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Thursday, 25 November 2004 12:28
I came across the Strawjet machine at the excellent Bioneers conference. The machine binds straw into ropes, which are then encapsulated in papercrete.
Currently ASET is focused on finding synergistic solutions to two problems, the need for low cost energy efficient, housing free from environmental toxins, and the need to find better uses for agricultural by products such as straw left over after the harvest of grains. In much of the world, wood is in short supply and forests are threatened. Traditional alternatives such as Adobe which does utilize some straw, are labor intensive and do not stand up well in earthquake prone regions. Straw bale construction is also labor intensive, and requires as significant amount of wood to create rigid load bearing walls. Both construction techniques require wood or some other structural material to hold up the roof. With this in mind David Ward set out to find a solution. Ten years of research and head scratching led to the building of the first prototype of a harvester that could bind straw into a cable, the first stage on the way to a useful product. In late 2001 with the success of the first prototype, David began constructing the current Strawjet prototype, and a the same time gathering the human resources to form the Ashland School of Environmental Technology. By December of 2002, the Strawjet had been completed and field-tested at the Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station, and ASET had been established as a non-profit corporation. We believe that the combination of a teaching/ learning environment, and a invention incubator producing real world technologies that contribute to the planet's health is a powerful and cost effective cooperation.