Green Job Sector: Appropriate Technology Limits Pt.1

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Green Job Sector: Appropriate Technology Limits Pt.1

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February 15, 2021 - 6:46pm

Critical Commentary

This section will discuss cost and material design, and although we do not discuss particular jobs or businesses in these sections, it is important to consider the following to do well in design or to help build, manufacture, or even sell these types of products. 

 

1) Cost Effectiveness. 

A lot of products will usually be sent out to third world countries or to people who are in need of outside support to survive. Thus for a product to be useful to these countries, the technology must meet the cost limits. This means to stay profitable, the cost to make the device must be so small (basically cents) in order to stay affordable for third world countries who would otherwise not be able to afford it. There are some companies who decide to sponsor the distribution of more costly technologies, however these are rare. The product should cost as little as possible for its distribution and production. The choice of material also impacts production cost and distribution. A low-cost paper centrifuge is a perfect example of this; at a weight of 2 grams and a cost of literally 20 cents, this “paperfuge” is created from drinking straws, string, and paper. In 1.5 minutes of spinning at 125,000 rounds per minute (rpm) on HUMAN POWER ALONE, you can already separate the plasma from whole blood. Read more about paperfuges: National Institutes of Health.

 

2) Material Design.

Going along with the theme of Cost Effectiveness, the materials that are used to make the device must either be easily accessible and low cost or locally available in the area of use. This is in order to manage repairs and encourage the production of more technologies, where if something in the mechanism breaks the loss of production is not badly stifled for weeks because the repair material takes weeks to be imported. This would lead to poor planning, lack of resources for days, and lost trust that the machine is durable and worth the time of the locals. In addition to being easy to find and readily available, the material should meet standard requirements for its job such as heat resistance or water resistance. For example, modern solar chimneys are built with tinted glass, but in more primitive locations these can be built out of mud brick, favorable for high rates of thermal conductivity and painted with natural black dyes or paired with pools of water for retaining heat. Straw and light timber are alternatively more beneficial for insulation. These materials are cheap and easily found, and above all do the job. Read more about solar chimneys: Natural Building Collective and Solar Innovations.

 

Image: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Paper-centrifuge-for-whole-blood-processing-based-on-the-physics-of-a-whirligig-toy-a_fig30_317664357