Monthly Archives: February 2020

Hydrogen’s Frustrated Army

In Europe Hydrogen is a thing. H2 is touted as a smart fuel and a lot of money is spend to inject it into media content. It is obviously an attempt by the gas sector to prolong the use of natural gas, promissing carbon capture and storage with hydrogen generation. The mantra is H2, Nuclear, Natural gas.

Napoleon was send to Egypt because the directorate wanted him out of the country!

It is frustrating for these people who have to repeat their braindead idea, especially for the bought university professors who’s opinion is still respected by many. Even as the right wing (always fossil lakeys) governments propose rules to reduce the growth of the EV market, it grows by leaps and bounds. Even as the grid developers have ignored the effects of solar generation and EV charging and pretend there are no solutions (grid batteries).

This is because the victory of battery-electric vehicles is unavoidable. It is just cheaper. Charging is easier even if whole regions have been prohibited from anticipating EV market growth. In the Amsterdam region in Holland planning for EV charging spots was just blocked for years. Fighting renewables has been a right wing hobby, in the North of Holland a school was even reprimanded and asked to break down a wind turbine experiment of more than 2 meter high, because the whole windy barely inhabited province had banned all wind turbine construction.

If you take a hydrogen filling station for a hydrogen car, its just a loser. You can use one filling spot only once every half hour (the pump needs to buffer H2 in a high pressure tank which takes time), and the next pump needs to be 7 meters away. So you need a lot of space to fill hydrogen cars and you will never serve enough to replace gasoline and diesel. Its high risk, one H2 gas station exploded in Norway recently.

No pain at the superchargers!

But because H2 is a delay strategy for the gas industry pundits have to talk about it knowing that it makes no sense. It’s like a religious fanatic talking about a miracle that never happened. The feeling of being a morally degraded person to propose an expensive solution where resources need to be put into fighting climate change must also incur a cost. Its like that marketing guy at the Pall Mall sigaret factory we once say, who had yellow fingers and bad breath from smoking the product he sold.

You should move your industry to Morocco now!

H2 is proposed as storage medium for African (Desertec) energy with the argument it loses little energy in transit. A new pipe would be constructed to carry it to the industrial regions of Europe of course in a very slow and expensive process. Of course the loss would be about 60% of the solar energy turned into H2, or more if the H2 is burned. Compare that to batteries that can be build with a 95% efficiency. So if you run a battery rail service from Spain to Germany you are probably left with more energy!

Then there is ammonia NH3, a much easier substance to work with, much safer, for which there are ships and infrastructure in place. So if you want to move hydrogen you could do it in the form of NH3. Generation of NH3 is easy, and you can get it from farmers who are forced to consider it waste. This shows how the H2 economy is a lie to sell gas, because a real H2 economy would be eager to use NH3 : It has all the benefits of clean burning and your average diesel car can use it without much changes.

Read more about it here

So hopefully H2 advocates will not shoot themselves or jump off a bridge for wasting their lives deceiving millions and burdening future generations. We hope they don’t revolt against their sick paymasters who want to waste more than 60% of wind energy coming in from the North Sea for no clear reason. When Napoleon marched towards Cairo many of his soldiers became so desperate from the dry emptyness of the desert and the boredom of their existence that they threw themselves into the Nile to be eaten by the aligators. H2 advocates must feel the same. Droning on about a dumb idea is soul destroying. Hang in there!

Why you should read “Targeted”

A while back I decided to read up on my IT security awareness and made a list of books to read. I read a couple, for instance “There’s a war on but nobody knows!” (translated title) by a journalist who analyzed the international hacker scene, and “Targeted” by Brittany Kaiser. The last book was easy to read, it chornicles the adventures of real life Brittany Kaiser who decided to work for the mother company SCL Group of the now well known and prosecuted Cambridge Analytica.

