Who killed the Electric Car?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by moementum7, Aug 10, 2006.

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  1. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Their a little difference between a pilot telling you he is going to fly the plane and a guy peddling his invention on you! Science is not based on taking peoples word, they do in fact have to show their data and we have to replicate it and verify it. Technology doubly so, since their livelihoods live on functional products.

    You would be surprised how much I've learned from reading reports and analyzing their data. In fact we don't take their word, I (unfortunately) have had to replicate many experiments simply because we could not just take their word that said procedure produced specific results.
     
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  3. X-Man2 We're under no illusions. Registered Senior Member

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    Ford Has The Answer For Now,Maybe?

    Alcohol makes autos more climate-friendly

    * 30 May 2009 by Phil McKenna

    DRIVING and alcohol don't usually mix, but giving a petrol engine an occasional slug of the hard stuff could make it as fuel-efficient as a petrol-electric hybrid.

    So says the Ford Motor Company, which on 19 May revealed test results on a novel ethanol-assisted engine. Called a direct-injection ethanol engine, the unit runs primarily on petrol. When it needs to deliver maximum power - to climb a hill or overtake, for example - the engine management computer adds a little ethanol to the fuel injected into the combustion chambers.

    This arrangement allows the engine to operate at a much higher compression ratio - a measure of the amount by which the fuel-air mixture is compressed before being ignited - than normal. As a result, an average car engine can be "downsized" to one that should have around 23 per cent better fuel efficiency, Ford says.

    Normally, the downside of a high compression ratio is that it encourages premature ignition or "knocking", which drastically cuts down the power output. Adding ethanol to the fuel suppresses knocking.

    "We're trying to get the best of both worlds," says Paul Whitaker of AVL Powertrain Engineering of Plymouth, Michigan, which is developing the technology with Ford. "It's like knock suppression on demand."

    Test results on a pickup truck fitted with the new engine were presented at the US Department of Energy's annual vehicle technology review meeting in Arlington, Virginia. They showed a 23 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency for the same performance levels. The ethanol from a 40-litre auxiliary tank would last about 30,000 kilometres, Ford says.

    Whitaker says the next step is to road test the engine in a variety of vehicles and to ensure that the engine does not become unusable if the ethanol tank runs dry.

    Ford's announcement of the test results came as President Barack Obama announced regulations that will require the fuel economy of new cars and light trucks to be raised by an average of 30 per cent by 2016. Obama predicts that consumers might have to pay an extra $1300 per vehicle to get that extra efficiency. Ford says its ethanol-assisted engine will cost $1100 to $1500 more than a conventional engine.

    This is just one-third of the extra cost of a hybrid petrol-electric engine over a normal petrol engine. Hybrids typically deliver 25 to 35 per cent better fuel economy than a conventional engine.

    "You can't come close to Obama's projected price with a hybrid," says David Cole of the Center for Automotive Research, a transport analysis company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "With alcohol injection you've got a great shot at it; it's a very viable technology."
     
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  5. hypewaders Save Changes Moderator

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    That's very interesting, X-Man2. Blending ethanol into the main fuel supply is a bad idea, because of water emulsification and all the nasty chemistry that goes on after that. Keeping the ethanol in smaller airtight reservoirs would be very advantageous. With piston aircraft engines, we're still using heavy lead doping to suppress detonation, and we've got to find another way.
     
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    "higher compression ratio" means an entirely new engine. Running on 100% alcohol in the gas tank, as can be done in Brazil's flex fuel cars, requires only some minor changes to the gasoline only engine design and does slightly boost the HP, but lowers the range as alcohol has on 70% of the energy content of gasoline / gallon. Because more than 9 of evey 10 cars made in Brazil are now flex fuel, the larger production volume makes them LESS expensive to produce than the few gas-only models that are still made. (In the first model year, flex-fuel cost about $100 more.)

    Ford's idea has promise for newly designed cars and with smaller motors (less weight)*. Thus there are significant other savings: As I recall, every pound you can remove from the engine is 8 pounds less total car weight. Why some engines are with aluminum blocks and steel sleve inserts for the pistons to run in etc. but just upping the % alcohol in the US gasoline supply will imediately reduce the flow or funds to countries supporting the terrorists, and can significantly reduce the cost of driving in the US if the 54cent/ gallon import duty on alcohol were removed. Less air pollution / global warming would be welcome side effects. The many benefits are so obvious that this anti-free trade tarriff would have been removed years ago if IOWA were not the first state to hold its primary election process.

    In Brazil this percentage is government adjusted in effort to balance the suplies of gasoline and alcohol available. It goes as high as 25% alcohol in what comes form the "gasoline pump" at the service station, but that is about the limit if the car was designed for gas only. I think the percent alcohol in the gasoline is in the high teens now.

