Next year is going to be a big year folks, we’ll see more investment and emphasis on alternative energy than ever before, this will be our “space race” and our “moon landing”. The children of today will be the ones who will shape the next decade and the next century. As a parent, a friend, a mentor or just someone who is giving a gift this holiday season – instead of a plastic toy or nik-nak I’m going to ask the you consider giving something that might just spark the attention of a young mind that will be called to solve our energy needs.
We all know we will not be able to sustain a future on a fuel (oil) that’s going to eventually go away and/or become more expensive. No one really likes dealing with the Middle East for the most part and other nations like China and India are going to drive demand through the roof, we’re going to need to diversify our energy needs. It’s not going to be a lot of us reading MAKE right now, it’s going to be the children of folks reading MAKE.
Solar, wind, biodiesel, nuclear – these are all things we explore in the pages of MAKE, online, in our videos and with the kits we carefully select for our Maker Shed. We’re not going to get out this current crisis with the same thinking that got us here, we need to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, it’s going to take decades – 8 to 12 year olds today will be the ones who will need to rise to the challenge. Will our education system do enough? No – we’ll all need to do something. It’s a daunting task and a seemingly impossible challenge, and that’s why I know we’ll do it – if it was easy, it wouldn’t be interesting.
Entrepreneurs will see this as a wonderful opportunity to start new and amazing companies, I’m positive there are going to be more incentives to do so starting next year. We’re talking jobs, new industries, tax breaks – it’s going to happen, but everyone needs to do something. It might just be tinkering around with a solar panel in your neighborhood to get folks interested, it might be modding the Prius you just bought – a new era in energy independence is going to happen, not overnight, but I am 100% positive it will happen and it will be makers (and their children) who lead the way.
I’ve put together a gift guide of all the cool and interesting alternative energy kits and resources – check it, maybe send it to a few friends… if you think a young person might have what it takes to change the world, this might be the spark that starts it off… People always ask “how can we get started” – this is just one of the ways.
A quick Solaroller that can cover 3 meters (10 feet) in under 40 seconds in direct sunlight. Simple to construct and a great project for beginners!
Also check out:
Keep reading for a ton more alternative energy, DIY kits and resources for building the future!
Power House Kit
Sustainable Living in the 21st Century. Build and use an alternative energy model house and 20 other energy-related devices. Learn how about energy from the sun, wind, plants and electro-chemical reactions. Discover how to transform, store and use these forms of energy with real working models.
Fuel Cell Car & Experiment Kit
Fuel Cell Car & Experiment Kit. Assemble and experiment with a unique reversible hydrogen Fuel Cell. This fuel cell kit provides a playful introduction to one of the most significant technologies of the 21st Century. With this kit you can build a model car that actually runs on water! 96-page full-color book. Ages 12 and up.
Alcohol Can Be a Gas!
For the last century it has been impossible to find reliable information on alcohol fuel production and use. Oil companies have continuously suppressed data on Henry Ford’s favorite auto fuel. For example, by the late 80s, over 90% of the cars in Brazil ran on straight alcohol; any gasoline vehicle and most diesel engines can be inexpensively converted to run on straight alcohol; millions of Flexible Fuel vehicles and even many cars can run on alcohol or gasoline unmodified-but most vehicle owners don’t know it. “Alcohol Can Be a Gas” reveals this hidden history. The only comprehensive manual on alcohol fuel production ever written.
MAKE – Volume 03, Making Biodiesel
The best way to learn how to make your own backyard biodiesel is to start with a one-liter batch. It’s easy to make a small batch that will work in any diesel engine. You won’t need any special equipment–an old juice bottle will serve as the “reactor” vessel–and on such a small scale, you can quickly refine your technique and perform further experiments.
MAKE – Volume 05, Wind Powered Generator
With a motor and some piping, it’s suprisingly easy to build this inexpensive, efficient windmill generator–and enjoy free energy forever.
MAKE – Volume 12, Make a 20-Watt Solar Panel
With a few solar-cells and a plastic case, you can utilize the sun’s energy to power anything from a light bulb to your entire house.
MAKE – Volume 14, Solar Power System Design
How to use solar panels to supplement your home or workshop electricity needs.
Last up, a subscription to MAKE – in 2009 we’re going to focus a lot on alternative energy, now is a great time to give a gift subscription.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines:
Ground – Dec 15th
3-Day Saver -Dec 17th
2-Day -Dec 18th
Overnight -Dec 19th
*Customers experiences on orders with these ship methods placed after these dates may vary, the dates listed are what we call “safe dates”
USPS (Any Method):
Due to the high volume of mail that the postal service deals with around the holidays, order by Dec. 10th, however, many packages are lost or delayed in transit and we do not replace or refund any orders lost using this ship method, we strongly encourage you to not use this method in December.
Want more? Stop by the Maker Shed store and check out THE place for open source hardware, Arduino & Arduino accessories, electronic kits, science kits, smart stuff for kids, back issues of MAKE & CRAFT, box sets, books, robots, kits from Japan and more.
If I missed any kits or resources, post up in the comments.