October 23, 2007

The Middle East Could Become Irrelevant

Wow, just wow -- that's all.
This is AWESOME!
I just saw a short piece on a documentary anthology [Beyond Tomorrow] on the Science Channel.

It seems a man has invented a new engine that runs on -- get this -- compressed air! So far, the engine is being used to power such things as forklifts. Well, except for the personal automobile of the inventor of the engine.
It was demonstrated that one of these forklifts can tow a full-sized pickup truck--with an engine that can be held in one hand. It weighs 12 kilos -- just under 26 1/2 pounds. And there's one on the drawing board that weighs in a SIX kilos! That's 13.2276 pounds.
It takes about 2 minutes to fill your tank and you will get about 2 hours of drive time. Compressed air isn't flammable -- so you can carry your fuel source with you. Start to run low, pull over and fill your tank wherever you are and just keep on truckin'. Then, every so often, stop at a filling station and refill your air tank.

Oh, and by the way -- I'm not sure of how it works but there's no transmission as we know it today. No gears, no cogs, no pistons. The air that fuels the engine also keeps all the moving parts from touching each other. So no oil for lubrication is needed.
The engine is much more efficient than internal combustion engines. In our cars today, much of the energy derived from the gasoline goes toward running the engine itself--so less is used to actually propel the wheels. The new engine doesn't work on these same principles. Almost all the fuel is used directly to propel the car forward and almost none is used to keep the engine, itself, running. It sounds suspiciously like a perpetual motion machine.

I'm not sure of his nationality but, not surprisingly, the man who invented the engine is some stripe of European. Also not surprisingly, there have been no news stories in this country about this engine that will take much less in the way of raw materials to manufacture, cost MUCH less than a standard engine to produce, will run on air and could save our species from itself almost single handedly.

I've been drooling over the Prius and vowing to buy one as soon as I could afford it. NO MORE. Now, I'm going to hold out for a car that needs no gasoline, no hydrogen, no batteries, just AIR!
I'm watching a show right now on the science channel.

it showed a battery made by nano-organisms-- viruses.
they're already on the market: lithium batteries. only, I learned by bitter experience: don't use em in conventional objects.
the batteries are advertised to last 7x as long as alkaline batteries 'in your digital camera.'
my bad. two of em only lasted 3 or 4 days in my sphygmomanometer. oops. ok -- I'll only use em in computer-related devices from now on.

and, someone is now developing similar batteries to use in cars. it will be a hybrid car that, so far, will use gasoline. and, you'll get 150 mi to the gallon.

these batteries, tho, are safer to dispose of than conventional batteries. so, ok, I spent 2ce as much on the batteries and burned 2 of em out quickly. but, at least I didn't pollute the environment when I threw em away after wasting em.


Tom Harper said...

This sounds like a great invention. I just hope it doesn't backfire. The energy monopolies aren't gonna take this lying down. If this engine catches on, we could be facing an air shortage.

LET'S TALK said...

I don't think the lobbyist, will allow our government to invest in this.

two crows said...

hey, Tom--
well, I thought that would be true when the hybrid cars came along -- and they look like they're poised to take off.

hi, LT--
I don't think they're gonna have a choice.
this thing is, so far, being manufactured in europe -- like the prius started in Japan.
detroit refuses to make innovations. so americans buy foreign cars. and detroit cries, 'foul!'
maybe they'll figure out this conundrum someday.

Mary Ellen said...

Wow and double wow!!! This is great! If Europe starts manufacturing cars like this, like you said, Detroit will have no choice but to do the same. Besides, what's the point in NOT doing this in the US? Oil will still be used for heating, so it's not like we are putting the oil companies completely out of business...yet. Brwaahahahahha!