Alexander Nix

The story of how she got hired and ultimately fired by Alex Nix, a colorfull albeit ruthless and slightly autistic man, who has by now been prosecuted for the abuse of Facebook data after having claimed to have destroyed it.

The basic business proposition of the SCL group was that it could produce marketing content that would help achieve the aims of whoever hired them. This could be billboards or webcontent on facebook, targeted adds or email campaigns. The SCL group exists since 1990, and it seems to have been involved in a number of political maneurvres, revolutions you could say. In one part of the book Alexander claims that they could both start a revolution and uprising, and when the end of it was achieved could calm people down as well.


Brittany describes that the help of the company was used in the Brexit referendum and in much more detail the Trump election. In both cases the claim was that a database of targets for influencing would be created. Facebook was used for a long time because it made data available on the relations of people through its develoment API (this is a kind of raw data portal that software developers can talk to), so that millions of voters could be precisely profiled and, what is more amazing : Adds could be speficially targeted to specific groups.

Both Brexit and Trump can likely be attributed to targeted lying to people who’s privacy had been compromized by Facebook

After Facebook stopped allowing download of relation data and personal datapoints, it did continue to ‘augment’ profiles, so if Cambridge Analytica tried to target a family man redneck in Texas in a constituency with water scarcity for instance, Facebook would still send the same message to a number of other members that fit the profile. These messages where part fact, part exaggeration, but often blatant lies and fabrications. The source of the add was usually not shown, so a facebook user would not know it was the Trump or Cruz campaign that produced the message.

Rob Mercer made money by developing machine learning algorithms. He wants chaos because it means opportunity

Ted Cruz and later Trump’s CA driven rise was largely funded by the Mercers, who are basically anarchists

Now the book Targeted doesn’t go in too much detail, but it gives a pretty good picture of what is going on in terms of marketing. The online and sometimes even online experience of people is slowely being tailored just to their personality, by people that don’t identify themselves. People who run AI algorithms to find out what someone responds to, that know people better than they do themselves because modern life leaves litte room for introspection. The developers in the book even seemed to believe that a specific nr of ‘impressions’ would have a predictable effect.

Armies of hackers are employed in offices around the world. Sometimes with protection they can make millions in online crimes

Now before CA there was Snowden, and the NSA, who has been at recording communication since the 1940’s, starting with telegraph messages. You have What’sapp and other apps, who are encrypted but messages of which can be intercepted as they are typed on smartphones and PCs. The market of hacking tools, worms and viruses is so developed it has call centers. The book describes big office buildings full of hackers in China and ransomware criminals being used by Putin in Russia.

Today there are many SCL groups, and they work for politicians, governments, businesses and private citizen. We are against nuclear energy and it is 100% certain the nuclear lobby has hired an SCL clone to target me with messages that will soften my resistance. Why is it certain? Because it is cost effective. Because it works. Because the data is already in the hands of these companies. Even though Alexander Nix and CA has been convicted and fined for using Facebook data, Berxit and Trump are facts.

Data owners own you. How will you start a political movement to counter them? They will know you are!

Reading Targeted is not so much usefull to learn that this is going on, it is a good way to get used to the idea, to kind of get massaged into this new world. “All your data are belong to us” to praphrase the bad english from a Japanese console game. Should you be paranoid about online and offline messages? Yes!! If you have no ambition and want to accept your fate, you will be programmed, because the people who are really paranoid are the ones trying to shape your opinion. To really believe it you need to take some time to give this influence arms and legs.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t believe in limiting political speech on his platform, even if its only a fraction of his revenue stream. It must be that now that Trump is in charge companies can’t operate freely and have to enable the republican agenda, or to be more precise the Mercer-Bannon-Trump agenda, which is greedy and nihilist. Even then, most adds in the Trump campaign where not easy to trace back to Trump. This means that even if Zuckerberg says he doesn’t want politicians to lie in adds on his platform, he can still show adds of ‘Astroturf’ non-profit grassroots fake companies that convey messages advantageous to one politician or another.

