I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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compressed air vehicles!  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Anyone else excited about the compressed air engines that are coming online?

Of course there will still be emissions associated with electricity production to compress the air..but it's supposed to be on par with electric vehicles for efficiency, AND you don't have the huge impact of producing and recycling batteries (or the weight). If you could gear down a windmill enough to run a compresser at high enough psi's it could potentially be emissions free.

Probably north americans will be the last people to see this tech, but it hope it will be a real game changer.

"Barring any last-minute design changes on the way to production, the Air Car should be surprisingly practical. The $12,700 CityCAT, one of a handful of planned Air Car models, can hit 68 mph and has a range of 125 miles. It will take only a few minutes for the CityCAT to refuel at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units; MDI says it should cost around $2 to fill the car's carbon-fiber tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. Drivers also will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car's built-in compressor to refill the tanks in about 4 hours.

Read more: World's First Air-Powered Car: Zero Emissions by Next Summer - Popular Mechanics "

popular mechanics article
cnn video

If only designers would get out of the city a bit and focus a tiny bit of their energy on four wheel drive trucks
 
pollinator
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I believe there is potential for compressed air technology, but I would like to see some heat thrown at the thing to increase range and/or decrease the bulk and expense of the tanks.
 
master steward
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Somebody sent me this today:



The video is five years old, but still very relevant. I think the way that it projects in bursts is something I have not seen before! Cool!

He mentions that compared to running the same thing on petroleum that the petroleum approach would cost 100 to 200 times more.

 
paul wheaton
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"In town it has twice the economy of an electric car" (ten years old!)



I like that there are no gross chemicals like there are in electric cars. And I would think that these would be FAR cheaper to build.

This next video is two years old.



"The car can be refilled at a service station in three minutes"

"You can refill it at home with about $2.00 worth of electricity." and that is for 200km.

I like the idea of the tiny air engine at the end. I can imagine putting one of those on each wheel to make four wheel drive.

Liquid air?

Here is something about a air/gas hybrid that reportedly gets 117mpg (one week ago):

















 
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Wow! This is the first I'd heard of it, thank you for sharing. I've been a little hesitant to embrace electric cars because adding yet another huge energy suck to my electric bill is exactly opposite of what we're trying to do - but also unsure of a better alternative. It appears one is on the horizon.
 
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Sorry the daily email says this can be refilled at a gas station, but only gas stations that have these super high compression air compressors. You wont be refilling at the tire pump.
 
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Compressed air isn't very efficient. It just seems that way because the cost is hidden in your power bill.

If you are getting your air from a compressor that is supplied by a fossil fired boiler, then the efficiency is really terrible. If your air comes from a wind driven compressor, or the compressor receives electricity from a solar powered system, then you are really doing something.

If not, you, and the world would be better off driving a light weight, high efficiency internal combustion engine powered car.

Rune
 
paul wheaton
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Peter Hartman wrote:
Sorry the daily email says this can be refilled at a gas station, but only gas stations that have these super high compression air compressors. You wont be refilling at the tire pump.


I was wondering if that could be the case, but it was left vague in the videos.

Did you see something with some specific numbers?
 
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They have been working for a while on this and the french manufacturers have been unactive for some time on their site. It's not a hoax but it's far from hitting base... Here is a site that could shed some light on it all...http://www.hoax-slayer.com/compressed-air-car.shtml
 
gardener
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Richard Delvers wrote:Compressed air isn't very efficient. It just seems that way because the cost is hidden in your power bill.

If you are getting your air from a compressor that is supplied by a fossil fired boiler, then the efficiency is really terrible. If your air comes from a wind driven compressor, or the compressor receives electricity from a solar powered system, then you are really doing something.

If not, you, and the world would be better off driving a light weight, high efficiency internal combustion engine powered car.

Rune



There are lots of ways to compress air. I like the windmill compressor, how about geothermal or ocean wave powered? The regeneration effect in the video above would be great where I live in the mountains, go down a hill and recharge the air tank.
 
