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Compressed air powered cars ?

By dorsai in MLP
Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:25:14 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

One of Portugal's most respected weekly newspapers, Expresso (Portuguese only, sorry), reports (ditto) that a Nice-based french company, Moteur Dévelopment Internacional has formed a partnership with a portuguese businessman and the Santarém (Mapquest) City Hall to produce a compressed air powered car.

The assembly plant is due to start construction in early 2002 and be ready for production in 2003. The car has a 50hp engine, a range of 312 Km (195 Miles) and can run 100Km (62.5 Miles) on ?0.6 ($0.625USD). Top speed is 120Km/h (75MPH). It can be refueled in around 3 minutes by a compressed air machine (300 bar internal pressure) in a propperly equiped gas station, or in around 4 hours by a built-in air compressor plugged into a household-variety power socket. An outline of the concept can be found here.

Although initially slated for the public transportation, taxis,distribution and logistics markets (evaluation units on pre-order from several local companies), it is expected to have some penetration into the consumer market.


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Compressed air powered cars ? | 10 comments (10 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
good news for a change! (4.00 / 2) (#1)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 10:50:21 PM EST

How very pleasant to read some news that's good news for a change! One other obvious application for a compressed-air engine is to drive forklifts in warehouses. Even the relatively clean-burning propane engines I see in use leave the air inside these places pretty nasty by the end of the day.

If I read the MDI web site correctly there are actually two engines being discussed; one is powered by compressed air and the other one uses this bizarre three-chambered fuel burning engine. I'd like to know what kind of "mileage" you get out of those engines. I'm also curious about what kind of safety features they have to keep the compressed-air tank from exploding in case of a wreck, or at least to deflect the force of the explosion away from passengers and bystanders. Enough energy to power a car for a hundred miles being released all at once - think of two or three gallons of gasoline being combusted all in an instant - would make one Hell of a bang.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

The one thing that really disturbs me about America is that people don't like to read. - Keith Richards

Forklifts??? (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by MSBob on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 10:54:13 PM EST

The only job I had in a warehouse was in Scotland. All the forklifts there had electrical engines. I didn't even know that petrol powered forklifts existed...
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
RE: Forklifts??? (3.00 / 1) (#3)
by DigitalRover on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 11:02:52 PM EST

They're all over the States. I thought everyone knew that we Yanks loved to suck down fossil fuels. <g>

[ Parent ]
Forklifts (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by davidduncanscott on Sat Sep 29, 2001 at 11:10:05 PM EST

I've seen mostly propane. It gives a very good power to weight ratio compared to batteries, and it burns quite cleanly even indoors (although most warehouses I've worked in could only loosely be described as "indoors", even when the doors were closed.)

I know that gas and deisel trucks exist, but I imagine they'd be mostly for yard use.

[ Parent ]

Here comes the bad news (1.60 / 5) (#5)
by MSBob on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:07:23 AM EST

The bad news is that nice guys like Shell will do everything in their power to make sure this vehicle never sees the light of day.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

Liquid Nitrogen (4.50 / 2) (#6)
by spinfire on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:31:57 AM EST

I read an article in Popular {Mechanics,Science} quite some time ago about a mail vehicle powered by Liquid Nitrogen.

Like using highly pressurized air, however, the LN2 powered vehicles have the advantage of storing the energy in a liquid form.

Considering liquid nitrogen now is incredibly cheap, and in infinite supply like air, I think this is an even better solution. Highly compressed air suffers from the problem of the highly pressurized oxygen in the mixture, which could accelerate a fire.

Freelance Hacker. spinfire on FooNET.

