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close this bookGATE - 1/84 - Wind Energy (GTZ GATE, 1984, 56 p.)
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Information wanted

Low-cost transportation

The response to our questionnaire in the preceding issue of "gate" (4/83) has been most gratifying so far. Low-cost transportation in mountainous and hilly regions would seem to be a problem to which there are solutions, as the suggestions show. Here is a selection of them.


In the Alps, funicular installations come second in importance only to roads as a transportation facility at the present time. But between the two World Wars they were the most important means of transport. They have the following advantages over roads:
- the investments required are much lower
- their effects on the landscape and the land itself are minimal
- they only require a fraction of the energy used for road transport.

Some of the disadvantages are:
- the amount of maintenance they require and their high upkeep costs
- the basic technical knowledge required and
- the fact that the carrying of passengers is rarely possible.

Installations of very varied standards exist, starting with large ropeways of steel wire, where loads, attached to the wire by forked hangers, are allowed to descend by gravity, installation with a simple drive and a pull rope that permits loads to be rifled uphill as well (as far as I know, animal-driven capstans were not common in the Alps, though they would be useful), proqressing to fairly complicated non-motorized installations where a slightly heavier downhill load is used to lift loads uphill.

Numerous old installations can still be found, operated by farmers, in the Alps, particularly in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and in South Tirol (Italy).


"Seilbahnen und Seilkrane fur Holz und Materialtransport" (Funiculars and Skyline Cranes for Transporting Lumber and Materials)
by E. Pestal, 1961

Georg Fromme & Co., Publishers, Vienna and Munich (in German). Out of print.

Available in Forestry Institute libraries (we also have a copy). Contains an extensive bibliography.

"Der Seilzug im Bergbauernbetrieb" (Cableways Used by Mountain Farmers) by L. Lohr, 1952.

Professor Pestal, Vienna (emeritus) Hochschule fur Bodenkultur, Vienna.
Hofrat, Mayr, Forstliche Bundesversuchsanstalt, Vienna-Mariabrunn, Tirolergarten.

In mountainous developing countries such as northern Pakistan, northern India and also the countries of the Andes, the introduction of simple cableways and funiculars should represent a decisive step in the operating-up of rural regions.

This suggestion comes from D' W. Guglhor, Team Leader of the Pakistan-German Project Forest Engineering and Forest Products Pakistan Forest Institute, Pesha war, Pakistan. I

How about airships?

For low cost transportation in a areas without much infrastructure not only in mountainous regions, the development of a maneuverable air-ship or baloon might have considerable advantages.

It would be slow, but probable more cost-efficient than road building and surface transport. It would have no negative impact on environment and road system.

It would not depend on existing road, rail, river or airport facilities Basic experience exists from Zeppelin days. Modern plastics and solar energy might make it more feasible now than formerly.

This contribution is from Dr. Dieter Rottcher, Project Manager c the Chemotryp Project, Kabete, Kenya.

Pedal power

Bicycle cart

The appearance of the cart is very neat, it has a pay load capacity of 100 kg and has a unique attaching detaching system to the bicycle itself. The cart can be attached to the bicycle in a matter of seconds. It comes in two different types with or without a canvas top cover.

This production method is relatively simple and only hand tools plus a column drill are needed. The production method for this bicycle cart could also be used to produce ladders, good-looking strong roof racks etc.

Bicycle ambulance

The bicycle ambulance has proved valuable in the provision of health care to rural communities. It is intended to provide an inexpensive, but effective means of moving sick and injured people to a medical centre in situations where conventional motor transport is not available. The ambulance can be towed by any bicycle or it can be moved by hand over rough ground. It has been designed to be manufactured on a small scale, using locally available materials and resources.

A suggestion submitted by Rose Thuso Lecha of the Botswana Technology Centre in Gaborone.

But these were not the only suggestions which landed on our desk. Dr. Gunter Clar of the Universidade Federal in Santa Maria, Brazil, makes the following suggestion on how to solve the problem we presented under this rubric in "gate" 3/83.

Simple chocolate

In Coroico, Bolivia (east of La Paz in the Yungas), I came across extremely tasty chocolate pats which, to judge from their shape alone, must have been produced with the help of "technology" of the simplest kind from sugar, pounded cocoa beans and butter. The "A Quality" mixture is poured into small round moulds about 8 cm in diameter, similar to those used in sugar production in Thailand. Unfortunately I have no further information at the present time, but I know that the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (D ED) maintains an office in La Paz with experts on agricultural technology. Perhaps they will be able to help.

Activated charcoal out of coconut-shells

I have come across a sizeable research project for the production of activated charcoal from the shells of the Babacu nut. The quality of the charcoal produced is very good.

Perhaps you may have a suggestion to make on the subject of "Recapping and retreading", too.

Recapping and retreading

GATE is looking for small scale devices and processes for recapping and retreating on a sub-industrial handicraft level as well as methods of vulcanization with these processes.

Descriptions of machinery as well as experience gained would be highly welcome. Please share your knowledge with
GATE Documentation Office "Recapping/Retreading"
Post Box 5180, D-6236 Eshborn 1, FRG.