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I'm convinced that compressed air is the way to go.

Personally, I believe the electric car to be a scam towards people who are concerned with their carbon "foot print"... Even the fact that advertisements say "zero emissions" proves how hard they're trying to get people to swallow a bad concept.

Besides, I'm not comfortable with the idea of hurling down the road on top of a bunch of acid and high voltage... I'd rather risk possible combustion of fuel or the big boom of an air tank blowing then to be electrocuted and burned by acid. Just seems like an unpleasant way to go.


But the technology needs to be developed for the air car, it needs to be simplified mechanically. No drivetrain = no drivetrain loss. The motors should be in the hub, and when you need quick acceleration you'll be huffing air into all 4 hub motors, when cruising air would only be directed into a single hub motor (which would rotate supply to avoid torque steer and uneven tire wear) but what really excites me is the economics of it all...

Cars would be insanely cheap, reliable and simple to maintain, changing a motor could be like changing the brakes! The "real" power source is essentially community owned and has enough financial backing to constantly redevelop itself to extract as much energy as possible from it's fuel source.

And it's soo easy to bank air! A smaller plant running at peak efficiency can store enough air to buffer itself against peak demand hours.

Same concept could be used at home, you could run a tiny super efficient 6 cycle diesel (google it! best internal combustion process that's an actual reality) at peak efficiency filling your home air tanks while you are away. You could use solar to turn an electric compressor, you could use a windmill to directly refill the storage tank, luck people would have a tromp, the list goes on and on...

It just makes so much sense. Heck, you can even reroute the heat generated from the motors to heat the interior or use the compressed air for cooling. No freon!

Air driven wiper motors have been around forever, as air brakes (which are far superior to hydraulic in trucks btw) and best of all... Air horns! But seriously, if you have a problem you know right where it is, just listen for the hiss and the problem is found.

I'm not much of an earth saver, but I can see how the air car could provide a better life for many people as well as reduce our impact globally.

Which is why it will probably never happen
 
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Richard Delvers wrote:Compressed air isn't very efficient. It just seems that way because the cost is hidden in your power bill.

If you are getting your air from a compressor that is supplied by a fossil fired boiler, then the efficiency is really terrible. If your air comes from a wind driven compressor, or the compressor receives electricity from a solar powered system, then you are really doing something.

If not, you, and the world would be better off driving a light weight, high efficiency internal combustion engine powered car.

Rune


True that! I read this on Wikipedia:

Wikipedia wrote:
The principal disadvantage is the indirect use of energy. Energy is used to compress air, which - in turn - provides the energy to run the motor. Any conversion of energy between forms results in loss. For conventional combustion motor cars, the energy is lost when chemical energy in fossil fuels is converted to mechanical energy, most of which goes to waste as lost heat. For compressed-air cars, energy is lost when chemical energy is converted to electrical energy, when electrical energy is converted to compressed air, and then when the compressed air is converted into mechanical energy.
...
The overall efficiency of a vehicle using compressed air energy storage, using the above refueling figures, is around 5-7%... For comparison, well to wheel efficiency of a conventional internal-combustion drivetrain is about 14%...


There are advantages, including air-conditioning as a by product of air decompression. However, there is complexity required to compress the air efficiently, and most designs probably require the addition of heat to prevent parts from freezing during decompression. I have not seen anyone crunch the numbers to determine how beefy your PV (less ideal, toxic ick plus loss of efficiency in 2X energy conversion) array should be, or how reliable your (most ideal, only 1X conversion) wind turbine needs to be.

