Issue 66: News Reel

“Garbage Moguls” – A new reality show about Terracycle
Written by Reenita Malhotra – Published on April 22nd, 2009

Posted in Eco-entrepreneurs, Film And Television

Question: What do you get when you mix a team of extremely creative geeks with a whole lot of trash? Answer: Terracycle…

In the words of Tom Szaky, this is a company that takes garbage, upcycles it into usable products and then sells it to the world’s biggest retailers.

“Garbage Moguls,” a new National Geographic show that premiered Earth Day, at 9 PM ET/PT, follows the team’s unorthodox creative process — the brain-racking and stress, the silliness and infighting —all working to build a profitable business with products composed entirely of trash.

A highly entertaining reality show…“Garbage Moguls”… even though all of their products are made from pure garbage that has been scavenged at America’s junkyards… the team is entirely serious about making sure that the prototypes work perfectly.

My favorite part of the show is “Go Fly A Kite” which shows how Terracycle’s team members scramble to put together a kite made out of oreo wrappers for a presentation to Walmart. What’s fascinating is that although the prototype was developed from wrappers collected at a junkyard, the company actually pays schools to collect cookie wrappers which Terracycle team members then wash clean at a local laundry! As with any product, presenting the prototype entails presenting a complete package with the pricing and the marketing plan. Indeed it makes for a whole lot of stress but once the orders come through, the ROI is well worth the effort!

Watch this clip from “Go Fly A Kite.”

The full ecopreneurist article is at:

Monsters and Critics also reported on the ’Go Fly a Kite’ episode of Garbage Moguls.

Home >> China >> China & World

Mexico to send kite show to 2010 Shanghai Expo
09:09, April 21, 2009

Mexico will send giant, brightly-colored kites, called papalotes, to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo to promote investment, tourism and trade, organizers said Monday.

During the Expo, Mexico’s pavilion will be a display of the past, present and future of the nation’s major cities.

The “glimpse of the past” section will show Mexico’s pre-Hispanic, Colonial-era and 19th century buildings on three giant screens. The “glimpse of the present” will show the present reality of the nation’s major cities. The “vision of the future” will use interactive tables to show the nation’s main sustainable development projects.

In the third space, the kites will play an essential role acting as a symbol of progress and a link between Mexico and China, where kites have a deep cultural significance.

Mexico will also host a restaurant serving haute cuisine versions of traditional Mexican dishes and a shop selling traditional handicrafts.


Saving fuel and increasing safety with Kite For Sail
Story by Ian Fisher

Spring time in Hawaii is a good time for fishing. Everyone is ready to try new techniques and the fish are hungry. Dan Tracy and Ian Fisher, members of the Maui company; Kite for Sail were ready to start fishing using their fuel saving kite. Setting up their 24 ft boat and preparing the new kite system was a breeze. A10 hp engine was used to motor out of the harbor and a F10 kite was deployed. Immediately the boat felt the steady pull of the kite and the engine was lifted. The force from the kite stabilized the hull as they headed offshore. By using the kite they were able hold all courses except strait upwind. In 10 to 20 knots of wind the boat under kite power alone was able to maintain 5 to 8 knots. The kite can also be used with the engine to reach 7 to 11 knots. Fishing lines were set and a bird pile was spotted. A few kawakawa were reeled in and the lines were reset. After trolling under silent kite power Ian and Dan decide to start the engine to increase their speed. A stationary iwa bird was spotted and the crew headed towards it. Soon the ratchet went off and a nice mahimahi was brought in. Upon returning to the harbor entrance the kite was easily retrieved and stowed away. They were happy to see that only half a gallon of fuel was used on the three hour fishing trip.

Kites date way back to 500 BC in China. Europeans used them to pull their horse buggies and the Hawaiians also invented kites for themselves. More recently in 1999 Ian Fisher created systems that allowed him to launch, control and retrieve kites from his one man canoe and kayaks. In 2003 Dan Tracy created and tested kite control systems from the back of his truck and then started using them on a small catamaran. During 2007 they joined up and started Kite For Sail, a company dedicated to the development of kiteboating equipment.
Whether you have a motorboat or sailboat using kites for additional power is proving to be a natural combination. With prevailing winds of 10 to 25 knots, auxiliary kite power is a solution to rising fuel costs. Kites tap into stronger steadier air currents than those found on the surface of the ocean. The pull of the kite is transferred through lines which are attached to the deck of the boat, thus creating a low center of gravity. This equals a smoother, stable ride and the boat does not pound over waves. During strong gusts the waterline will only lift a couple of inches. 20 to 90 percent fuel savings can be realized depending on hull shape and direction to the wind you are traveling. The Kite For Sail kite system can be easily stowed way for back up power or used regularly to save fuel.

