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The Pressurized Air Car?

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

The Pressurized Air Car?

Unread postby Whitecrab » Sun 20 Jun 2004, 22:47:04

http://www.theaircar.com/

This company has designs for a car that'll run on pressurized air. Also, I get the vague impression from their website that it will run on cheap, easy things (aluminium, plastics - which yes depend on oil). Also, they can run the compressor on fossil fuels (or run the car on fossil fuels while the compressor goes; it wasn't super clear) and so this can be a bridge technology while fossils are still in use.

Although I know it's foolish to depend on untested technology that has no mass-production yet to swoop in and save a growth-based society, etc. etc. But does this have promise? Would it be possible to have every gas station (or every home owner, even) have their own air compressor? Sounds way more feasible then any hydrogen solutions. Do air compressors need much more beyond electrical power and maintenance?

Where (if anywhere) would this fall down in a peak world? It can be used to run buses, etc. as well, so might this be a better alternative then biofuels or hydrogen or solar or electrified public transit?
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Unread postby Guest » Mon 21 Jun 2004, 03:07:06

It's a brilliant concept. I read about it a while ago, and the heard ____.
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Unread postby Barbara » Mon 21 Jun 2004, 03:32:45

I've followed the topic last years, since it's an European product and they kept talking of it on mainstream too. The car is builted with recycled material, and it's powered by electricity. They are planning to make a diesel version, to recharge the compressor with a very low-consuming diesel engine.
The waste product of the car is... pure and clean air, at a cold temperature.
Here come the bad news: this car is going around the Net and the newspapers since 2001. Every time they say "will be on the market in six months", but in more than 3 years nobody have seen not even a prototype. I think it will never be produced... :(
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Unread postby smiley » Mon 21 Jun 2004, 09:53:43

While the concept might be promising the company is somewhat too optimistic in their assessment of the performance of the car.

What I would like to see is an assessment of the range as a function of the speed. I'm afraid that the range will drop-off quite sharply with increasing speeds.

Another thing I'm worried about is the acceleration. With 70 bar pressure in the cylinders, low engine volume (0.6 l), and low rpm's I can't see this engine developing a lot of torque. It would be especially cumbersome when your carrying extra weight (passengers). This could make it too slow to be allowed in normal traffic.

A third issue is safety. My last car weighed about 600kg. I considered it very unsafe in case of an accident. This car weighs the same but here much of the weight is consumed by gas bottles. I estimate that you have only 400 kg of car to protect you in case of an accident. If it would be 400 kg of reinforced carbon it wouldn't matter, but in this case it's glass fiber and foam. I wouldn't trust my life to that, at speeds of more than 50 km/hr.

If my assumptions are correct, the car can only be used within the city limits and there we already have a number of good alternatives.

Anyway, although it's no miracle cure its might be a step forwards and I'll be very interested to know how it develops.
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Unread postby Onyered » Sun 27 Jun 2004, 02:04:51

This is an interesting concept. I would think that you should view this along the lines of a hydrogen car as both “fuels” are energy storage mediums. It would seem to have an advantage over hydrogen in that you could just compress the air and not have to “crack” it from water or natural gas. If electricity remains cheap enough this might be a viable method of local transport. Model airplanes have used CO2 powered engines for years.

A small diesel engine would not be able to replenish the tank as fast as air was used from it, but it might be able to top the tank in a reasonable amount of time while the vehicle was at rest.

It really seemed that the main advantage the mfg. Claims is less pollution while in operation in cities.
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Compressed Air Technology Engines

Unread postby muhandis » Thu 15 Jul 2004, 13:31:10

I have followed the MDI car for sometime (www.mdi.lu) and remain interested in their potential--there still seem to be regulatory and financial challenges. There was a 10 minute report about a year and half ago on radio-canada's découverte and it profiled the car. I circulated it at work and it provided some credibility to my ravings.

Although significant questions remain, it seems much more viable than hydrogen fuel cells. Unfortunately, mdi appears to be a small fish in tank of automotive parrahnas. I know with respect to technology demonstrations for the 2010 olympics they are locked-out due to the exclusive contract with one of the major automobile manufactures who will show case hydrogen technology.

It is my suspicion that hydrogen's role as an energy carrier is most effective in the military -- one can't run a cruise missile on coal or compressed air. Maybe mdi's failing is that they don't build weapons systems like the other major auto manufacturers and thus don't need a battlefield ready fuel system.
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Compressed Air powered car

Unread postby elrod » Sat 02 Oct 2004, 15:25:30

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Unread postby dmtu » Sat 02 Oct 2004, 15:56:06

You observed it from the start
Now you’re a million miles apart
As we bleed another nation
So you can watch you favorite station
Now you eyes pop out your sockets
Dirty hands and empty pockets
Who? You!
c.o.c.
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Unread postby Aaron » Sun 03 Oct 2004, 06:10:44

But the real question is:

How many guns can it carry?

:P

(Sorry Barb...)
The problem is, of course, that not only is economics bankrupt, but it has always been nothing more than politics in disguise... economics is a form of brain damage.

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Unread postby JayHMorrison » Mon 04 Oct 2004, 18:18:12

If that car was for sale in the USA and had a warrantee comparable to other vehicles, I would buy it. $2.50 in electricity for 50+ miles is a good deal for transportation. If your local grid has a high mix of nuclear/hydro then it is just that much better overall.
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Air Car

Unread postby WebHubbleTelescope » Mon 04 Oct 2004, 23:50:25

Air Car
http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2004/06/air-car.html

We frequently debated what would happen if you took a cylinder of compressed gas, layed it on its side, and cleaved off the nozzle with a sledge hammer. Urban legend had these things going through walls.
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Re: Air Car

Unread postby k_semler » Tue 05 Oct 2004, 01:23:30

WebHubbleTelescope wrote:Air Car
http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2004/06/air-car.html

We frequently debated what would happen if you took a cylinder of compressed gas, lay it on its side, and cleaved off the nozzle with a sledge hammer. Urban legend had these things going through walls.


