Hans Grassmann
€662 pledged of €360,360 goal
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About this project

              Make Your Energy

The Linear Mirror technology allows to completely substitute solar energy for fossil fuels in an economic way. "Make your Energy" is going to be a social sculpture, which will establish this new solar technology by combining art and physics with the other humanities and social science. At the time being, the best place for Make Your Energy seems to be New York.

2300 years ago, the Linear Mirror was a weapon system used by the physicist Archimedes to defend his home town Syracuse against the Roman Empire. Instead, we can use the Linear Mirror for making peace in our times: it can substitute entirely fossil and nuclear fuels in an economic way. Please allow me to show how and why, and what this has to do with you.

Reflecting Venice (photo Marco Di Giuseppe)
Reflecting Venice (photo Marco Di Giuseppe)

What can the Linear Mirror do ?

The Linear Mirror is a system of individual mirrors mechanically connected to each other, which concentrates sun light on a heat exchanger. It is a concentrating solar thermal device. In its present version "Linear Mirror II" it consists of 8 single mirror units, they are operated by 3 small electrical motors. The system is very simple, it can be used by everybody. It does not need to be operated in large power plants (like some of the state of the art technologies), but can provide energy for families or small communities. More specifically, the advantages of the Linear Mirror compared to state of the art devices are:

compared to parabolic dish: the Linear Mirror has its heat exchanger in a fixed postion at all times.

compared to solar tower: in a solar tower, each of the mirrors has two motors. In order to concentrate light by a factor of 20, as the Linear Mirror does, one would need 40 motors in a solar tower desing, while the Linear Mirror has only 3 motors.

compared to parabolic trough and Fresnel systems: those systems are installed in the horizontal plane - they can follow the sun either in zentih or in azimuth, not in both. As a consequence, they are efficient only close to the equator. At northern altitudes instead they are efficient only at noon in summer. The Linear Mirror due to its geometry is also in winter fully efficient.

State of the Art Applications

Until now Linear Mirrors are used to provide hot water for heating buildings. But since the heat exchanger of the Linear Mirror remains in a fixed position, it could be integrated also with other state of the art solar applications, like solar cooling or vapour generation for steam motors or turbines or it can operate a Stirling engine. For those applications the Linear MIrror would provide hot oil or hot air at temperatures up to 300 C°.

Secondary Technologies

However, those state of the art applications usually have not been optimized for the operation with solar energy. For example it is easy to operate a Stirling engine with a gas flame, but it is more difficult or inefficient to operate it in a solar device. The same is true for steam turbines or solar absorption cooling systems. I have therefore developed new technologies, optimized for the use in solar devices. For example a new type of heat engine and solar pyrolysis.

Based on these new secondary technologies, the Linear Mirror can also solve the energy storage problem: solar energy can be stored as solar carbon for long periods of time, while instead the heat engine can be run on liquid air very efficiently.

Solar carbon can help us to base society on solar energy without devaluating existing technologies and infrastructures: solar carbon can be used directly in existing coal power plants, making them CO2 neutral. It can be gasified, creating old fashioned town gas from local resources. The gas can also be transformed to liquid fuel, so existing cars with combustion motors can become CO2 neutral - there is no need to switch to battery driven cars (the transformation of gas to liquid fuel is a well established technology already heavily in use - but not CO2 neutral without solar carbon).

This is real

I am not talking about concepts, ideas or inventions. The Linear Mirror is already an industrial product with the European “Solar Keymark” certificate. Our results on the heat engine and the solar pyrolysis are documented in scientific publications. Real Linear Mirrors working in real world applications are monitored online

Why I ask you for help and what for

Each year you are obliged to pay about 1000 $ for heating and electricity made from fossil or nuclear fuels, causing global heating or nuclear waste. And worldwide much of the money paid for fossil fuels goes to Mr. Putin and to Governments in the Near East, who spend this money on war and for fostering terrorism. You are told, that there is nothing you can do. You are also told that there is no need for you to worry, since government, organized sience and many international organizations are working on the problem, and that they will solve it soon. Unfortunately, these "good news" are repeated year by year, without any progress in the real world: the CO2 concentration continues to rise, the technologies proposed by public administration and lobby groups are the same as 30 years ago. Also a non-expert can see this, simply by visiting one of the solar trade fairs - there has been nothing new under the sun for decades. Strangely, the technical solutions needed for substituting solar energy for fossil fuels are all there, there is no technical or scientific problem - so the true problem must be of a cultural or social nature.

