Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Air Car

There have been a number of news stories recently about the prospects of a hydrogen-driven car. The only by-product of hydrogen is water, which is non-polluting. However, hydrogen is difficult to store in the car's tank, requires very heavy tanks, and is also highly explosive. So if the car gets into an accident . . .

Apparently the hydrogen car concept is being promoted by the car manufacturers and big oil, to convince us to stick with the current technology. Because, guess what, better solutions, better even than the electric car, already exist. Take a look at the following excerpts from an MSN Network story of today by Larry Hall:

"In 2000, there was much ado about a new zero-pollution vehicle from French inventor and Formula One engine builder, Guy Nègre. His company, Motor Development International (MDI), rolled out an urban-sized car, taxi, pickup and van that were powered by an air engine.
Instead of those tiny, tiny explosions of gasoline and oxygen pushing the pistons up and down, like in a normal internal combustion engine, the all-aluminum four-cylinder air engine used compressed air for the job.

"A hybrid version, using a small gasoline engine to power an onboard compressor for a constant supply of compressed air, is claimed to be able to travel from Los Angeles to New York on just one tank of gas.

"Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, has signed an agreement with MDI to produce the car. About 6,000 air cars will begin hitting Indian streets in August 2008, with hybrid versions scheduled for 2009.

"A South Korean company, Energine Corporation, also touts its air hybrid car called the Pneumatic Electrical Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV). Like the MDI vehicle, compressed air drives the pistons, which turn the vehicle's wheels. The air is compressed using a small motor, powered by a 48-volt battery, which powers both the air compressor and an electric motor.

"The compressed air is used when the car needs a lot of energy such as starting up from a stop and acceleration. The electric motor kicks in once the car has gained normal cruising speed."
Better yet, with such technology, the U. S. won't have to invade other countries to grab their air. We already have plenty of our own. With no wars to fight, our economy would take on its natural proportions, which is largely agricultural--producing lots of cheap, quality food on the land that hasn't yet been flooded or burned by global warming's new weather. And the violence of our cultural products, like the Die Hard movies, would seem strangely irrelevant. And the Mom and Pop stores would return to neighborhood street corners, as Walmart and other box stores go quickly out of business. And every baseball stadium would look just like Wrigley Field. And, as if awakened from a long, sad dream, our children would put down their video games and go outside to play in the sun.

3 Comments:

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Logan Ryan Smith said...

"And every baseball stadium would look just like Wrigley Field."

now that just sounds like a Chicagoan's wishful thinking.

everything else seems plausible, though.

 
At 7:19 PM, Blogger François said...

Hydrogen is also difficult to manufacture. Well, not difficult, but you have to separate it from water through electrolysis, which means that the reduction in air pollution is offset by coal plants somewhere else.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger Archambeau said...

Utopia! But I'd hope the ballparks would look like a Wrigley Field with, you know, modern plumbing.

 

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