POC21: Open-source Tools for a Resilient Future

22nd September 2015

The annual UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP) will be held in Paris this year, it’s the 21st UN Climate Summit and this year they (once again) hope to come to a new international agreement to minimise global warming. Feeling deluded by the failed attempts at agreeing on very much over 20 years – in which time C02 emissions have doubled – instead of a COP, OuiShare and Open State banded together to propose a different type of meeting, a Proof of Concept (POC): “a proof of concept of the disruptive impact that collaborative production, open source and the maker movement can have on mainstreaming the means of sustainable living."
POC21 has selected 12 projects from over 200 entries to be part of their 'meeting', all are open source and resource-light. The innovators have been living, breathing and eating their projects for the last five weeks in an intensive innovation camp. The Innovation Camp brings together the people who are creating these sustainable open source solutions to share their knowledge and resources and work with other experts, mentors and supporters on-site. Together they aim to produce 12 prototype machines for the future. These machines will be part of a touring exhibition and catalogue, launched 21st September, to share their proposed open-source, low-cost and potentially world-changing gadgetry.
Jo Barratt our resident podcaster went over to hear more about what was going on and find out just what this proof of concept looks like. You can listen to his podcast here to get a real feel for the event and a more personal perspective on the sustainable future they are manufacturing. In the mean time we wanted to delve a little deeper into a few of the projects he didn’t get the chance to feature:
The waster water from a shower, often called grey water, is often almost drinkable, already warm and could very easily be filtered and then re-used. This is exactly what the shower loop does it "collects, cleans and reuses the water in real time while you are showering", plus you can then use the water to wash clothes etc. It uses 5 different types of filter to ensure the water is cleaned and in the process safe valuable water resources, plus the pre-warmed water greatly reduces energy use. They reckon you could save 1MWh of energy and 33,000L of water per person per year. With drought-ridden areas, like parts of California, being told to greatly reduce their urban water use, this technology could be just what is needed. 
The Faircap is a filter and bottle cap in one that can be put on any water carrying device. That way people can fill up their water bottle from any lake or stream, and safely drink the water. It means drinking water becomes much cheaper, the risk of waterborne disease is greatly reduced and there is no need to buy bottled water so plastic waste decreases massively. This innovation definitely has lots of potential to have long term sustainable impacts, the piles of plastic waste are a big problem as they pool together in large quantities at sea unable to be broken down, plus ensuring easy access to clean drinking water will mean a much higher quality of life for the 1 in 8 people currently unable to access it. At the start of POC21 the Faircap team had a prototype filter that cost between $3-5 to make, it will be interesting to see how it has evolved over the Innovation Camp duration. It seems what is really needs is a great business model to go along side its open source documentation to ensure the Faircap can get to the people who need it most, as quickly as possible. Is there potential for an open desk style model? Printing Faircaps in makerspaces and fablabs around the world?

Music credit: podingtonbear.com


Proof of Concept (POC): a proof of concept of the disruptive impact that collaborative production, open source and the maker movement can have on mainstreaming the means of sustainable living.


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