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  • Gasoline/Air Hybrid under developement

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009
    Hybrids Powered by Air

    Storing energy with compressed air, rather than batteries, could cut the cost of hybrid vehicles.
    By Kevin Bullis


    Air supplyInteractive: How Hybrid Vehicles Work A new kind of hybrid vehicle being developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich could save almost as much fuel as today's gas-electric hybrids, but at a fraction of the cost. Swiss researchers will present the results of experiments with a test version of the new system at the Society for Automotive Engineer's Congress in April.
    Conventional gas-electric hybrids use batteries to store energy recovered during braking, which would otherwise be wasted as heat. They later use that energy to drive an electric motor that assists the car's gas engine. But the high-cost of batteries, and the added cost of including two forms of propulsion--an electric motor and a gasoline engine--make such hybrids expensive. This has slowed their adoption and limited their impact on overall greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
    Lino Guzzella, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Swiss Institute, is developing a hybrid that requires no battery or electric motor. Instead, it stores energy by using the engine's pistons to compress air. That air can later be released to drive the pistons and propel the vehicle along. Guzzella says that the system will add only about 20 percent to the cost of a conventional engine, whereas the extra components required in hybrid electric vehicles can add 200 percent to the cost. Computer simulations suggest that the design should reduce fuel consumption by 32 percent, which is about 80 percent of the fuel-savings of gas-electric hybrids, he says. Initial experiments have demonstrated that the design can be built.
    Read complete article: Here
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  • #2
    Re: Gasoline/Air Hybrid under developement

    It makes perfect sense. Battery is nothing more than a storage tank for energy. We all know well that when we convert from mechanical to electrical energy, we loose some in the process. We also loose when we store it in the battery.

    Storing energy in an air tank is a good idea. They used Jake brake on diesels since the begining of time. Jake brake takes an engine and turns it into an air compressor. If we could store some of that energy, we would technically have a hybrid. (Most of those have an air tank anyways)

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    • #3
      Re: Gasoline/Air Hybrid under developement

      Not a bad idea. It could the the counter part of regenerative braking on electric/hybrid vehicles. If you could kick in a high pressure boost compressor during breaking, you could boost the pressure in the storage tank and get more assist and better energy absorption. You would have to deal with engine contaminates.

      As a side note, Clussie Cummings developed the Jake Brake on a boat with 2 Cummins engines, I believe, back in the '30's, and started another company to produce them. I'll have to check the book for the exact details.

      Larrycng

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      • #4
        Re: Gasoline/Air Hybrid under developement

        Compressed air storage is getting more and more attention. Mostly in the large industrial area. There are plans to compress air in caverns and mines and then release it to run a turbine as needed.

        Obama's energy secretary was talking about it in connection with this week's alternative energy summit. He is looking at storing wind energy when the wind ain't blowing.

        Check out:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compres...energy_storage

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        • #5
          Re: Gasoline/Air Hybrid under developement

          Originally posted by tomdotstar View Post
          Compressed air storage is getting more and more attention. Mostly in the large industrial area. There are plans to compress air in caverns and mines and then release it to run a turbine as needed.

          Obama's energy secretary was talking about it in connection with this week's alternative energy summit. He is looking at storing wind energy when the wind ain't blowing.

          Check out:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compres...energy_storage
          GE's most recent wind energy hype comercial talks about that specifically:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fViObqGvIjM

          Looks like it'd work just fine to me...
          1997 Factory Crown Victoria w/ extended tanks ~~ Clunkerized!
          2000 Bi-Fuel Expedition --> ~~ Sold ~~ <--

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          • #6
            Re: Gasoline/Air Hybrid under developement

            A simplified hybrid design such as this may have less conversion efficency (losses) than a traditional hybrid. The volume of air to make this viable must be staggering though, and would subject any storage vessel to tremendous amounts of cycles. It would probably make most CNG pressure vessels look like childs play. I wonder what the total conversion efficiency is, and what type of valve train was utilized? As far as storage of energy in underground chambers? Well for every action=opposite reaction. This could negatively affect water tables as well as create potential contamination in aquifers. If one looks at the oil and gas industries record with Natural Gas extraction, then they can find reams of data that clearly display the affects of fracturing techniques. I am firmly against most Natural Gas extraction procedures that require fracturing, and would likewise not support air compression in aquifers/caverns that would exceed naturally occurring artesian pressures. This also applies to carbon sequestration technology, which is the most rediculous idea that I have ever heard of! It is right up there with using renewable energy to keep nuclear waste at Yucca Valley cool.
            Last edited by Wellarmed; 09-09-2009, 11:45 PM. Reason: spelling

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            • #7
              Re: Gasoline/Air Hybrid under developement

              I read about this in the past as it relates to compressed air on vehicles. One disadvantage mentioned was the noise pollution from the pneumatics equipment. Not sure if this has been solved with a new technology, but imagine your car sounding like an impact tool nonstop. Another is the amount of energy needed to constantly keep filling up the air tank in the car, electricity + equipment to supply it. The electricity used to compress the air may offset the benefit gained on the car. Hopefully they have come up with a positive gain progress for implementing this on vehicles.
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              Last edited by badbone; 03-10-2010, 03:48 AM.
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