Solarpunk Household Systems

From Our Networks 2047

Presented by Brian Sutherland

Due the widespread reformation of extraction, manufacturing and energy networks in the 2030 Restriction and Recycling of Electronics Directive 2030/95/EC, new electronics are expensive and hard to come by. In this workshop we will look at upcycling old or found household electronics devices from the early millennium period. The early millennium was a time when the US consumed 3 billion batteries a year (EPA, 2011) and each manufactured laptop on a three year replacement schedule consumed 47W 24/7 in electricity from coal-fired sources (Sutherland, 2022).

In this workshop we will examine a selection of battery-powered devices to upgrade, learn how to fit them with an appropriate solar panel, and then attach hybrid supercapacitors to store the energy for an extended period. Unlike batteries, hybrid supercapacitors recharge 500,000 times (Eaton Electronics, 2022)): who doesn't have a batteryless solar calculator still working after 70 years! Low-cost consumption-free communications and entertainment are possible for everyone -- the sun's energy is already here (and it's evenly distributed). It just takes a little reuse, repair, DIY and some community networking strategies.

This talk will:

  • explore alternative forms of energy storage in a speculative future, specifically batterylessness
  • increase awareness around the problem of electronics consumption and waste
  • apply a sustainable energy strategy proven in the internet of things field, to upcycle common consumer devices
  • find value out of discarded, found, or old devices instead of wasting them