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Old 23rd January 2008, 06:01 PM   #41
Olowkow
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
On flywheels, I recall many years ago seeing an article in Popular Science describing a flywheel storage system being tested on London buses. It involved a huge flywheel spun up at high speed, using regenerative braking. I don't know what ever came of that, but considering that that was 30 or 40 years ago, I guess not much did. Gearing always seemed to be a stumbling block unless you're using something intermediate, such as electric motors and generators.
I remember that article. I think it was a car I read about. I believed it at the time, but I seem to recall that I found out later it was a hoax or at least April fools article.

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Old 23rd January 2008, 08:26 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I remember that article. I think it was a car I read about. I believed it at the time, but I seem to recall that I found out later it was a hoax or at least April fools article.
I doubt it was a hoax, but having grown up reading Pop. Science (which means I read every issue cover to cover from the time I was about 8 years old, and continued to get it well into my 30's), I can remember that they were always very quick to jump on any new technology like that before it got very far. Innovative engines long forgotten, flying cars, energy schemes, and all. Few of those things came to fruition, but a few did, and it was grand fun reading about them.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 08:40 PM   #43
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NASA has been working on flywheel storage for quite some time, and I think it is very close to deployment. And the arguments for it are compelling.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 10:02 PM   #44
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Anyone know what's up with this thing?
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Old 23rd January 2008, 10:36 PM   #45
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Yet another rotary steam engine. There have been MANY over the years and they usually suffer from problems with seals.

See http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEU.../rotaryeng.htm for what is probably the most exhaustive list of these items ever constructed.
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Old 23rd January 2008, 10:53 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Yet another rotary steam engine. There have been MANY over the years and they usually suffer from problems with seals.

See http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/MUSEU.../rotaryeng.htm for what is probably the most exhaustive list of these items ever constructed.
Thank you. That's a very interesting link.
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Old 24th January 2008, 05:24 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by m_huber View Post
I thought that the compressed air in these cars was kept in carbon fiber tubes specifically to prevent the kind of damage done when a metal tank ruptures...?
I don't know if that would help as you still have a rather large amount of energy being releases suddenly. I can't see any real easy way to translate that energy to heat fast enough in a tank rupture situation.

I suspect that they use carbon fiber because it is lighter and stronger than steel or aluminum.
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Old 24th January 2008, 07:38 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
Anyone know what's up with this thing?
It's really just a clever positive displacement pump, not all that different in principle from a number of other designs. The same basic design can be useable for air, fluid or steam. A compressor can serve as an air motor, just as a hydraulic pump can serve as a hydraulic motor. My cursory reading of the web site is that this design is thought (by its designers, at least) to have some advantages in that it's very easy to tailor the shape of the outer cage to allow for different compression ratios, timing, etc., and their hope is to design an internal combustion engine that benefits from detonation, rather than the progressive slow burn that other engines prefer. There's a lot of verbiage here which I haven't gone through. It is translated from the French, I think, which does not help.

It appears that actual internal combustion operation is not yet developed except in a prototype that has not yet actually run reliably (which they attribute to size and construction quality issues), but they have made working examples of various more simple pump-technology engines and compressors.

I predict sealing and wear problems will impede practical development.
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Old 24th January 2008, 10:21 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
Thank you. That's a very interesting link.
You are welcome! It is important to remember what has been tried before deciding what TO try.
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Old 24th January 2008, 01:04 PM   #50
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I recall a Pop Sci article about a Swiss city trying out flywheel power in buses, but 40 years -- omigod, 50 years! -- have passed, and I don't know how successful an experiment it was.

Compressed air might be workable as an energy-storage medium for stationary installations. You'd pressurize the tank using electric pumps during off-peak hours, then run your compressed air motors during the daytime, i.e., high-peak hours.



ETA: Why do I have the uneasy feeling that the above is already old stuff?
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Old 24th January 2008, 01:56 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
I recall a Pop Sci article about a Swiss city trying out flywheel power in buses, but 40 years -- omigod, 50 years! -- have passed, and I don't know how successful an experiment it was.
Looks like it actually worked for a while. Kind of a nuisance recharging every 1/2 mile:

http://www.accesstoenergy.com/view/a...e/s76a4325.htm

Newsletter: Access to Energy Newsletter Archive
Volume: Volume 7
Issue/No.: Vol. 7, No. 8

Date: April 01, 1980 03:23 PM

Well, probably ok, though. As for the Popular Science article, I can't seem to find anything further back than June, 1994. Seems like it was more than that.
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Old 24th January 2008, 02:41 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
I recall a Pop Sci article about a Swiss city trying out flywheel power in buses, but 40 years -- omigod, 50 years! -- have passed, and I don't know how successful an experiment it was.

