The Open Sun Project is a project led by older brother David, in which solar energy is being used to create environmentally sound products. David and I had a chance to sit back and talk about his primary drive for developing such technology, and I asked him if it was based mostly on business, environmental, or humanitarian concerns? His answer was, “I think that, if anything is to be done on a large and sustained scale, it has to be tied to business. In other words, it has to be worthwhile to do monetarily, for people to keep doing it. I also believe that humanitarian, environmental, and business goals are not mutually exclusive. There is a sweet spot in the ‘Venn-diagram’ where all three circles overlap, and that’s where I’d like my projects to be.”
If you go to solarroast.com and click on the “The Open Sun Project” tab, you can see how David is finding this “sweet spot.” Take, for instance, the Sun Farm Solar Dehydrator, a product that uses the sun to dehydrate fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You can purchase the completed product for $150.00 or buy a step-by-step brochure for $12.50 and build your own.
The Open Source Heliostat Array is another design under the Open Sun Project, which is dedicated to building a small solar power tower heat source. David has provided diagrams and in-depth details on assembly for the motor, free of charge. The rest of the project is still under development and will be available as it is completed.
We talked about his ultimate goals for such research, to which he stated, “I would like to develop some solar-thermal technologies that are used for industrial-scale manufacture and recycling. I imagine direct-heat applications such as, yes, roasting coffee, as well as things like food processing such as canning and industrial scale cooking. I also would like to see plastics and glass recycling, some applications such as brick manufacture, and production of cryogenic air products like liquid oxygen, nitrogen, argon CO2 etc. I’d love to be in the business of making rocket fuel with high-powered solar thermal!”
The Open Sun Project is also about improving the quality of life in Haiti, in which the brothers are partnering up with a non-profit organization called, “Singing Rooster.” Singing Rooster provides assistance to rural famers in Haiti. The goal of the project is to raise enough money to build inexpensive roasters, much like the ones used by Solar Roast in 2005, The Helios 2.
Although the roasters will only be able to roast five pounds at a time, it will provide Haitian coffee farmers the ability to roast the beans they sell, and this should increase their profit margin. Solar Roast will be going public with their Haitian Coffee Roaster project in about a month.
Details regarding donations will be available through Kickstarter You can also follow the projects through their website.