Interesting possibilities arise when you combine old technology with new knowledge and new materials, or when you apply old concepts and traditional knowledge to modern technology.
High-tech has become the idol of our society, but technological progress is—more often than not—aimed at solving problems caused by earlier technical inventions.
There is a lot of potential in past and often forgotten knowledge and technologies when it comes to designing a sustainable society.
Ditch the Batteries: Off-Grid Compressed Air Energy Storage
Compressed air energy storage is the sustainable and resilient alternative to chemical batteries, with much longer life expectancy, lower life cycle costs, technical simplicity, and low maintenance.
History and Future of the Compressed Air Economy
Historical compressed air systems hold the key to the design of a low-tech, low-cost, robust, sustainable and relatively energy efficient energy storage medium.
How to Run the Economy on the Weather
Adjusting energy demand to supply would make switching to renewable energy much more realistic than it is today.
How (Not) to Run a Modern Society on Solar and Wind Power Alone
Matching supply to demand at all times makes renewable power production a complex, slow, expensive and unsustainable undertaking.
Slow Electricity: The Return of DC Power?
Directly coupling DC power sources with DC loads can result in a significantly cheaper and more sustainable solar system.
Power Water Networks
Hydraulic power transmission is very efficient compared to electricity when it is used to operate powerful but infrequently used machines.
Well-Tended Fires Outperform Modern Cooking Stoves
Despite technological advancements since the Industrial Revolution, cooking remains a spectacularly inefficient process.
Back to Basics: Direct Hydropower
The hydro power installations in use today are less energy efficient than those of earlier centuries.
The Mechanical Transmission of Power (3): Endless Rope Drives
The trend towards small-scale, decentralised power production means that rope transmission might have a place in our energy system again
The Mechanical Transmission of Power (2): Jerker Line Systems
Jerker line systems can be used to operate water pumps or sawing machines, to forge iron, to process food or fibres, or to make paper.
The Mechanical Transmission of Power (1): Stangenkunst
Long-distance power transmission predates the invention of electricity by almost four centuries.
Pedal Powered Farms and Factories: The Forgotten Future of the Stationary Bicycle
The possibilities of pedal power largely exceed the use of the bicycle.
Get Wired (Again): Trolleybuses and Trolleytrucks
Trolleybuses and trolleytrucks have all the advantages of electric cars — and none of their drawbacks.