In short, compressed air is very clean, and has great potential for energy storage, but has some technical challenges. It would be awesome to see some of these projects come to fruition, but in my current search for alt transportation that is available, affordable, and simple enough for DIY construction/maintenance, the compressed air vehicle fails the Occam's Razor test - not simple enough for me, no good working examples. I am thinking the Steve Heckeroth electric car may be my best option, perhaps using nickel-iron batteries in place of golf cart batteries, at a serious short-term expense but long-term savings of dollars and ick (because nickel-iron batteries last decades)... but I am still doing research.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
pollinator
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Absolutely there is an energy cost to compress air, and an energy loss in conversion. `

One of the manufacturers was talking 4500 psi, which is way past normal air compressor pressure, but not un-achievable. The DIY guy from south america in the video with the 'motorcycle' was using a pair of old scuba tanks which are typically filled to about 3000 psi. I'm not convinced that putting compressors capable of that in service stations would be that big a deal.

I am also not convinced that a compressed air drive train is inherently inefficient. In that 'hoax-busters' link above, they don't dispute that the vehicle exists in development, but they do suggest that the mileage is at the edge of what is possible. The objection seems to be that it would only be achievable for 'mini experimental cars' not real, heavy ones. I would argue that the days of large heavy vehicles are well behind us and that consumers are going to have to learn to adjust their expectations regarding size and performance in an energy descent future. The citroen videos showed a hydrostatic drive which could be an interesting option.

The idea is worth keeping an eye on and encouraging. If the analysis of efficiency for electric vehicles includes the embedded energy costs of mining and producing batteries (and moving their weight with the vehicle) I would really be surprised if they came out ahead over compressed air.

There is also the issue of 'peak minerals' to consider, and the fact that a lot of the minerals and rare earth elements needed to produce efficient electric motors, batteries, and control systems are non-renewable, finite, and will be increasingly in short supply in the near to mid future. I think small and highly efficient internal combustion might even be better than electric.

 
pollinator
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Hybrid hydraulic vehicles are essentially air cars, as they use compressed gas to store energy. Hydraulics are used primarily to supply a more efficient infinitely variable transmission.

Remember that it took over 25 years after the technology had been proven before electronic hybrids were accepted by the automobile industry and regulators. Ironically, the manufacturer that proved electronic hybrids were viable, Volkswagen, won't field its first electric hybrid until next year. More ironic, is that their new model uses so many expensive materials and manufacturing techniques that it will have to be heavily subsidized to be marketable, while the original concept was designed to be a simple swap inside an existing engine compartment.

A major problem with electric cars is the expense of manufacture and availability of rare earth minerals. If the Greens' dream of an electric car in every garage were to be viable, we would need to increase proven reserves of rare earth minerals exponentially. Right now, most proven reserves belong to China.

Also, if everyone was charging their cars -- or filling their air tanks -- overnight, there would be no such thing as off-peak electricity. To quote the beloved "O", "...electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Chris Lumpkin wrote:
True that! I read this on Wikipedia:

Wikipedia wrote:
The principal disadvantage is the indirect use of energy. Energy is used to compress air, which - in turn - provides the energy to run the motor. Any conversion of energy between forms results in loss. For conventional combustion motor cars, the energy is lost when chemical energy in fossil fuels is converted to mechanical energy, most of which goes to waste as lost heat. For compressed-air cars, energy is lost when chemical energy is converted to electrical energy, when electrical energy is converted to compressed air, and then when the compressed air is converted into mechanical energy.
...
The overall efficiency of a vehicle using compressed air energy storage, using the above refueling figures, is around 5-7%... For comparison, well to wheel efficiency of a conventional internal-combustion drivetrain is about 14%...


As we move away from readily available fossil fuel we need to take into account the eroei (energy return on energy invested) of the fuel itself...which is pretty bad for unconventional oil like the tar sands and not great for shale gas. I think this would make a difference when comparing internal combustion to electrically compressed air. And if there are ways to compress air without dumping more carbon in the atmosphere it would come out ahead whether it was more efficient or not..

I would also love to see an EROEI analysis of electric vehicles, taking into account the fossil fuel input to mine / smelt / process the battery components.
 
Andrew Parker
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About 15 years ago, a coworker of my brother's was designing a compressed air utility scooter for the South Asian urban market. There are niche markets where compressed air vehicles would be viable.

Hydraulic hybrid vehicles can be as small as a bicycle or as large as a commuter train.

