Gas Bag Buses in Shawan, China

Gas Bag Buses in Shawan China

This photo shows at least six operating gas bag buses in Shawan (“Sandy Bay”), Shandong, China, in 1965. I have added the picture to the article on gas bag vehicles. Cars and buses powered by uncompressed gas in large bags were used in many European countries in World War One and Two, and remained in use in some regions of China and other Asian countries until the 1990s. They are more than a historic curiosity, however. In a comment on our earlier article, Paul Nash notes:

“On further reflection, I think the best application for this system, and certainly the one with the least government regulations to hinder the process, would be for powering of farm equipment.

  • The gas bag could be installed on a frame on top of the tractor, or on a trailer behind, or a carrier in front or to the side, or some combination of these.
  • Aerodynamics are a non issue, and neither is the height of the bag.
  • There are no road safety rules to be dealt with.
  • The short range is often not an issue, the refueling station is never far away and the diesel engines can still operate on diesel alone if need be.
  • The gas bag system also eliminates the $4000 home compressor station needed to fill car CNG tanks from home.

And, of course, the farmer can produce the fuel himself, from waste material – manure, straw, even wood chips, instead of using the harvested grain for ethanol or biodiesel. A wood gasifier could also do this, but needs a warm up and cool down period – the gas bag can be used instantly and for short duration running – a common situation on farms.”

Read more about Gas Bag Vehicles and Wood Gas Cars (another answer to the limited supply of gasoline in World War One and Two).

Picture credit: Ray-Wu.

Cargo Cycle for Egg Deliveries

cargo cycle for egg deliveriesThe Pashley Model CT2 is described as “a really handsome, well built and strong light delivery vehicle for confectioners, egg deliveries, grocers, accumulator stations, etc.”

Found at the Museum of Tradesman’s Delivery Bikes, which has a collection of (mostly) English cargo bicycles dating from 1905 to 1982. This is one of the few tricycles on the blog.

Related: Tandem Cargo Tricycle (1940) & More Vintage Dutch Carrier Bikes.

 

The Fastest Sailboat in the World

fastest sailboat in the world

The Sailrocket, a sailing boat that we have talked about before, is the fastest craft under sail, after breaking the 2010 record held by a kiteboarder.

During the last run in Namibia in November 2012, an improved version of this unconventional boat reached an average speed of 65.45 knots (121.21 km/h or 75.31 mph) over a distance of 500 meters. Earlier this year it set speed records of 59.23 and 59.37 knots.

Record sailing speeds have almost tripled since the beginning of the 1970s. Those who think that sailboats are a technology from the past, think again.

See and read more at YachtPals and Sailrocket.

Designing for Velomobile Diversity

SoftShell-Velomobile-concept“Velomobiles currently appeal to niche, enthusiast markets through a range of both low scale production and D.I.Y processes.”

“This paper explores the current limitations in promoting velomobiles as a commuter alternative to the automobile in that it proposes velomobile diversity be approached through the application of dynamic, emotive styling, vehicular packaging variations and functional storage, together with the use of sustainable construction materials with techniques that reduce assembly and fabrication costs.”

“To this end, the paper discusses two conceptual case studies that explore applied industrial design processes, diverse construction and alternative manufacturing techniques. Both are positioned outside current fabrication processes, where one explores ‘natural’ production – specifically, the pre-harvest deformation of bamboo with shape tessellation to reduce parts complexity whilst allowing natural processes to fulfil pre-determined forms – and the other reuses post-consumer waste in an interminably variable tensegrity frame construction designed for continued open-source development.”

Designing for Velomobile Diversity: Alternative opportunities for sustainable personal mobility (PDF). Alexander Vittouris and Mark Richardson, 7th International Velomobile Seminar, september 2012. Picture: Softshell concept velomobile.

Previously: Electric velomobiles: as fast and comfortable as automobiles, but 80 times more efficient.

Wooden Bicycle Rims

wooden bicycle rims

“They are hard to build with, they require regular maintenance, they are expensive and they flex a lot. However, if you want a traditional looking wheel, avoiding metal altogether is a marvellous move, something that we’re lucky to still be able to do today.”

Cerchio Ghisallo has been producing wooden rims since 1946, and in this video father and son show how they do it. Inside Cerchio Ghisallo part 1, part 2, part 3.

More about wood rims: Building with Wooden Rims / Cycling before Lycra / Wheel Fanatyk / Is Wood the Goods? / Wood Sprints /Cerchio Ghisallo / Sacro Bosco Bicycle works / CB Italia.

Picture: d’Annata by Sartoria Cicli.

Bicycle Trailer with Solar Panel Charges Electric Bicycle

Bicycle Trailer with Solar Panel Charges Electric Bicycle

“The electric bicycle has become a very long way in recent years. However, the lack of luggage space and limited range of the battery makes the electric bike less suited to long distances. Solarwind, designed by architect Raf Van Hulle, offers a solution.

The trailer provides extra luggage space and is fitted with a solar panel to keep the electric bicycle’s battery charged.”

Solarwind.