3
$\begingroup$

This question is the second part of my previous question about piezoelectric plants. In summary: The plants on my world generate electricity from kinetic energy (piezoelectricity) instead of or paired with photosynthesis. The plants are hollow to resonate vibrations and absorb more energy this way. They grow in areas with frequent tectonic activity or with sufficient wind or rain. There are many variants of plant each specialising in one or more energy sources. In this question I'll be asking about rainfall as their power source. Also for the sake of the question just assume the biological process works.

As we all know, plants grow in the direction they are getting light and nutrients from and are also optimised to grow shapes that absorb efficiently. Leaves are wide and flattened to collect sunlight and exchange gases easily. Branches are fractal and grow in the golden angle, this angle promotes adequate ventilation of the plants and is the optimal arrangement for light absorbance. Tree trunks are solid and roots are also fractal to absorb as many nutrients as possible and keep the plant firmly attached to the ground.

How would these plants be shaped to get the most energy from rainfall?

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the best answer :) sorry about the frame challenge :( I was really excited by the idea behind your question, ultimately disappointed by the journey down the rabbit hole it led me on, but the journey was fun & I'm sure I'll have a look around for other options another time :) do you know about the Chernobyl fungus? $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Sep 12 '21 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore Glad I made your day. It was... interesting to see your thought process. Although I specifically wrote not to worry about the biological processes, but oh well. And yes I do remember reading about the Chernobyl fungus. Definitely worth looking into. You just gave me another idea :) $\endgroup$ Sep 12 '21 at 23:26
  • $\begingroup$ LoL Believe me, you haven't seen them, you can't have [worried expression, '"can he?"] they're far too weird & totally fragmented, I get lost myself if I ever try to follow them :) $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Sep 13 '21 at 0:18
4
$\begingroup$

You want to harvest energy from rain & what's the best shape?

Looking at it mechanically I'd say a bowl.

With a bowl you can harvest the kinetic energy of the rain as it strikes the surface while gathering it & then run it off to a lower elevation & harvest further energy by standard hydro electric methods.

This reservoir would essentially be an energy store you can tap during times of low rainfall if needed.

That's easy.

For a 'tree' the 'trunk' (aka bole) might form this bowl, some form of spring loading could capture compression energy as the weight of water in its 'bowl shaped bole' increases then once full runoff tubes lined with some form of vegetable turbine analogues opened to drain it, the branches should be angled up around the rim of the bole to increase the surface area over which rain is caught & its leaves on them angled to channel rain into the bole, the leaves could also collect energy from each raindrop impact through the motion imparted to the stalk & you might expect a layered structure to the leaves & branches to catch runoff from those above.

That's the large physical structure, also easy.

But what structures & bio chemical methods a tree might use to capture, store & convert this mechanical energy for growth is another matter entirely that I'm having difficulty envisioning.

Potentially a whole three other question?

So I'll have to end with a frame challenge of sorts & ask you what known chemical processes you think might be used to capture this mechanical energy & store it for use by a plant?

Because off-hand I can't think of any.


[Ah! Your prior question has the answer to that does it?]

[I'll go through it's links & see if I can find it, will edit when I have]


Hmm.. I think you may have misunderstood what 'Electric bacteria ' are & focused overly much on the word electric, they're anaerobic organism that 'breath' metals // that 'electric' part of their name only seems to be a nod to the fact that they use different pathways than normal for the intake & excretion of electrons in more familiar types of metabolization // I don't think it means what you think it does?

If you haven't misunderstood it then I have of course :) after all my reading hasn't been that extensive.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

A thick center with thick but short branches extending from it. Those branches will carry very long, thin and tough twigs horizontally with a small slope upwards and a large leaf at the end. The leaf's edges will face downwards and the leaf will twist downwards faster than the twig when hit by rain.

The length means a single raindrop can create a lot of movement across a single twig which increases the energy gained. The upwards slope helps it return to its original position and the leaf's movement when hit by rain prevents an excess rain to break off the twig or leaf.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd put the piezo electric activity in branches and stems as an option. Piezo-electric effect occurs in stiff, solid matter en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity rather than thin, flexible leaves and twigs. The kinetic energy of rain is small.. however there is the stress in bending branches as a result of the water weight.. and if that stress could be converted to electricity, the yield could become larger. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Sep 12 '21 at 13:35
0
$\begingroup$

The leaves should be arranged in such a way that every droplet will trickle from one to the other, maximizing the harvested energy, by intercepting the energy involved in each jump and minimizing the losses to drag.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would imagine the tree using several standard layers of leaves then, rather than a random mass of leaves. Since the drop from the leaves on top onto those below is somewhat standardized and generates the same energy which allows you to maximise efficiency similar to how a tree has sun-leaves and shadow-leaves, so you want a reasonably predictable surface area to drop it onto rather than a semi-random mess. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 12 '21 at 13:34
-1
$\begingroup$

I think that any energy gained from rain would be far outmatched by what can be gained from the wind. 2 meter of rain per year is a really large amount but insignificant compared a constant light breeze.

A grass type of shape would do well to harvest from wind. For a larger plant you could imagine something like a weeping willow. with long hairlike strands falling down from branches.

$\endgroup$
3
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ -1 Not what I asked in this question. But I'll take your word for it and make a question about wind powered trees :) $\endgroup$ Sep 12 '21 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ @LiveInAmbeR windmills exist. rain powerd mills don't. . . unless it is concentrated by the topography into rivers. Since wind would be the major factor i'd expect optimisations for wind with rain being an happy coincidence. i could have explained this better $\endgroup$ Sep 12 '21 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ Never mind. I did mention wind in my question. $\endgroup$ Sep 12 '21 at 21:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .