What’s this about?
This is the UK website for Peter and Maureen Scargill. We live in the Northeast of England and also on occasion in Andalucia in Spain.

Read through the blog entries, menu-accessible pages and archives if you're interested! Welcome to Peter and Maureen's website.

Want to view this on your mobile? - go ahead - there's a special version just for you. Same address.

Get in touch via Facebook My Facebook Page
You should follow me on Twitter Follow me on Twitter
Join me on  Google+ Join me on Google+
Join my LinkedIn network Join my LinkedIn network
My Pinterest Pinterest

Pete's Online CV

Archive for May, 2008

Air Cars

We’ve been talking about air-powered cars recently.. turns out an Indian manufacturer is bringing them out – using very highly compressed air. It seems also that the Americans are taking an interest also… see this link.

One of the issues with these vehicles is range – and so adding a petrol (or other fossil fuel) engine seems sensible but another problem is that of heat – or lack of it – so in the cold weather, the air simply doesn’t give out as much power… and that started me thinking.

Surely the answer is for the fossil fuel unit not to provide power – but to provide air compression – and heat. The fuel engine would feed a compressor – to generate more compressed air – and the exhaust would go through a heat exchanger in the air tanks – to heat up the air – and make it more effective – not to mention the fact that the fresh air exhaust from the vehicle would then be usable as warm air to warm the car!

At night, outside of the house, the car air tanks would of course be recharged by electricity – but as it gets near time to use the car, either the mains electricity, or the fuel engine – or both could be used to preheat the air. The fuel engine from that point on would only kick in when it was necessary to top up the air tanks or provide heat for passengers or both.

I can’t help thinking that with some clever engineering and simple programming this is a much better potential idea than electric hybrids.

Add to this the possibility of motorway-fuel stations offering compressed air generated and stored in huge underground tanks which themselves are topped up from nearby windmill power (already the M6 and other motorways have the occasional windmill nearby) – and you have the possibility of an infrastructure for generating compressed air from whatever natural resource is nearby (water pressure, wind-power, solar, whatever is appropriate) – hence making the air powered car a practicality.

I just hope someone, somewhere has the vision to push this as far as it can go..

Air cars

We’ve been talking about air-powered cars recently.. turns out an Indian manufacturer is bringing them out – using very highly compressed air. It seems also that the Americans are taking an interest also…

One of the issues with these vehicles is range – and so adding a petrol (or other fossil fuel) engine seems sensible but another problem is that of heat – or lack of it – so in the cold weather, the air simply doesn’t give out as much power… and that started me thinking.

Surely the answer is for the fossil fuel unit not to provide power – but to provide air compression – and heat. The fuel engine would feed a compressor – to generate more compressed air – and the exhaust would go through a heat exchanger in the air tanks – to heat up the air – and make it more effective – not to mention the fact that the fresh air exhaust from the vehicle would then be usable as warm air to warm the car!

At night, outside of the house, the car air tanks would of course be recharged by electricity – but as it gets near time to use the car, either the mains electricity, or the fuel engine – or both could be used to preheat the air. The fuel engine from that point on would only kick in when it was necessary to top up the air tanks or provide heat for passengers or both.

I can’t help thinking that with some clever engineering and simple programming this is a much better potential idea than electric hybrids.

Add to this the possibility of motorway-fuel stations offering compressed air generated and stored in huge underground tanks which themselves are topped up from nearby windmill power (already the M6 and other motorways have the occasional windmill nearby) – and you have the possibility of an infrastructure for generating compressed air from whatever natural resource is nearby (water pressure, wind-power, solar, whatever is appropriate) – hence making the air powered car a practicality.

I just hope someone, somewhere has the vision to push this as far as it can go..

 

Awards

There was a time once when the nearest I would get to awards was to win one (very rarely I might add) – but it seems these days I spend a lot more time judging them.

A few weeks ago I was one of the judges on the Northeast’s first Digital Awards – the award dinner is coming up in a day or two so I won’t give the game away. It’ll be all over the Northeast press no doubt in a couple of days. As I write this I’m in a hotel in Cheshire for tomorrow’s judging of the “National Business Awards” – Small business section… and in a few weeks I’ll be taking up my (by now) customary role helping to judge Computing magazine’s Annual Awards. I’ve also done the same for the BCS and other organisations.

All of this takes some considerable effort and most of the judges do this for nothing (some, usually in the public sector actually get paid by their companies for their time) and sometimes in the heat of it all I’ve been known to think “what am I doing”… but of course the reality is that these awards help promote British business – they highlight the best in our up and coming entrepeneurs – and that has to be good – we should shout about our successes from the rooftops.

So often it seems that all innovation comes from a sweatshop in China or “somewhere in California”- it’s good to know that our own guys are beavering away and making a success of it – and even better to know that there are people out there arranging to ensure that their endeavours get the acknowledgement they deserve…

Bang – or NOT to Bang

Anyone in the mood for some really DEEP stuff? If so, read on. I’ve always been pretty keen on the big bang theory, though I never could get my head around how you could get something out of nothing – as it goes against all the laws of physics which have worked so well for us in practice. The expansion I can handle – it’s the stuff popping out of no-where I’ve never really been comfortable with – of course if you’re happy with the notion of multiple dimensions it’s all very simple – our universe appearing as a constantly expanding bubble to us – is merely a manifestation of a universe with more dimensions.

Ok, where does that come from – the usual way to picture this is – picture a flat, 2 dimensional man on a flat, 2 dimentional universe – ie a piece of paper – he can see across in any direction but not up or down – so – if a large ball smashes through his piece of paper and managed to do that cleanly – what will he see? He’ll see nothing turn into a point and then into a line that gets wider and wider…. and then gets narrower and narrower – and disappears.

That’s kind of how I pictured the big bang – assuming we’ve always been here – and that we’re part of a larger picture we can’t see as we’re only capable of operating in 3 dimensions (4 if you include time).

Ok, kiddies version I know but with limited time to think about these things – that’s where I was heading until now.

My OTHER problem has always been the sun – how come it’s hotter above the surface than it is on the surface – and how come sun spots are cool!! If the sun is a huge nuclear reactor – surely when it spurts bits out they should be hotter and brighter than the surface and above??

Sadly as one gets older there seem to be less and less people to talk to about this stuff – but there is always the web.

Ok, so then recently I was sitting playing with STUMBLEOPON and I hit a theory of the universe from an electrical perspective… and BOY do things change.

If you’re interested in this stuff you REALLY should take a look at this video.

http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=4773590301316220374