Monthly Archives: February 2012

Videos of Appropriate Technology Tour

Parabolic Dish Solar Cooker – Sunseed AT Tour f

Part 2 the Ram Pump at Sunseed Desert Technology

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Permaculture Course November Photogallery

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Kachelofen Building Photo Gallery

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Summer & Spring News SL 2011


Make a nutrition plan for Sunseed diet.
Preserving summer fruits and vegetables.
Encourage the use of solar cookers creating the day of “no gas”
Seminar about sustainable living.
Welcome and guide tours for volunteers and visitors.
Renew the Sunseed cookbook
Create a kit of natural remedies damage and pains
Catering Sunseed courses
Preparing and organizing the 25 Sunseed anniversary

Make, preserve and keep a live sourdough for make bread without yeast and use the solar over for make bread.
Seminar about sustainable living
Guided tours for volunteers and visitors
Spanish lessons
Preserving spring fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Building new solar dryers before Summer
Renew the cushions covers on the living room benches
Decorate and improve the volunteers’ rooms
Use recycled and natural materials to make handcraft products
Make natural care products like aromatics oils, natural disinfectants for cleaning, experimenting making liquid soap, natural cosmetic products and teach how to use them.
Preparing the Open Day on 18th June.
Guide visit and workshop whit Roquetas de Mar High school


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Summer & Autumn EPF News 2011


Start work with Martin, new EPF assistant.
Take part in the eco-fair Ecoaltea with Sunseed stand, Compost tea workshop & presentation of the project.
Publicity, Co-Organise & take part on Permaculture Course.
Finish European Voluntary Service EVS application
Work on the Sunseed 25 anniversary in October.
Seminars on sustainable living, food production, human & environmental rights.
Educational Guided Tours of the project, for volunteers and visitors.
Visit with volunteers to different projects: Rodalquilar Botanical Garden, Dave’s Earthship Cuevas del Sol., etc..
– with RIE Spanish Ecovillage Network, take part in their Autumn meeting. the – with Spanish Vegetarian Association try to organise some event together
– with Portuguese ecovillage Project Tribodar
– with other local associations & groups
Formalize collaboration agreements with several Universities & students for students placements & internships.
Volunteers projects:
– Lena: publicity – posters and leaflets
And other bits…magazines & websites…and more….

Co-organise visit & workshop for 3 Greenpeace summer camp groups: seed planting, zai holes, gardens irrigation, irrigation line clearing, making pickles.
Publicity & Co-Organise Wind Turbine Course + Autumn courses.: PV panels, Bread & Jam, Nutrition, Compostoilet, Permaculture.
Co-organise a Open Day in June & run a henna (natural body art) workshop
Work on the organisation of Sunseed 25 anniversary in October.
Seminars on Ecovillages & Sustainable communities; and sustainable living, food production, human, animal & environmental rights.
Educational Guided Tours of the project, for volunteers and visitors.
Visit with volunteers to different projects: Rodalquilar Botanical Garden, Dave’s Earthship Cuevas del Sol., etc..

Join the Union Vegetariana Espanola UVE – Spanish Vegetarian Association.

With Drylands take part on Course in Almeria University about endangered species.

Preparing to take part on Eco-fairs Ecoaltea.

Publicized Sunseed on several UK festivals in cooperation with Wide Awake Café – Vicente Cruz.

Formalize collaboration agreements with several Universities & students for students placements & internships.

Volunteers projects:

– Neysa – Fundraising, Research & presentation on several EU grants available.

– Erin – Video short presentation about Sunseed

– Hanna – University Project – Community values, research, workshop & presentation of results.




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Springs into the summer of 2011……!

As always this spring was a busy time for the gardens….reflected in the need for four assistants to our ever hard working coordinator Kirsty in the last 12 months!

