by Hannah McCartney
at 03:32 PM | Permalink
Cincinnati startup hopes to innovate solar energy industry with GoSun solar cooker
It started with a couple of greasy hot dogs. When solar energy expert and Cincinnati native Patrick Sherwin was charged with removing some solar collectors from a client's roof, he got to thinking. Those solar collector tubes, he realized, were collecting such a great deal of heat that he thought it just might be enough to cook food. So he took a few of them home and did just that. Today, he and one of his business partners are grilling fajita peppers on a cloud-free September day in the backyard of a Spring Grove Village home. Soon, he hopes, Cincinnatians — and the rest of the world — will have access to a new form of solar technology he's developed based on that same solar collector that cooked his first hot dog. In the 10 years since Sherwin removed those solar collectors from a client's rooftop, he's been working on perfecting the art of solar cooking; on Sept. 5, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to mass-produce his GoSun Stove, a compact, $279 solar cooker that he hopes could not just change the way Western civilization uses and looks at sources of renewable energy, but also impact the entire world. His interest in solar energy originally stems from his desire to shift away from dependency on harmful fossil fuels, but it's branched out into something greater. Cooking, a cultural exercise shared and loved across the globe, seemed like the perfect place to start. "Everyone's well aware of the fact that fossil fuels
are creating a lot of issues," he says. "Not to mention that they're dwindling,
getting more expensive...but, you know, there are also also other
resources — natural gases, gasoline, electricity...it's all coming from
these giant, multinational corporations that we don't appreciate in our
lives, so why not power stuff ourselves?"The Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than one-quarter of its $40,000 goal within the first 10 hours of its launch, is being used as means for Sherwin and his team to raise funds for marketing, equipment and manufacturing and other programs to bring the invention to developing countries in need of less dangerous and time consuming ways to cook food. Sherwin hopes to eventually mass produce his solar cooker to both promote less dependency on fossil fuels across the the world and make a dent in smoke-inhalation deaths around the world, which account for the No. 1 cause of indoor ire-related deaths around the world. His current prototype, which he says is the culmination of about 30 different models he's tinkered with over the past years, is a 3.5-pound, sleek, shiny-looking pop-up contraption that looks more like a play spaceship than a gadget you'd see at a modern-day grillout. He and his partners claim they've created a solar cooker that uses the most efficient and advanced technology available in the green market today. Solar power technology, Sherwin concedes, is a field that's been subject to innovation and research for decades, particularly in Eastern countries such as China, where solar panels are commonly used for everyday activities like heating tea kettles. It's been a long journey to come to model Sherwin and his team are working on now, which he says is markedly different from other modern-day solar cooker models. He cites another Kickstarter launched earlier this
summer for a different solar cooker model, which garnered around
$140,000 to meet its goal. He says GoSun Stove's model is particularly
innovative because it possesses the unique ability to insulate its
products in a safe and more efficient way; the GoSun Stove, he says,
isn't hot to the touch, is portable and easy to clean, retains heat and
cooks food much more quickly than other solar cookers on the market
was frying ants with a magnifying glass on the sidewalk when I was a
kid. It's nothing really that new," he laughs. "The reality of those [other models] is that they're not really safe, because
what happens is you have so much intensity of sunlight on a particular
spot in ends up creating like a...it could burn your eyes or hands." Still, like most successful inventions, the venture has involved a good bit of trial and error."It was pretty messy what I was doing originally. I'd
take like, eight hot dogs, and I found a stainless steel skewer. So I
had like eight hot dogs on this giant skewer and I remember hitting the
brakes in my car too hard one day after an event and I didn't realize
there was a bunch of grease and the grease shot off and hit my
windshield with hot dog grease. So that was a wake-up call. It was
really a pain to clean up. Every once in a while you would lose a hot
dog in the skewer and it'd get stuck at the bottom," Sherwin laughs.Once they earn more capital, Sherwin and his team hope to
develop more versatile models, including those with larger insulator
tubes to accommodate larger quantities of food. Currently, the GoSun
Stove prototype accommodates up to 3 pounds of food and can reach up to
700 degrees Fahrenheit. The current model uses a compact, easy-to-clean tray, but his first hot dog-based models have evolved a great deal to what his KickStarter campaign advertises today. Those first prototypes used large, cumbersome solar collector trays, until Sherwin had what he calls his "A-ha!" moment at a solar expo two or three years ago. "The thing I was cooking with was about six feet long,
it was cumbersome..and I was at a solar expo at a conference and there
was a tabletop thing that was demonstrating what a solar hot water
heater would look like, and it was tubes about two feet long. And I saw
that and I went, 'A-ha.' " That took the GoSun Stove from simply an idea to something tangible and marketable to everyone from survivalists and campers, green life enthusiasts and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) interested in improving the lives of populations in developing countries, although he and his partners say there's a lot of planning and research to be done before they try to take the GoSun across the world. "These models we're showing on KickStarter are not
what we're intending to take to the developing world. Far more
affordable stoves that'll use the human and natural resources of the
areas we're trying to empower to make it a real solution that'll stick.
