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Energy Materials

113: Ecocapsule

Problem:

Most homes are dependent on an external supply of electricity, even most caravans and mobile homes which are limited to a campsite. Tents also have their limitations.

Solution:

The ECOCAPUSLE off-grid-no-footprint microhome.


Soňa Pohlová obtained a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) focused in architecture and urbanism from Slovak Technical University, Bratislava, Slovakia and Arquitectura La Salle, Barcelona. With Tomáš Zácek, Soňa co-founded Nice Architects in Bratislava.

In 2009 they submitted a bid for a competition to design a luxurious mobile home that could operate off-grid and leave no trace. During the next five years, Nice Architects were working on the technological and product design of the Ecocapsule in order to bring the best possible product.

By 2014, the development of technology for the Ecocapsule was ready. It is designed to produce more energy than it consumes, as long as the external temperature remains between 4 °F (−16 °C) and 104 °F (40 °C).

Energy for the pod is renewable, sourced through an 880-watt (1.18 hp) solar cell array and a silent 750-watt wind turbine, which is then stored in a 9,744-watt-hour (35,080 kJ) battery that can hold four days worth of electrical charge batteries for later use.

With this energy, the pod can be off-grid all-year-round, and can even charge an electric car. Other energy-conservation features of the dwelling are its high-efficiency climate control system and a heat exchanger that uses exhaust air to warm fresh incoming air.

The Ecocapsule also harnesses rainwater with its 25.3-US-gallon (96 liter) reservoir, which is located beneath the dwelling’s floor. The water is cleaned via a pre-filtration system and two UV LED lamps.

Drinking water is also provided by filters installed on the faucets. The Ecocapsule also features a waterless separating toilet. The Ecocapsule has a central computer that monitors its electricity and water levels, and can be controlled via a mobile app.

The Ecocapsule should allow its occupants to live off the grid for several weeks to several months

On May 28, 2015, nice&wise (ex-Nice Architects) publically unveiled their Ecocapsule at Vienna’s Pioneers Festival after six years of development.

Limited to 50 customers from the USA, Japan, Australia and EU, at a price of US$98,000, the patented Ecocapsule is a luxury item for one to two people, but other potential applications include a disaster-relief shelter or a scientific research station.

By July 2015, thousands of pre-orders had already been made and interest generated among celebrities such as Susan Sarandon.

In January 2018, the company launched production of the First Series Ecocapsules, limited to 50 pieces. The first micro-home is available for rent to the general public in Bratislava, positioned on a footbridge in the Zuckermandel district, with a beautiful view overlooking the Danube river.

A second Ecocapsule was set up in the Netherlands. The company is now working the the Second Series Ecocapsule.

What you can do: If you enjoy camping, make it as eco-friendly as possible.

Tomorrow’s solution: Auroville in India

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