Photo credit: Ecocapsule Website
Take note, Instagrammers. Van life may be a thing of the past. Introducing pod life.
Ecocapsule, by Slovakian company Nice Architects, is a portable new micro-home that will please Mother Nature while boosting your social media credibility. The wind and solar-powered pod can be transferred almost anywhere in the world and used as a pop-up hotel room or mobile office.
It houses two people and offers a sleeping area, kitchenette, shower, climate control, electricity outlets and a water-free toilet that disposes of waste in an environmentally-friendly way.
There are plenty reasons Mother Nature loves this pod. Under its fiberglass shell and steel framework is an energy-saving insulation provided by ecological polyurethane foam. Its egg shape facilitates the collection of rainwater and dew into a filtration system for use by its occupants. The fiberglass is soaked in a polyester resin based on ethylene glycol (from ethylene) and maleic anhydride (from butane, a component of natural gas liquids). And that fiberglass and resin is also used to make the doors and bathroom fixtures. The polyurethane is based on toluene, which is used to make a diisocyanate.
The Ecocapsule is powered by a built-in, easily-foldable wind turbine complemented by an array of photovoltaic cells – whose building blocks are derived from oil (see call-out box below). The wind turbine works during the night as well as the day, ensuring a low probability of a drained battery. A full battery provides at least four days of electricity to the pod.
Did you know? Solar and wind energy isn’t possible without oil and petrochemicals. Three of five layers that make up a photovoltaic solar panel are made from petrochemicals, including the EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate, which is made from ethylene), the backsheet (made from polyester from para-xylene) and the polyester film back layer (also from paraxylene). Meanwhile, windmill blades are made by carbon-reinforced resins made from petrochemicals like propylene for the carbon fiber (via polyacrylonitrile) and the epoxy resin (via epichlorohydrin). The gears, axels and other moving parts need lubricants, which are refined products made from oil.
Another note about its portability. The Ecocapsule can be shipped, airlifted or towed. So you can pretty much bring it anywhere in the world, which is perfect for those Insta-selfies, or, better, great for avoiding the high cost of hotels and Airbnbs.
How much does it cost? About $85,000 per pod. That not cheap, however, prices are expected to go down as Ecocapsule ramps up mass production.