Monday, October 15, 2007

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Plywood. Tinfoil. Copper tubing. Black spray paint. If this sounds like the makings of a drug-manufacturing operation, think again. These are a few of the supplies needed to complete the new supplemental heat system Jeff is creating, otherwise known as the PARABOLIC TROUGH. In the ongoing effort to harness the power of the “15 million watt light bulb in the sky,” he has devised the plans for this heat-producing contraption. Before you think that Jeff is going ‘green’ for environmental reasons or in support of Al Gore, let me explain. (Nothing wrong with environmental reasons, by the way) Rather, he is attempting to harness the sun in order to:
  1. Make use of the free energy coming from the sun (Very cost effective, eh?)
  2. Prove to wife that he can and WILL not only design the PT but actually execute the plans
  3. Perhaps shave a few pennies off the ol’ electric bill
  4. To make us appear to all our neighbors as eccentric and strange, and to fuel conspiracy theories amongst them
In a nutshell, he plans to paint the copper black, stick it in a parabola shaped through lined with tinfoil, fill it with water, pressurize it (I think), and stick it out in the sun. The parabola will intensify the heat of the sun and heat the water in the pipe. Then the water is forced through the pipe into the house somehow. And voila! Heat! (And you thought I wasn’t listening, honey!) There may be something involving a fan or a car’s radiator after that. I get that part confused with the last home heating invention. If it does involve a radiator inside my house, I have suggested making paper flames to glue to the front. That way we can pretend we are sitting around a fire, instead of a radiator. Sounds cool, right? I remember growing up, a friend of ours lived way out on the edge of nothing. Her dad always had these strange whirly-gig things outside, and I heard it was some sort of experiment. It was like he was a mad scientist, trying to harness the wind. Little did I know that I would someday grow up to marry a mad scientist who would dream up ways to harness the sun. The part that worries me the most was the statement Jeff made right after explaining his plans. I quote: “I just have to figure out how to keep the thing from blowing up.” That would be a start. Maybe someday we’ll be rich and famous from the Parabolic Trough. Then, I will have to eat my words. For now, I am interested to see how the PT is going to work out. Go, Jeff!

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