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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..

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