Recently ECHO has made some large additions to its collection of Appropriate Technologies (AT). From Thailand we have purchased a small scale electric hammer mill which will chop vegetative matter to a fine consistency. Also attached to this is a rice mill, which will de-hull rice as well as separate the bran and germ from the grain. All three components (hulls, bran/germ, and grain) are separated but kept for different purposes. One of those purposes is to gasify the rice hulls, and this will be accomplished with our new rice hull gasifier stove, also from Thailand. This will allow cooking to be done using hulls which are commonly a wasted resource. The result of the stove is cooked food AND charred rice hulls, which make a great soil amendment. Another new arrival from Thailand is a banana stalk chopper. This machine is powered by an electric motor and will quickly slice a full banana stalk into very small chunks with relative ease. These chunks of banana stalk can be stuffed into a container with salt, molasses, and rice bran, and sealed to ferment. After a week or two of fermentation this can be fed to pigs as a quality, probiotic feed.
Our most recently constructed demonstration is our new aquaponics system. An aquaponics system raises fish in a tank, transforms their manure into usable nutrients, and grows plants in that nutrient rich water. This system can be a very efficient way to raise fish in a small area.
We look forward to working with all of these new technologies, discovering their weaknesses and strengths, so we can share that information with our network, and ultimately give more options to the farmers that need them.