Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Thursday, December 5, 2013

bamboo scooter

A bamboo scooter that runs on air?   I want one.  
This Bamboo Scooter Runs On Nothing But Air

Instead of a city filled with scooter 
emissions, what if we imagined a 
cleaner alternative?

Forget gas, now a scooter exists that is designed to run 
on nothing but air. Specifically, compressed air, the 
same stuff that’s used to clean computer keyboards, 
fill scuba tanks, fire paintball guns, and more recently, 
to power cars.

Like an electric scooter, the Ecomoto is quiet, doesn’t
pump pollution into the atmosphere, and if the air
compressor used to fill its tank runs on renewable
electricity, doesn’t have much of a carbon footprint.

Darby Bicheno, an Australian design student who
created the conceptual scooter for a class, says that
an air engine runs directly on the air inside, rather
than converting energy from a battery. The whole
thing is extremely efficient and lightweight.
Though the scooter is just a concept at this point, the
air-powered engine is already in use. EngineAir, an
Australian company, invented the engine, and has
placed it in small pieces of equipment like forklifts.
Bicheno’s goal was to imagine how the engine might
work in a scooter, and to design something
good-looking enough that people would get curious
about the technology--something with “the potential
to turn heads with its eco-friendly appearance, and
to get people more interested in the potential of
alternative future technologies.”
Most of the body of the scooter is made from bamboo.
Bicheno says he used bamboo because it grows quickly,
is more sustainable than other plantation timbers, and
could reduce carbon emissions by replacing plastic. He
also wanted the scooter to be immediately recognizable
as a sustainability project.

The other parts on the bike are sustainable as well.
“The overall form, assembly and design of the bike was
focused on minimalism, with every element being
carefully though out to ensure that there were no
extraneous details or features,” says Bicheno. A
good example of this is the frame, made from a
single tube of steel, which allows for simple assembly
and disassembly, recycling, and a reduction of extra
screws and joints. The bike is also  lit up with LEDs.
The prototype design uses a regular scuba tank for
the compressed air. Bicheno says someone would
ideally fill it up on a machine at a scuba store or a
hospital, but any air compressor would work--the
others are just likely to be noisier and less efficient.
Eventually, Bicheno says, regular gas stations could
easily be used to provide compressed air instead of
fossil fuels. Without testing, it’s not clear how far it
could go on a tank of air, though it would likely work
well for short errands in the city.
Bicheno imagines the bike used for commuting as
well, helping save time in traffic and reducing
pollution. Even in cities that already have a lot of
two-wheeled transportation, something like this
could make a big difference--what would it mean
for cities in Vietnam, where 37 million motorbikes
currently run on low-grade gas, making it one of
the most polluted places in the world?

No comments: