Here are our innovators for 2017. Watch this space for details on their projects at the event.
Erica is a science and art educator, curriculum developer, writer, illustrator, researcher, and rocket mass heater innovator. She loves making things
from scratch - anything from blueberry scones to the oven itself. Erica is a skilled educator and project coordinator, with over 20 years of experience
building teamwork and leading hands-on learning. Erica and Ernie have taught numerous workshops on natural building and rocket mass heaters. Erica has written
multiple books on rocket mass heaters, fire making, and survival shelters. She is featured in many videos, documentaries, and podcasts on rocket mass heaters.
Ernie is a botanist, educator, writer, researcher, rocket mass heater innovator, natural builder, and boat aficionado. He served in the merchant marine, Navy, and fisheries, and has tremendous experience with hydraulic and hot water systems. His family's sea time stretches back "since Noah was a babe," all over the 2/3 of our planet from which quitters can't walk home. Ernie is semi-retired due to a disabling injury, but still makes time for the occasional workshop or fascinating prototype project. He co-authored multiple books with his wife, Erica, and he is featured in many videos, documentaries and podcasts. Ernie is a wealth of knowledge; there are not many topics on which he does not have an opinion.
Due to medical issues, Ernie may not make it to the event. We'll keep you updated!
Tim has come a long way since his days as a diesel fitter mechanic, and now spends his time between Australia and New Zealand (and sometimes the US) as a
semi professional pyromaniac and mad scientist teaching people how to burn stuff and make really cool machines and devices for low carbon living. He
currently teaches Appropriate Technology for the Koanga Institute in New Zealand and Very Edible Gardens (VEG) in
Melbourne, to name a few.
He has previously been farm manager for the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, power station operator/mechanic, adventure guide and professional turtle wrestler. His rocket stove and char making powered hot water systems, ovens and cookers reflect his passion for elegant simple and durable combustion technologies. Other projects include gravity powered water pumps, solar thermal cookers and dryers, pedal powered washing machines, cargo bikes, hovercraft, wooden boats and aquaponics, to name a few. When he is not tinkering he can be found on Macleay Island off the coast of Queensland Australia, where he and his family live and are currently in the process of building a rammed earth house (with maybe a little sailing thrown in).
He is particularly well known for his safe and effective rocket hot water heating system.He brings practical, hands on experience with some truly fascinating projects to the table - this from the Koanga institute:
"He has the practical knowledge and skills to construct almost any project with limited resources."
We're thrilled to have him instructing at our facilities!
From Ernie & Erica:
"Tim Barker, from Australia / NZ, built one of the most robust rocket water-heaters we've seen, capable of being run safely and maintained by a rotating student
body on a permaculture teaching site."
Peter van den Berg
Born 1st of March 1946 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Lived in the same town since.
Formal education: Cabinet maker up to master.
Skills: Woodworking, bricklaying, plumbing, welding, plastering, electrical wiring, composites, making molds.
Work: Cabinet maker 17 years, composite specialist and mold maker at Fokker Aircraft 17 years, master of boats for Delft University among others, 14 years, retired since 2011.
Interested in efficient wood burning, mostly by way of masonry heaters for the last 30 years.
Tried to make a living building those heaters but gave up after 5 years.
Since 2007 investigating and developing rocket heater variants.
Designed and built his own passive, energy neutral house.
Kirk is a native Californian with a love of critters, fire, and mud. He's been a natural builder for some time, has taught with Cob Cottage Co. and around California for over a decade. Kirk's particular interest in Rocket Stoves and Rocket Mass Heaters is in providing a pathway to super efficient, high technology solutions; with low technology, do it yourself methods.
Kirk, also known as Donkey, is the administrator of donkey32.proboards.com, which has become a hotspot for discussion and innovation of all things Rocket Stove.
For him, exploring the possibilities and pushing the boundries is where it's at. While Natural Building is ancient, for our culture it's new, and there's still a lot of room for discovery and experimentation.
Kirk's devious plans for this year's innovators event
For the workshops, I'll be building a 4-inch batch box for the Love Shack, and the Rocket Stove Canning Kitchen on a sled.
As an innovation, I want to do some experiments downstream, with the exhaust.
First, I'd like to figure out how fast the exhaust will cool, in masonry (cob) runs; to have a thumbnail rule about changing chimney sizes.
Second, I'd like to see if my idea for extracting the heat out of condensation of exhaust water can be made practical or even worth the trouble.
Uncle Mud (aka Chris McClellan) raises free-range, organic children in the wilds of northeast Ohio. In his spare time he tinkers with, teaches, and publish books about cob building and Rocket Heaters.
Chris' devious plans for this year's innovators event
One particularly promising application for the RMH is the heating of greenhouses. Where I live in Cleveland a lot of growers install greenhouses but then can't afford the supplimental heat to keep them from freezing. There are challenges (such as damp conditions that limit our use of cob) but extending your growing season without breaking the bank is going to make a big difference at your homestead. We are going to be BOLD on this one. In fact, we are going to skip the greenhouse and build a RMHH (Rocket Mass Heated Hugelkultur) with a large barrel bell buried in the hugel bed just because we can. If we get enough folks helping we'll even add a bench-bell so we can have a place to warm our butts while we brag about our heated core season extender.
Some of Chris' projects