Introducing COACT Lab: Open-source Environmental Tech Incubator

Hello Edgeryders!

I hope you are all well and having creative and innovative weekends :slight_smile:

I am the co-founder of COACT Lab an open-source environmental tech incubator based in the green hills outside of Barcelona.

We have developed an online presentation that gives you more details about the program which you can view here.

COACT Lab is an incubator, where inventors, designers and technologists with environmental tech ideas can disconnect from their daily pressures to focus on creating scalable and usable solutions.

This will be done over short term residences as well as 3-6 month rigorous incubator programs, where experts will come to the campus to inform and coach the participants in various fields as they build their tech.

COACT Lab is set in the Valldaura Labs (valldaura.net), which is a fully equipped ‘Fab Lab’ located on the hills outside of Barcelona, twenty minutes from the city.

While the lab has all the latest machinery and design software, there is also a farm producing food for the residents, a woodlab for carpentry for ‘low tech’ solutions, and it is in the middle of 130 hectares of forest.

Surrounded by nature, living in a self-sufficient existence, we believe that this is the ideal setting to inspire our participants to break the boundaries of environmental tech solutions.

It would be great to get the community’s feedback on the project and get as many Edge Ryders involved as possible.

We look forward to hear from you,

William

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Hello @William_COACT,

great to have you here! sounds very interesting! looking forward to seeing more of this collaboration :).

A great way to get some direct feedback and reaction would also be during the Edgeryders Festival in November! We are already planning workshops on the topics of open source, community management, proposal writing for infotech solutions and sustainable technology. It sounds as if there could be a lot of interesting overlapping and maybe you could either feature or add your event to this roster?

The deadline for preliminary proposals by filling out this form is on the 20th, and Tuesday the 17th of September we will meet for a community call to talk some more details and discuss some ideas :). Would be great if you would join :)!

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Hi @William_COACT, this is super cool, thanks for posting! Are you joining via @mrchrisadams connection? :smiley:

Anyway, I’m curious if some of the open tech solutions you guys are workign on (like carpentry based) go as far as looking at green building construction from the bottom up - including foundation, walls, energy grids and so on. Some of us in Brussels are looking for a large residential building to transform it into a carbon free one (The Reef). Part is technical solutions, and another aspect of greening are lifestyle tweaks (growing your own food).

Is your space open for visits? Perhaps it’s possible to come see it and meet you? With @matthias we are planning a few trips!

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Hey William_COACT, nice to see you here!

I think we might have a few mutual friends, and I’m in Barcelona this week - I leave on Sept 21st for Paris - do please let me know if you’d be around for a chat or if a visit would be possible.

I’ll DM with more details.

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Hello @MariaEuler. Thank you so much for your message. Really excited to see the collaboration move forward too. Really keen to join the Edgeryders festival in November and contribute where we can. Will definitely sign up and develop some kind event within the festival. Thank you for letting me know. What time is the call tomorrow? would love to join! Best wishes, William

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@noemi Thank you for the feedback. I met with @nadia at the Tech Festival in Copenhagen and learned all about this incredible edgeryder community and signed up as quickly as I could!

We have just welcomed our first resident inventor up to COACT Lab in the Valldaura campus. He will be developing a micro hydro turbine. As well as holding a solar water heating workshop.

We definitely have plans to look at green building solutions and would be great to discuss this further. These are definitely the kind of solutions we would like to welcome people to Valldaura to develop.

The reef project looks brilliant! Look forward to learn more about it.

Interestingly, the Valldaura campus where COACT Lab is based has a IAAC masters programs looking at ecological building and they just built a tiny eco home on the campus.

It would be great if you want to come visit. You and @matthias are welcome anytime!!

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@mrchrisadams would be great to meet up with you. I am here all week. Lets make a plan!

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Cool, thanks @William_COACT! I’ll DM to work out specifics for when it would make to visit.

Thanks!

@William_COACT, great! The call is 18:00 Brussels time tomorrow :slight_smile:

Hello @William_COACT, nice to meet you. My name is Alberto, one of the old hands here at Edgeryders. Your space looks beautiful and inspiring!

I have a question, and my apologies if it sounds a bit thorny. I have the impression that a lot of the innovation really worth doing tends to destroy GDP, not increase it, and in general to be bad for capitalism (not to put too fine a point on it). Environmental innovation is not the only type of innovation where I see this, but it is where this effect seems strongest. I write this under the influence of the Deep Adaptation paper, where Bendell essentially says that sustainability is over. We are now in the age of adaptation, and the three directions of work for adaptation are resilience, relinquishment and restoration. Relinquishment is particularly important: maybe the most impactful environmental innovation is going to come from giving up stuff (private cars, commercial aviation, most meat).

Not buying things is infinitely scalable, but it generates economic benefit from public goods (like the natural environment) instead of market transactions. Public goods are famously difficult to monetize, which adds further efficiency because just letting people enjoy them is very cheap and (again) scalable, but, in my experience, they are not a direction that incubators, VCs etc. like to take. They like “sustainable”, which is mostly business as usual.

I am curious: how does this tension play out at COACT? How do you yourself see it?

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Hi @William_COACT and welcome!

I’m so intrigued by your work and the spirit of openness and accessibility to a large scale of people.

It there any chance that you or another member have ever worked with the maritime sector? Ports and / or shipping? Our EarthOS unit is working with EIT Climate-KIC on different projects and one of that is the “Deep Demonstration of net-zero emissions, resilient maritime hubs”. We are organising a workshop in Valencia in December: maybe some of you want to share some experience with us? :slight_smile:

@alberto this is a super interesting and important question! Please allow me a bit of time to digest and I’ll come back to you with an answer of sorts. Always happy to have a chat too if you want to pick my brains.

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@ilaria Thank you for your message and kind feedback. We have not worked in the maritime sector but given the large carbon footprint, I very much hope that we can see some open source solutions come through COACT Lab to tackle the port and shipping sectors. EarthOS unit looks great. We would love to join the workshop in Valencia and can make a strong case for open source solutions to generate conversations… perhaps? Look forward to learn more about your work.

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Let me just join the chorus of impressed welcomers…what kinds of projects have come out of there so far?

Maria what is the url/instructions for joining the call today at 18h?

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Great William! I’ll write you in the next days with more informations :slight_smile:

Hi @William_COACT super interesting, we just submitted a workshop proposal for Nov 28 to edgeryders which involves bringing a few ppl from the network into a local sust architecture design process f (and driven by) a commons-oriented coop. If we get some budget for that - would u be interested in coming to Saarbruecken for a day?

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@soenke thanks for your message. Your workshop sounds really interesting. Yes, would love to come to Saarbruecken for a day. Happy to chat further any time.

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@William_COACT, when would suit you for a call focusing on your projects and how to include them in the Edgeryders Festival? Would this or next Tuesday suit you?

It would be amazing if you could fill in this: https://ernordic.typeform.com/to/T5psAI

Looking forward to hearing more about your projects!

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