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July 09, 2010

Robust Systems, Infrastructure and Fallback Systems

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Individuals, groups, cities, regions and nations are behind in hardening buildings and infrastructure and creatingsystem robustness.

There should be more use of hurriquake nails and blastproof wallpaper. There are also better products for combating radiation sickness and medical system/public health improvement to defend against biological or chemical attack.

A few thousand dollars per household could buy fallback systems for water, electricity, refrigeration, and cooking. Also, a few thousand could buy hurriquake nails which can be used to make a wood framed house be better able to withstand stronger winds and earthquakes (assuming proper and thorough nailing of joints.

This site has looked at various plans for improving civilization robustness.

Including looking at retrofitting for tougher buildings and taking a revised look at civil defense
This look will concentrate on steps and systems for individuals and smaller communities.

Individuals should trade or replace BBQ grills with thermoacoustic generators. (stove, electricity and fridge)
By 2012-2013 thermoacoustic generators should be commercially available and able to generate 20-150 watts with a sub-$100 system at 18+% efficiency. This could also be combined with inflatable solar concentrators to provide heat by concentrating tens of square meters of concentrated light. The generators also provide daily ice and a stove.

Another system for robustness is the cyclone power engine (rankin engine). Use any biomass or heat source.

The cyclone engines are about 30% efficient. Gasoline engines are about 25% efficient and diesel is currently 30-38% efficient. There are advanced engine designs that in development with 50-60% efficiency.

For robust communication -there is open source cellphones and updated Citizen band radio. Open source cellphones with p2p cellphone network There is also openmoko.

Get some cheap but effective water purification. Dean Kamen has the slingshot water purifier.

* Slingshot are expected to cost $1,000 to $2,000
* A unit will make 264.2 gallons (1,000 liters) of clean water per day
* Kamen has a Stirling engine generate the needed 1 kilowatt of power
* vapor compression distillation is used to purify the water


Power - water - communication - less damage from tougher structures -would reduce the lives lost in almost all disaster situations and lengthen the time before really bad losses and reduce immediate losses. This would be at a cost of a few thousand dollars per household.

Then work out some fallback food handling - just some food stores (field rations) could work for several months or even a year. Longer term would need seeds and agricultural robustness and restart plans.
Widespread plans for aeroponics or have genetically engineered hardened replacement crops.

Cities need to harden and redesign the grid and energy infrastructure.
EMP (Electromagnetic pulse) hardening retrofits should be done.
There should be mobile small nuclear reactors that can be moved on train cars and ships for regional response to energy outages. Small reactors that are refueled only once every 5 years, 10, 20 or even 100 years would help make a modularized grid that would have to be hit at ten thousand to one million points to break. Instead of large cascade failures or ones that need constant maintenance and fuel to keep going.

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