Author Topic: Think green, save gas?  (Read 5704 times)

Eerongal

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Think green, save gas?
« on: March 31, 2009, 02:26:10 PM »
If you could power your car off of compressed air from a standard air compressor, would you?

The above link leads to a car called the "City flow Air" made by a company called Motor Development International, based in luxembourg. They have a line of cars from small, three person cars (airPod) to goods/passenger transport vehicles (MultiFlowAir), they currently *AREN'T* in production, but the company predicts to have a factory starting in New York near the end of 2010/start of 2011. These vehicles are run off of compressed air, some of them hybrid air/gas vehicles, some full air.

The city flow air, full air compression version, gets up to about 70 mph, the hybrid version up to about 80.  The hybrid version gets around 1500 KM (almost 1,000 miles) to a full tank of gas. The way their "Hybrid" versions work is that they work off of air up until a certain point (i think like 40-50 mph) then kicks in the gas power for the upper speeds. Obviously this vehicle isn't a speed demon/hot rod sort of car. Obviously, it's very environment friendly.

The prices for each are projected at approx. this (in US dollars, converted from euros):

AirPod ~ (no Current price estimate)
OneFlowAir (basic Model) ~ $5,000
OneFlowAir (standard model) ~ $7,000
MiniFlowAir ~$12,000
CityFlowAir ~ $17,000


So my question is this. Would you support the idea of car fuel sources moving to Air Compression? The technology appears to be quite possible, and economical. In theory, would you like to see this fully replace petroleum driven vehicles, or would you just want it to become a "hybrid" driven vehicle technology? Personally, I'm kinda interested to see if this can be incorporated with either electric or hydrogen, to create a very economical, clean vehicle power source. Mostly, I just wanna save a bunch of money on gas. :P

Edit: Oops, forgot to post this, as well. This page contains a demo of their 2002 experimental vehicle. They still currently use it as a test vehicle. Note that it is very bare bones, and has no sound suppression at all.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 02:29:20 PM by Eerongal »
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Loud_G

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2009, 03:27:40 PM »
Any alternative to biofuels is something I will support.

Grr....Biofuels make me angry.
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Eerongal

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2009, 03:35:34 PM »
Any alternative to biofuels is something I will support.

Grr....Biofuels make me angry.

well, the reason i ask is because, obviously they're overall a good thing, but most of them aren't nearly as powerful/revenue generating/etc. as petroleum. Even a cheap, low end car running on petroleum out performs even the hybrid version in terms of speed and power. In combination, it could nearly put out the gas station business if we were to convert to a pure air/electricity/whatever power source (hydrogen, however, will just change the nature of the game). In addition, it would require the entire population to purchase a new car to catch up with the times as their current vehicle is slowly phased out. Now, as I pointed out, this particular idea is quite a good buy, at least to me anyways, when it comes to having to purchase a new vehicle.

Also, another concern with this is that safety issues don't have the extensive testing when compared to standard modern day cars. Breaking open the seal on a compressed air container is never good for the people in the area :P

I'm just mainly wondering if people would prefer to hold out until alternative technologies match or exceed normal day standards, or if they would switch immediately if this was readily available

I also like to talk about neat technological advances :P
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kevinpii

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2009, 05:27:17 PM »
I understand that this is just a prototype but they would have to do a lot of work on it before id buy it. Its really slow, and really noisy. The technology seems a little iffy too. I mean I kind of get how it works but it doesn't seem like its the best most practical way to power a car. I really think that hydrogen technology will eventually win the day its a lot quieter, the motors are more powerful and it has the funding of the big car makers to back it.

Eerongal

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2009, 05:50:17 PM »
I understand that this is just a prototype but they would have to do a lot of work on it before id buy it. Its really slow, and really noisy. The technology seems a little iffy too. I mean I kind of get how it works but it doesn't seem like its the best most practical way to power a car. I really think that hydrogen technology will eventually win the day its a lot quieter, the motors are more powerful and it has the funding of the big car makers to back it.

Well, see, the problem is that hydrogen still has some environmental impact, but not nearly as much as the current setup we got going. Though it is possible to get this impact down to a near 0% number, so all in all it's incredibly better than standard petroleum.

Although, one big issue with hydrogen is safety concerns. Hydrogen is easier to leak and combust, with a wide range of combustible fuel-air mixtures, buoyancy, and its ability to corrode metals quicker than other options.
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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2009, 05:56:34 PM »
I haven't researched this particular idea, but in general it seems to me that when you consider the environmental impact of an alternative fuel, it's essential to take into account the production of that fuel as well as its combustion byproducts.

So I would want to know how exactly the air gets compressed, and what's the environmental impact of that process?
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Eerongal

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2009, 06:18:06 PM »
I haven't researched this particular idea, but in general it seems to me that when you consider the environmental impact of an alternative fuel, it's essential to take into account the production of that fuel as well as its combustion byproducts.

So I would want to know how exactly the air gets compressed, and what's the environmental impact of that process?

well, supposedly, from what i've been reading, it's possible to use just a normal air compressor like you can purchase from any hardware store. Normally, these run off of electricity, of course. Each car has different recharge times that I looked into. Some take as much as 4 hours, some were less then 10 minutes. This most likely depends on your air compressor and tank size, but all in all, the carbon emissions will be whatever you use in electricity.
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kevinpii

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2009, 06:34:26 PM »
Hydrogen emmission is actually zero. simply because a true hydrogen fuel cell vehicle doesn't actually burn the fuel but instead converts it into electricity. There are some safety concerns and corrosion concerns with hydrogen but they have been largely worked out.  You would also have a corrosion concern with compressed air because of the high oxygen content.

