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  1.    #1  
    I have always been fascinated by the R&D of alternative fuel sources. Here is a new one.....a car that is powered by air!

    Voila! A Car Powered By Air

    French Duo Says No Combustion, Zero-Emissions Vehicle Runs For Pennies Per Mile

    (CBS) With prices like these, maybe it's time to put some hard thought into what we could be filling up with. The Iranians say they have a solar-powered car. Engineers in the U.S. and Europe say they have tried hydrogen. But, how about air? At their factory in southern France, father-and-son team Guy and Cyril Negre insist air power is no joke. “It's a different way of thinking cars,” says Cyril.


    A car, says the Negres, that will cost just $2 for every 120 miles.

    The Negres have a long love affair with cars. Guy designed a Formula One race car engine. Cyril worked at Bugati. The technology for their car, they say, is relatively simple and safe.

    “When you compress the air in the tank, inside of the tank, this is like compressing a spring, and then the tank gives you back the energy of the air when it expands,” says Cyril.

    Compressed air in a carbon-fiber tank, something like scuba divers use, drives the pistons and turns the crankshaft. There is no combustion and no gasoline. That's why there's no pollution. You fill it up at an air compressor. It may sound far-fetched, but at his labs on the campus of UCLA, professor Su-Chin Chow is also exploring the power of air.

  2. #2  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal View Post
    I have always been fascinated by the R&D of alternative fuel sources. Here is a new one.....a car that is powered by air!

    Voila! A Car Powered By Air

    French Duo Says No Combustion, Zero-Emissions Vehicle Runs For Pennies Per Mile
    So how do you compress the air? By using a fuel-powered pump? Or by electricity generated using fossil fuels or coal?

    Compressing air takes a lot of energy and produces a lot of additional heat which is more lost energy (in addition to the one lost by running the pump). Doesn't sound promising to me. Without a renewable source of engergy used for comression it doesn't make sense.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  3. #3  
    Woo Hoo, a top speed of 50 mph! Just try merging onto the freeway in that. And they don't mention anything about range, although one might infer its about 120 miles. Of course, the faster you go the quicker you'll run out of air, so I'd bet that 120 miles probably comes at slow speeds.

    Clulup is right. Compressed air isn't a fuel source, it's an energy storage medium, just like a battery. And likely stores less energy than is used to compress it in the first place.
    Bob Meyer
    I'm out of my mind. But feel free to leave a message.
  4.    #4  
    I noticed when I first read this article that there are a LOT details there were left out of that article that would have been easy and very helpful to include.

    I would assume that their $2 for 120 miles covers the cost of the energy source for the compressed air, so be it battery or even gas, I would imagine that it would take a lot less gas than a petrol combustion driven car. And considering that they state that they emit nearly no emissions at all, I think a battery is a good candidate. But then again, they said it kinda sounded like a lawn mower, so maybe a gas driven compression is what does it.......but since they failed to include this vital point, we can only guess.

    As for only 50 mph, the first round of electric cars were significantly slower than they have a real race car model that can take off faster than a gas powered one.

    Even if there is a lot of energy loss, if they were able to develope the technology go up to 80 mph, would you find it an viable or at least an interesting alternative?

    I wonder if a hybrid model of an air / electric (/ and even adding gas) car could overcome some of each current limitations?
  5. #5  
    I think it may be a solution looking for a problem, but maybe not. Your hybrid idea is certainly more practical than a standalone "air car." (I wonder how much space that storage tank requires? Think it has any cargo space, or is that entire van full of compressed air?)

    There are currently trucks operating with a hydraulic hybrid transmission. When the engines running, it pressurizes a hydraulic reservoir, and for short duration driving the hydraulic pump powers the transmission to move the truck. Using compressed air in this application would be similar.

    And using current technology, diesal / electric hybrids can get up to 80 mpg in city driving.

    Oh, that electric "race" car? Yes, it can accelerate quickly. In fact, that's one real advantage of electric motors: they generate maximum torque at (essentially) 0 rpm, so they're quick off the line. But if you're thinking about the car I'm thinking of, it costs $100,000, has no luggage capacity and room for only 2, and a cruising range (at highway speeds, not race speeds) of about 100 miles. After which it needs a couple of hours for a full charge, vs. the 5 minutes my gasoline car needs to refuel after 300 miles.

