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  1. #31
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    I think the Air Car is an awesome idea, and I can't wait until they get all the kinks worked out of it.

    I heard gas is going up to $4 a gallon by this summer, and $5 a gallon is in our future.
    We must find an alternative.

    If you watched the video all the way to the very end, you saw them talk about how
    they're working on having the car be its own compressed air generator so it will never run out!

    Did you catch the fact that the exhaust is "ice cold air"?!
    It's an ANTI-GLOBAL WARMING car!!
    It's everyone's global duty to own one!

    Awesome!! Woo-hoo!!

  2. #32
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    Nuke plants and plug-in electric cars could solve the gas problem. Screw hydrogen, biodiesel, ethanol, hybrids, compressed air, mexican pulled rickshaws and all the other screwball ideas.

    Nuclear power is safe, they shut down at the slightest problem. The spent fuel wouldn't be sitting in pools if that peanut brain Carter hadn't banned the reprocessing of uranium to appease the hippies. We could all be up to our brightly lit eyeballs in cheap, clean power but no.


  3. #33
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sassafrassquatch View Post
    Nuke plants and plug-in electric cars could solve the gas problem. Screw hydrogen, biodiesel, ethanol, hybrids, compressed air, mexican pulled rickshaws and all the other screwball ideas.

    Nuclear power is safe, they shut down at the slightest problem. The spent fuel wouldn't be sitting in pools if that peanut brain Carter hadn't banned the reprocessing of uranium to appease the hippies. We could all be up to our brightly lit eyeballs in cheap, clean power but no.

    The problem with using pure electricity is the fill-up problem. To charge a vehicle in ~5-10 minutes at an electric station, you'd have to push well over 1 megawatt (more like 5) of power into the vehicle's batteries (using some calculations I did a few months ago), and there is no way in hell you're going to see the power infrastructure to do that on a wide scale, plus engineering batteries to sustain that rate of charge (without exploding from overheating) will be difficult. If everyone's fine with taking ~8 hours to fill up their car at home, well, then there's a significant market opportunity for this stuff. But I seriously doubt our society will support that on the market, especially considering people vacationing--what happens when you're driving 800 miles away from home, and you need to continually fill up along the way? Solar sure isn't going to cut it. Moving a heavy vehicle across the highway at high speeds takes a ridiculous amount of power, way more than you get from the sun over the surface area of the vehicle.

    Using a material fuel is the most effective way to store energy; liquid hydrocarbons have been the holy grail of portable energy for a long time, as is evident by the fact that we use them right now. When you're pumping gas into your car, if you were to consider the rate of pumping in terms of an equivalent electricity transfer, you're basically transferring energy from the station's storage tanks into your car at a rate of roughly ~5 megawatts. Try doing that with an electric hook-up.

    I do agree that nuclear power is the best sustainable long-term method of producing energy for our society, but the resulting power must be packaged in something far more effective than conductive electricity. A nuke plant powering a facility next door which refills tanks of compressed air would be one idea, or one that uses electrolysis to produce hydrogen from water (not the best, but it's an option). I saw something recently where a process was invented to extract CO2 from the air and use it to produce gasoline--naturally this process requires a significant amount of energy input, which is where the nuke plant comes into play. That process is effectively a method of storing nuke-sourced energy inside gasoline. It's carbon-neutral too, since the carbon used to produce that gasoline came from the atmosphere in the first place.

  4. #34
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spirilis View Post
    The problem with using pure electricity is the fill-up problem. To charge a vehicle in ~5-10 minutes at an electric station, you'd have to push well over 1 megawatt (more like 5) of power into the vehicle's batteries (using some calculations I did a few months ago), and there is no way in hell you're going to see the power infrastructure to do that on a wide scale, plus engineering batteries to sustain that rate of charge (without exploding from overheating) will be difficult. If everyone's fine with taking ~8 hours to fill up their car at home, well, then there's a significant market opportunity for this stuff. But I seriously doubt our society will support that on the market, especially considering people vacationing--what happens when you're driving 800 miles away from home, and you need to continually fill up along the way? Solar sure isn't going to cut it. Moving a heavy vehicle across the highway at high speeds takes a ridiculous amount of power, way more than you get from the sun over the surface area of the vehicle.