Thanks for this post, two crows. I'll check around and see if I can find some more info on it and show it to my scientist husband. He might be able to point out the good and the bad about it all for me.

two crows said...

thanx, ME--
if you do find out more, please share--
the piece I saw was all of about 10 minutes long -- so I'm sure there was lots of info left out.

still, there are already forklifts using the engine, and one personal car.
but, you know the US [and Europe, for that matter]-- how FAST it goes will trump fuel use every time -- and that issue wasn't addressed on the program.

two crows said...

oh, and as to other uses for oil--
there's lubrication for things other than engines, and plastics, and synthetic fabrics, and heating, and other stuff I'm not thinking of at the moment.

a lot of those don't involve burning it, so maybe they don't increase carbon emissions -- I don't know for sure.

still, a car like this could make making war over oil a thing of the past -- and that can only be a Good Thing.

Mary Ellen said...

two crows-

OT-I sent you an e-mail the other day and it was just returned now, undelivered. I have no idea what happened. If you would like, or if you don't mind, can you send me an e-mail and I'll just reply to it? I feel horrible, you probably thought I blew you off! I just wanted to respond to your request to know what that other issue was that I wrote about in my post the other day.


Robert Rouse said...

I am curious as to when we can get some hydrogen fuel vehicles - for the price of one month in Iraq, we could build Hydrogen fueling stations throughout the US. But where oh where will we get the Hydrogen? Well duh!!!! WATER!!!!!

A good start might be the Chevy Equinox which, although an electric vehicle, uses a Hydrogen fuel cell in place of a battery to start the vehicle. We shall see.

two crows said...

hydrogen fuel might be a good alternative. I must admit I'm a bit nervous about something as volatile as hydrogen in my car.
of course, I imagine that was an argument against using gasoline 100 years ago ---

still, I vote for air. :)

I did just have a thought, tho.
we'll need water to fuel our cars, right?
and global warming is desalinating our oceans.
we already have the technology to make sea water into fresh water.
if we use water to power our cars, maybe we can lower the sea levels the glaciers are currently raising -- at least until we take a sane approach to global warming -- hmmmmmmmmm--

two crows said...

hi, ME--
figured out the problem.
my spam blocker played gotcha!
and it sends out a bouncer message when it does that. you're on my friends' list now, fwiw. but, I also retrieved the original from my email jail.

an average patriot said...

That's pretty cool two crows
I have to tell you though, I know I have said it many times but it isn't about oil. That is just a small part of it.
The middle east is important because it will give Bush the excuse to start WW3. He has too! Read and weep. Ignore my stuff but read Act 1-6 of The relentless drive for WW3

two crows said...

hey, AAP--
oh, I know that.
this post is projecting years down the road.
MAYBE by then, more rational heads will be in charge.

but, the car isn't even close to being ready for general production yet.
in the long haul, it could help the planet -- maybe 10 years or so -- assuming we survive that long.

phil_in_ny said...

Two Crows, did you see the documentary, "who killed the electric car"?

It really opened my eyes to the corporate corruption that dominates our culture. Check it out.

TomCat said...

TC, I hate to be the one to throw a monkey wrench into the works, but the scientific law of conservation of energy reminds me that compressing the air requires energy. The question then becomes, how efficient is that engine in using that energy, compared to an internal combustion engine?

two crows said...

hey, phil--
I'll check it out. do you know where to find it online?

hi, TC--
what the documentary said was that a great deal of the energy derived from gasoline is used to drive the pistons in a conventional engine and very little of the energy derived from the compressed air is used to keep this engine running -- the rest is used to both lubricate the engine then go on to propel the wheels.
thus, the engine is far more efficient than a piston-driven engine. it uses a circular motion rather than up/down motion to drive the car _and_ the engine itself.

two crows said...

hey, Robert--
good news!
when you mix aluminum and gallium then add water, you create hydrogen! transporting hydrogen can be risky, to say the least.
both aluminum and gallium are totally stable. so, this may just be a way to fuel cars.
scientists are working on it -- and are very excited right now.
and, surprise, these scientists are even Americans!

and, now, they're also working on using photosynthesis, the technique plants use, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. and they're getting closer.