April 6, 2011


Release yourself from the Grid!
Energy Cafe is hosting this Wind Turbine Building course by V3 Power

Weekend of 21st & 22nd May 2011
9.00am – 6.00pm

Hawkwood Plant Nursery, Chingford E4 7UH

During this weekend course V3 Power will be teaching how to build a 1.2m diameter, 12V turbine from scratch along with tower and electrical system (to be integrated with Sally the Power Trolley!) for Energy Cafe.

You will get direct and significant hands-on experience carving turbine blades, wiring copper coils, soldering the stator, constructing the magnet rotors and welding the metal frame. By the end of the weekend the turbine will be up and running and you will have gained a good working knowledge of how to make a ‘Hugh Piggott’ turbine.

V3 courses are suitable for people without any prior engineering or practical experience who are keen to learn something completely new, and for people with loads of engineering experience wanting to get hands on with wind turbines. The fact that V3 have one instructor per 4 participants means they can ensure everyone is getting what they want from the course.

Fee: £230 or £180 concessions

The fee includes local-produce lunches prepared at Energy Cafe.
We can provide details of campsites nearby if you need accommodation.

Places are limited so book soon!

Email: pilotpublishing@googlemail.com  or phone: 07791246022


April 6, 2011

Saturday 26 March

Here is Energy Cafe at Regents Studios car park in Hackney. A few visitors popped in and friends joined us for the afternoon. Energy Cafe  is run on people energy  – depends on this to keep it going.  To chop the wood to build the fire to heat the stove to cook the food…  James starts the process and chops wood. The logs are from Powerstock Common in Dorset. It burns very well in Henry Ranger.

Lucy arrives to continue working on what she has now named Sally the Power Trolley to  accompany Henry  Ranger, the swirl stove sisters, Lazy Susan in the sky with spices and Sunny.

Not much sun to charge up the battery today.

Energy Cafe needs signage. Luck and natural talent comes today as Jeb offers to make one.

A beautifully designed hand drawn sign; Coloured Chalk on Blackboard By Jeb Kruger Bentley.

late lunch turned out to be a cheesy omelette – with hand picked spinach from Amy’s garden and potatoes from Hawkwood weekly veg bags.

just enough for five servings..

Energy Cafe can cook up anywhere. Today it is in the car park that looks out to Regents Canal.  (see www.londonboaters.org for news on the action going on at the moment. Changes are being proposed that will effect daily life on the canals. Support is needed).

Energy Cafe received an encouraging thumbs up from Jeb  – Awesome of the highest rank. Him and his dad James wrote these comments in our guest book:

March 25, 2011

Micro-generation Experimentation is now on wheels and off the grid…

Over the last few days in the Regents Studios car park we have been working on the unique sun powered system.

The design is a collaboration between the energy cafe team and Lucy Sheldon and has been supported by Barden Batteries.

This micro generation experimentation has been developed to provide and explore off-grid energy at the “cafe”.  The equipment is loaded onto a trolley and connects to a solar panel.  Very soon we’ll be able to connect to wind and bikes too.

The system:

* 130w solar panel (solara)

* 12v DC power

* 128 Ah AMG Battery

* 250W of 240V AC power including a safety system

Coming soon:
* NEC system approval 

* Building A Wind Turbine Course by V3 Power – see calendar for further info
* Magnificent Revolution Resistance Unit – An Independent live 12v bike/solar power generator plus smoothie maker.
Magnificent Revolution are a not for profit organisation who use bikes and bike power within education and the arts
Lucy Sheldon is a product designer who works with mico-renewable energy systems

Barden Batteries is a provider of specialist equipment for renewable energy systems
Many Thanks to Barden for their advice and support. www.barden-uk.com

May 16, 2009

Energy Cafe Spring Banquet
Filmed and edited by Francisca Bancalari


click the link below to read all about it! a great ‘Spring Banquet’ Review by Kate Towerzey


A big thanks to everyone who brought food to share and set the field alive with community spirit!

Rubber Tyre Stage (and sprung dance floor!)
designed and constructed by Dave Richter.

bike power

Bike Power sound system with  ‘Magnificient Revolution’
Check their inspiring blog for news and updates this summer! Thanks guys!

solar band

Dr Realgood – local rhythm and blues band
Great set! first live ( solar powered) band to play at Energy Cafe !

Solar Panels loaned by Ken Boak
Worked perfectly – only a couple of blips when a cloud passed over the sun!

Cooking areas and other off grid demos


Burger Bar hosted by Florian -a  specialist in outdoor kitchen and cooking choreography!  who made a special trip from Berlin to construct the bar and cook! Top! The Oil drum Barbeques were made and welded beautifully by Chen.