There were compressed-air locomotives.
 
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I did a quick study of this a while back and I believe it has some applications perfectly suited -including bike, motorcycle and the smaller power needs.

However, when it comes to moving something larger and heavier-the psi required increases exponentially -so forget moving a semi truck of goods. That said, if a hybrid was designed as a gas powered and compressed air unit, it could eliminate the cost and complexity of a battery system, have a fuel efficiency for city driving and long range needed. IMHO

To average out a 25 mile per gallon car with a 117 mile compression use, the average mpg could be a respectable 71mpg.... That would be one up from the 45mpg of what's on the market today. In city use might only need compressed air while distance driving uses both.

But alas, we seem to be running out of time to figure this out ... I was just reading- The Future for Petroleum:
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-01-03/what-future-for-petroleum

And it's my view that they are presently using gas prices to continue shrinking the economy to slow the decline as when they raise prices, the economy shrinks and that's going to get more and more extreme as the decline begins. Will I see $25/gal in my lifetime? It's looking very likely.
 
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Hello!! I live near Geneva, Switzerland and went to the Auto Show here about 6 yrs ago and SAW a prototype for the AirCar. I decided I would buy one as soon as it comes on the market.
As I understand it, there are a lot of lobbies, petroleum and physics, if you can believe it, that are AGAINST Guy Negre's AirCar. Physicists who work at CERN say that there is no such thing as a compressed air generated engine...I told them they will have to rewrite the laws of physics......
Well, I love the AirCar and will have one as soon as it becomes available for purchase. The Geneva Salon de l'Automobile is in early March and I will go there and report back if they are getting ready to sell this wondrous Auto which makes just plain so much sense. I will report back....I am soooo glad that this is getting out!! and I LOVE the idea of spreading the word, one brick at a time!! Include me into this great way of getting the word out.....
 
Nick Simcheck
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Just another thought, I've heard that at atmospheric pressure (I assume sea level) that when water boils into steam that it's expansion rate is 1700 of original volume.

Basically 1 cubic foot of water will steam off into 1700 cubic feet of steam.

Which is a great expansion rate in itself, however how much getty-up could you get when combined with compressed air?

I'm thinking if you had an onboard engine to serve as a compressor, and cooled it with water which steamed off into the air-drivetrain which used the steam in conjunction with compressed air.

The whole point of changing energy mediums would be to free the engine from the ineffiency at running at anything other than peak effffiency RPM and to advoid the weight and loss of a conventional drivetrain.

Now if you could just make a speed ballooning tire that worked you'd also have another way to vary the drive ratio...

And it'll still never happen
 
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Kari Gunnlaugsson wrote: Absolutely there is an energy cost to compress air, and an energy loss in conversion. `

One of the manufacturers was talking 4500 psi, which is way past normal air compressor pressure, but not un-achievable. The DIY guy from south america in the video with the 'motorcycle' was using a pair of old scuba tanks which are typically filled to about 3000 psi. I'm not convinced that putting compressors capable of that in service stations would be that big a deal.
...


I saw similar numbers: 3,000-5,000 psi. Putting these type of air compressors at gas stations would not be a huge deal, but it would mean more equipment, it would not be free, and the power source for the compressor would still be a lingering issue. The guy mentioned using a wind turbine, I wonder if it would have to be one of those monumental jobbies that can be seen for miles around.

This may in fact be a brick, but I still think that we need to look at sustainable ways to create massive amounts of clean energy, like Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs). It is nuclear power that is vastly more efficient than standard-issue nuclear, it cannot be weaponized, and it does not generate radioactive waste that is impossible to deal with.
 
Andrew Parker
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Sherry,

An air hybrid (again, the hydraulic hybrids use compressed gas as their storage medium so they can be considered air hybrids) in a larger vehicle only needs enough compressed air to get the vehicle up to speed. An efficient gas or diesel engine would then take over. Series hydraulic hybrids will cycle the engine on and off to recharge the pressure vessel.

