My name is Nathan Wrzesinski, I am the creator of Project Upcycle, I like Chicken Cordon Bleu, with a fat cut of smoke cured ham in the middle and don’t skimp on the cheese.
But never mind that, more importantly, WHAT we are:
Project Upcycle is an Open Source renewable energies education project dedicated to the betterment of our environment and our lives by building and open sourcing renewable energy systems to replace non renewable systems. Drawing upon the collaborative knowledge and experience of enthusiasts worldwide. We are able to advance and tweak our systems without being limited by commercial transparency and profiteering. We aren't here to make money, we are here to change the world. Any profits go back into the project so that we can research and develop upcycled systems for the worlds problems.
Think Positive, Change the World
"Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.” -Wikipedia
The big picture
We have been working for the past several years out of an apartment with no real room to build or implement most projects. Recently we have been afforded the use of a sun drenched lot and laboratory at Ceres Park Ranch just outside of Austin, Texas!
The property is going to host an aquaponics vermaculture system in an effort to close the waste loop on the ranch. The ideal is that everything gets used by somebody. Our goal is to find out how and make it available to everyone.
The profit that the project makes gets invested back into the project, allowing us to improve, buy tools and equipment, and allowing us to do more in the research and development of renewable energy systems. We aren't done until the world is free of waste.
We are different because we want to document and share the design and construction of our systems and we want to build it all from waste. Every Kilowatt/hour of electricity that is generated sustainably, saves one pound of co2 from being created from a coal plant. The end mission isn’t money, it's education. This isn’t “Project Upcycle: Think positive, change your life.”
This is “Project Upcycle: Think Positive, change the WORLD.”
Quit being the precipitate statistic and be part of the solution.
Volunteers and open sourcing:
Someone once said “Lavarse los manos, one hand washes the other.” We took that to heart, so if you wash our hands, we will wash yours...and we will document and share how we washed our hands so the world can discuss it and improve upon the method so everyone can wash their hands better.
That's the general idea with our renewable energy systems. Research it, learn it, do it, share it.
Vermiculture one of the primary waste disposal systems we are implementing. Some worms, when kept in their ideal conditions can eat their bodyweight in organic waste every day. Their waste is called castings and it can be used straight as a soil amendment or have water run through it to create worm tea which is liquid organic plant food. Have you heard the miracle gro commercials pushing people to buy plant food because their plants are starving? Same product, but ours is organic and sustainable and uses waste in it's production as opposed to making it. There is no wasted product in vermicomposting. Worms eat the waste and make more worms and more castings. When we have too many worms, we will be harvesting them to feed the fish in our aquaponics system.
This is where the waste loop comes full circle. The excess worms from the vermicompost system will be used as feed for the fish in aerated fish ponds. On top of the ponds will sit rafts of floating towers of plants ranging from sprouts to ready to harvest. The system works because the fish eat the worms and make waste, the waste is eaten by the naturally occurring bacteria that will establish itself in the grow media of the towers. The bacteria converts the fish waste into nutrients the plants can use. The excess oxygen in the system allows the roots of the plants to be constantly wet (a condition that would usually cause root rot and kills plants) so new water with fresh nutrients can be pumped to the plants and absorbed as soon as the plant can use it. This rate is usually dependent on the amount of sun exposure to a plant. Project Upcycle is located just outside of Austin, Texas (20 minutes from downtown) so we get an average of 7.xx “sunlight hours” every day. While this doesn't sound like a lot, this number is not the number of hours the sun is visible. This is the amount of time where the sunlight energy exceeds 120w/m^2 (Think sun you could tan under.) We get a lot of sun, and the plants that grow under our sun have the opportunity to grow fantastically if they have the right amount of nutrients and the right amount of oxygen. Something the aquaponics system does wonderfully.
One of the main ways Project Upcycle wants to harness the energy it needs for the systems is solar. Not just photovoltaic, but parabolic trough, solar convection, parabolic steam , solar electrolysis and more! The sun provides enough energy to power and connect the world, so why are we burning all of this coal that could become diamonds, or oil that could be used to make more efficient plastics instead of gasoline and using it for sustainable applications instead of getting turned into exhaust as we burn through it like wildfire rocketing down the road at 80mph.
We can do better with our resources. We believe that the state of the Earth playing host to us is more important than personal gain. WE DON”T HAVE ANOTHER EARTH TO REPLACE THIS ONE, PLEASE STOP TREATING THIS ONE LIKE YOUR GREAT GRAND CHILDREN WILL NOT BE LIVING HERE TOO. It's your problem just as much as it is ours.
Project Upcycle uses waste products from eco-conscious people and companies that want to do more with their waste. If you don't recycle, your garbage probably ends up in a landfill somewhere, buried and forgot about in these huge vats of garbage.
Think about your trashcan:
Now take out all of the food scraps, paper, and other carbon based goods, you can feed it to the worms. Now take out all of the plastics that have a resin id triangle #1-7, you can turn them into more of these plastics, fuels, lubricants, etc...
Now take out all of the glass, it can be made into more glass or used to create Earth structures.
Now take out all of the metal, it can be made into more metal.
What are you left with?
A trash can like this is possible with renewable energy waste processing systems (conscious recycling). Project Upcycle wants to help by open sourcing these problems and finding sustainable solutions that the world can implement.
The bottom line:
Think about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Twice the size of Texas and floating in the middle of the ocean because of moving currents. Why doesn't someone build a plastic recycling system on a Panamax cargo ship and float around on it collecting waste, recycling it, and putting it back to use? Lack of a fat profit margin is a good place to start. A world fueled by our own greed is an awful place to live. Project Upcycle does it for the world, and that is all we will ever do it for. The bottom line has nothing to do with profits. The bottom line is that if we aren't cleaning up our environment, we are hurting our quality of life. To quote Casablanca: Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life...It doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world...but three billion? Three times that? That's a lot of beans.
Think Positive, Change the World.