Solar C³ities is an international platform with the intention of providing an open-source virtual Hackspace for "Biogas Innoventors and Practitioners" and training and resources for all  those researching, developing and deploying sustainable solutions for flourishing societies.
Our motto is "Yes, you can! Please DO try this at home!"

Our method is "Connecting Community Catalysts - Integrating Technologies for Industrial Ecology Solutions"

Politically we define ourselves as "a loose federation of like-minded individuals who are interested in the kind of problem solving that provides the greatest benefits for the greatest number and diversity of both human and non-human beings."  We share knowledge and material resources so that we may continue our co-evolutionary development and not just survive, but thrive.

We have no overt hierarchy, but rather conduct ourselves in space-time the way jazz musicians do, all following the logic and form of a given song that we all find pleasant to play, but allowing each musician to express him or herself "out of the pocket" through solos, improvisation and harmonies that go beyond the original structure on the chord chart.  You might consider Solar CITIES a kind of experimental  "jazz of flourishing development".  We groove on emergent properties and improv and allow the circumstances and matrix of each project to determine roles and responsibilities.  Our "play book", the charts we use to guide the song, so to speak, is our charter, our mission -- to cooperatively innovate and implement least-cost/most-benefit solutions to the existential problems facing sentient life, seeking the smallest negative externalities and the largest positive externalities.

We embrace tinkerers, bricoleurs, hackers, DIY-ers, open-sourcers... everyone who wants to give meaning to life through meaningful participation in "The Great Conversation", the unending dialog between instantiations of ever-evolving and co-evolving sentience on Earth. We encourage every being to give of themselves to give life a chance and give peace a chance, recognizing, as our hero Buckminster Fuller stated,

“We humans are manifestly here for problem-solving and, if we are any good at problem-solving, we don't come to utopia, we come to more difficult problems to solve.You can't better the world by simply talking to it. Philosophy to be effective must be mechanically applied.You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete"...

One of the models we are working together to force into obsolescence is that of crippling dependency on exogenous sources of energy, food, water and, yes, expertise.  We believe that wth a free flow of interconnected open source information and the right start-up building blocks,  every community can develop a self-sustaining core level of dignity and independence, beginning at the household level and radiating outward in permacultural concentric and overlapping circles.

We start with BIOGAS at the center of any fluorishing society  -- as the missing piece of the sustainable development puzzle.

Biodigestors should be front and center in all sustainable development models.  It is the only solution that all peoples all over the world truly have in common because we all have food and toilet and animal and other organic wastes..

One  of our fairly unique contributions to the evolving dialog about energy and waste management has been our early embrace of food waste grinders (once called 'garbage disposals', henceforth known as "feedstock preparation devices") as one of  "the most important environmental technologies for the 21st century (T.H. Culhane described it as such during the Q and A at the  National Geographic Explorer's Symposium in 2010 after using them for a year with small scale biogas and composting systems around the world).

Group Image

Another of our contributions has been the innovation of IBC tank based home scale biodigesters for basements, backyards and other urban and suburban uses.   IBC tanks can be found used in almost every country in the world, and make great biogas systems once filled with dirty water and a few hundred kg of  easily obtained microbes (sourced from any animal manure, including your own "humanure" and/or  lake or pond mud).

With microbial transformation of food and toilet wastes and other organic residuals as the center piece -- things which everybody everywhere has in abundance,  things that formerly were considered "problems" and sources of "dis-ease" -- all other technologies can be more easily placed around the eternal fire that results from  this natural hearth.  Most other energy systems are intermittent. Biodigestion is a bacterial constant, producing just enough baseline energy and nutrient rich fertilizer to allow homes and communities to relax and integrate all of the other solutions for sustainable in a meaningful way, enabling the flowering of true solar cities around the world.

That is the magic of the movement that we invite you to join us in moving forward.

About Us

"Us and them
And after all we're only ordinary men."
- Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon

The fact is, we ARE only ordinary men, and that turns out to be great, because after all we  DON'T live on the Dark Side of the Moon. We live on a planet that spins, and Monty Python reminds us every time we sing their Galaxy song to

"Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.

With all that sunshine, we can't imagine why anybody would get all worked up about energy resources, and why any of us would divide us into "us and them" and fight about things so abundant and easy to access.

So who are we?

We are Solar CITIES.  We are You.  We are he. And she.  And them.  As the Beatles sang:

"I am he as you are he as you are me
And we are all together"

We are a group of hackers, merry pranksters, citizen scientists, bricoleurs, tinkerers, and even a Ph.Do or two who believe that we can collectively achieve a true Heliopolis, a true City of the Sun, if we just "come together, right now... " and "get over "ME".  And get over the "rule of Experts" thing.  Again, from the Beatles, "Expert textpert choking smokers
Don't you think the joker laughs at you? (Ha ha ha! He he he! Ha ha ha!)"

That said, there are actual individuals behind the scenes at the Solar CITIES hackspace ... well, collections of microbes really, making up 90 per cent of the walking, talking, thinking "human beings" who act as scaffolding and spaceship for these individuated microbiomes.  And these folks (or "collectives" if you like) are dedicated their "hive mind" to furthering the cause of bringing true Solar Cities to life -- literally.  The crew behind believe that the most reliable and accessible form of solar energy available to human civilization is the storage medium we call "biogas".  Better by far than batteries for many uses, biogas takes the solar energy stored in the chemical bonds of organic materials and makes it useful instantley or eternally for human beings everywhere.

The crew behind believes that Solar Cities are only fully achievable by working in tandem with the most ancient life forms on this planet and creating the right conditions for them to transduce sunshine power into combustible methane molecules.  Hence, Solar CITIES commitment to biogas innovation and practice first and foremost.

And who are the crew behind the consortia of microbes working to get the word out about the promise of a solar powered living nanotechnology solution to the world's problems?

You can meet us in the descriptions below.  Meanwhile, we wouldn't be where we are if it weren't for the support of so many of you.  Click here to see the evolving list of our patrons-supporters-donors-and-benefactors who have done so much to get Solar CITIES where we are today and are helping propel us into an even brighter tomorrow!

Meet the methanogens

Urban Planner Thomas H. Culhane brings solutions to build Solar cities around the world, working at the home and community scales

Thomas H. Culhane, Ph.D., co-founder of Solar CITIES e.V., has built a global network of do-it-yourself (DIY) digester builders, academics, and entrepreneurs.

Read Culhane's National Geographic Profile here:

Taha Majeed Lafta

Taha Majeed is a chemical & process engineer , an expert in bio-energy and bio-fuels like biogas and bio-diesel etc, an expert in design and the  building and construction of different kinds of digesters and biogas technologies giving training and consulting on bio-energy projects .

Dominik Jais is master brewer from Germany. He is living in Finland creating a Nordic Permaculture. He is a professinal webdesigner and an artist.
At Solar Cities he is responsible for the IT, especially the website.

We couldn't do what we do without you!

Here we would like to list and thank all* those who have contributed to the Solar C³ITIES mission with your time, effort,  money, opportunities, connections, facilitation, offers of help and support and public and private endorsement.

*still under construction

Janice Kelsey

Kathy Puffer

Jody Spangler

Leo Adler


Sergio Almeida

Marcello Ambrosio

Scientific American

Salah Arafa

Carol Baricovich

Alan Bigelow

Sharon Benheim

Thorsten Besse