One hydraulic hybrid researcher proposes a hydraulic-electric or a hydraulic-electric-i.c.e. hybrid.

The hydraulic hybrid allows the use of a smaller electric motor and controller, as well as a smaller battery pack, or cheaper, lower density batteries.

I have considered that if an open air system was used, rather than the closed nitrogen system, that more energy could be stored without having to make room for additional hydraulic storage. It wouldn't give you a lot more range on compressed air alone, but it could reduce the need for the electric or combustion motor to be used. It would be more complicated.

Another problem with compressed gas is that you lose available energy as you drain pressure from the tank. You need some type of constant pressure device to get better performance, but that adds complexity, weight and space.
 
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Maby you are interested on this , the uruguayan guy got a webpage where he writes more in depth the data http://regusciair.com/videos , if you cant into spanish google translator will do the job .
Enjoy

http://translate.google.com.uy/translate?sl=es&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=es&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fregusciair.com%2Fvideos link from google translator.

 
Andrew Parker
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On the subject of petroleum reserves and pricing, we won't be running out of petroleum for a long, long time. Any source of carbon and hydrogen can be reformed (with an energy penalty) into whatever hydrocarbon you want. Price is a combination of supply and demand, and the value of whatever currency you use. By all rights, because of the Fed's monetary policy, here in the US we should be paying over $10/gallon for gas, but values for nearly all the rest of the world's currencies have dropped more, so we are still at around $4.00/gallon. Even in a severe global recession there is a silver lining.
 
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Paul mentioned this today as a 'brick' in the permaculture foundation.

I recently read about a different kind of 'brick': that is what a very expensive Tesla electric-car does when you fail to follow their required charging schedule. Apparently with dead batteries the car becomes a 'brick' and can't even be put in neutral and rolled or towed unless winched onto a flatbed! The bill to replace the batteries is nearly $40,000! They are dead and can't be recharged.

I strongly believe that we will always have some sort of personal 'car' type transportation and would love to see the compressed-air hybrid continue to be advanced, as it can use the current fuel/maintenance/service network with a realtive ease of transition, plus it is more 'mechanical, in nature making it far more accessible and serviceable with wrenches and hammers as opposed to high-tech micro-chips, transistors and the sort...jus' sayin.
 
Sherry Jansen
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Andrew Parker wrote:
Another problem with compressed gas is that you lose available energy as you drain pressure from the tank. You need some type of constant pressure device to get better performance, but that adds complexity, weight and space.


That is a spot on assessment. A large compression tank loses after the first psi are astronomical. In theory, if the motor runs at 4500psi, the tank would have to contain 9000psi to be effective, or higher. That in itself makes large systems problematic, unless constantly topped off with a compressor.

Thanks.
 
Nick Simcheck
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That's my main focus with compressed air, cars could be so utterly simple (think third world for a minute here) that many people that normally ride scooters/motorcycles would be able to afford buying and maintaining a car, in turn all the people riding bicycles would get a shot at all the scooters and motorcycles.

Mass produced, with no creature comforts, I would bet that a new air car would cost less than most new motorcycles and a little more than new scooters.
 
Ty Morrison
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Oh, and I forgot: One of my all time favorites, Neil Young dump a fortune into CNG, electric and compressed air with a dude in Kansas (Jonathon Goodwin), only to get 'hosed' by patent attorneys and the Chinese government over 'Nickle Iron' batteries, yet he perseveres:

http://www.lincvolt.com/

Here is Jonathon's company...he is going strong too.

http://www.hlineconversions.com/
 
pollinator
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Out of all of these, the bicycle appeals to me the most. Simple reason for that. Easy to build one that is legal here (BC Canada). SO long as it claims to go less than 30km/hr and still has peddles, it can be used on the streets. The other reason I like it is that it appears to handle a greater variety of air pressure. It is also a simple motor. This is something I could build now with mostly off the shelf parts. It would get me to work and back just fine.