I haven't researched this particular idea, but in general it seems to me that when you consider the environmental impact of an alternative fuel, it's essential to take into account the production of that fuel as well as its combustion byproducts.

So I would want to know how exactly the air gets compressed, and what's the environmental impact of that process?

well, supposedly, from what i've been reading, it's possible to use just a normal air compressor like you can purchase from any hardware store. Normally, these run off of electricity, of course. Each car has different recharge times that I looked into. Some take as much as 4 hours, some were less then 10 minutes. This most likely depends on your air compressor and tank size, but all in all, the carbon emissions will be whatever you use in electricity.


there is no way a regular air compressor is going to put out the 4500 psi that it takes to run one of these cars. If you go and buy an air compressor from the store you will get a maximum pressure of around 150 psi. So you would either have to buy a heavy duty compressor like what they have at most dive shops or you would have to have a service station near you that has one of these compressors. There is also a danger in filling tanks this big because of the friction caused by air at that pressure those tanks would get very hot.

Miyabi

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2009, 06:40:56 PM »
Wow.  Those are cheap for new gen cars.  I would definitely think about it.
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Eerongal

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2009, 06:46:53 PM »
It's true a hydrogen fuel cell in and of itself emits no pollution, however, the production of a hydrogen fuel cell using the most popular method (Gaseous hydrogen produced from natural gas via steam methane reforming in a centralized plant) is a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the refining of petroleum.

you can view these form of stats from this page here that shows common production methods of hydrogen, and the amount of emissions produced in its creation. Hydrogen is by no means currently 100% emissions free, just as almost no option will be.

In reference to not being able to fill a compressed air car at home, all the companies I've researched who are creating these claim that they can, indeed, be refilled with any old air compressor. However, they would like to have "gas stations" around that have higher power compressors that will fill significantly quicker. The actual technology behind this is unknown to me, so that's as far as I know. But they do say that you can fill it (to full) at home.

Edit: a quick search stated in an article says the manufacturer says that you can fill at home in 4 hours for their vehicle they were talking about, but 3 minutes at a "Gas station" with one of the pumps they would have to fuel it.

Additional edit: Just a bit of information I ran across, but apparently the ACEEE has rated the Honda Civic GX, which only uses compressed natural gas, as the greenest vehicle currently available, compared to hybrids and electrical cars and such, due to the incredibly clean burning of natural gas, and the low emission methods used to create it.

yet another Additional edit: I suppose that I should mention to Kevinpii that i agree with him that hydrogen is probably gonna be the next big thing. That or electricity, but I'm just trying to get opinions and such about what people would prefer and what they think of each method.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 06:58:58 PM by Eerongal »
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kevinpii

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2009, 07:29:26 PM »
Not to argue for arguments sake but I did pull this off from the web site you gave a link to.
 
Quote
When the vehicle is equipped with an on board refilling system, the refilling of its tanks can be carried out by connecting them to a domestic electric plug.
The moto- alternator, (used when the vehicle is running to retrieve energy during braking and decelerations phases) drives the air engine operating in ‘compressor mode’ to recharge the tanks. 

That being said I don't know what the other manufactures are saying. This is the first time I have seen a concept like this, they very well could have some kind of staging system in these vehicles that could charge them off from an at home air compressor.

Quote
Additional edit: Just a bit of information I ran across, but apparently the ACEEE has rated the Honda Civic GX, which only uses compressed natural gas, as the greenest vehicle currently available, compared to hybrids and electrical cars and such, due to the incredibly clean burning of natural gas, and the low emission methods used to create it.

I allways have liked the idea of  CNG cars. A lot of fleet company's used to use it but its not as widely use any more. CNG is great its burns clean and efficient. The only problem is the same as the fuel cell vehicles and these compressed air vehicles is that its a pain to fill.

I probably should have specified that the hydrogen tailpipe emissions is zero. It does take something to make the hydrogen. Last I heard GM is developing a refrigerator sized machine that produces hydrogen for at home fills. How this works I don't know.

The new hybrid technology that's on the market right now is pretty good too. The two mode hybrids that are out are a lot more fuel efficient than what was out even a few years ago. They actually power the vehicles with electric motors instead of having an electric assist, or the "golf cart effect".

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2009, 08:37:01 PM »
Wow, very interesting. That is pretty cool. Question: How long does it take to empty a tank? As in, how often will you need to re-compress your air?
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Eerongal

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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2009, 08:46:34 PM »
Wow, very interesting. That is pretty cool. Question: How long does it take to empty a tank? As in, how often will you need to re-compress your air?

according to wikipedia:

The AirPod - 120 miles

The OneFlowAir - 500 miles

The CityFlowAir - 930 miles

I'm assuming this is per filling of the tank, but it doesnt say, just "x miles range"
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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2009, 12:03:14 AM »
So if you plan on going out of town you better have at least the OneFlowAir. ha ha.
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Re: Think green, save gas?
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2009, 04:45:40 AM »
When you posted the prices, did you consider the cost of exporting these vehicles to the US? Or did you just convert them from the prices posted on the site. It seems like if they had to be exported, the price would be much higher unless they manufactured them here. Right?