Therefore,  MAKE YOUR ENERGY suggests a new way of getting things done: let us re-connect the different branches of human culture, for example let us re-connect physics to art, the other humanities and social sciene. This should empower human beings to solve urgent problems, which cannot be solved by organizations alone.

In the present paradigma of super-specialisation any collaboration of this kind is considered impossible - not even physicists from different fields are supposed to collaborate under the present paradigma. I think the present paradigma is wrong, I have tried to collaborate and communicate with artists, and it worked well:

Art

The artist Elena Mazzi used a Linear Mirror for her project “Reflecting Venice”. Reflecting Venice was shown during the Biennale of Architecture at Venice in 2014 as part of the Fittja pavillion, and it was bought by Borkyrka Konsthall public art institution, Stockholm. With a video on this project, Elena was invited to the Biennale of Art at Istanbul in 2015 as the only young italian artist. (more explanations here, page 19-23)

Reflecting Venice
Reflecting Venice

 The artist Fabiola Faidiga and me organized a big community feast “L'Energia dei Luoghi” (Local Energies) bringing together art, science, business, politics, history, everything. All in all it worked well, and at the final party we made solar Spaghetti on a solar carbon fire, they were delicious! This was the first ever application of solar carbon. So this was more than a feast, I guess Joseph Beuys would have called it a social sculpture.

spaghetti prepared on a fire of solar carbon, the solar carbon was made from straw
spaghetti prepared on a fire of solar carbon, the solar carbon was made from straw

 So, art and physics can talk to each other, and they have a lot to tell, yes.

other humanities/social science

How could the Archimedes mirror remain in oblivion for 2.300 years? Why is the Aeolipile of Hero of Alexandria considered an inefficient toy, in scientific literature and all internet sources? Without any explanation whatsoever? It would have been possible to avoid the fossil fuel era from the very beginning using the Archimedes Mirror and the Aeolipile - so what is happening here? Since Heraklit war was father of all. And as a matter of fact, the Archimedes Mirror is military gear in its origin. Can we find alternative sources for technical progress - could technical progress come from a beautiful interplay of phsycis, arts and humaniities, instead of the terrors of war? How can it be, that lobby groups and politicians and yearly international congresses tell us year by year that there is a lot of progress in the field of renewable energies, while instead the technology today is the same as 30 years ago, while the CO2 content is happily increasing ? Do we witness a shortcoming of democracy, and if so, what can we do about it? Many questions of this kind should be discussed urgently, and are not at present. Make Your Energy might be the framework for discussing these unsolved problems.

Reflecting Venice, detail
Reflecting Venice, detail

A new social sculpture

Make Your Energy is not precisely what Joseph Beuys would have called a "social sculpture", rather it is an evolution of Beuy's historic concept. Beuys' affermation "everybody is an artist" was more of a postulate, not concerning his art, his art was still done by the maestro, not by "everybody".

While instead MAKE YOUR ENERGY aims at combining many individual contributions into a gesamtkunstwerk, these contributions coming from art, physics, other humanities and social science.

MAKE YOUR ENERGY willl make these contributions possible with the money obtained from the crowd funding, but it does not buy them,  each contributor remains owner of his contribution. MAKE YOUR ENERGY is not a collective, but it is a chorus of individuals, representing all of the different human expressions of intellectual live.

As a point of departure and as a future point of reference I would like to bring two Linear Mirrors to New York. One mirror should be installed at some public place, like a hotel or a museum. for heating the place. One should work for some factory, helping to produce something. Also a motor for one of the mirrors should be provided, for the production of electricity and for solar pyrolysis. And both mirrors should be investigated and monitored by some University research group. In the USA, the Linear Mirror is not patented. So once it is there, everybody can make one for his own use. And for those, who don't have time for doing that, we can look for a company, which can make mirrors for you. Or we create a new company, maybe together? But that would be a next step, it is not part of MAKE YOUR ENERGY.

The money from this Kickstarter project will be given to individuals, groups or institutions, who want to contribute to this social sculpture, making it happen. This should be done through funding of selected sub projects, as described below. Technical details should emerge from the input given by the backers of this project and by experts in their fields.

Isomorph

Doing physicis at European Universities has become very difficult. In response, the Italian government has permitted the creation of accademic spin off companies. As a University teacher I can create an accademic spin off company for financing and organizing my research independent of science administration. I have created in 2004 the accademic spin off company Isomorph srl (ltd.). All the contributions to physics, which I made since 2004, were possible only thanks to Isomorph srl. In 2014 I received a grant from the Chamber of Commerce of Gorizia and Area Science Park Trieste, for the creation of a new company, which was called Isomorph Production srl, it is taking care for the industrial production of the Linear Mirror II.