Compressed air might be workable as an energy-storage medium for stationary installations. You'd pressurize the tank using electric pumps during off-peak hours, then run your compressed air motors during the daytime, i.e., high-peak hours.



ETA: Why do I have the uneasy feeling that the above is already old stuff?
Funny, I had remembered it as English buses, but you're probably right. It certainly was about 40 years ago or more. I may be confusing the energy flywheels with some stabilizing system.
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Old 24th January 2008, 04:31 PM   #53
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It was in Switzerland. The difference between now and then is that we have materials that can withstand much, much, much higher RPMs. And with that comes range.
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Old 13th February 2008, 06:18 PM   #54
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Car that runs on air

This sounds like woo but the BBC report a car that runs on compressed air that does about 100miles for a dollar and creates virtually no pollution. Sounds far too good to be true but they have footage of a prototype and it is designed by a Formula One engineer who has been working on it for 10 years.

Can this be true? What's the catch?

Link takes you to a search results page - the 2 videos are over on the right hand side. They open in an external player.

http://search.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/sear...+air&go=Search
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Old 13th February 2008, 06:26 PM   #55
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Ehhhh, don't know. I really think the $1/100mi figure has to have some large hidden numbers in it somewhere. As was pointed out in another thread, compressing air results in a large inefficiency at the get-go when the compressed air gets heated through Boil's law, and then looses that heat to the environment, which represents a flat energy loss. I'd want to see what books are being cooked for this.

TANSTAAFL is still the law. When something looks to good to be true, it probably is.

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Old 13th February 2008, 06:47 PM   #56
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Topic on here about them a month ago; They are incredibly wasteful of energy, and not usable in cold weather.

EDIT: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=104225
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Old 13th February 2008, 06:50 PM   #57
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Just a bump for this topic since another like it just appeared...
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Old 13th February 2008, 06:55 PM   #58
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Mod WarningTwo threads are as one.
Posted By:Lisa Simpson
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Old 13th February 2008, 07:05 PM   #59
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How much energy required to charge the tank compared with how much energy comes OUT of the tank? Energy just doesn't miraculously appear from outer space. Er...just a figure of speech, because we know energy from the sun is sort of free, right?
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Old 13th February 2008, 07:13 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
How much energy required to charge the tank compared with how much energy comes OUT of the tank? Energy just doesn't miraculously appear from outer space. Er...just a figure of speech, because we know energy from the sun is sort of free, right?
Well when you charge the tank, as observed above, there are losses, and losses again when you expand the air out of the tank.

Now, in principle, if you STORED the heat generated from compression in the tank, the process would be isothermal and there would be little loss, but that is just not possible.

See Compressed_air_energy_storageWP

There are some advantages to compressed air storage, but it must be understood that they come at a significant cost.
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Old 13th February 2008, 07:30 PM   #61
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Just remembered the compressed air boat they built on Mythbusters. Pretty lame.
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Old 13th February 2008, 07:44 PM   #62
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How about the vinegar and baking soda boat in the bathtub? (Wasn't that what propelled them?) Let's see, vinegar can be had for under $1.75 a gallon and baking soda is almost free, so......
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Old 13th February 2008, 10:09 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
How about the vinegar and baking soda boat in the bathtub? (Wasn't that what propelled them?) Let's see, vinegar can be had for under $1.75 a gallon and baking soda is almost free, so......
Not a lot of thrust. Imagine how useless a soda-acid fire extinguisher would be if it tore out of your hands as you tried to use it! Keep on thunking.
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Old 14th February 2008, 03:07 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
How about the vinegar and baking soda boat in the bathtub? (Wasn't that what propelled them?) Let's see, vinegar can be had for under $1.75 a gallon and baking soda is almost free, so......
I doubt you'd get anywhere. $1.75/gallon is certainly cheaper than gas, but a gallon of gas represents a truly incredible amount of energy. a gallon of vinegar and a few ounces of baking soda, not so much.