LN2 vs compressed air (4.33 / 3) (#8)
by sigwinch on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:30:20 AM EST

Highly compressed air suffers from the problem of the highly pressurized oxygen in the mixture, which could accelerate a fire.
On the other hand, oxygen boils at a higher temperature than nitrogen. If you use the LN2 where air can get to it, oxygen will condense. If this happens in a combustible material (such as plastic foam insulation), you've just made a rather powerful bomb. So you have to be very careful that all insulation is either nonporous or nonflammable. You also have to be careful to thoroughly ventilate any area where oxygen could become concentrated, to avoid the well-known fire hazard of a high-oxygen atmosphere. Don't get me wrong: LN2 isn't particularly dangerous, but it isn't harmless either.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Translation (4.66 / 3) (#7)
by chipuni on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:56:53 AM EST

The following translation started with the Babelfish translation as a rough draft, then was heavily rewritten to make it clear English.

Consumption estimated of 120$00 for each 100 kilometers

Portugal goes to construct a carriage running on compressed air


A Spanish group is considering investing in Portugal the creation of an assembly line to manufacture a revolutionary automobile whose enging is moved by compressed air. " The plant will be installed in the Industrial Zone of Santarém (in a land of thirty thousand square meters yielded by the City council) and will create about 90 jobs, in the year that it starts (2003), and up to 170 or 180 jobs with a full labor force " , disclosed to the EXPRESS, Jesus Martin Buezas, administrator of the VMA - Vehicles Moving by Air.

The new industrial unit, with capacity to produce 5000 units per year, will be constructed in 2002 and represents an investment estimated between a million and a half and a million and seven hundred thousand contos (about 7.4 million euros). The entrepreneur came to Portugal this week to negotiate the establishment of partnerships with Portuguese companies in the production, distribution and supplying, as well as to present projects to the Ministry of the Economy and the IAPMEI. " The choice of Santarém is an excellent, strategic location, for the logistic people and for the cohesion of the City council of Santarém. The carriages will be assembled with parts coming from France and the East, but some components could be supplied by Portuguese companies " .

Jesus Martin Buezas, for 28 years leader of a Spanish group of distributors and logistics people, acquired the production rights for the vehicle for Portugal from French group MDI - Moteur Développement International, hosted in Nice. The inventor of vehicle MDI and holder of the world-wide patent of the compressed air engine is Guy Negré, an former engineer for Renault with more than 35 years' experience in the automobile industry.

The MDI is a vehicle especially designed for use by city dwellers, where it is extremely economic. 120$00 (60 cents) for each 100 kilometers covered at a constant speed of 50 km/h - when compared with its rivals the gasoline, gasohol, GPL or purely electric (with a estimated average consumption in 400$00 (two euros for each 100 kilometers). As such, this vehicle is considered ecologically " perfect ", with zero polluting emissions and a range of, approximately, 312 kilometers. The supplying of compressed air can be made by a special punp (in about three minutes) or by means of a compressor integrated in the carriage (between two and three hours, by the electric current).

The engine, very similar to conventional engine, has 1150 cubic centimeters of piston displacement and 50 horsepower, offering a typical speed of 120 km/h. Its maintenance requires only one liter of oil (of any type) for each 50 thousand kilometers. " This carriage is designed, essentially, for public carriers, such as school taxis, carriers, jobs of city councils, post offices, companies of logistic distribution and, but also the individual " , emphasize Jesus Martin Buezas. Four versions of the MDI exist and the price of each vehicle will cost around two thousand contos (9975 euros). Its official presentation in Portugal is set to take place in November.

Perfection is not reached when nothing more can be added, but only when nothing more can be taken away.
Wisdom for short attention spans.
Alternative energy (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by Ialdabaoth on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:42:06 AM EST

I've also heard that hydrogen-burning cars are in the R&D phase at the moment, and some companies might already be testing them. Me, I'd like to ride a hydrogen-powered Harley-Davidson.
"Act upon thy thoughts shall be the whole of the Law."

--paraphrase of Aleister Crowley

I've seen these, ridden in one... (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by admcg on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 06:56:04 PM EST

and they're (IMHO) really good, considering how new a technology most of it is. The note about safety is indeed a concern, but the same problem has been solved for natural gas, which is flammable as well.

Unfortunately, I'm under NDA as to exactly how lots of things work, so I have to shut up now.

Compressed air powered cars ? | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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