Saul Griffiths' sun-tracking solar systems and intestine-inspired car gas tanks


14 Responses to “Saul Griffiths' sun-tracking solar systems and intestine-inspired car gas tanks”

  1. Dave Jenkins says:

    The laws of thermodynamics and Boyle might have a problem with this scheme.  The DOT would _definitely_ have a problem with this idea.

  2. Brainspore says:

    Intestine-inspired car gas tanks? Not looking forward to those, ah, “emissions…”

  3. dioptase says:

    For high pressure cylinders, 1/2 the diameter will mean you only need 1/2 the wall thickness.  1/2 the wall thickness and 1/2 the diameter means 1/4 the weight.  But 1/2 the diameter also means 1/4 the volume.  So at first blush, it’s a wash.  But you’ve now got twice the surface area to volume ratio, increasing potential failure points.  And you have half the capacity to tolerate damage.

    For instance, 1mm of damage on a 10 mm wall is far less trouble than 1mm of damage on a 1 mm wall.

    As for the heliostat proposal, there’s not enough information to evaluate it properly.  If all you go by is the use of plastic and the picture, it appears one good storm and you can kiss your solar farm goodbye.

  4. peterkvt80 says:

    Why are gas tanks cylindrical? It equalizes the stresses and minimizes surface area. So you need less material to make a stronger tank. Why are intestines the shape that they are? Partly to maximize surface area to absorb nutrients so more material required. The novel tank is going to be much heavier.

  5. BannedinDC says:

    He’s also off a ton on US oil imports.  Imports are only 8m barrels per day and have been dropping since 2000 (from a high of 11m).  You can blame/thank US shale oil production for that.


  6. unclegabby says:

    That makes the tank much more expensive to make, customized for each vehicle, and exposes it more crash zones.

  7. Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill says:

    Also, methane contributes 75 times more per unit of straight up CO2 added to the atmosphere over a 20 year time-horizon.  That may make the broad use of natural gas a wash unless you can leak 75 times less per unit CO2 into the atmosphere.

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