Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tracking Solar

I was looking at a site touting solar energy and remembered an outfit from my hippie days. Zome Works. They have a solar tracker that uses no moving parts. Just liquid in pipes. The liquid is moved by solar energy and because the solar cell holders are balanced it follows the sun. They claim that cell output can increase up to 25% over the course of a day by using their tracking mechanism. Neat stuff.

Steve Baer was the inventor of the Zome Works tracker. He also invented something called Zome Geometry based on the Fibonacci series. Also called the Golden Mean or phi. Its value is equal to the square root of five plus one divided by two. (√5+1)/2 or approximately 1.61803398875. The cute thing about buildings built with parts made in that ratio is that any errors in construction (if they are not too great) tend to cancel out in structures made of many parts. All that happens because the Fibonacci series is self healing. You can learn more about this amazing construction method and Zome construction "toys" at Zome Tool.

Right now the only embodiment of the Zome construction concept is the the Zome Tool "toys". It is too bad the construction industry is so right angle oriented. With a standard set of Zome Panels housing could be much more modular and creative. There is a nice picture of one of Steve Baer's housing constructs at Zome Tool History. Have a look.

I have created a Fibonacci Spread Sheet for those who want to play around. A friend sent a link to The Fibonacci Series which is full of a lot of simple math and interesting observations.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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