Energy Cafe sprouts – amanda’s speciality added an extra nutritious crunch!
making braii

Fire circle  – South African Braai
Anna and Alan demonstrated how to make one  in just over an hour!- sourcing bricks, earth and pebbles on site

roasting veg

Fuel: Locally felled birch and ash – thanks for chopping Ray! – then a communal feast of roasted pumpkins, squash, corn and sweet potatoes .
copper fire pit
Copper fire pit – loaned by Kerrie
intimate set up for food sharing,  frying, grilling, roasting.


Wild food area /around the millstones – Nettle and mint tea was the most popular!

swirl stove

Swirl Stove made by Andrew Heggie

Brilliant fuel-efficient invention (runs off wood chips, sawdust pellets) that kept the water boiling into the night


Bio Diverse power station – designed and constrcuted by Shaun, Termite low impact construction. Fitted with water harvester ‘pitted olive’….

washing up close

provided 24 hours of washing up water!

strawberry tower

Vertical Strawberry Tower – designed and constructed by Tak Hoshino
With bike wheel wind turbine and umbrella water harvester

Energy Cafe Shelters


Love Shack Tipi area

Lynn Saunders from the Magic Music Box and team  – check out : funky puppets

funky puppets

organised loads of arts and crafts activities – in true spring festival style…


Giant bubble making, face painting to a sunset dragon procession .

Marquee loaned by Sherilee- A tranquil space for watching the sun set.
spring sunset

Willow bender – made by Shaun, Sherilee, Amanda and Polly
Great for the night time crashers! Six fit comfortably.

Landrover Tent – Ideal for two


birch boards

birch bread boards made by Peter !

fried eggs

Sun stove –loaned by Ken Boak

Runs off waste wood –  ideal for heating up homemade dishes. and making fried eggs breakfasts

solar air ballon

Solar air balloon demo with Eileen at 12 noon

morning view

To be continued!!

March 16, 2009

Energy College ‘Charge Your Knowledge’

Tuesday 10th March

The making of a Solar Hot Water Heater.




Davids step by step guide coming soon!

March 6, 2009

Energy College: Charge Your Knowledge!

Wind Turbine & Solar Hot Water: Collective Experiment!

Would you like to build a wind turbine? Or make a solar hot water heater?

Join us on Tuesday 10th March at 12.00pm when we will begin designing and building a vertical axis wind turbine and a solar water heater with David Herbert. The ad hoc designs will depend on the materials we can gather…check the list below and if you find anything please bring it with you!

All Welcome!

Possible Design for a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine


Turbine Parts:

Hard Disks (magnets, wire, bearings) – as many as possible or at least 8

Microwave Oven – I’ve heard they contain magnets and wire, I can’t think of why, other people have said it so could be interesting to take one apart.

Plastic pipe, waste pipe or down pipe for rain water, 4″ stuff and possible something smaller like sink waste pipe (approx 30-50mm). Idea is to cut it along the length to make semi circular tubes for the front of the wings.

Bendable sheets of something: oil drums we could cut up, thin perspex, copper (eg. from old hot water tanks).

Thicker sheets of something: ply-wood

Diodes, possibly from the microwave, other sources would be any power electronics, like audio amplifiers, car alternators.

Stuff that could be useful if we can get it: steel plate 3-6mm thick and 30cm or more wide. Reasonably powerful permanent magnet motors eg. car radiator fan motors.

Bearings: perhaps from a bicycle (wheel, headset or bottom bracket) or small car/trailer bearing.

Stuff I imagine we’ll have to buy: fiber glass and resin, glue, screws, etc.

Hugh Piggott’s Home Built Wind Power News and Links

Solar Hot Water Heater

For a solar hot water heater (size will be between 1 and 2 sq meters although not important, 1 sq meter is plenty for a sunny day, bigger gives it a better chance of working on more overcast days), there’s two designs which I think could work, for either design we’ll need:

Wood, eg from a pallet or anything similar.

Fibre glass, polystyrene (could be sheet or those balls in packaging), etc for insulation. Bubble wrap would probably work too.

Glass, preferably double glazed, the most common source I’ve seen is old shop bear fridges being thrown out, Actually they could be a source for the insulation too.

Hot water tank (they are thrown out all the time as people move over to combie boilers).

28mm copper pipe, 3 meters or rubber pipe (the kind of stuff that you find on cars radiators) if that is easier to find.

Various copper fittings, eg 15-28mm adapters, elbows, etc. (I already have most of them)

A candle.

Then for one design we will also need:

A radiator, size and shape to approximately match the size and shape of the glass. It needs to be the modern(ish) ugly type, flat(ish) sides, single panel.

Or for the other design we need:

One or two extra hot water tanks to cut up to use as copper sheet or any other source of copper sheet. Whether we need 1 or 2 depends on the glass size

Smaller copper pipe, microbore (8-12mm) or 15mm pipe.

March 1, 2009

Saturday 21st February

Energy College ‘Charge your knowledge!”

Bike Power Workshop with Magnificent Revolution


Full update coming soon!

check out this review by Hackney permaculture