The most serious consequence of automated personalized messages is that it might be true to make a system like that 100% reliable. It may be that developers now know how many messages of what kind to what people they have to make happen to achieve a certain outcome. When Boris Johnson hammered the phrase “Get it done” to win the votes to finalize Brexit, an outsider could see that he was like a mugger, who was mugging the UK, and the UK getting tired of it after 3 years agreed: Get it over with! It took the loss to get rid of the hassle. Brexit was manhandled through in a way, but the voters didn’t know anymore being confused and fed up.

There are two options now for the world : Regions will increasingly fall in the grip of a continuous barrage of messages that push people around, into anger and fear and despair, resulting in a shakeout by opportunists. Or some regions put a stop to this new industry of robo-psy-ops while there are still thinking responsible people in it. The odds are stacked against the latter.

Stamceltherapie en Werkende Ouderen

We schrijven meestal over duurzaamheid en het fossiele machtsbolwerk dat we moeten verslaan, maar ondertussen zijn er ook andere onderwerpen waar we onszelf, of waar de economie ons weerhoudt van de juiste acties.

De vergrijzing is een feit, niet alleen in Nederland. De werkgevers maken zich zorgen, er zijn te weining mensen om het werk te doen en het aantal lijkt zelfs af te nemen. Tegelijkertijd stijgt de ‘last’ van de ouderen die pensioen genieten. We vinden die framing als ‘last’ onterecht. Het is waar dat ouderen niet veel produceren, maar dat is een gevolg van de wens van de economie om te produceren met fossiele energie, en niet met hernieuwbare energie. Daardoor zijn er altijd mensen die denken “Die fossiele energie zou ik zelf wel willen gebruiken”, er is concurrentie om de energie, en dan worden ouderen weggezet als ‘last’.

De medische wetenschap ontwikkelt zich echter voortdurend. Er is tegenwoordig zogenaamde stamcel therapie. Daarbij worden stamcellen gemaakt, dat zijn cellen die zich nog in elk celtype kunnen differentieren. Deze maken we normaal gesproken zelf ook, in ons beenmerg voor bloedcellen, maar ook in onze longen en hersenen. Bij hersenbeschadiging worden nieuwe cellen gemaakt die zich automatisch verplaatsen naar de plek van het letsel en daar functie herstellen.

Stamceltherapie is een onderdeel van regeneratieve geneeskunde en kan gezien worden als een nieuwe tak in de medische therapeutische benadering van ziekten en traumata waarbij de basis idee bestaat uit de transplantatie van – al dan niet gedifferentieerde – stamcellen ter vervanging van afwezige of defecte cellenweefsels of organen.

Veel werknemers zouden wel langer willen werken, maar zijn gewoon te oud en gebrekkig om dat te doen. Stamceltherapie wordt vooral gepromoot met beweringen over herstel van algemene gezondheid. Gezondheid op hoge leeftijd is niet alleen iets dat ‘marktwaarde’ heeft, maar ook economisch belang. Wat zou het voor de werkende medemens betekenen als hij/zij nog een aantal jaar in gezondheid zou kunnen doorwerken?

Engelse uitleg van stamcellen

Stamcel therapie hoeft niet duur te zijn. Het zijn tenslotte levende cellen die bij 37 graden Celsius op een beetje agaragar prima gedijen (niet dat we er het fijne van weten overigens). Met een warmhoud kast en een paar petrischaaltjes ben je al een heel eind. Niet om het te bagataliseren, maar toch is het vooral het checken van de cellen en het steriel houden van het proces (de cellen worden in het bloed getransfuseerd) het meeste werk.

Stel : Stamceltherapie werkt zoals veel mensen getuigen. Dan zou het geen slecht idee zijn om deze behandeling algemeen te vergoeden. Dat zou niet alleen de kosten van medische zorg beperken (en van verzorging), maar ook de levenskwaliteit van ouderen verbeteren, en daarmee ook de kans dat ze nog deelnemen aan het arbeidsproces. Grotere arbeidsparticipatie is goed voor de economie.

