New fuel to power our cars?

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handyman
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New fuel to power our cars?

Post by handyman » 25 Feb 2015, 15:04

Is this the way forward? http://www.biobutanol.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 27 Feb 2015, 21:30

Wouldn't upset me if we saw an increasing number of these, in particular in our towns and cities. I have the "pleasure" of driving a Fiat Doblo diesel for short trips in town from time to time, and despite the dpf, and probably because of the dpf and its seemingly constant need for regeneration, i would be happy to see the full UK fleet of them taken off our roads, and replaced with NIssan Electric Vans like this, or something similar.

Image


Of course the electricity has to be generated from somewhere, but we really have not progressed very far, or have had sufficient vision and leadership in political circles to have developed a fully-fledged "electrical infrastructure for transportation to rival or replace petrol or diesel.

At least the current electric vehicles look like proper cars and vans, but battery range is still restrictive, and recharging inconvenient and slow but hopefully getting better.

Maybe the way forward is not having electrical recharge points at service stations and elsewhere to plug the vehicles into for a recharge, but purchasable ready charged "fuel" cells, which are exchanged for spent ones at refuelling stations, and off we go for another 140 miles!

Not exactly a well thought out plan from me as yet-the exchange "cells" would have to be pretty small, or a fuelling staion may need a storage facility the size of Wembley Stadium to supply even one days worth of potential customers! To recharge them each service station may also have to have an electricity sub-station to supply the necessary power.

Not going to happen overnight is it, but that is not to say it won't

regards Neil

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by Zelandeth » 28 Feb 2015, 11:32

One big step forward in EV tech may not be far around the corner (I know...we hear that every other Wednesday) with some research currently being undertaken by a mob over in Isreal if I remember right. Using a graphene host material to suspend the electrolyte they have been able to create batteries comparable to those in phones/laptops in capacity, but able to charge in a minute or less without damage. Whether that can scale up to the traction battery level and how longevity will be are very different questions.

Also, the charging infrastructure still would need to be there..and then we need to ask where that power comes from...

A car you could do 100 odd miles in and then charge in 10 mins wouldn't really put me off. My Lada Niva only used to manage about 120 miles to a tank, and I've owned cars where the tank takes not far off that long to fill (Jag XJ anyone?). Oh...and ever stood there with a non-latching pump filling up the tank on a coach? Takes fooooorever!

For me I think getting the charge time down to around the ten minute mark without killing the battery life is really going to be key to gaining a real market share, that and cost!

Have had a shot in a BMW i3 as a passenger and was well impressed. Everything else seems ready now for cars like that. A milkfloat it ain't, goes like a little (eerily silent) rocket. The torque off the mark is downright addictive, and we found was quite sufficient to baffle drivers of many other vehicles.

The EV is coming. It's not quite there yet...but if you look where we are now compared to 10-15 years ago the progress in the last few years has been impressive.

I've no real hope of another "magic" liquid fuel at this point simply because it seems that claims of one seem to pop up (and then vanish without any further comments virtually the day after) so regularly.

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by isisalar » 28 Feb 2015, 12:02

That article about the fuel was pretty frightening really. Genetically modifying microbes? Could go terribly wrong if they got into the environment.

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 28 Feb 2015, 12:45

My vision for the "rechargeable cells" you exchange at a "Fuelling Station", would be for it to be as easy as buying a packet of 20 cigarettes. (ie no heavy lifting/and simple pull out/exchange/plug in). The fuelling stations could recharge overnight, or even take delivery from a fleet of "fuel cell tankers" where just like petrol, the recharged cells could be produced at industrial scale "plants" and distributed to the fuelling stations, rather than each fuelling station having on-site charging capability.

I'm sure our finest scientists and researchers, car designers and developers could come up with a successful solution, whether it is for the more rapid charging infra-structure directly at fuelling stations "from the grid", or the development of the "drop-in" ready-charged "cells" alongside a distribution network like that for petrol.

The electric car is already here based on current battery technology, so to me the development of a Hydrogen infrasturcture for fuel cell cars is unlikely at this stage to progress. I haven't updated myself recently on how Arnie is getting on in California, but to his credit at one time he did try to pursue a vision of hydrogen based transportation in his State.

regards Neil

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by Zelandeth » 28 Feb 2015, 14:26

The biggest issue with the exchange issue is one of energy density.

Currently the battery packs are pretty huge and spread throughout the car, so simply switching them out is impractical.

Nothing to say that tech won't come along to make batteries smaller though as time goes on...for instance compare LiPo batteries today to NiCd or NiMH from beforehand.

There's a jumper pack doing the rounds at the moment that's about the size of a couple of DVD cases using LiPo batteries. Packs more punch than the old lead acid ones that were many times the size.

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by isisalar » 28 Feb 2015, 16:12

My first ever job in the retail motor trade was at the height of the fuel crisis in the early seventies. The dealership I worked in had a Reliant Scimitar franchise and had done various experiments to try and improve economy, with some success, including supercharging and steam injection. It would be interesting to know if the supercharged one still exists I remember the reg no. was PYX 3L. The most interesting one though was electric. The engine had been removed and the engine bay was filled with conventional car batteries and an electric motor had been fitted, I think in place of the gearbox. The details have faded from memory over the years but I think it had a top speed of 60 mph and a range of around 100 miles. I've often thought that, comparing the old early mobile phone batteries (some of which were like car batteries) with todays lithium iron phone batteries, that are like after eight mints, that a decent electric car is certainly possible. Generating the electricity and charging the batteries is of course the bugbear.
Love the idea of the cells available at fueling stations, amusing that it's a bit like changing horses in the old days.

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 28 Feb 2015, 22:48

isisalar wrote: .. the reg no. was PYX 3L.