It will, if you have it placed so it will only move in one direction. If you were to just randomly lay it out on the ground and chop off the nozzle, it would just rapidly spin around as there is no means to keep it on a certain trajectory. However, if you were to make a channel to launch it from, and forcibly remove the nozzle, the bottle of compressed air would launch in the exact opposite direction of the propellant. The amount of force it would launch at would be Dependant upon the compression of the gas contained, the rate of exhaust, and the weight of the bottle. If you were to do this with a 5 foot oxygen bottle, it would create not only enough force to punch through a standard concrete wall, but also enough force to launch it 1500 ft in the air if directed vertically. I do not recommend that you attempt this exercise. Severe property damage or loss of life is almost a certainty if this is done by unexperienced individuals.

Even if it did not impact anything on the ascent, a 250 Kg bottle reaching an altitude of 457.2 meters would impact the ground approximately 6.7605164514785506039150354019159 seconds from reaching its maximum altitude. At this rate, the impact force on the ground would be 11,201,400.000000001 newtons, (if a crater 0.1 M deep were left, which is entirely possible if it impacted asphalt). This is equivalent to 2,518,174.894120200224808943 pounds of impact force, which would be enough to completely destroy almost anything that was struck by the object. I once again urge you not to engage in this experiment.
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Unread postby dmtu » Tue 05 Oct 2004, 02:24:27

Physics are cool!

I went to a trade school where it was claimed that a couple of senors did this and survived. I know I wouldn't be so lucky.
You observed it from the start
Now you’re a million miles apart
As we bleed another nation
So you can watch you favorite station
Now you eyes pop out your sockets
Dirty hands and empty pockets
Who? You!
c.o.c.
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Re: Air Car

Unread postby WebHubbleTelescope » Tue 05 Oct 2004, 23:40:24

k_semler wrote:11,201,400.000000001 newtons


I like it, accuracy and precision.
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Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil fuel?

Unread postby dontworryaboutpeakoil » Fri 05 Nov 2004, 18:33:34

Lack of free hydrogen, platinum - maybe fuel celled cars won't work.

What about the Air Car? Has anyone here researched this? It seems like if we can replace fossil fuel cars with Air Car, it won't be that bad. Electricity can still be generated through non-Oil means. If we have air stations that run pumps on electricity, we can still continue our way of life.

Anyone care to debate this?
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby rerere » Fri 05 Nov 2004, 18:52:08

dontworryaboutpeakoil wrote:Lack of free hydrogen, platinum - maybe fuel celled cars won't work. What about the Air Car? Anyone care to debate this?



Why don't you consider this:

Elecrtic cars with a standard battery pack such that 'fuel stations' are nothing more than a battery swap location?

Or how about

http://www.ruf.dk


You seem to want to avoid electric cars - why?
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Unread postby dontworryaboutpeakoil » Fri 05 Nov 2004, 19:02:43

Think of the enormous costs involved in setting up a RUF system. You have to build these highways that can power a RUF car.

It just seems simpler and practical to install an electric powered air pump at your local gas station to refuel these air cars instead of spending enormous amounts of resources on these RUF grids.

Do you believe the Air Car is the answer?

Am I crazy here? Am I missing something?

If we can replace the fossil fuel Automobile with an Air car, aren't our problems solved? Electricity can be produced using Non-Oil methods. Nuclear, solar, geothermal, wind, coal, etc. As long as the electricity grid still exists, and as long as we have transporation (Air Car), won't our future continue as it always has??
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Re: Why is the Air Car not a viable replacement for fossil f

Unread postby big_rc » Fri 05 Nov 2004, 20:31:10

dontworryaboutpeakoil wrote:Lack of free hydrogen, platinum - maybe fuel celled cars won't work.

What about the Air Car? Has anyone here researched this? It seems like if we can replace fossil fuel cars with Air Car, it won't be that bad. Electricity can still be generated through non-Oil means. If we have air stations that run pumps on electricity, we can still continue our way of life.

Anyone care to debate this?


Don't worry, I give you an A for effort about the Air Car thing. OK post some info about the Air Car and I'll be more than happy to talk about it. Do you have any info about vehicle costs, refilling methods, vehicle range, top speed, etc.?
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Unread postby Jack » Fri 05 Nov 2004, 20:49:27

Actually, the whole peak oil problem has been solved!

We simply import methane from Jupiter. You can view the thread at http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic1234.html

:lol:
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Unread postby rerere » Fri 05 Nov 2004, 21:20:57

dontworryaboutpeakoil wrote:Think of the enormous costs involved in setting up a RUF system. You have to build these highways that can power a RUF car.


VS the cost of a 'normal' road. Have you looked at the recuring costs of road?

RUF claims no snow removal cost. What if the RUF has a 50 year lifespan?
RUF can haul (some) freight. RUF should be able to do the movement of certain classes of cars WITHOUT humans. (humanless freight movement)

dontworryaboutpeakoil wrote:It just seems simpler and practical to install an electric powered air pump


I invoke the power of the 3 very strict rules of Thermodynamics and state 'less efficent'!

Movement of magnetic fields over conductors (loss)
Movement of electrons to compressor (loss)
Compressor takes electrons and makes compressed air (loss)
Compressed air creates movement (loss)

Movement of magnetic fields over conductors (loss)
Movement of electrons to battery (loss)
Electrons create movement (loss)

Air cars have limited ability to carry load. Electric do not have such loading issues. In a RUF design - less battery weight.

As you have hand-waved away RUF.......why is the swapping of batteries not acceptible?
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