And we realize that we don't know what they need. We're conscious of our
ignorance," says Matt Gillespie, an industrial designer on the GoSun team. Sherwin adds, "We've got to come up with
accessories that make it easier to eat things like rice and beans, which
is what, like, 90 percent of the world eats."Today, just three days into their KickStarter campaign, they've raised almost $30,000 of their $40,000 goal. Sherwin's hopeful it will be well-received once he and his team are ready to officially launch and that the GoSun will actually change the landscape of solar energy technology and its presence in our everyday lives. "Most users, when they open their packages, they're going to be like, 'Ohmigosh,' a little bit, and then they might also get a little sunburned as far as they'll want to take it out on any day because they think it's going to work just like a microwave. It's not a microwave and you can't just hit a button. But it is the microwave of solar ovens."
Dare to experience a bounty of art offerings in Cincinnati — and beyond
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 21, 2013
features countless exciting opportunities to support the arts around the
city (and beyond) in the fields of visual arts, dance, vocal arts and
classical music, theater and film. We encourage you to break out of your
typical routine this season, and this Fall Arts Preview is stocked with
plenty of ideas for your calendar.
Our reporting staff cracks some of Cincinnati's most head-scratching mysteries
4 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
We rummaged high and low to bring you all the information we could squeeze
onto six pages. Inside, you’ll find the results of our investigations.
Hopefully you’ll learn a thing or two, or at the very least come away
with a greater appreciation for the movie Airborne.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
A pair of recent online attempts to
encapsulate Cincinnati went viral, at least locally, and the responses
to them inadvertently shined a light on a few overlooked traits of
Cincinnatians — thin skin and chips on shoulders. (As a native, I
wholeheartedly admit to also having these traits engraved into my DNA.)
The Delhi Skirt Game’s uniquely flamboyant, 36-year tradition of helping community members in need
2 Comments · Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Instead of bake sales or car washes,
the close-knit community of Delhi has developed its own unique,
colorful brand of philanthropy, arisen from what was originally just
an informal weekly Sunday pick-up softball game among bar buddies.
by Jac Kern
Music Hall will
come to life this weekend. Thanks to a collaboration between Cincinnati
Symphony Orchestra, Landor Associates and funding from local organizations, the
Cincy landmark will be part of LumenoCity, a first-of-its-kind multimedia performance
in Washington Park Saturday and Sunday. Many details of the performance won’t
be revealed until the show, but we know it involves live orchestra music set to
a process called architectural mapping — where three-dimensional graphics are
projected onto a building’s surface, interacting with its
architectural details, causing the building to illuminate and appear in motion. This process of mapping
has been done before (just check out the video below), but never
like what we’ll see this weekend.
marks Maestro Louis
Langrée’s arrival as the CSO’s new musical director. The free concert takes
place at 8:30 p.m. in Washington Park Saturday and Sunday. Bring your own
seating. Read more about the event here.
Newly opened OTR brewery Rhinegeist unveils its limited edition Saber Tooth Tiger IPA
with a celebration Saturday. This Imperial IPA is the brewery’s first “Rarity,”
meaning they’ll brew it only once and have a limited amount. Admission to
the release party is $10 and includes a goblet with 12 oz. of STT and
guaranteed option to purchase a 32 oz. growler of the IPA. There will also be
local food vendors, live music, merch for purch(ase) and more. The event runs 5-10 p.m. Saturday.
Buy tickets here.
definitely got a case of the blues this weekend with Cincy Blues Fest at Sawyer
Point Friday-Saturday and Findlay Market’s Blue BBQ Sunday. The Cincy Blues
Society’s CBF turns 21 this year, bringing dozens of Blues acts from around the
country. Check out our preview here.
p.m. Sunday, Findlay Market’s eighth annual Blue BBQ brings local Blues
musicians together with delicious barbeque from Eli’s BBQ, Velvet Smoke and
other area restaurants. Go here
for more info.
