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Hybrids Abounding

Posted December 25, 2010 7:00 AM

Hybrid vehicle technology comes in many flavors to stretch internal combustion engine efficiency — electric, hydraulic, flywheel, and air-driven pneumatics. In addition to electrics, which of these do you think will be in widespread use in the future — or doesn't it matter at all once an economical fuel cell is developed?

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#1

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 12:04 AM

I like electric vehicles as the electric motor is more suited to driving a vehicle that an internal combustion motor but regardless of that I think that ultimately even the development of the fuel cell doesn't matter.

My reasoning is that by far the simplest solution to reducing greenhouse gasses would be to switch to a biofuel like ethanol that is pretty much greenhouse gas neutral. My reasons for saying this are:

  • While the internal combustion is not ideally suited for vehicle propulsion there are a hell of a lot of vehicles out there that use them and they can be adapted to run on ethanol or similar relatively easily.
  • There are a lot of people out there that work on and understand internal combustion engines, so teaching them to work with a biofuel internal combustion engine is going to be far simpler than teaching them about electric motors and the electronics needed to drive them.
  • There is a lot of infrastructure already in place throughout the world designed to distribute liquid fuels. Adapting these to alcohol would be far simpler and safer than moving to a fuel like hydrogen which would require a completely different and new infrastructure.
  • People like internal combustion engines because they are familiar with them and understand them. Convincing them to change to a different fuel without great changes to performance and operating procedures is far easier than convincing them that the latest electric vehicle is the way to go.
  • Liquid fuels are generally safer and easier to handle than gaseous fuels like hydrogen and they tend to have a higher energy content per unit volume.

So, what does that all mean?

Well, I guess it means that the most practical solution to the greenhouse gas problem would be to start cultivating vast areas of fuel crops that can be relatively simply fermented and distilled into biofuels like ethanol. The only question is how do we do this without drastically reducing the world's food production or cutting down large tracts of virgin forest?

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 5:33 AM

The easiest way the achieve this would be to use the left-overs from food production to make bio-diesel. BUT this would mean that there would not be the natural fertiliser available from composting, unless some form of rapid composting could be devised which would save the non-fuel components for use on the land.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 7:59 AM

"BUT this would mean that there would not be the natural fertiliser available from composting,"

Not necessarily because the fermentation process is in fact a type of rapid composting and in reality the only thing that you are interested in are the hydrocarbons so the remaining nutrients could be returned to the soil.

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#2

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 5:28 AM

Electric vehicles have developed far enough for use as commuter cars. The batteries still weigh too much to be useful for heavier vehicles. When I was a kid (late 1960s), milk deliveries were done with electric vans, but this was more to keep the noise down as they were driving through housing areas. As with older locomotives, diesel (or petrol) engines can be used to power electric motors, or any of the other types, more efficiently than direct drive from the IC engine. This can halve fuel use of trucks in delivery roles - Fedex were trialling these a couple of years ago.

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#5

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 11:05 AM

Availability of fossil fuels over the longer term is a concern.So far, reduction of vehicular emissions came from 1. Better understanding of the combustion process in the engine. 2. Engine management Systems. Transition to Hydrogen economy ( fuel cell vehicles ) would be the long term focus. The overall direction by OEM's & their R&D divisions seems to be moving in the following way :

Hydrogen-CNG --> Hydrogen in IC Engines --> Hybrid Electric --> Electric Vehicles --> Fuel Cell Hybrid --> Fuel Cell Vehicles.

The year 2010 saw major debate on Global Warming & Climate Change. One of the major contributors to this problem is Automobile pollution from IC engines. As of now as we accelerate the vehicles, we only accelerate the Global warming. Even after knowing the perils of this, major investments are being made by OEM's all over the world to produce more & more of the age old IC engines to produce Automobiles. Let us hope for the best in the coming years !! Rangasamy.