    Using a material fuel is the most effective way to store energy; liquid hydrocarbons have been the holy grail of portable energy for a long time, as is evident by the fact that we use them right now. When you're pumping gas into your car, if you were to consider the rate of pumping in terms of an equivalent electricity transfer, you're basically transferring energy from the station's storage tanks into your car at a rate of roughly ~5 megawatts. Try doing that with an electric hook-up.

    I do agree that nuclear power is the best sustainable long-term method of producing energy for our society, but the resulting power must be packaged in something far more effective than conductive electricity. A nuke plant powering a facility next door which refills tanks of compressed air would be one idea, or one that uses electrolysis to produce hydrogen from water (not the best, but it's an option). I saw something recently where a process was invented to extract CO2 from the air and use it to produce gasoline--naturally this process requires a significant amount of energy input, which is where the nuke plant comes into play. That process is effectively a method of storing nuke-sourced energy inside gasoline. It's carbon-neutral too, since the carbon used to produce that gasoline came from the atmosphere in the first place.

    Here's some math to back this up:


    Facts-
    1 gallon of gasoline contains 131 megajoules of energy, or roughly 36.39 kilowatt-hours.

    Assumptions-
    A vehicle is to be converted to electric propulsion, whose gasoline operation specifies the following:
    15 gallon tank, 30 miles per gallon on average, 20% combustion efficiency (this is fairly average)

    1 gallon of gasoline, at 20% efficiency nets (X=) 7.27 kwh usable power. Assuming the electric motor we're using to replace it operates at (Y=) 80% efficiency (also around average, might be higher), the resulting electric car will have to store 9.0875 kwh (Z) of electricity for every 1 gallon of gasoline the original vehicle could store.

    Formula: Z = X * 100/Y (9.0875 = 7.27 * 100/80)

    Multiply by 15 gallon capacity, and you need to store 136.3125 kilowatt-hours worth of power.

    Wanna charge that? Assuming you're getting 100% efficiency in your charge (which you won't), to charge that in 5 minutes you will need to transfer electricity at a rate of 1635.75 kilowatts, or 1.63575 megawatts. (1 KWH / 60 minutes-per-hour = 60 kilowatt-minutes, transferred in 5 minutes = multiplier of 12. 136.3125 * 12 = 1635.75 kilowatts)

    So 1.6MW is less than the 5MW I stated above, but it's still way out of anyone's league for distributable fill-up stations. FWIW, at 240VAC, that would entail transferring 6815 amps worth of current off the power grid. Yikes.

    And of course, for academic reasons, consider 15 gallons in 5 minutes:
    15 gallons = 36.39kwh/gallon * 15 = 545.85 kilowatt-hours, in 5 minutes = 6.55020MW.

  5. #35
    Just a statistic rhinosaur's Avatar
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    All this talk about carbon. Though I don't doubt the reports of the research that's been put into the role of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse effect, isn't it also significant that we're converting so much chemical energy into thermal energy?

    Man, that sentence sucked. My writing is horrible when I haven't slept.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Galt View Post
    I am well aware of this. But I don't doubt that one day physical limitations such as that won't matter very much. We'll find some way to get around them. Just not now. Probably not for a very long time.
    The laws of thermodynamics are one of a small elite group as successful ways of describing how the universe (people haven't found any case yet as far as I know that breaks them), and as they apply to compression and expansion (combined with other physical processes that cause even more inefficiency in compressors, turbines, etc.) means that it will be quite a long time, if ever, before people figure out a way to have compressed gas be able ot compress more gas to the same pressure with no outside energy.

  7. #37
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhinosaur View Post
    All this talk about carbon. Though I don't doubt the reports of the research that's been put into the role of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse effect, isn't it also significant that we're converting so much chemical energy into thermal energy?

    Man, that sentence sucked. My writing is horrible when I haven't slept.
    It is, and I don't know what the impact of that is either. Especially considering most power-generating processes (coal, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, steam turbines used in nuclear power plants) vent off over 50% of the resulting energy as heat, without having anything to show for it except steam and other hot gasses vented to the atmosphere or heating nearby waterways. This is one major reason that natural gas or propane-powered heating is more efficient than electric heaters; at least if you're burning hydrocarbons in your house, the primary form of energy output is the form you want--heat. With electric heating, some 60-70% of the source fuel's energy had to be vented to the atmosphere for no reason before you received your measly 30-40% which will be used to heat your home.

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