Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Best Idea Yet

Environmentalists have been calling for a reduction of exhaust gasses for quite a few years now. But the alternative to driving a gasoline or diesel powered engine have not been very practical. It would be nice to have solar-powered vehicles, but until then the French may have come up with the best idea as of yet.
How about a zero-emissions vehicle that runs on compressed air? MDI of France has announced that its Air Car, invented by CEO and founder Guy Negre, will debut in India and France in late 2008. Over time, various models will be introduced, offering 2–, 4– and 6—cylinder engines at prices ranging from $4,800 to $12,900. The OneCAT, the first out of the gate, fits five passengers and can go as far as 500 miles on the highway with one fill-up, and as fast as 68 mph. Just plug in the car at home and the built-in compressor will refill the tank in four hours. For more information, visit theaircar.com.

Reader's Digest, November 2007, p. 100.
The web site gives an explanation of how the engine differs from a normal engine. And if the design isn't good enough for you, they also offer a flex-fuel option:
The Series 34 CAT´s engines can be equipped with and run on dual energies - fossil fuels and compressed air - and incorporate a reheating mechanism (a continuous combustion system, easily controlled to minimize pollution) between the storage tank and the engine. This mechanism allows the engine to run exclusively on fossil fuel which permits compatible autonomy on the road. While the car is running on fossil fuel, the compressor refills the compressed air tanks. The control system maintains a zero-pollution emission in the city at speeds up to 60 km/h.

How it works

1 comment:

EggsnGrits said...

The fly in this ointment is that compressing air is an incredibly inefficient way to store energy. Even large industrial, well sealed, well balanced compressors are only perhaps 25-30% efficient when heat, vibration, mechanical and air spring losses are taken into consideration. Reduce that efficiency for a small vehicle-mounted compressor that runs on low voltage (110-120V) and that's a LOT of electricity used up.

Again, I really like bio diesel and/or fuel cells.