Art and innovation shake hands and meet in Charleston

Image by Alec SheaffImage by 20091119-panel.jpg

Local wood artisan, Michael James Moran, has joined forces with John Griswold and Alec Sheaff of EcoBilt Energy Systems to create a novel application of alternative energy in the arts community.

EcoBilt has outfitted a 20 foot shipping container salvaged from the Charleston Navy Yard with two 20-watt solar modules. Woodworkers, like Moran, use kilns to dry lumber for their projects to a particular moisture content for interior use. Humidity tends to prevent this level of moisture from being reached, which happens to be a major contributing factor in the Lowcountry.

John explains, "In order to displace the humidity within the kiln, ventilation is key. This usually done by placing vents throughout the kiln and providing airflow through the use of fans. Fans, of course, need power to operate - and in most cases, this is done with traditional electricity or via a generator."

Moran's solar kiln is able to run completely off-the-grid with two 20-watt solar modules on top of the shipping container. The DC current from the modules are wired to fans to provide ventilation. Also included is a thermostat, designed to keep the temperature at a constant and a circuit breaker for Moran to control when the kiln operates. Savings and conservation from this project will impact Moran's work for the next 25-30 years in electricity he will not have to consume.

Michael Moran's "Meeting with Trees" exhibition is being featured at the Rebekah Jacob Gallery on 169 King Street until November 24th. The opening reception is tonight from 6 to 8 p.m.

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