Next best, a conversion. I do not know the problems of home making air tanks, but I think that would be show stopper for DIY stuff. (I don't expect something I can buy very soon, and not in my price range ever)

Auto manufactures what your car to fail sooner than it has to. They have to keep selling cars to stick around, IC engines are something they are used to and have engineered to fail and to be too expensive to repair because of complexity, that is why they like hybrids... even more parts to break than before... and batteries that need to be replaced at great expense. People who buy hybrids (that I have heard the story of) generally replace the car instead of the batteries.

I suspect that making even IC cars that last 20 to 30 years instead of 10 would do more for the world than any new power option.
 
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Richard Delvers wrote:Compressed air isn't very efficient. It just seems that way because the cost is hidden in your power bill.

If you are getting your air from a compressor that is supplied by a fossil fired boiler, then the efficiency is really terrible. If your air comes from a wind driven compressor, or the compressor receives electricity from a solar powered system, then you are really doing something.

If not, you, and the world would be better off driving a light weight, high efficiency internal combustion engine powered car.

Rune


Didn't you watch all the videos? $2.00 of your electric bill.
 
Andrew Parker
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$2.00 per fill-up, or so say the infomercials. If more people purchase or build their own electric vehicles, or vehicles whose energy is derived from electricity, there is no longer an off-peak period (assuming your electric utility even provides such a price break) and the cost to recharge your vehicle will go way, way up.

Efficiencies do not improve when electricity is supplied by wind or solar. In some cases it gets considerably worse, due to line losses. Neither are wind or solar more economical than coal or gas generated electricity (nuclear is a subject all its own).
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
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Andrew Parker wrote:Efficiencies do not improve when electricity is supplied by wind or solar.


True, but the more important question is whether carbon emissions could be reduced...and maybe they could be?

And I don't think we should be paying much attention to the issue of economy, until economists learn that externalized costs (climate change, loss of ecostystem servces ) don't just disappear and need to be incorporated into pricing and put back on the balance sheet.

Andrew Parker wrote:On the subject of petroleum reserves and pricing, we won't be running out of petroleum for a long, long time. Any source of carbon and hydrogen can be reformed (with an energy penalty) into whatever hydrocarbon you want. Price is a combination of supply and demand, and the value of whatever currency you use. By all rights, because of the Fed's monetary policy, here in the US we should be paying over $10/gallon for gas, but values for nearly all the rest of the world's currencies have dropped more, so we are still at around $4.00/gallon. Even in a severe global recession there is a silver lining.


Unfortunately, if we actually do develop the petroleum reserves that are already on the corporate balance sheets we will set the planet on an irrevocable trajectory of catastrophic climate change...a staggering act of cultural suicide. I wouldn't put it past us.

Consider Bill McKibbens excellent article, global warming's terrifying new math
 
Andrew Parker
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Why is there such an obsession for self-loathing these days? Yes, humans impact their environment, just like all other living creatures. Can we do a better job at sharing than a protozoa, yeah, you'd kinda hope so. We have come so far since I was a kid and I am sure we can do a lot better, but CO2 and water vapor are not pollutants. They were and still should be the gold standard in clean combustion.

I grew up in a marginal climate, I still live in it. There is really no such thing as normal weather here, beyond statistical normal. Because of that, I have always had a hard time worrying too much about climate change. When I was young the fear mongers were selling the looming ice age, then with the same data, newly tortured, they decided that it was really global warming that we needed to fear. Recently, they have been walking that back and now they are covering their bets and it's any climate change and severe weather events that we need to fear -- and it is all our fault.

I see little difference between hysteria about climate change and hysteria about little green men. History is filled with mass hysteria and blind religious fervor following cataclysmic natural disasters. The difference now is that the disaster is hypothetical and the hysteria and religious fervor is based purely on the precautionary principle. In the meantime, we are condemning the most vulnerable of us to policy-induced misery and death, in exchange for indulgences sold by the high priests of fear.

Life was so much simpler when all we had to worry about was hearing the sirens go off and knowing you only had 7 minutes to live. Ahh, Mutually Assured Destruction. That was a bogey man worth fearing. Duck and cover!
 
