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Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new fascinating concepts, approaches, and technologies. Fascinating … exciting … even hope inspiring at times. And, as well, as the passion builds, so many of these are trulyEnergy COOL.  One pleasure of attending energy-related conferences is the chance to wander the trade show and talk to (and learn from) a range of innovators and experts from a diversity of firms. Yesterday morning, with the government shutdown, I wondered whether a four-day demonstration at National Defense University (oops, website down with government shutdown) in Washington, DC, would actually be open ... and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was.

For the seventh year in a row, the STAR-TIDES program is running a combination mini-conference and demonstration on NDU's parade ground in southeast Washington, DC.   On the conference agenda (note: that provides a free sign up, although that is not required to attend the sessions/see the demonstrations), today, for example is the following:

Wednesday 2 Oct 2013 (0900-1700)

1000-1045: Facilitated Discussion: Compatibilities & Logistics (Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, LTD.)

1200-1300: Lunchtime Speaker Series: Mr. Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment)- Lunch provided for first 200 people with Authentic Ethiopian dishes BY Babington Technology, Inc. at their Disaster Relief Mobile Kitchen Trailer.

1500-1545: Facilitated Discussion: Soft Power (Sheldon Himelfarb, Director, Center of Innovation: Science, Technology and Peacebuilding at United State Institute of Peace)

A bit late, of course, for most readers of this post to run over today but the TIDES demonstration will be open from 9 to 5 today and tomorrow, and for the morning Friday.

There are some quite interesting -- Energy COOL -- systems and companies on display.  These include:

  • biolitestove which has a small wood (or dung?) burning stove that also generates limited electricity (enough for limited LED lighting and cell phone recharging).  BioLite has a version for the developed world (camping) and another for the developing world. They claim that their stoves (for developing world) reduce biomass requirements by 50% and actual emissions by over 70% due to greater burn efficiency while then also providing that limited electricity for those off the grid -- as they phrase it, "Bottom Up Power".  On that camping version, they offer a really cool grill option that, among other things, drains the fat from cooking back into the stove to be burnt for energy (both cooking/heat and recharging your cell phone or providing light).
  • HybridPetalsis a firm specializing in electric bikes along with figuring out how to leverage solar pv advances to provide additional range and capability for these bikes.  For example, an electric assist bike with a stretcher and another with a medical support trailer that is covered by solar panels that power up a small refrigerator element for medicines.
  • Rain Catchers with a system for rainwater harvesting and water sanitation for disaster relief and other expeditionary environments.

There are just a few of the several dozen firms at the TIDES demonstration.

And, this is just a taste of an Energy COOL opportunity amid a government shutdown as I am about to leave my computer to go visit it again today.

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