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    *Separate injectors for both gas and alcohol, the extra fuel tank etc will surley add more than $100 to the cost, I would guess. Thus I see no advantage over a flex fuel car as it can certainly have the same, if not higher, compression ratio and reduced weight. As Ford liked to say in ads: "Ford has a better idea." but Brazil had a better one, 35 years ago with the high-compression, alcohol-only car!*

    For several years Brazil has been making alcohol power small airplanes (Higher power with less weight and the maintance has turned out to be less also. They do not have the range of a gas powered plane, so mainly are used as crop dusters which need to return for more pesticide often anyway.)

    PS to hypewaders I bet you know already but for the benefit of others: Some WWII planes used water injecton to temporarily boost power. I think that works because the H2O droplets became steam as the piston went down to keep the force on it higher longer - offset some of the pressure reduction as the combustion gasses expanded.

    I do not know why mixing gas and alcohol in the fuel is a "bad idea" - if it is it, it must be very easy to fix as cars in Brazil have been doing that for more than 30 years - As noted above when alcohol is in short supply little is added but just after the harvest there is 25% alcohol in the "gasoline" supplied in Brazil. There is no noticible problem. It should have appeared in 30+ years of doing this if it were real. Many people who owned "gas only" cars ran on their own mix at the pump - put some in from both the gas and the alcohol pumps. I owned a Russian made Lada (4 wheel drive) and it was Gas only. When alcohol was much cheaper I often did this, but it had significantly reduced power on a 50/50 mix. Russian gas is of low quality so I though I could safely mix at the pump. Perhaps the one time I made a 50/50 mix there was already 25% alcohol in the "gas"?
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    *They used higher compression than is possible in the flex fuel cars, so cannot run on gasoline. They became very un popular when the price of surgar was high (20 or so cents / pound) as then most sugar cane processors made only sugar and it was very hard and expensive to get fuel for your alcohol only car for a couple of years.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2009
  8. hypewaders Save Changes Moderator

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    You're right Billy T that water injection deserves another look. There are efficiency advantages with higher compression (and in some engines you can do it simply by installing taller pistons). The challenge is in keeping the fuel-air charge from exploding (detonation) instead of burning more gradually in a smooth power stroke. If we can increase compression and still avoid detonation (mostly a full-throttle, high-power risk) then we can gain efficiency- more power from the same size engines.

    Regarding ethanol troubles, water solubility in alcohol is the challenge. If you can keep ethanol isolated from air and water, you have nice clean ethanol. But as you expose it to humidity and water, your watered-down drink begins to lose its kick. Much worse, if the concoction is a blend of petroleates and ethanol, chemical breakdown into harmful and incombustible compounds accelerates dramatically- Ethanol-blended gasoline must be distributed and handled in isolation from the environment (it generally isn't) or burned up before it breaks down, or there is trouble. In aviation, we're accustomed to chemically-stable fuel, that can be stored indefinitely without any chemical changes. Ethanol-blended gasoline is chemically unstable, and goes bad like milk. We're not ready to accept fuel that rots in aviation.

    I'm curious what experiences are in Brazil with vehicles that are used infrequently- do you ever have difficulty starting an engine on old fuel, that's been sitting around for long periods? Do you ever have issues with fuel filters and pumps- clogs from varnishes and precipitates, or vapor lock from fuel boiling in hot weather or high altitude? If Brazilians have overcome these things, it will be great news for general aviation worldwide, because we must find new fuel solutions for piston-engine airplanes.
     
  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    If you visit the investor relations section of http://www.saomartinho.ind.br/ir/ and stop the sequencing display at top right of page when the pie chart is showing you will see that 37% of recent revenue came for sugar production, 29% from “hydrous ETOH,” 25% from “anhydrous ETOH” and 3% from selling power into the gird. (Burning crushed cane gives all the distillation heat and produces electric power – why cane base alcohol gives 8.1 fold energy gain but corn based gives only a little above unity gain with more fertilizer required [to compensate for Iowa’s shorter growing season] and natural gas used to distil the ETOH from the water.) and 2% from RNA*

    I am not sure of the market but think that the hydrous ETOH which has ~4 or 5% water content is what is added to gasoline so, if true, a little more water absorbed from the air while sitting in your car’s tank it is not very significant. I think the anhydrous is what comes from the alcohol pumps at the gas station. Do you know which alcohol they add to the gasoline in US to make “gasohol”? I am nearly sure, some of the "cheap fuel stations" add untaxed paint thiner and/or water to the "alcohol" they sell. Routinely some fuel distributors are arrested for selling adulterated fuel.