Andrew Parker
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Well, kick me for being stubborn. I finally reviewed the Peugeot videos. It is a hydraulic hybrid with a closed nitrogen system like this. The long tank in the center is the pressure accumulator which works like a fluid piston with compressible gas on one side and non-compressible fluid on the other. The blue tank in the back is the low-pressure fluid reservoir. I admit am pleased, but I will not be content until I can have a hydraulic hybrid minivan!
 
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I've been an occasional lurker here for a while...been a peak oil/peak everything activist for 15 years, seen all of these alt transport systems over that time, and IMO none of them stack up, including compressed air.

Some seriously important things to consider:
1. we're addicted to an INDUSTRIAL (rip the biosphere apart) "civilised" model, that says 24/7: we MUST have cars, and therefore MUST have roads, and all they entail. Considering how bad The 6th Mass Extinction is, trying to keep this "civilisation" going on compressed air, is not an option to me.

2. We "civilised" are given a lifestyle structure where we are mandated to drive everywhere for everything. Our human settlement patterns are insane: as in pathologically, suicidally disconnected from physical reality.

3. We are living at the end of 'The Age of Exuberance', and deeply believe that 'Cosmeticism' and denial of physical reality will save the day...go read through the definitions page at http://greatchange.org/footnotes-overshoot.html. Compressed air cars meets my definition of 'Cosmeticism'...

4. The EOREI of oil based cars is pretty good (oil/gas is free, we just pay for extraction/shipping/refining/distribution....pity about Peak Oil eh?), electric cars not very good, maybe compressed air is slightly better, but relies on a huge oil-based INDUSTRIAL system to keep on truckin', REGARDLESS of what fuel you use....it's STILL a car!

5. Maybe as a transition tech moving away from oil powered cars for RELOCALISATION, compressed air micro-cars may have some use, but right now electric assist bicycles are ecologically light years ahead.

As an afterthought, a friend was brainstorming with me about 10 years ago about compressed air. He came up with a creative re-use of old tech being abandoned in New Zealand. When Maui gas was really cheap (and the oil co's were desperate to use it as fast as possible to make more profits up front!), the government got in behind a subsidised vehicle fleet running on LPG and CNG. Now that that era is over, there are hardly any vehicles still running on LPG, and CNG has been abandoned. So take the old large CNG tanks away from gas stations, and park them next to a windmill that can mechanically pump air into them. Maybe get the pressure up enough to fill scuba bottles, to run a converted ICE neighbourhood vehicle or 2, just for essentials...everyone else go local, or on ya bike! Recycling/restoring/repairing/re-using existing INDUSTRIAL technology seems to make more sense than retooling and building new factories to churn out new cars of any sort, IMO.

Disclosure: I ride an electric-assist cargo bike for a lot of my around town Permaculture gardening/design work, and haul my entire kite and juggling stall to and from the local market on it on Saturday mornings. It's the least I can do, and I admit it's only a transition tech, as the authoritarian technics required to build it and keep it going are not sustainable or good for my community. Read what Lewis Mumford has to say about authoritarian vs democratic technics :
http://www.primitivism.com/mumford.htm
 
Nick Simcheck
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Ted Howard wrote:...



Ted I appreciate your inputs on the subject.

With that said, I am not attempting to disagree with your ideals... but rather argue that if society were ever to change to such an idealism, that alternative power personal transportation would come before everybody were to adopt extremely low impact transportation (i.e. bicycle) therefore in my opinion compressed air does indeed "stack up".


It did make me think about a study on how a bicycle is actually more fossil fuel demanding than a scooter, it was more fuzzy math than bona fide but everything was logical (maybe google could find it)... Anyway, assuming the rider is following a typical western diet the fuel used in producing and delivering the food in conjunction with the extra time related to cycling consumes more then burning the fuel directly via internal combustion.

