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Where all old TVs should go to die

The EPA Division’s intrepid thinker and budding entrepreneur Damien Blackwell has taken the top honour in a national competition with his plans for a solar thermal power station made from (among other things) old televisions.

ReNew magazine recently held a competition asking readers to submit ideas on how best to reuse old televisions. The challenge attracted entries from across Australia and overseas.

"Readers were encouraged to mull over the growing problem of e-waste," Damien said. "This encouraged me to start thinking outside the box."

"I’m a soft touch when it comes to ‘nanoscale’ writing," admitted Damien. "I find it very hard to pass up a ‘25 word or less’ competition-in this case I was extended to 50 words, quite a challenge for me!"

Inspired by Beyond Zero Emission’s proposal for Australia-wide base-load power from renewables, Damien set out to write about a solar thermal concentrator made from old TV components. To illustrate his idea he also built a model power plant.

"It’s about time that obsolete, gigajoule guzzling CRT TVs gave some energy back to the grid," Damien wrote in his submission.

Damien says he’s thrilled to have been judged the winning entry and admits he did devote ‘quite a bit of time’ after work of an evening and at the weekends thinking about and constructing the solar thermal power station.

"The poem came together relatively easily, but building the power station was quite fiddly and took rather more time than I expected," Damien said. "However, it was worth it to have my four-year-old son Oliver quiz me about what I was doing with all the cardboard, plastic containers, newspaper and drinking straws."

Reuse is a theme close to Damien’s heart. As a Business Sustainability Adviser in the EPA Division, he takes a keen interest in anything pertaining to a resource efficiency and waste minimisation approach to small-to-medium sized business in Tasmania.

"My Section Head, Carinda Rue, deserves special mention here because she’s the one who alerted our sustainability team about the ‘re-use your old tv’ competition. So thanks Carinda!"

For his award winning effort in the competition, Damien will receive a voucher. To read his poem and some of the other entries, visit: http://renew.org.au