Love the idea of the cells available at fueling stations, amusing that it's a bit like changing horses in the old days.
The Autotrader vehicle check produced this, so the Scimitar is still currently on the DVLA records

Vehicle details found: PYX3L
BROWN, RELIANT SCIMITAR GTE SALOON

I do like your analogy of the changing horses :) . The solution to the needs of fuelling electric vehicles may have already been applied to similar problems in the past (ie the relatively low mileage range of your average horse and the desire to travel longer distances). Who knows one day,you may be able to purchase charged fuel cells from "The Pickled Egg" and other well known Coaching Inns :!:

Regards Neil

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by Zelandeth » 28 Feb 2015, 23:05

I reckon the biggest hurdle here is going to be standardisation.

Interchangeable "fuel packs" would need to be vehicle independent, which requires car makers to co-operate. It also means that we need a situation where everyone involved doesn't insist on coming up with a new "improved" version of the standard every two and a half weeks without being fully backwards compatible. Which you know it never would be!

Which is a shame as it's not a bad idea in principle! Standardisation of the power pack, size of it and of course where the power comes from are tricky to overcome though. The latter two are potentially dealable with as technology progresses, but the first requires commonsense in an industry where it seems to be hugely common for companies to bite off their nose to spite their face.

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 28 Feb 2015, 23:41

Excellent points Zel, but wouldn't it be great if Britain could lead the way in coming up with solutions. If it does then the model would be scalable world-wide and bring tremendous economic benefits long-term to the Country, as well as solving my current problem of a smelly doblo and its constantly regenerating dpf!

regards Neil

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by Stickyfinger » 01 Mar 2015, 10:25

As the technology is constantly changing ATM I do not think the "cassette" method will work commercially....I wonder how many are holding back due to the Mini-Disk/Betamax formula ?

Yes it could be done, but it will be dated in a year ....and that is a massive problem. Maybe our German friends can come up with a DIN size then we would just fall in line with that :)

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 01 Mar 2015, 11:17

Its interesting looking back to see which formats win out, when there are are a number of competing ways forward. In the transportation field 60% of the World's Railways run on the 4 foot 8 and a half inches guage, which won out over the "broad Guage" of the GWR and others. A 4 foot 8 inches guage was used at the Killingworth Wagonway and subsequently on the successful Stockton and Darlington Railway, "eased" to 4foot 8 and one half inches with the building of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

..and this was the winner in "The Guage Wars" I wonder when Hollywood are going to get around to making a movie out of stuff like this :-D

So the trains that Hitachi will be building in County Durham, will have standardised running gear to fit in with the width of a horse pulling coal carts on a wagonway in Killingwoth in the early 1800's.

regards Neil

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by isisalar » 01 Mar 2015, 14:55

isisalar wrote:.. the reg no. was PYX 3L.
Nice to know the old girl is still around, it was a metallic brown, a BMW colour I think, you could choose your own colour in those days, we matched one to a female customers favorite nail varnish, and the producer of the Pink Panther films had a pink example.
IIRC that brown car had the supercharger and steam injection, manual, probably with overdrive, it was very very quick. At least it won't be rotting away.
They were quite good cars for their day, considering that they were cobbled together from bits of this and that. Ford classic screen, E type back axle, Granada engine, Cortina gearbox, there may well have been a bit of MGB and a few Triumph bits in the mix too. The factory was a collection of sheds on what seemed to have been at one time a farm in Tamworth and the average time spent on a P.D.I. was 24 hrs. Some took weeks.
Happy days.

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 02 Mar 2015, 23:46

While electrical infrastructures on our road network are in their infancy, Many of our cities and regions were pioneers in developing the necessary infrastructure and vehicles to run public transport services on electricity. Newcastle being a good example.

In the early 1900's Newcastle developed an network of tramlines to serve the city and its suburbs. The Newcastle Corporation even built a dedicated power station at Manors to power the system. This is a 1901 Tram built by Hurst Nelson and Co. Motherwell for Newcastle Corporation Tramways, and you can still have a ride on it today at Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham.

Image

In the mid 1930's A trolley Bus network for the City and its suburbs was established and gradually replaced the tramways. This is a Sunbeam S7 three-axle trolleybus, and was delivered on 27 July 1948. Newcastle replaced its trolleybus services by motor buses in stages over the period 1963 to 1966, and the network of overhead wires was removed. An ageing infrastructure and the greater convenience and speed of motor buses brought an end to the trolley buses as it had done for the trams before them. For those who like me enjoy the odd moment wallowing in nostalgia, Beamish Museum lets you step back in time and ride on the trolley buses again!

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Newcastle was also pioneering in establishing one of the first city and suburban electric rail networks in the early 1900's. The network was based on the 3rd Rail system although the short freight only Quayside Branch had both overhead wires and the 3rd rail system in tunnels. Locomotives which could work on both operated the line, like this one preserved in the National Railway Museum at Shildon County Durham.

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The "Electric Trains" were replaced by diesel and the lines de-electrified between 1963 and 1967. The network itself was re-electrified in the early 1980's to form the Tyne and Wear Metro System but not using the 3rd Rail system but overhead wires.

Not sure if any parallels can be drawn with the current stage of development of electric road transport. Overhead wires and power stations on motorways? probably not...

regards Neil

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Re: New fuel to power our cars?

Post by NewcastleFalcon » 03 Mar 2015, 21:57

.....probably only of appeal to "older Tynesiders" but if you are sick of Top Gear, and other current light entertainment offerings on the gogglebox, a documentary in the old fashioned "informative style" in 6 parts. Personally I find it fascinating, but I know all the places, and well remember the trolley buses if not the trams. All the difficulties of creating a successful electric transport network were overcome, not just in Newcastle but in many other cities across the Country.

Newcastle Trolley Buses Playlist

regards Neil