However the math would pan out completely different for a rider who ate local/sustainable. Another major variable is distance traveled, cross country on a bicycle over 4 months burns probably more fuel than doing it in a car in 4 days.

Either way, interesting stuff!


edited for spelling errors
 
Manfred Ramault
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A nice quote by the mayor of Bogota "A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation."
 
Len Ovens
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One question I did have is how these air systems perform in cold climates. I did not see any testing where there was snow on the ground. Assuming the air tank is filled inside at 20C, how does that effect the performance when the unit then goes out in -40C weather? Or conversely, what happens in Calgary when the unit is charged outside at -40c and because of a Chinook, the temperature rises to +10C in only a few hours? Or gets parked in inside parking at +20C?

A side note: electric units also suffer from loss of power in the cold, IC units provide their own heat and are unaffected once up to operating temp.

I did notice the Air/Hydralic Hybrid was from a colder country. Of course hybrid means an IC heating plat was available.

These are not unsolvable problems... Design the tank for so much over pressure, use all heat generated by friction to help heat the tanks, etc. The fill capacity/pressure of the tanks could change with the temperature of the gas inside.

Speaking of heat, in a cold country, cab heating would be a problem, taking either a burning fuel or a heavy battery to provide... maybe some of the air pressure could run a heat pump. I wonder if the used power to power a heat pump would make it worth while using it to heat the air tank... I would guess not, but it may be worth testing.

Other problems, An IC engine runs cold for a really short time. An air powered engine might not be too far above air temp at the destination. A whole new set of lubricants might be needed. In an electric car, there are very few moving parts, just shaft bearings which are well understood and used at cold temp even in today’s autos. In most of these air engines there is some kind of piston or other fast moving part that rubs against a wall of some sort. A different lubricant scenario.

On the plus side... air units can be much lighter than IC powered units.. weight is where the electric unit does worst. Though at some point people average 65Kg and that weight makes further weight gains of less account.

Lights and other things still need electric power too.

As someone has already mentioned, heading towards a less consumption based society is a more real solution. I don't see it happening over all. The world as I see it has an anarchistic political system in any practical way. Whoever has the biggest stick rules. The biggest stick resides with people who feel they should get more power and who see making you need to buy more stuff from them as a way of doing that. This does not mean it is fruitless to personally choose a less consumption based lifestyle by any means. It may help you and your family survive a system crash. Don't flaunt your prep or your position though. Looking like you have nothing could be valuable.... wait a minute less consumption probably already means that in most people's eyes you have nothing
 
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A possible heat source would be a Vortex tube. The output would be reversed for AC.
It would rob a small amount of available pressure, but it might be less than hauling around a wood/coal stove....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_tube

Instant Cold or Hot Air - from -40°F to 230°F - From Ordinary Compressed Air

http://www.airtx.com/vortex-tubes/

Don't buy one if you are at all handy, DIY ones are all over the net.
 
Len Ovens
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Joe Braxton wrote:A possible heat source would be a Vortex tube. The output would be reversed for AC.
It would rob a small amount of available pressure, but it might be less than hauling around a wood/coal stove....


For cab heat maybe. 35 cfm seems like a lot for 700 watts of heat. Better insulate better than any of the cars I have been in. I can heat a 10x10 room with 400 watts, but using a 1000watt heater in a car to pre warm doesn't seem to do much. Maybe they shut off a lot because of the small volume. It has been a while since I have lived with -40C though. I wonder how much noise they make.

To be honest though, if I was building such a car, heat would be one of the last things I would worry about. Winter is pretty mild here and my diesel truck never gets warm enough to make a difference as it is as I am too close to work. I was thinking about all the things I could about what would be hard.
 
Joe Braxton
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Len Ovens wrote:.... I wonder how much noise they make.


From experience, you will definitely need a muffler. A smallish inner diameter w/ air pressure above, say 50 psi, and no throttle will exhaust at super-sonic speeds.
The ones I've used were for cooling on milling machines, I could freeze ice on the exhaust tube in a 80 degree F shop.

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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