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Recent Developments, Improvements, Hints and Wrinkles.
Central Gas-compression Plants.
There is no gainsaying the fact that. the present tendency in gas fuel circles is toward the compression system. But
this method can never aspire to -anypronounced vogue until stations are freely dotted over the country to redtice the risk of a vehicle becoming stalled through the
exhaustion of fuel supplies. Unfortu nately, the cost of installing a compres sion plant is somewhat prohihitive--certainly it is beyond all but the big pocket. This circumstance prompts a suggestion which should be worthy of eonirideration. The gas companies cannot at the moment instal such plants; they already have their hands pretty full in other direc tions. Therefore, why not prepare a scheme whereby one garage in a centre, having a radius of, say, 20 miles, should instal such 4 plant. Seeing that the cost of the plant may well range from £200 to 2400, some form of gnaranteed trade would be necessary, if only during the initial period, so as to encourage the garage in the position to shoulder the OSpense, to make the move. If other garages within the radius would agree to take so many cylinders duringthe course of the year, there would be sufficient inducement to prompt a firm to lay down the requisite plant.
Such an arrangement would enable every garage to store gas compressed in bottles for sale along the sane lines as petrol is vended to-day. A vehiele drawing tip for a fresh supplyswould be subjectesi to the minimum of delay. It would only be necessary to uncouple and withdraw the empty cylinders and to replace them by others fully charged. So far as the motor user was concerned, the transaction would be resolved into the purchase of the gas within the cylinder—the 'bottles would be of equivalent price. So far as the garage itself is concerned, it should experience no difficulty in carrying a stock of gas under compression. Hydrogen and oxygen are so stocked by salesmen to-day, and no instances of misadventure have been reeorded. When he had exhausted his stock of compressed gas, the garage could take the exhausted cylinders to the central garage compression station, and either change them for charged bottles or have them refilled while waiting, driving the full load back home to be stored against demand. The gas would not deteriorate by being kept in this way. Such a scheme could he made financially Successful if the cost of compressing for the trade were, say, 50 per cent, below that charged to the public. The charges for the gas itself, of course, would remain constant or be only slightly in favour of the trade, because this factor is governed by the ruling price of the commodity as fixed by the local supply company.
The compression system can only hope to become universally popular if . the means of gaining fresh supplies when required be facilitated. ' The;greater, the ease in this connection, the wider wilI be the vogue of the fuel. It would also give enhanced confidence to the user. In the event of becoming stranded, he would only need to get into communication with the nearest garage owners. They could drive out to him with a full cylinder in precisely the same way as they are able to meet him with petrol in the event of a breakdown through exhaustion of fuel.
Improvements in Containers.
It is interesting to observe that manufacturers of flexible containers are now devoting more attention to the refinement of details in their productions. They have been able to clear off the rush work incidental to the first push towards gas, and eis have opportunity to take stock of things. The method of attaching the bag to the tray is following more scientific
lines. The shortcomings' of the individual lug arid its lashing have become manifest, and are being eliminated. This being the point to winch the greatest strain is applied as a result of yawing and sawing motions, it is being rejected in favour of a continuous rib or web, and running lashing, which permits the holding-dawn ropes to accommodate themselves to the movement of the gas within.
Care of Gas-bags.
During the past few days we have heard several complaints concerning the extreme wear and tear to which gas-bags aresaaserted .to be-prone. Well, if two examples which came before our notice during the past week offer any legitimate 7criterion, we are not surprised at this -criticism. In the one case we saw a vehicle with a 500 cubic ft. bag. It was deflated at the time, the lorry running on petrol to get home. The empty bag
was lying snug within its tray, but it was serving as a couch for two empty petrol tins, a tin of oil, and a jack! These four articles were lying free on the fabric, and as they were bouncing and bumping to the lively tune of the jolts of the empty lorry speeding over the rough road, the bag was being subjected to strains and stresses for which it•wae impotent. We saw one rent evidently torn by the dancing jack, and we can well anticipate the expression of the men when, attempting to fill up the next morning, they found the gas escaping as rapidly as they allowed it to flow .in. The second case was not quite so flagrant. Half-a dozen empty crates were stowed in the trav, but lashed to the side. Still, even in this instance, we ssw the
empty bag constantly moving, so that undue chafing was being set up where the fabric chafed the crate edges, and which was quite sufficient to end in rupture within a short while. Maintenance of the gas-bags is declared by certain firms to offset -any fuel economies which may be effected, while ruptures and damage to the fabric are stated to be a constant source of exasperation. True, the misdeeds are committed in thoughtlessness, but are directly responsible for much of the obliquy which the gas-bag is receiving at the moment. It is interesting to sea how prolonged in comparison is the life of a. gas-bag fitted to an owner-driven vehicle. He evinces every care for his bag, with the result that he is never ex posed to vexatious delays through faults.