Stamcel therapie ontwikkelt zich naar een veilige effectieve vorm, hoewel de marktwaarde zo groot is dat cowboys het imago beschadigen

Het lijkt ons dat een politieke partij die niet te knus is met de farma-ceutische industrie dit zou kunnen voorstellen. Als de baten kunnen worden bepaald (door onderzoek naar de voordelen voor de levenskwaliteit van behandelde patienten) dan kan blijken of mensen de keuze gegeven moet worden : behandelen of pensionado blijven. Het lijkt ons dat als mensen uit het arbeidsproces vallen door kwalen die met stamcel therapie verholpen kunnen worden, zo’n behandeling zeker te motiveren is.

Update : British medical records have been sold to US pharma companies. Where did the data go next?

Saline Farming

Around the word rainfall is decreasing. This has the effect that in coastal zone salt water percolates upward, no longer kept down by new fresh water. This is ruining land for farming across the globe, many crops can’t grow as well in salter water and production is decreasing. With modern methods of plant breeding new species of plants can be created that actually thrive on saline soil. Below a number of examples.

High yield rice in China
Potatos in Holland
Saline crops in India
Saline farming in Bangladesh in cooperation with the potato team
There’s no water shortage, it’s just to saline!

A nice consequence of being able to grow high caloric crops on saline soil is that it could open much more land to farming, even in remote areas where only seawater is available. With partial desalination crops can grow and store CO2 with the efficiency of 5% or 50Watt/m2 (which is the approximate solar conversion rate of plants). That is 500 kW/hectare or 50 MW/km2. The rice in the above example can be managed by robots. The yield could be used to run the equipment, so that the investment in energy sources like solar panels can be low. This could be part of an extraeconomic carbon capture operation.

Lithium Titanate Batteries

Battery tech is developing fast. New types are entering the market, and leaving if they disappoint (or are to disruptive such as sodium batteries). The race is on for more kWh/kg, energy density and more cycles. This post is about Lithium Titanate batteries, and a quick recap of their capabilities is :

The efficiency of these cells is not great, about 80%, but the cycle life is off the wall. These batteries will last 30 years! If you build storage for your solar installation you only have to buy them once. The search code for this battery chemistry is LTO, you can find them on Alibaba.

Honestly looking at LTO cells. Not optimal for solar, but a good solution where you need reliable batteries!

There are two main formfactors, the cylindrical and so called prismatic cells. The round are shown in the above video. because the Cell voltage is 2.3 Volt you need 5 or 6 of them to make a 12 Volt cell. You can get 5S BMSes to charge them on Aliexpress (5S) but 5S causes the battery voltage drops too low. Now there are 6S BMSes for sale (link to the BMS from the video). The balancers need further development, but balancing doesn’t need to be a problem.

Very little loss of capacity over 30.000+ cycles. Not sure why the graph stops.. Source

LTO cells can discharge deeply, don’t mind low temperatures and don’t catch fire. Compared to Li-ion cells they are much safer, so if they are used in vehicles or machine and remain unattended for long times they won’t suddenly cause a fire.

Testing LTO cell durability

New LTO batteries are more expensive, but this is because they last longer. Second hand LTO batteries are cheaper, but because of the many cycles they can be as good as new. Its funny because AliExpress can be a wild west market, so whatever you buy you need to test and check to see if you got what you bought.

These batteries can discharge and charge pretty fast!

Discharge rates for LTO cells can be 10C! This makes it a good option for starter batteries, but lighter and smaller.

We are looking for european manufacturers. Now with the Coronavirus logistics from China are under pressure. The risk to the world of being dependent on airfreight or 45 day logistics for essential goods (if they are even being produced) is not a smart thing. We hope more batteryfactories will be build in the EU soon!

Battery banks like this can be pretty dangerous, don’t do it like this!
Good info!

The Euro, the Auro and the Joule revisited

Timmermans is Europe’s climate Czar, even if names refering to Russia may not be in vogue. Fossil Europe is preparing to utilize gas from Russia, and Holland, the country Timmermans is from, maintains a balance between criticism and expressions of friendship to Russia (and most if not all other countries). Timmermans is an EU machine. A worker that committed to the EU and its democratic processes. Now he has presented an interesting carrot and stick to get climate action moving : A Trillion Euro fund.

The trick works like this : Many will say “How can we reserve such vast amounts of money”. But in the back of their minds they will think “Wow, that is a nice fund. If we lobby to create it, we can also take money out!”. Member states will find themselves arguing how to pay for it while also fantasizing what to do with the cash! We hope that will work!

At the same time we know that the economy can not fix climate change. The simple reason is that the economy is based on fossil credit, carboncredit as we call it. If you want to produce something, a car for example, you need energy to make machines work, to heat the homes of your workers, to melt the steel. And that energy is distributed through our Euro. The Euro is still 75% Nuclear/fossil credit in Europe. If you say “We will reserve a trillion for climate action” you are taking an enormous cut out of the fossil reserves and allocate it towards fixing climate change. But of course you will burn those fossil fuels. So there are three problems with the 1 Trillion :

  1. It represent fossil fuels you don’t want to burn
  2. Banks influence the value of that trillion by printing more money
  3. Companies want the money to go towards business as usual

So the likely scenario in the current economy is that there will be about 400 Billion to dole out at first. Maybe less. Then that will be doled out towards fossil intensive projects (they are always preferred by banks because they generate more cashflow). Infrastructure builders will be on the first row with some mega project. Massive amounts of CO2 will be emitted. Little will be achieved in time to have true effect. The economic doctrine is deeply ingrained in so many that there really needs to be a clear alternative approach, that takes a little time to grasp. Back to school so to say!

If you take a Tesla approach, and you are mentally paving a road over greenfields (or grayfields) because you consider the fossil based system obsolete, you need to create the conditions for speed in the future now. Like Tesla started a Giga factory because it understood batteries would be the limiting factor, the first order for Timmermans is to establish a calculation of battery solution feasibility for essential industries (not GDP essential but real economical!) and plan construction of battery production, solar panel production, wind turbines for a massive growth curve. This will give bankers a heart attack, it makes their carboncredit obsolete, but it also ensures execution can be fast and living standards can remain high.

As the above happens the search must be for ZERO fossil input ways to deal with climate change. You can’t support CCS, it is a temporary measure and the transition to renewables is for eternity. Solve the problems in one step, not in economically attractive (cash flow generating) non- solving ministeps, such as moving from coal to gas, from gas to gas-hydrogen. That’s just the fossil banking system wanking.

The transition to organic farming, soil carbon sequestring methods, ways to capture carbon at sea, etc. have to be rolled at scale, while solutions are found for the increasing droughts and floods. Scientific institutions can prove worthless if they are kept afloat by fossil industry money, or if they have been put into debt by banks. They will sell ideas they get handed by those banks. Looking at the basic research though is not expensive and so it makes sense to create young teams to figure things out. Let them use models to simulate the effects of choices, in fact we think the EU should reach out to Microsoft to develop an Earth Sim, based on the new MS flight sim that has real time weather and hyperdetailed maps.

So how do you really sequester large amounts of CO2 without using a lot of fossil fuels? We think the solution can be found offshore, in growing seaweed or other plants. This needs to be given a real budget, with the aim not to be profitable but to be self sustaining and effective. This is possible because if seeweed will grow (water not to hot), the yield per hectare is considerable. Processing it at sea means the BCS (Biomass Carbon Sequestration) effect can be optimal. The size of this operation has to be as large as possible. A 1 billion Euro fund can really get this going.

