Sustainability through Massive abundance.

Episode 37: Manufacturing a New Reality

How to massively expand manufacturing while saving the Earth. If you thought Tesla's Gigafactory was big, wait till you hear this!

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What will people build or do in Edenicity?
Intro [music]
Industrial zone layout
Global industrial capacity
Close [music]

What will people build or do in Edenicity?

Well, Edenicity is a giant city of at least 5 million people. That just cries out for industry.

But Edenicity is supposed to be green, and green is hippie and low tech... kind of the opposite of industrial, right?

Now, as I mentioned in episode five, one of the functions of design is to resolve false dichotomies.

The dichotomy between green and industrial seems huge, doesn't it?

But it's false, as I'll show in today's brief episode, with mind-blowing results.

Intro [music]

Cities designed like modern Edens, for economic and ecological abundance. I'm Kev Polk, your guide to Edenicity.

Welcome to Episode 37, where I'll discuss the Edenicity of manufacturing and industry.

Industrial Zone layout

If you haven't done so already, now's the time to download the reference design from the show notes.

Got it?

See those four industrial zones in the corners? The gray ones? They look tiny in the drawing, but they're huge: about 2,600 meters across, or 26 football fields. That's 1.6 miles on the side. Within each of the four industrial zones, there's eight factory districts the size of an Edenicity village. These are huge areas, too.

By way of comparison, take the Tesla Gigafactory that's still under construction in Nevada. It already produces much of the world's lithium ion batteries, and it's only about 30% complete. Once it's finished, Giga Nevada will be the biggest building in the world!

Well, each of Edenicity 32 factory districts is two thirds as big as that. Add up all the districts, and each Edenicity has 21 times the productive capacity of Giga Nevada, and we don't waste any of that space on parking lots.

Instead, each industrial district is surrounded by an equal area of fiber crops: hemp, bamboo, cotton, plus support species grown in rotation with sheep and other grazers.

Fiber from Zone 4 timber would also be used. See Episode 36 for details on the fiber cycle.

Now I'm sure it won't surprise you that this is meant to be a zero waste industrial environment. So the animal grazers would periodically be tested as animals tend to bio concentrate industrial wastes.

So just try to picture this: this is a set of really huge industrial buildings surrounded by broadacre crops, grazing animals and forest.


The huge buildings are an integral part of Edenicity's energy security strategy. In Edenicity, industry is somewhat seasonal. In inclement weather, manufacturing scales back and power is diverted to residential and core services. This allows Edenicity to endure 30 days of constant rain where the solar panels are only able to get about 10% of the power that they would from a clear sky, and a 70 day supply of power in cloudy weather where the panel's operate at 25% of their clear sky efficiency.

Now in sunny weather industry can use up to 40% more energy than it could on average. So there will be times of energy windfalls that are fairly predictable.

I know that making industry somewhat seasonal seems odd, but we're seasonal. So I think people will find it very easy to get comfortable with more of a seasonal industrial cycle.


So let's talk about Edenicity's industrial workforce. First of all, when you add up all of those factory districts, it turns out that they can easily employ 450,000 people.

Now that'll probably decline with time as more automation comes online, but you might think that the initial problem would be a labor shortage. I mean, where are you going to find nearly half a million people who want a factory job? Well, many, many people in the United States long for the days of good study industrial employment, even though the United States is still the number one manufacturer in the world. And many immigrants will no doubt appreciate a steady factory job as well. And these jobs would be much less stressful in Edenicity than anywhere else in the world.

For example, the loop transit could offer up to four drop offs in each factory district. This would provide incredibly speedy commutes with essentially no congestion. You'd basically have eight loop pods per minute per drop off, and that would be sufficient to move the entire workforce in 15 minutes. From the drop off, it's about a 90 second walk to your worksite. And of course, sheltered bikeways provide redundant access, plus a workout.


Now let's talk about the industries themselves. As you can imagine, building an entirely new city would give us a lot to do at first. There'd be a lot of machinery and logistics and warehousing involved with the construction trade. And because of the bicycle infrastructure, there would probably be enough of a demand in each city to support a bicycle manufacturer as big as Brompton bikes in the United Kingdom. Brompton has never sold more than 50,000 bikes a year, although they might in 2020. And even if a bike lasts a century, every Edenicity would need 50,000 new bikes a year.

For loop transit, there's all that digging and tunnel building equipment to be built and serviced. There's 1347 kilometers of tunnels to be dug per city and 6000 passenger pods to be built per city. Though maybe just a few cities will build pods, all of them will have repair shops with spares.

Similarly, the Hyperloop industry would need to dig 853 kilometers of tunnels per city and these would be much higher tech, nearly evacuated tunnels and they would also need to service 469 pods per city. Though again, only a few cities will probably specialize in Hyperloop pod manufacture.

Edenicity will also need tractors, earthmovers and emergency vehicles. All electric, of course. And if they happen to be near a coast, they might specialize in manufacturing watercraft. Also electric, of course. There may even be aircraft factories. And yes, you guessed it, there'll be electric as well. Batteries capable of supporting relatively long distance electric flight will be coming online by about 2025. And various companies are working on making these aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing.

If they succeed in this, you could fit an airport in just one factory district per city: some 80 times smaller than the typical International Airport.

Imagine how convenient that would be. You just take a Loop transit direct to the terminal. That's about a four minute ride; eight minutes coming from the opposite corner of the city. And I've thought of a whole slew of design tweaks that could shorten your wait and boarding time at the airport down to about 10 minutes.

Of course, many of the industries would revolve around textiles, and most of these would be reused (see Episode 36 for more details on the fiber lifecycle). Suffice it to say here that Edenicity should be able to recycle apparel, architectural fibers and packaging at least 10 times, vastly multiplying the utility of the raw feedstocks. Of course, there would be timber products.

And wastewater treatment occupies four of the 36 districts using conventional water treatment techniques. A couple of towns adjacent to one of these might test bio remediation techniques such as constructed wetlands to handle domestic sanitary sewage. These have been developed with mixed results by Ocean Arcs International, among others, but offer the possibility of a much more ecologically robust operation that would require far less machinery and maintenance.

Now recycling in Edenicity, as you can imagine, is a huge growth industry.

The goal is to reuse or compost everything. Edenicity's recycling industry would take in materials from Edenicity, of course, but also other places as needed. For example, de-paving the many abandoned roadways for asphalt to use in the bike pads. This would be selective at first. But eventually, as automation improves, everything would be recycled, including consumer electronics right down to the raw feedstocks, meaning those raw materials that go back into the manufactur of new items.

Now Edenicity will need lots of space to warehouse recycling inputs and feedstocks that you get after recycling. You don't want stuff sitting around for very long, but these industries move so much material that they will need the space.

Now, when recycling gets to the point where you can disassemble complicated electronics down to their raw elements and reuse them as feedstocks, then you can run process in reverse, which would enable automated general purpose fabrication. As this gets integrated into a single facility, it will become the ultimate fabrication machine that can reclaim and build anything.

Global industrial capacity

Now, normally I end on a personal note, but today, let's go big picture. By the time we have 10 billion people living in Edenicities, that's 1,840 cities, with a combined manufacturing capacity of 36,000 times greater than a complete Gigafactory, all dedicated to green chemistry, total recycling and healing of the planet.

When that happens, just imagine what we could accomplish as a species!

Close [music]

If you enjoyed Episode 37 please use the share button in your podcast player to let your colleagues know about it on social media. And be sure to join me next time when I'll discuss pets and domestic animals.

I'm Kev Polk and this has been Edenicity.


Edenicity 37: Manufacturing a New Reality

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