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How Sustainable is Digital Fabrication?

Digital fabrication is praised as the future of manufacturing. While CNC machines have been embraced by's important to consider the very high energy use of digital machine tools.

High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network

High speed rail is destroying the most valuable alternative to the airplane; the "low speed" rail network that has been in service for decades.

Power from the Tap: Water Motors

Few people in the western world realize that they have an extra power source available in their household, workshop or factory: tap water.

Back to basics: direct hydropower

One hydropower configuration that deserves considerable attention is a water turbine directly powering machinery, without the intermediate step of generating electricity. The implementation of this form of direct hydropower doubles the effectiveness of a small scale electric hydropower installation. This advantage can be used to increase the energy production of an existing water power …

Back to Basics: Direct Hydropower

For almost two thousand years, water wheels powered machines directly via mechanical transmission.

The Mechanical Transmission of Power: Endless Rope Drives

You don't need electricity to send or receive power quickly. In the second half of the nineteenth century, we commonly used fast-moving ropes. These wire rope transmissions were more efficient than electricity for distances up to 5 kilometres. Even today, a nineteenth-century rope drive would be more efficient than electricity over relatively short distances. If we used modern materials for …

The mechanical transmission of power (2): Jerker Line Systems

From the 1860s to 1940s, many oil wells were pumped by a technology that originates in a sixteenth-century power transmission system used in the mining industry.

How to make everything ourselves: Open modular hardware

Reverting to traditional handicrafts is one way to sabotage the throwaway society. In this article, we discuss another possibility: the design of modular consumer products, whose parts and components could be re-used for the design of other products.

Electric velomobiles: as fast and comfortable as automobiles, but 80 times more efficient

The velomobile offers a more interesting alternative to the bicycle for longer trips.

Cargo cyclists replace truck drivers on European city streets

Those with strong cycling legs have ever more jobs up for grabs in Europe these days. A growing number of businesses are using cargo cycles, a move towards sustainable and free-flowing city traffic that is now strongly backed by public authorities.