But to get to the title of this post, we thought about how to extricate the activities from the influence of the carboncredit system, the banking system. We wrote about this in 2012.

The Euro is fossil fuel credit. Its ability
to buy fossil fuels is key to its value

The basic idea is that money is meant to make asynchronous trades possible. That means that if you have a loaf of bread, and I have a piece of chees, I can first sell my piece of chees, get a Euro, then use the Euro to buy your loaf of bread, and you can use the Euro to also buy a piece of cheese. The amount of money has to somehow follow the ability to produce goods and services to avoid inflation. Not to little or people get stuck with stuff, not to much or paying will be a hassle. This use of money is the most important for the real economy.

The question then becomes, what are the dynamics of different sources of productivity. you have human labour, fossil energy, renewable energy (and others of course). In principle each should have their own currency. The big problem with loss of jobs and income at the moment is partly because people get payed in the same currency as machines : Fossil fuels, but machines need much less! Humans compete with fossil fuels for the same money (an automation company can say “Our machine does the job of three humans, it’s value is at least one human times five years!”).

There should therfore be a separate currency for human labour, the Auro. The amount of which should track the true productivity of the population. This way humans do no longer compete with machines, and there is no dependency on fossil credit to exist at all.

The Auro is named after gold, because historically the amount of gold was relatively constant, just like the population and its productive capacity

The same goes for renewables. The productive value of wind turbine electricity depends on how far away you are from the turbine. It has no storage so the line losses mean that if you sell 1 kWh you need to produce more the further away you sell it. Even if a gas powerplant in the South of Holland needs to power a factory in the North it has to produce more MegaWatts than the factory will register. Also renewables can be bought and payed for. Then the energy can be sold by the owner, no bank debt or credit should be involved. That means there should be a currency for such renewables : The Joule.

Renewable localised energy is traded in Joules. The Joules are allocated by the tax office because the calculation needs to be precise. It is then up to the owner of the RE source to ‘sell’ them. Of course the government or EU can have a Joule bank based on EU RE sources

Now if Timmermans wants to create a new RE based economy, he is wise to also create a new bank, the Joule bank. He can then organize the mass production of RE energy sources, to be owned by memberstates, and introduce a Joule based credit system that is run by the same. To by the new RE one needs Joules. This way the new system does not feed into the existing fossil banking system, with all kinds of deleterious effects.

The use of the Auro is a more complex matter, basically anyone will have three balances, for the Euro, Auro and Joule, and apply them in combinations. For instance a european flight costs Euro for kerosine and Auro for the stewardess and ground crew.

Even if the above seems complex, there is truth in its necessity. It makes no sense to keep mixing the trade of fossil energy (the price of which is arbitrary because production of one barrel can cost between 1 and 10 barrels of oil) with that of renewable energy. Like with human labour, fossil fuels is unfair competition.

The way a carbon tax works can then be translated into Euro’s from the fossil economy being made available to the Joule economy. Fossil energy resources that can be used to make Renewable energy sources. That means that the transition has a steady control over fossil resources, even if banks decide to try and inflate the CO2 cost away. To be continued!

If anyone wants to create a virtual currency we own and 😉

Monitoring Air Quality

People are becoming increasingly aware of the cost of bad air quality. Recently it was determined that pollution from cars and trucks can cause acute medical conditions suck as cardiac arrest as well as loss of balance. About 500.000 of people die prematurely in Europe every year because the air is too dirty.

pm 2.5 concentraties in Europa (2005)

Of course raising awareness would cause resistance, and the fossil fuel sector has considered it part of their business to sway politicians to ignore, underestimate or deny any harmfull effect. Highways, being cashcows for for gasoline and diesel sales, have been build with only crude models of what it would mean in terms of pm2.5 exposure to whoever lived around them. The “concrete maffia” had their own interest in pushing project through in spite of damaging effects.