Kite For Sail is now taking orders for the S10 and F10 kite systems. The S10 is for the occasional user. It can be used when engine power is lost or to save fuel. The S10 kite can pull a disabled motor boat through a course range of 45 degrees to the left or right of down-wind. When the S10 is used with a kicker or smaller back up engine, hull speed is increased and the boat can travel on all courses except strait upwind. The F10 is designed for the frequent user with optimum fuel savings in mind. More attachments give the F10 improved upwind abilities and ease of operation over longer periods of time. The S10 and F10 systems are equivalent to a 10 hp engine in 20 knots of wind and can be used on all vessels under 40 feet in length. Kite For Sail systems only need 2 to 3 square feet of deck space when in use. These systems are user friendly and the pull from the kite is directed to the hull, not the operator. Whether you are a recreational boater or commercial fisherman, these kite systems will reduce your fuel consumption, increase safety and help out the environment.

For further details and additional press information:

May 4, 2009 — Updated 0504 GMT (1304 HKT)

Saul Griffith: Lofty ideas from inventor with eco ideals

  • Australian inventor has developed high-altitude kites to generate power

(CNN) — Dr. Saul Griffith is a man with a thousand ideas buzzing around his head.

Eco-design? Sounds like marketing to Saul Griffith, the inventor who favors thoughtful design.

Eco-design? Sounds like marketing to Saul Griffith, the inventor who favors thoughtful design.

The 35-year-old Australian holds multiple degrees in materials science and mechanical engineering, and is the co-founder of many innovative companies including SQUID Labs and Makani Power.

While winning numerous awards for invention, he co-authors children’s comic books and contributes to Make magazine. He also recently pioneered technology that could help us mitigate climate change using high-flying kites.

CNN talked to the serial inventor about the future of green engineering…

“CNN: Your energy-generating kite project looks exciting. Can you tell us about it? And how it works?

Saul Griffith: I work with a wonderful set of engineers at Makani Power. We are pursuing generating wind power with kites. There is more wind, more frequently, the higher you get off the ground. Normal wind turbines can only go so high. We are prototyping and testing kites that fly higher than existing turbines and produce a steady and low cost stream of electricity.

The kites fly autonomously through the sky like the unmanned aerial vehicles people hear about. Turbines — like propellers on the kite — spin, as the kite pushes them through the air. We generate electricity with high-efficiency motors attached to those turbines, and we bring the power down to the ground on a high-strength cable. When the wind doesn’t blow we can put a little energy back into the system to keep it flying, but we make much, much more while there is a breeze.

CNN: Do you think it has everyday applications?

Saul Griffith: Yes. We anticipate it will add to the renewable energy-generating solutions that we already have. We are aiming at large-scale electricity production for the grid…”

For complete article go to:

An excerpt from the, 3 Aug 2008 explains in “Giant kites to tap power of the high wind”, how the Makani system works.

“The kites tap into the higher level wind energy, which is faster and more consistent. One kite design has the kite pull a cord that is wrapped around a spool that turns a turbine as it feeds line to the kite. When the kite has traveled to its limit, it does a dive and the cord is wound back onto the spool using much less energy than what was produced as the kite is fed out. It is estimated that kites can produce energy for less than half the cost of a ground mounted wind turbine. Another design is to use two kites with one kite reeling out while the other is coming in, and an even different concept is to use a series of kites flying in figure 8 patterns that causes the air to flow over the kites at speeds faster than the ambient wind speed “

Makani is the Hawaiian word for wind.


In 2006, less than two percent of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by renewable sources. One reason for this is the relatively high cost of producing renewable energy. Makani Power is seeking to harness high-altitude wind energy to produce energy at an unsubsidized real cost significantly below that of the least expensive coal-fired power plants, the current benchmark of the lowest cost source of power.

Why high-altitude wind?

Along with solar, wind represents the only renewable source of energy that is substantially larger than the world’s current energy needs. Moreover, of all of the renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, tidal, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal), high-altitude wind has the largest energy per square foot. Capturing a small fraction of the global high-altitude wind energy flux could be sufficient to supply the current energy needs of the globe. Makani is developing high-altitude wind energy extraction technologies aimed at the most powerful wind resources.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kite day celebrated with pomp

Category » Bhopal Posted On Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bhopal Today Team – Bhopal, May 13:

In various parts of the world Kite Day was celebrated on 12th of May with lots of fervour and enthusiasm. On this day various people participated in this fun with their own kites. In India from a child to old one everyone is fond of flying kites. Summer and kites are inseparable. Many people refer to the hot wind of summer, known locally as “Tapao Wind” as the kite wind, as it coincides with the kite-flying season. During this time the sky is full of colours as kite enthusiasts gather here to fly their kites. Kite Festival is celebrated with the purpose to promote and preserve kite flying as part of the national heritage. The Festival turned out to be a great success having attracted huge crowds of kite flyers and those interested in the sport. In different parts of the world kite flying is regarded as vary believes, traditions and superstition. Somewhere its flying is related with many unsacred thoughts, while in some parts of the world kite flying is famous for sending message to god as prayer. According to ancient myth in China and Japan kites were also used for army motto.