Originally, I wanted to run MAKE YOUR ENERGY privately. However, it was impossible to clarify the resulting tax situation in Italy (in one possible scenario, 55% of the backers money would have gone to the Italian state). Therefore MAKE YOUR ENERGY will be administrated by Isomorph srl. I have set up a dedicated bank account in US dollar. The money from Kickstarter will go to this bank account, its use will be controlled and documented by an external office.

Obama and Archimedes

The medieval byzantine writer Tzetzes gave a description of the mirrors used by Archimedes. This description is not very detailed, but still it fits the Linear Mirror perfectly well (page 10). While it does not fit at all any of the known mirrors or mirror systems. We also know for sure, that Archimedes was the creator of an early astronomic clock, known as the Antikythera mechanism. The physics knowledge needed for building a Linear Mirror and the knowledge to build an Antikythera mechanism are the same.

According to wikipedia, the American President Barack Obama wanted to know, whether the story about the burning mirrors of Archimedes was true. An experiment was performed to find out, but with state of the art methods, not with mirrors as described by Tzetzes. Didn't work. But if you use the system as it was described by Tztetzes, to burn a wooden ship is no problem, as you see in our movie. Yes, Mr President, the story about Archimedes is true.

(note: with a parabolic or "bent" mirror one can easily make wood burn. But one cannot use it for make a ship burn, since a parabolic mirror has the focal point between sun and mirror. So the ship would need to float in the air in front of the mirror to be burnt)

Procedure and schedule

The Kickstarter campaign will be done in September 2016. If successful:

September to November 2016

identify local organizers, like a University or a Gallery. inform institutions and individuals about the project, find places for installing two Linear Mirrors, identify place for final manifestation, discuss proposals for science and art projects

Backers and experts in the field of art and science will be invited for meetings, where we will collect suggestions and discuss all relevant details and get people in contact to each other.

December 2016 /January 2017

By January 2017 the two Linear Mirrors should be installed. They will be accompanied by one of my collaborators. He will work as an instructor, explaining everything useful to interested parties. I will also stay for longer periods of time from then on. At this point, the science and the art projects should be defined and funded.

January – May 2017

science and art projects are brought at least to a preliminary conclusion. The Linear Mirrors will take data and will be evaluated scientifically. By May we should be ready for the final event, where all results are presented.

June 2017

The final event should be a scientific conference and an art vernissage at the same time. The final event should by itself be an art performance (social sculpture), showing that it is possible to reconnect art, science, humanities. At the same time, the final event is supposed to mark the end of the fossil era, and the beginning of the solar era.

July 2017

the whole project and in particular the final event will be documented in a book and a video project for the backers of the project. The book and the video should be ready by July or August.

 

Budget

2 mirrors                                                             20,000 $

+ tax, customs, transport, installation                 27,000 $

1 heat engine and pyrolysis device                    18.000 $  (will try to construct it in USA to save customs and transport)

accounting (external accounting office)               2,000 $

technical instructor                                             20,000 $

(will come to New York to explain all technical aspects both to technical experts as well as to people who start from zero)

Local organization                                               10,000 $

travel and accommodation                                  60,000 $

Art, humanities, social science  projects              70,000 $

science/technical projects                                    50,000 $

final event:                                                           20,000 $

documentation: there shall be an e-book and a video documenting the whole project and its outcome,                           15,000 $

sub total                                                            312,000 $

contingency 5%                                                  15.600 $

fee kickstarter + stripe                                        32,760 $ 

total                                                                   360,360 $

    

Risks and challenges

From a technical point of view there is no risk, since the technology is well established.
The money I have asked for should be sufficient to get artists ininvolved and local scientists as well.
The main challenge will be getting in contact with young people, who have new ideas but are not yet established and may not be well connected and therefore may never know about this project. Here the help of our backers will be crucial.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €10 or more About $11

    Book, electronics format, sent by email

    We will document the progress of this project and the final event in a physics-art book.

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    Pledge €30 or more About $33

    book and video

    The development of "Make Your Energy" will be documented by a video, which will be part of the art project.
    Together with the physics-art book you will receive a copy of this video.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge €500 or more About $558

    Personal invitation to final event

    The final event will present the physics, the technology and the art produced in this project. It will be a scientific workshop as well as an art vernissage, suggesting a new way to make science and marking the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.
    If successful, this event will be a historic one.

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Funding period

- (30 days)