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#6

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 7:33 PM

Hybrids are a transition, indeed. We will look back on them as an analogy to the first "horseless carriages". Ethanol is very inefficient in production and uses far too much of the resources for food production. This too will pass. Moving power distribution!

I would vote for a flywheel which produces excess electricity for the power grid when not used in power applications. Each neighborhood could have an underground power generation. Additional uses include the di Pietro air-driven engine with a Sterling rotary to generate direct air pressure, driven from the cold from the compressor and heat from electrical generation. The car would be kept heated 24/7 in either configuration. And this is all using brushless motor/ generators throughout, with microprocessors, etc., etc. Hydrogen is explosive. Where to refill either your hybrid, an ethanol engine or the hydrogen ? Not autonomously ! We need methods to generate power in-situ, and not pay a fortune to a different "supplier" Thus my vote is for a self contained system.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 10:02 PM

"Thus my vote is for a self contained system."

Any motor vehicle needs to get the energy it uses from somewhere so that means it can never be a self-contained system.

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#8
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Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/26/2010 10:57 PM

I don't know what he is saying but it's been a great help with my quest to assemble the technical version of Buzzword Bingo.

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#9
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Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 12:06 PM

I have often wished for a version of the Slug Bug game myself.

This version would played like this. Every time you see some half wit and/or eco twit talking about something they clearly do not understand the full technical logistics of you get to slug them! It seems like a win win game if you ask me! We get to punch them every time they are wrong or mislead and they learn to shut up and do some real research.

Right now my punch count would be around 6 or better just from what I have read up to this point.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 3:52 PM

But ... but ... there are only 6 posters .... including you

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#11
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Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 5:21 PM

What makes you think that each person can only get slugged once?

If you say 10 incorrect things and you get pummeled 10 times that tends to work to promote a faster learning curve that way!

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 6:11 PM

Right on! Recidivism → multiple whack-a-mole, ad nauseam/infinitum.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 6:21 PM

What have chemistry units got to do with it?

Good grief, next you two will be giving "F's" to poor underachieving students!

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 6:26 PM

Cry me a river!

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 7:31 PM

Found one! "River of PC"

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#16
In reply to #7

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/27/2010 11:24 PM

Absolutely ! These are not "a system" however. But with the major weight and cost disadvantages of our batteries, we can make it possible to use LESS stored energy with a combination of circular supporting units, using less weight. Batteries zap to super conductors to keep the flywheel up to RPM.

See: Engineaire (AUS) Ingocar (USA) (but made in Russia) Angel Labs (USA) (which is likely a fake- 44 pound engine to replace a complete power unit) and the new Stirling engines which are in rotary configuration.

Remember the goal is to be completely SELF SUFFICIENT ... let's make it happen !

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 12:42 AM

Okay, so how do you maintain the "superconductors"?

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 1:26 AM

"solid/liquid high/low enthalpy CO2 at 10,000 psi"?

jus' suggestin'

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 1:48 AM

That sounds like the DaS Energy method, except that this part of it might actually work.

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#21
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Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 1:56 AM

(might except, bit warm that CO2 but don't let detail get in the way of "Let's Do It!")

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 1:31 AM

"Batteries zap to super conductors to keep the flywheel up to RPM"

You're worried about the weight of the batteries and you want to use superconductors? Currently the only superconductors that are available require extremely low temperatures to become superconducting so the added cryogenic plant would turn the average hybrid car into a hybrid truck. Then you have flywheels that not only have lots of mass but have the minor problem of the gyroscopic effect to overcome whenever you try to change the axis of rotation of the flywheel. Early aircraft that used rotary engines (radial engines that rotated) had problems with the gyroscopic effect that made them very difficult to fly and land so adding a thumping great rotating mass to a car could have disastrous consequences.

By the way what is an Engineaire? All I could find was a video of a filtering system that I can't see being all that relevant to this discussion.