You'd probably be much better off making steam powered cars and running them on pellets made of grass or something. people got pretty skilled at steam cars before they were completely replaced never to be seen again.


Now what if you insulate the tank that you compress the air into, (at the fill station) and jam a thermocouple with a heat sink on top? I'd think you could recoup at least some of the losses that way. Honestly, though, I'm in love with the idea of power storage flywheels. They're so much more exciting than other means of power storage. Though I won't say that compressed air engines aren't wicked cool too.
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Old 14th February 2008, 04:17 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
Just remembered the compressed air boat they built on Mythbusters. Pretty lame.
Yeah, but didn't they try to make that work by just blowing the compressed air out of a nozzle at the back of the boat? This system uses compressed air to drive pistons. That's not to say that it isn't still lame, of course, although if it's true that TATA are going to produce it then perhaps they have solved some of the problems. Running the engines in Mumbai might at least resolve the cold weather problem
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Old 14th February 2008, 05:20 AM   #66
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I think the most telling point is made in the BBC article:
Quote:
Mr Negre has been promising for more than a decade to be on the verge of a breakthrough.
He's not claiming anything new, he's just got some better publicity recently. I'll believe it when I see it, and not before.
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Old 14th February 2008, 06:01 AM   #67
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If you could insulate a pressure vessel sufficiently well to hold that sort of heat for long periods of time, there is a better choice to fill it; Supercritical water. Of course when you tap off the pressure from the bottle, the water boils and makes steam, and that is what drives your vehicle. "Fireless" steam locomotives used that system for many, many years at power plants and similar places where there was a ready supply from huge fixed steam plants.
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Old 14th February 2008, 12:36 PM   #68
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Besides the inefficiency of an engine trying to take energy from expanding gas as it gets colder and colder, imagine the trouble of trying to lubricate moving parts at progressively colder temperatures.

The one good thing about the inefficiency of internal combustion engines is that they provide a source of heat to warm the engine and the occupants of the vehicle.

On the other hand, free AC.
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Old 14th February 2008, 12:38 PM   #69
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I read to get heat you just turn on the onboard compressor, or burn fuel in the engine. Remember, the engine runs on air or air and gas.
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Old 14th February 2008, 01:09 PM   #70
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Well, the issue here is you need heat JUST to heat the expanding gas to isothermal conditions. And that replaces heat you lost in the compression process, so a net loss of efficiency. So, yes, you can burn fuel to equalize the air, and in fact the compressed air trams from the 1800s did exactly that.
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Old 14th February 2008, 05:09 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Not a lot of thrust. Imagine how useless a soda-acid fire extinguisher would be if it tore out of your hands as you tried to use it! Keep on thunking.
I like being a little silly sometimes without totally giving it away with a smiley face.
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Old 14th February 2008, 05:46 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Not a lot of thrust. Imagine how useless a soda-acid fire extinguisher would be if it tore out of your hands as you tried to use it! Keep on thunking.
Then how did Mike Nelson(Destroyer of Worlds) blow up a planet with such a thing?
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Old 16th February 2008, 12:24 AM   #73
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The BBC had an article two days ago:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7241909.stm

Quote:
Five-seat concept car runs on air
By Roger Harrabin
Environment analyst, BBC News


An engineer has promised that within a year he will start selling a car that runs on compressed air, producing no emissions at all in town.

The OneCAT will be a five-seater with a fibre-glass body, weighing just 350kg and could cost just over £2,500.

It will be driven by compressed air stored in carbon-fibre tanks built into the chassis.

The tanks can be filled with air from a compressor in just three minutes - much quicker than a battery car.

Alternatively, it can be plugged into the mains for four hours and an on-board compressor will do the job.

For long journeys the compressed air driving the pistons can be boosted by a fuel burner which heats the air so it expands and increases the pressure on the pistons. The burner will use all kinds of liquid fuel.

The designers say on long journeys the car will do the equivalent of 120mpg. In town, running on air, it will be cheaper than that.

[...]
(Bolding mine)

It sounds quite promising, IMHO.
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Old 16th February 2008, 11:42 AM   #74
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They have been running a concept car like that for many years.
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