    *I think that is RiboNucleic Acid sodium salt. It may be produced as a byproduct when chemically removing the water to make the anhydrous ETOH? Perhaps it is just some RNA of the cane that goes into solution during fermentation? Here from my files is who buys it, as well as facts related to Japan’s long term contracts (not only China is signing 30 year contracts):

    “26March07 Sao Martinho signed a 30-year ethanol supply deal with Mitsubishi Corp. Sao Martinho subsidiary Usina Boa Vista SA will ultimately produce around 286,000 cubic meters hydrated alcohol and sell Mitsubishi 30% of it. ... Also Mitsubishi will buy 10 percent of new usina, Boa Vista. "Mitsubishi already acquires our Ribonucleic Acid Sodium Salt output …” (“usina” means “plant.” The term is used for power plants also.)

    I do not understand but all flex fuel cars have a small gasoline tank - about one gallon. They start of pure gasoline. We forget to fill ours, so then the car is harder to start as it only has "pure" alcohol. I do not know if this is because it is ignorant of fact it is "out of gas" and not yet feeding alcohol to engine or if it is smart and just harder to start on alcohol.

    My wife had an alcohol only car 20 or so years ago and says it was hard to start when cold, so I suspect our flex fuel car knows it has no gas and just is more difficult to start on alcohol only. That gallon of gas last for several months of starting use only. It would become "gummy" if the tank were filled only once a year - why it is so small, I think.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2009
  10. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Yes the WE in this case is the third party verification mentioned...but even their word is invalid without a credible reputation.

    Again, it comes down to trust.

    On the 'risk of explosion' issue Billy brought up, I thought I should post the patent application by Lockheed Martin for military gear designed to incorporate the EESTOR unit in body armor.


    http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2008156903

    http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2008156903&IA=US2008059684&DISPLAY=DESC


    That Lockheed would even consider this for something impacted with bullets, shrapnel, etc. speaks to their faith in EESTOR's claim...that the unit can survive a stake driven through its center.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  11. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    If a child says 2+2 are you not going to believe them? Does it have to be a mathematicians that says this?

    No reputation is require for any claim, just evidence and review of that evidence, who provides the evidence does not matter.

    There also patents for energy generators that suck energy out of high dimensions, that does not stop us from speculating that if they worked what applications there would be.
     
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Both your links seem to be suggesting that the metal plate(s) of body armor can have parallel EEstor electrodes and provide energy for the many devices that the policman etc. uses now with separate and heavier batteries, as I understand them in quick skim. Not much total energy stored - possiblely less that that of a high speed bullet hitting the plate.

    However, tanks now days use "active armor" to disrupt the proper formation of a "shaped charge" projectile. The EEstor cazpacitor might be supperior to chemicla explosives in this application as the energy stored of an area large compared to the region where the shapped charge is forming could flow to that site instead of only the chemically stored energy already at the site. I.e with chemical storage most of the energy can not get to the penetrating projectile in time to disrupt it, so the chemical explosives active armor tends to be several inches thick. (To make sufficient energy available at the impcat site.) I think the EEstor active armor could be much thiner and it would be no real problem to keep it fully charged.

    I have not read much EEstor literature and never saw any claim about it not exploding when stake is driven thru the unit. That seems very improbably to me if the unit was fully charged even if the stake is a non-conductor instead of "nail like."

    Do you have a link where this claim is made? If true it would dispute my suggestion that EEstor active armor may be better than current chemical active armor for tanks etc.
     
  13. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    Er, that's reactive armour.
    Active armour is something else altogether.
     
  14. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks. "Reactive" is certainly better term and a lot of things could be called "active armor." Perhaps, with a stretch, even "shooting first" :shrug:
     
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Sharing cars is very “green” as approximately 25% of all the CO2 the car will release in its life time was released before it even reaches the new car showroom. Hard to believe, but true. For example, the steel in it was mined, transported and refined ore to Fe2O3, two molecules of which then in the blast furnace generate three molecules of CO2 for reduction to iron and at least the same amount was needed to heat the mass of coke and iron oxide to the melting point of iron.

    In the US coal based power system, more CO2 was released to energize the stamping presses, light the factory lights, run the assemble line and it robots, etc. Then one must make the car’s tires, it wiring, it lights, its paint, etc. etc.


    Zipcar Inc., the world’s largest car-sharing company, which has grown in nine years from a single lime-green VW Bug to a fleet of 6,500 autos and will post its first profit in the third quarter … Zipcar’s success has prompted Hertz to announce its own sharing service with 1,000 vehicles in New York City by year’s end, up from 100 in May.

    Zipcar's 300,000 members pay an annual membership fee, currently $50 + gas and insurnace. Reservations, pickups and returns are self-serve through the Internet or by telephone. The reservation system tracks where a Zipcar is left by the last user… To enter car just swipe your membership card over windshield where card reader is.

    Zipcar infro from: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=atwFxRnEVH9M

    Billy T notes: As main market is large cities, all electric cars with assigned parking place chargers as pick up/ return locations is very practical extension of the idea.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2009
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