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 3:57 AM

Ref thru the Greenoptimist.com, air compressed engine, of look further for Engineaire of Australia. They have mining equipment, a cycle, and small car using Angelo di Pietro's rotary engine, which can run on one (1) PSI. Parts are all air-cushioned, have no wear and no vibration, and are soundless. One of the byproducts is very cool air- so a cyrogenic plant may not be needed. Flywheels are no longer heavy, nor have much mass. The University of Penn. has made a 100,000 RPM unit: and ref. "small flywheel energy source" : on Google. Home.earthlink.net has a low loss flywheel battery -

mpoweruk.com/alternatives.html has an extensive blog on superconducting magnetic energy storage. Plus the latest on alternate energy sources.

Ingocar makes 170 mpg on a small diesel compressor. Invented in Michigan, now being made in Russia. PML/Flightlink took an electrical converted Ford F150 to Michigan and had no takers. The Aus. company above has sold to China. The Chinese have the right idea: convert on road vehicles to non-pollution drives. No waiting for 20 years for electric cars. Now, there are in-wheel motors used in PML's Lightening, and Michelin has made an all inclusive wheel which they put four on a Mini-conversion. Drove it, then put it in the Porsche museum. Oh well ....

It will be up to us as engineers to educate ourselves, and promote, these non-poluting and reasonable alternatives to the IC engine. Remember, the ultimate result could be complete autonomy to the rich cats that supply our energy needs - at a cost.

40 % of a barrel of oil goes to other uses than fuel. We will always need oil, I suppose.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 4:30 AM

This all sounds nice, but it hasn't been explained in a way that convinces me of any true understanding.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 7:46 AM

"This all sounds nice, but it hasn't been explained in a way that convinces me of any true understanding."

I agree so I had a look for information and found a clip on YouTube about the Ingocar and according to them has achieved the gains as shown in the image to the right.

Now the only hassle with these is that by the time you put on all the safety equipment you will lose most of the 18% gain from the weight. Next you have air resistance and yes many cars are fairly inefficient when travelling at speed but the biggest problem is cars in cities being caught in traffic jams so no gain there.

Then you have the engine accessories and sorry, but living in Australia that air conditioner isn't just a comfort thing but a necessity if one doesn't want to succumb to heat exhaustion.

Regenerative braking is definitely a gain that the normal internal combustion engine powered vehicle can't do so that's a plus.

However, when you look at in the real world the gains aren't anything like what they claim.

Finally the engine appears to be nothing more than a cut down flattened out version of the Napier Deltic engines from the 1950s as shown in the image to the right.

Now there is definitely room for improvement with modern card and they could be more efficient, particularly is they us some sort of energy recovery breaking, but I really can't see anything like the gains the Ingocar claims to achieve being possible.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/28/2010 8:00 AM

The easiest way to increase efficiency in city traffic is to use a secondary buffer - be it electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, etc.

This way the ICE can run at a steady rate, storing energy in the buffer even while the vehicle is at rest, and utilising the stored energy for acceleration. Trials I have looked at with dustcarts in the USA show significant reductions in fuel use, with the bonus of faster acceleration, even when using a smaller ICE than the original. Noise levels and pollution are also reduced.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/29/2010 4:03 AM

"The easiest way to increase efficiency in city traffic is to use a secondary buffer - be it electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, etc."

Maybe we could call such a system a hybrid vehicle?

Sorry GM1964, I just couldn't resist.

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/29/2010 5:26 AM

Indeed - but some switch off the ICE in town and rely solely on the alternative for power, until the reservoir (battery, usually) is drained.

The hydraulic hybrids run the ICE at a steady speed to keep the reservoir topped up, rather than waste all the power at stand-still.

Currently ICE only vehicles have engines sized for the maximum acceleration they will achieve, and run much less efficiently over the majority of the speed range than their engines are capable of.

So a 1.5l diesel engine capable of 55(uk)mpg "extra urban" could be coupled to a hydraulic buffer, allowing this economy to be achieved in a city environment - and as a bonus, acceleration could be better than a 2l.

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: Hybrids Abounding

12/29/2010 4:13 AM

That's probably according to them, but to no one else....

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