From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]


Berkeley shutting down art and alt-energy center
By Steven T. Jones

Just as I was writing about wanting to get back into covering the
fantastic alternative energy creations now being developed by Burning
Man artists, Berkeley officials were in the process of shutting down
an important hub for this work. The Shipyard is a live-work industrial
arts space just off Ashby Avenue built from steel shipping containers,
which city officials apparently don’t think is safe, so they’ve
ordered the artists out and the place shut down immediately, with
owner Jim Mason risking $2500 per day fines until he can get out.
“It’s a major blow to the underground arts community,” Burning Man’s
environmental director Tom Price told me this morning. Even worse,
it’s a blow to Mason’s main project for the year, Mechabolic, a
gasification system that turns garbage into usable energy without
producing carbon or greenhouse gases, the very thing that Berkeley
officials claim to support. We’re just diving into this developing
story now, so check back for the complete story next week. Or if you
want to help them break down many years of funky hard work, stop by
the shop at 1010 Murray Street this weekend.


Experiments in DIY Gasification:
Transforming any solid waste biomass into a synthetic “natural-gas-
like” flammable fuel. Powering internal combustion engines, biolers,
forges, and high altitude fire effects.

ALL Power Network: Tools for Open Source Energy:
A global collaboration of alt energy enthusiasts and innovators,
exchanging resources towards open source energy solutions. Helping
DIYers-to-NASA scientists move ideas to implementation, across all
forms of power generation and conversion.

Mason Power Engineering
Implementing old ideas in distributed energy and combined heat power
systems, with new technology and ubiquitous off-the-shelf components.

Off-grid machine shop
A DIY large-scale off-grid power system. 33kw of inverters. Three
phase configuration. 5000amp/hr 48vdc battery array (17,000lbs). 4kw
solar pv panels. Two biodiesel generators. 1,000,000 hamsters in an
underground lair, spinning their wheels . . .
Pictures | Online system meter | System history logs | PV graphs |
Battery graphs

Shipping container based integrated power systems. Solar in.
Electricity, heat, refrigeration, potable water, and net connectivity
out. The “grid-in-a-box”. Drop it off the trailer and go.

“the reality is we are highly competent artists and engineering doing
things that are ahead of curve, and our activities do not well fit
within current regulatory structures. we have run an active work site
for large scale kinetic sculpture and ground breaking alternative
energy research for 6 years, without one single injury. not a single
one. not even a single electrical shock that i know of. has even the
offices at city hall managed such a record in the last 6 years? ”

Shipyard art compound under attack by City
topic posted Thu, May 10, 2007 – 11:24 PM by  Kimric

We really need help on this, the city has given us no time to deal
with these problems, we are going to start getting fined 2,500 a day
starting tomrrow. The firemarshal is being really unreasonable.

This situation has allready resulted in the destruction of the
Shipyard as a art concern in berkeley. They drove out the Crucible and
now they are after us. For crying out loud the fire marshal says the
SOLAR PANELS are a fire hazard. We at this time just need time to get
out and they do not seem to even want to give us that.

I am not shure who to call, but the city Managers office is
510-981-7000 if enough people call they might back off enough to at
least let us leave.

This is really impacting Neverwas Haul, and The Mechabolic project.
Both of which are based at the shipyard.

This just posted by Jim.
(written on lovely off-grid juice once again served up by the LAG).

we have talked further with the fire marshall. he is very serious
about enforcement and fines. there is no wiggle room on their
demands. he is saying unequivocally he will write a 2500 dollar fine
tomorrow if his conditions are not met.

furthermore, the more we review what they are asking for, and the
manner in which they have cornered us from all possible directions, it
is clear they have decided they do not want this facility here. we
can speculate as to why they have encouraged and tolerated us for
years, and worked with us to make it legal, but now have hit in the
most brutal of manner. maybe the berkeley bowl across the street is
the cataylst. maybe simply our expansion into the new building.

but whatever the case, all professionals are agreeing that berkeley
has no interest in working with us further, and we have no possibility
for any sort of successful legalization with them. in short, we
cannot win here. but that does not mean that we cannot win largely

with such in mind, i am currently negotiating other spaces outside the
city of berkeley where we might quickly move all our shop containers
so that work can continue for the summer build season.

Leave a Reply