Winter and spring saw us bringing more of our terraces into cultivation and success in propagating our own plants over the spring in our polytunnel. We have begun cultivating green manures such as alfalfa to continue to increase the fertility of our soils along with our tried and tested compost teas and food waste. We hope to develop and experiment further our composting techniques this summer.
New beds have been prepared in the Forest Garden and Far Terrace allowing us to demonstrate Permaculture techniques and to harvest the rewards.
We continue to trail Mycorrhizal planting and continue to work on our soil fertility strategy which, uniquely, excludes the use of animal manures – other than our own human waste!
Over the summer we aim to collect more of our own seed and improve our propagation results. Permaculture courses, based upon our own cultivation techniques are being organised for the autumn. Join us if you can.
Early June has seen temperatures exceeding 30 degrees so improvements to the irrigation line and weeding are the main duties of our team of volunteers. And of course there is the reward of a harvest most days – see below!.

After 5 years as Organic Gardens Trustee, Richard, has decided to step down to allow for a fresh input of ideas into what the future might hold for organic gardening in Los Molinos. If you feel that you would like to get involved with the Sunseed Project as a Trustee or Advisor please contact the Project to receive more details.
Have a happy and sunny summer from all the garden team at Sunseed!!!

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Appropriate Technology Winter 2011/12

Sunseed’s closure for the whole winter gave us an opportunity to do major works on all the photovoltaic systems. This put Sunseed in a really low energy situation as the amount of solar energy available is lowest in the winter anyway, let alone when we were dismantling the frame of the solar panels or shut down the system to make essential modifications. We managed to deal with this situation with the introduction of Green, Orange and Red days which give clear guidelines of what appliances/services can be used on a given day taking into account the weather forecast and the actual state-of-charge of our solar battery system.

The overall aim was to optimize the efficiency of all renewable energy systems on site. Anja – a German masters student on Leonardo placement – has been a great help in achieving this and as we progressed she gained a more in-depth knowledge of photovoltaic systems in return.

We started with Isabella’s house: we had to relocate the solar modules to a more easily accessible location which also had less shading from nearby trees. The proposed new location was assessed and the optimum seasonal angles were calculated by computer simulation software: without any investment we were able to increase annual solar energy production by 18%. The failing inverter had to be replaced which gave us an opportunity to redesign the 12V system to operate on 24V, thus reducing transmission losses in cables by 75%. The new inverter was installed and the battery bank reconfigured which left only the lighting system to get a total revamp. We identified the most frequently used areas and installed low-voltage energy efficient lights (CFLs) so that they operate even when we have to switch the inverter off (this happens if we have e.g. 5 consecutive days of cloudy days). The other rooms got normal (i.e. easily available and cheaper) 230V lightbulbs. Corridors and stairs where lighting is mainly used for access, got alternating switches and LEDs installed. The reason for this is that CFLs need about a minute to warm up and get to their full brightness, while LEDs give their maximum output instantly. Overall, we reduced the electricity demand of lighting by 38% while providing 24% more light, thus increasing the efficiency of the lighting system by 52%.

We also did maintenance work on the ram pump (a gravity pump supplying the whole village with water) and the irrigation line (which provides water for our gardens), organized the workshop a bit more, repaired the solar motion-sensor floodlight and took part in many interest groups on how to improve Sunseed in many different aspects.

We also designed a DIY battery monitor/solar&wind data logger system based on the open-source Arduino platform and unconventional components. This will be installed at Isabella’s hybrid solar/wind system for us to be able to analyze the data and to see the effects of further improvements while serving as an educational tool at the same time for university students.

In the next few months we will be focusing on the optimization of the two other house’s PV systems. Starting from April, Marlene – a German MSc Process Engineering intern – will take part in designing a low-cost solar tracker (based on open-source Arduino as well) for the main house which will provide us with more electricity for the best price-performance and the least environmental impact.

If you are a university student looking for a research project or an internship in alternative technology, if you would like to get involved in specific projects or if you are simply interested in working in the AT department, please have a look at our project pack and feel free to contact Csaba – the AT coordinator.



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