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Posted by dennisk on November 23, 2006, 11:09 am

I've been lurking your group for a few weeks now, since the spam
subsided, and you appear amenable to lively debate on most anything

I'm hoping to build a solar powered tree, a sculptured tree using
individual functioning scrap solar cells for leaves.  This is an art
piece I'm putting together for next years Green Man themed Burning Man

Now I know next to nothing about your technology.  I do know enough
that this is surely impractical and undoubtably inefficient, but
esthetically it could rock.  I'm sure that I can get enough energy to
light the fiber-optic flowers, but I really want to get enough power to
run an oxygen generator embedded in the trunk so it can function as an
oxygen bar.  I'm thinking 8 to 12 feet high with a branch-spread
diameter of 12 feet or so.

So, given the above ambition, and given reasonably unconstrained
resources, do you think this is at all possible?  Wiring up the leaves,
for instance, will be a large, but manageable as a group task, I'm just
worried that it wouldn't be possible to wire up the cells in a way that
works at all. If not, do you thinks it's possible to realize my
somewhat naive vison of a solar tree, branches spread, cells flashing
in the sun, tinkling in the wind, falling in shards to the ground.

 Please remember, I'm not trying to make a product, this is art for the
fun of it.

Thanks in advance for whatever interest you might show

--- Dennis

Posted by BobG on November 23, 2006, 1:54 pm
Good concept. Individual cells put out .44v.... red, green and blue led
'flowers' need 2 to 3 v to operate...  There are ICs that boost a 1.2V
battery to something more useful like 5v... search for 'single cell
boost regulator' at the chip companies like maxim-ic. I think
electrolysis of water takes 2.3V but MANY amps, so producing oxygen
might not be practical... maybe for one small whiff for one person....
just a little snort....

Posted by Mark Fortune on November 23, 2006, 4:59 pm
 BobG wrote:

Also keep in mind that hydrolysis of water also produces hydrogen - a
gas which is very explosive in air. You will need to use distilled water
also, with a little citric acid or bicarbonate of soda to get the
hydrolysis going... you do not want to use tap water as it contains
chlorine, which would be released during hydrolysis... and thats
something you really dont want to be sniffing. it is advisable not to
use salt as the catalyst in hydrolysis for the same reason.

Posted by dennisk on November 23, 2006, 10:09 pm
 An aside to clarify the oxygen generation strategy:

The oxygen generator I have uses PSA (Pressure Swing Absorbtion).
Basically you pump in air from the atmosphere which is 21% O2 and the
rest mostly Nitrogen.  This is pumped into a chamber filled with
Zeolite until you reach around 20 psi.  The Zeolite absorbs the
Nitrogen, leaving the Oxygen.  The O2 is pumped out and the chamber
evacuated.  When you reach the low pressure, the zeolite gives up it's
Nitrogen which is then purged.  Rinse, repeat.  My generator at max
output produces about 15 LPM of 95% O2.

Mark Fortune wrote:

Posted by SJC on November 23, 2006, 2:00 pm
 These guys sell scrap solar cells. Cells that break are still usable.

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