Highways as a source of pm2.5 pollution. Don’t live downwind!!

Today there are options to make logistics nearly pollution free. The brake dust and tire dust remains, but is much reduced if you drive an electric car, truck or semi. Even if they burn Hydrogen or Ammonia, they will be cleaner than they are today. The irony is that this comes out now, it becomes an issue today, but it has an issue for decades, or even more than a century, from the first use of coal in cities.

London in the “great smog” in 1952!

 It only lasted five days, but by the time it was through, the Great Smog would be responsible for injuring approximately 200,000 people and killing 12,000

Still even today people are kept at arms lenght. In Holland there is a government program to measure particulate matter, it is called “Samen meten” or “Measure together”. Even though the RIVM, the institute that is concerned with the measurement of air quality, supports citizen measuring, there is no legal status of any measurement. This means that one can not use these to show air quality standards aren’t met in a certain situation. This is weak, measuring pm2.5 is not rocket science as we will see.

We also read in their review of options for public monitoring, that “calibration of sensors are still being developed” that can only be bullshit. Of course there are calibration methods. We tried to measure gasses in our appartment and borrowed a true CO, CO2, CH4 measuring device from an official company. It had to be calibrated before we took delivery. That took all but 10 minutes or so.

The now braindead EPA (due to Trump) even warns about pm2.5 from wood smoke :

“These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they may cause burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses, such as bronchitis” (forgets to mention CANCER)

Still even if calibration is off by 10% the data can be usefull. Especially now that wood burning has been identified as a major cause of lung problems (due to its cancer causing constituents). Some groups in Holland take a serious approach to the measuring task. When sensing devices are linked to the internets it is possible to constantly track pm levels and correlate them with evens such as fireworks being set of at newyears eve.

pm2.5 levels in the ‘s-Gravenpolder in Holland measured by

TNO a renowned Dutch reseach institute, has ran a project since at least 2015 to measure “personal exposure to fine particulate dust” called TOPAS. These people are usually reliable and seem to be going about this measuring proces thoroughly. They even produce a map, but it is not very dense. Below is an example of pm2.5 and apparently the modelled contribution of each country to the levels measured in The Hague in jan 31st 2020. It is most likely a model though, the absolute amount of pm2.5 is measured, then the contributions of countries is based on their output and wind direction etc.

TNO graph of pm2.5 split up by contributing country. You can derive the wind direction or lack of wind pretty easily

The government initative also has a data portal. It has two sensors close to where we are located. We see that pm2.5 rose to 750 µg/m3 in the night of 31. The below measurements are from a place about 500 meters from where we are. You can request more information on how to contribute on this page.

pm2.5 from here

You can see the actual pm2.5 tracks the graph by TNO quite well, and exposure of 44 µg/m3 occurs of wich a lot comes from France and Belarusia. In the graph below the pm2.5 even reaches 55 µg/m3. The peak earlier in the month is also more pronounced. If anything the graphs show that there are days you might want to keep your windows closed. You can find the map here.

pm2.5 from here

From the above we see the risk to health is not imaginary. The need to push back and find and shut down sources is important for public health. In the province of North Holland where Tata has its steel mills graphite rains (in spite of fines) down on its cities, and people wanted to know more about it and measure it. We presonally could see the soot on the windows in IJmuiden, which for us was a reason not to hang around there. Tata is moving to electrolytic processing of steel, which will both cut cost and reduce air pollution.

a barebones Shinyei PPD60V

But what measuring devices are there? There’s a list of them here. A sensor that even the RIVM considers fit to make real measurements is the Shinyei PPD60V. Its cost in Holland is € 100 while its cost in a US overview of sensors is $760! Maybe thats what you get if you make profit seeking the guiding principle in your society (sorry moral finger waving)! Send us an email if you want us to send you some! 😉

(in dutch) Beschrijving van een luchtkwaliteit app

We have yet to discover how to become a contributer to the Measure Together network (sent us an email at Scalpeler sells a sensor suitcase, kind of diy for fans of Raspberry PIs. It uses the Sensirion family of sensors, which can be bought here. These are laser based sensors, and they can mix up pm2.5 soot and car dust with moisture and cooking aerosols. They can be +/- 10 off, according to this long term study , that showed that some cheap sensors can give a good indication of what the expensive sensor picks up, and sometimes do better in terms of local short term events. You can order one with a good sensor for about 30 Euro here.