It’s an end of
a sweaty era Saturday as Northside Tavern holds the final Dance_MF EVER.
Projectmill’s monthly first Saturday dance party has been going strong for five
years, steaming up the Tavern’s back room and even taking to the high seas (or
at least the Ohio River) for a couple RiverDance_MF events on a boat. So limber up, drink up
and dance your ass off one last time, starting at 10 p.m.For more art openings, summer festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out
our To Do
picks, full calendar
and Rick Pender’s Stage
for weekend theater offerings.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Culture
at 10:51 AM | Permalink
Voting on local progressive, transformative ideas ends July 15
There's $100,000 on the line waiting to be handed out to 12 ambitious groups of Cincinnatians with big ideas, and every applicant is hoping to earn your vote. They're all contestants in Cincinnati Innovates, a
contest designed to support Cincinnatians with progressive,
transformative ideas of any kind — and sometimes they're pretty quirky. This year there's an entry to raise awareness about how to steep tea, one for a woman named Mickey who wants to expand her CheeseSicles (frozen cheesecake on a stick) biz, another proposal that wants to develop a local indoor shrimp farm and one that wants funding to make "Bitch Bras" for dogs. But go look for yourself...there are plenty more, including the folks behind the Please and Carriage House Farm outdoor dinner series, recently profiled in a CityBeat cover story here.Some of the proposals have a potential to impact not just Cincinnati, but also the great, big world outside us. Voting ends July 15, so there's still time to shake up the rankings; the proposal with the most votes when the polls close will win $2,500, but the rest will be doled out by judges after deliberation. Last year the top winner was "Skinny Mom," spearheaded by Brooke Griffin. Griffin won $25,000 to support her network of mom bloggers who share info on food, fashion, fitness and family trends. The applicants who've earned the top 5 votes so far are as follows: 1.) 3DLT.com - These guys want to create an online database based off the iStockphoto model, instead for 3D designs that can be purchased and printed at home, online or at a local 3D print shop. If you haven't heard about 3D printing, you probably will soon — it's what gave Buttercup the duck a new leg and it can also be used to print things like eyeglasses, jewelry, casts and tons of other things. Their website is already up and running, but they're looking for support to work on making 3D printing more accessible to the public. 2.) Fly Up Fitness - Applicant Brent Kruithof's inspiration for Fly Up Fitness, the portable fitness device, arose from his frustration with his busy schedule that made it difficult to make trips to gym. His "Fly Up" device uses body weight as resistance to exercise chest muscle, but the video shows a bunch of other ways to get your fitness on that don't look too terribly intimidating. 3.) Perfect Pass - This one's targeting a pretty specific market: quarterbacks. Pat McLaughlin, football coach at Moeller High School, developed "Perfect Pass" to train quarterbacks to throw a football properly by building muscle memory. 4.) Please & Carriage House Education Kitchen - CityBeat last month covered Please & Carriage House Farm's dynamic outdoor dining series taking place this summer, and now the duo is looking for funding to grow its system into a full-scale facility offering "education kitchen" classes and workshops to encourage the community to use and appreciate local, healthy foods. 5.) Fit Mommies - There is apparently a humongous and very active community of moms trying to get rid of their pooches. Fit Mommies is a local workout program designed specifically for prenatal and postnatal fitness. They're hoping to win so they can expand the business into a mobile app and an online workout platform.
Celebrate Pride on both sides of the river through July 7
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Pride week is here, and it’s teeming with
opportunities to celebrate diversity in the Tristate. New events held
each day beginning June 26 lead up to Cincinnati Pride’s 40th
anniversary parade and festival on June 29, which features an extensive
list of entertainment and activities too copious to count.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Culture
at 09:24 AM | Permalink
We start answering tomorrow!
You have one more chance to submit us a question for CityBeat's first-ever Answers Issue — after today, we're closing the polls, sorting through all the questions and divvying them up amongst our reporting team. We'll spend the next few weeks hunting down the answers to your questions as best we can and bringing back all the info in a special themed issue sometime in July. Ask us questions about
life in the Queen City you want
answered — that means anything on city politics, arts and culture, food,
neighborhoods, E. coli in the Ohio River, bird law, Cincinnati's lizard history, what an inmate eats
for breakfast at the Hamilton County Justice Center, etc. Whatever's on
your mind. Go here to submit us the best questions you've got.