Saturday, February 02, 2008

TurboFizz 1.0 (Beta)

I love me some fizzy water. There's something about carbonation that turns plain, unpalatable water into a delicious, refreshing drink. I like to have some waiting in the fridge at all times. But I don't, for various reasons. (1) It's about $1 for every two-liter bottle; (2) It's a pain to lug multiple two-liter bottles home from the market every week; and, most importantly, (3) Bottled water is an all-around environmental travesty. (According to one source, 38 billion-- BILLION-- bottled-water containers hit the landfill every year. According the the "Fun Facts" webpage of the PET plastics trade council, the average U.S. family "generates" 42lbs of PET plastic bottle waste annually. PET plastic can be recycled, but not indefinitely. Glass recycles better, but is enormously heavier to ship-- not inconsequential when you consider the millions of gallons of fossil fuel burned to ship & truck plain old water to North America from from far-flung places, such as Fiji.)

Sorry for the tangent. I'm on a bit of a crusade against bottled water, as you might have noticed. In particular I've been trying to sway my friends 518 from their daily addiction to glass-bottled fizzy water shipped from Italy. But with what to replace the Pellegrino? What is the suboxone to the imported-fizzy-water heroin?

Enter: home carbonation. It's not that hard. With a bit of web research, a couple purchases from ebay (carbon dioxide tank and regulator), a trip to the hardware store (hose and some fittings), and a visit to the local welding supply shop (to fill the CO2 tank), I can now produce two liters of high-grade fizzy water at home in about two minutes. The upfront capital outlay was about $100, but after that, the cost per liter will be about three cents (about one cent for the tap water, and two cents for the CO2.) Experimenting with the process has been fun-- trying different pressures, different water temperatures, etc.-- and has been a delightful opportunity to revisit physics (Boyle's Law, Henry's Law, and other old friends.)

Moving the system out of beta and up to version 2.0 will involve drilling some holes in the floor, so that production can take place in the kitchen while the tank & other hardware remains in the basement. Also, I'm excited about the nearly limitless options for carbonating everything in sight-- apple cider, half-bottles of champagne that have gone flat, Stanley, etc. I have aspirations to make my own tonic water, too-- a one-pound sack of powdered cinchona bark is en route to the TurboPalace for this purpose.

(If you want to set this up at your Palace, read more than you could ever want to know here. Or shoot me an email for details.)


Blogger Ladyk73 said...

I love bubbles!!!!!!

Just think of the neat things you can make!

Like fizzy banana soda!

2/2/08, 6:26 PM  
Blogger Turboglacier said...

Or carbonated coffee!!

2/2/08, 9:10 PM  
Blogger Weeble said...

Now that is cool...

2/2/08, 10:52 PM  
Blogger charlsiekate said...

I LOVE carbonated anything. Love love love. This is the greatest idea ever. I love pelligrino, and I had to stop drinking it because it just got to be too much of a hassle to lug the water home all the time.

If you were my neighbor I would be so happy.

I think I might have to figure out how to rig something like this up myself.

2/4/08, 10:39 AM  

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