We think it would be cool if we could have our pm2.5 measuring device on standby measuring, but then it would have to be online, a IOT device or connected by GSM. The closest we could find is this combination of an acceptable sensor and USB connection.

SDS011 Fijnstofsensor Nova Fitness

This is our main criticism at the moment : Where can I buy a ready to go reporting sensor to add my data to the map?

In other news, NASA will lauch an air quality monitoring satelite soon. It will provide hourly updates for North America. Would be nice to have the same for Europe!

Monitoring is not the end of the story though, and we found that you can easily filter air from pm2.5 although it uses up energy, in a way that is cheaper than normal HEPA filters. One option we thought of was to build a centrifuge, which works as shown by studies. But the official RIVM measuring method involves sucking air through tubes, which directs the airflow, to then force the air to make a rapid turn upwards. The faster the airflow, the harder the turn, and the particles that can’t make it end up in a layer of grease.

Grease plate separation filter for floating particles

This seems like an easy device to build, and it confirms our idea of using oil to capture dust instead of a HEPA filter. Much cheaper! We build a centrifuge, but it seems that the above design is better, we are not entirely sure. Below a picture of our centrifuge setup, which did not perform in any measurable sense. We found a study that calculates the speeds needed for separation, but haven’t worked on it yet, mainly because the above design seems more easy to build with off the shelve parts. We will update this post as we learn more about how to start a measuring station and whether we can build a grease based filter. It would of course be wonderfull if we could actually control the pm2.5, not only suffer from it.

A contraption that rotates a drump with high RPM to separate out the pm2.5. On the left the speed controller. We have to revisit this design, or go with the RIVM grease filter

To capture bigger dust particles, from stone grinding for instance, we build a simple filter by the same principle as the grease filter. This one uses oil, which we hope doesn’t evaporate too much. It consists of a ventilator, a tube and a barrel. We put the oil in the barrel, and the ventilator blows air into the oil (there’s about 2 cm between the tube and the oil). Any heavy particle will have trouble making the right angle turn and ends up in the oil. Let us know what you think through

The ventilator, barrel and the oil.

To use grease the speed of the air must probably be higher. This setup won’t catch pm2.5 but it should catch sand dust or cement dust we think. After running it for a while in a room with dust we notice it actually works. The simple principle of shooting the dust into the oil only needs to be sped up to capture pm2.5 as well.

Version 0.2 Oil based dust filter

We made a second version, because we wanted to increase the speed of the airflow and didn’t like the barrel, the result is not pretty yet, but it also works. As you can see we created a wide tube to house the ventilator, but the bottom has a relatively small square hole with a piece of square tube in it. This is done to speed up the air and somewhat direct the flow. We will stuff it with straws tomorrow to further ‘laminate’ the flow. This will have the effect of all small particles being shot straight out of the bottom.

Bottom view

We replaced the barrel by a RVS dish, we could use a bigger diameter, that may have a positive effect on airspeed because of the lower pressure. Its a noisy machine, but it does catch dust evidently as the picture below shows.

Dust caught in the oil after a couple of hours

To be continued, this may become a fixture if the noise can be reduced because the improvement is noticable. Below another incarnation of the system, with a way more quiet ventilator. Still needs either a tower or a cover to make sure the air is blown to the side and taken from above. Now it wil circulate a couple of times but it seems to work.