Kites from each country have their own unique looks, shapes and colours, which help distinguish one from the other. On this day kite flyers gather from around various places and have the opportunity to fly their dreams in the sky. At the Thailand International Kites Festival, more than 20 countries from seven continents are represented with kites of great variety and originality. According to believes in rainy season of Thailand people flied kites as worship to God. However flying of broken kite was believed unsacred. It is regarded that kite was invented in China around 2300 years ago. However for next many centuries Europe was unknown from kite. Meanwhile, Marco Polo who made journey in various parts of the world was discovered kite first in Europe.

In pink city Jaipur and capital of Rajasthan every year on Makar Sankranti three days “Kite Flying” festival is organised. It is the day when according to the Hindu astronomy the sun enters the rashi (zodiac) of Makara (Capricorn). People surrender themselves to the joy of kite flying. Kite flying starts at dawn and continues without a pause throughout the day. Friends, neighbours and total strangers’ battle one another for supremacy and cries of triumph rend the air when someone cuts the line of a rival.

A tremendous variety of kites are seen and the connoisseur can choose precisely what he wants. Experts specially prepare even the lines with which the kites are flown before the great day. The sky-since morning to evening-remains dotted with vivid splashes of colour The excitement does not end with nightfall, which is the time for illuminated box kites, often in a series strung on one line, to be launched into the sky. Called “tukkals”, they add a touch of splendour to the dark sky.

‘How New Zealanders Lead the World’
A book telling the stories of NZ personalities and achievers.

A review from page 72 tells of 2 incredible Kiwis in particular.

Robert and Peter Lynn – Woodworking and kites

“Robert Lynn was born in 1914. He is founder of the Lynn Historic Woodworking Trust Inc. The trust administers a museum at The Plains, a colonial era museum park in Ashburton. It is dedicated to the preservation of a collection of historic woodworking tools, equipment and archives and contains the world’s largest collection of ornamental turning lathes. In 2007 Robert Lynn was awarded the Queen’s Service Order in the New Year’s Honours list.

Robert’s son Peter was born in 1946 and followed in the family tradition. In 1975 Peter invented the original ‘tipping blade’. This is a portable sawmill system which uses a singular saw blade. At the end of each pass through a log, the blade rotates through 90 degrees. This enables the production of sawn timber in one operation. Peter held the patent on this invention until 1980. When the patent lapsed, Peter’s design entered the public domain and quickly became the world standard for a portable sawmill system.

In 1987 Peter founded Sterling Research Ltd along with Dr Donald Clucas to develop a cycle engine generator for yachts. Later this was also developed for in-home combined heat and power systems. Dr Clucas continued the development, taking it to the market in 1991 with WhisperGen.

But Peter is best known as a kite maker. He first established his kite business at Ashburton with his wife Elwyn in 1973. They began by producing single-line kites for children. Then in 1974 he developed a triangular box kite. By 1984, he had turned his attention to the growing number of international kite festivals. He started with a centipede design; he then developed large scale kites themed with creatures such as the gecko, manta ray, puffer-fish and octopus.

Three years later, he started developing traction kites- ones that were capable of dragging people after them. He had an idea to do kite waterskiing. This was where a kite dragged a person on water skis across the surface of the water. He spent time developing it; the only problem was that it did not really work. So he changed tack. He converted the skis to wheels and created a land buggy. Effectively he invented a sport of kite buggying, which has become very popular.

In 1995, he designed the Megabite, a 635-square-metre kite which was so big that when it was on the ground, over a thousand people could walk around inside it. In 1997 it was validated by Guinness Book of Records as the world’s biggest kite. That same year, he developed the first ‘hybrid’ traction kite. These usually have either a rigid frame which is inflated with a pump before it is launched, or it has air inflated cavities. The hybrid uses both of these. Click to Enlarge

In 1999, he developed an arc-style kite, which is mainly used for kite surfing. This improved the upwind performance and air stability, and was able to generate more power.

Peter’s world record for the world’s largest kite has been unbroken, but in 2005 he decided to extend his record. He made one, depicting the Kuwait flag that was 1019 square metres.

Peter went back to his idea of having a kite draw somebody along on skis. But this time, instead of water, it was on snow. He called it the Kitesled. The skis of the Kitesled are made from several long pieces that dovetail together and it steers by bending the skis. It is used for long expeditions. Australians Ben Deacon and Patrick Spiers used Kitesleds to cross 700 kilometres of Greenland in May 2006.”

101 Incredible Kiwis