    Given realistic battery size and performance, electrics are basically limited to short range, city/suburban driving. And most people want more versatility out of their cars.

    I wonder why no one has looked at the locomotive model for a hybrid car. Modern locomotives use a very slow turning diesel engine to drive an electric generator, which powers electric motors to drive the wheels. Replace the gasoline engine in a Prius with a small diesel engine/generator package, and use the electric motors to drive the wheels all the time. It would eliminate the conventional transmission and drive train, which would save a lot of money, and eliminate all the complexity of trying to balance the output of the gasoline and electric motors.
    Bob Meyer
    I'm out of my mind. But feel free to leave a message.
  6.    #6  
    I agree with everything you said.

    I also think it is interesting and important that research for these technologies continue and that the limitations are being researched, developed, improved upon. Which was may basic point for for referencing the speed issue with the racing electric car. Main stream production is a totally different question.

    But with the upcoming advances they are working on for brand new battery technology, many of the hindrances for the electric car (i.e. mainly short range, recharge methods and time, and physical battery size) just might be able to be addressed in the next few years.

    Here some is just a flavor of some interesting developments:

    Super Battery
    The researchers solved this by covering the electrodes with millions of tiny filaments called nanotubes. Each nanotube is 30,000 times thinner than a human hair.


    "It could be recharged many, many times perhaps hundreds of thousands of times, and ... it could be recharged very quickly, just in a matter of seconds rather than a matter of hours," he says.

    This technology has broad practical possibilities, affecting any device that requires a battery. Schindall says, "Small devices such as hearing aids that could be more quickly recharged where the batteries wouldn't wear out; up to larger devices such as automobiles where you could regeneratively re-use the energy of motion and therefore improve the energy efficiency and fuel economy."


    Nanoscientists fired up about battery alternative
    However, despite their inherent advantages - a 10-year-plus lifetime, indifference to temperature change, high immunity to shock and vibration and high charging and discharging efficiency - physical constraints on electrode surface area and spacing have limited ultracapacitors to an energy storage capacity around 25 times less than a similarly sized lithium-ion battery.

    The LEES ultracapacitor has the capacity to overcome this energy limitation by using vertically aligned, single-wall carbon nanotubes - one thirty-thousandth the diameter of a human hair and 100,000 times as long as they are wide. How does it work? Storage capacity in an ultracapacitor is proportional to the surface area of the electrodes. Today's ultracapacitors use electrodes made of activated carbon, which is extremely porous and therefore has a very large surface area. However, the pores in the carbon are irregular in size and shape, which reduces efficiency. The vertically aligned nanotubes in the LEES ultracapacitor have a regular shape, and a size that is only several atomic diameters in width. The result is a significantly more effective surface area, which equates to significantly increased storage capacity.

    The new nanotube-enhanced ultracapacitors could be made in any of the sizes currently available and be produced using conventional technology.

    "This configuration has the potential to maintain and even improve the high performance characteristics of ultracapacitors while providing energy storage densities comparable to batteries," Schindall said. "Nanotube-enhanced ultracapacitors would combine the long life and high power characteristics of a commercial ultracapacitor with the higher energy storage density normally available only from a chemical battery."


    New Nuclear Battery Runs 10 Years, 10 Times More Powerful
    A battery with a lifespan measured in decades is in development at the University of Rochester, as scientists demonstrate a new fabrication method that in its roughest form is already 10 times more efficient than current nuclear batteries and has the potential to be nearly 200 times more efficient.


    But this has to be my personal favorite....ever been low on gas and had to go the bathroom REALLY bad? Normally one stop could solve both problems. Now you won't even have to stop:

    Urine-powered battery developed

    Physicists in Singapore have succeeded in creating the first paper battery that generates electricity from urine. This new battery will be the perfect power source for cheap

    .......imagine the smell coming out of a tail pipe of a car like this??????
    Last edited by HobbesIsReal; 10/31/2006 at 12:48 PM.

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