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  1. #1
    Guest

    compressed air car

    i guess we're getting closer to this one. recall word of it was posted here a few months back. now in the LA Times, 2-22-2005.

    this opens up various methods to get cars moving. gas, electric, mechanical, etc.


    BEHIND THE WHEEL
    A Little Engine That Could Make Gasoline Obsolete
    Pollution-free vehicle is powered by compressed air. Critics say it has had trouble reaching its range projections.


    By Dan Weikel, Times Staff Writer 2-22-2005
    You could say that Guy Negre, a French automotive engineer and former race car designer, is full of hot air. Or at least his latest invention is.

    Negre's Luxembourg-based company, Moteur Developpment International, is developing a line of cars, vans and pickups powered exclusively by compressed air. There's no gasoline, no costly service schedules and no polluting exhaust.

    The prototype vehicles are so clean, the company says, that the air coming out of them is often cleaner than when it goes in.

    "This represents something truly revolutionary in the automobile industry," said Shiva Vencat, the company's representative in the United States. "We are talking about changing the way we make cars, how we buy cars, and, more importantly, we are talking about a clean car."

    MDI claims that its air-powered automobiles will eventually render the internal combustion engine "as obsolete as the black-and-white television."

    The company plans to produce vans, family sedans, taxis, small trucks and three-passenger runabouts called the MiniCat.

    All are prototypes. Their bodies are made of aluminum tubing, fiberglass and injected foam. Prices are expected to range from less than $10,000 for the MiniCat to $16,000 for a six-seat sedan called the CitiCat.

    These are no ordinary cars. Power comes from fresh air stored in reinforced carbon-fiber tanks beneath the chassis. Air is compressed to 4,500 pounds per square inch about 150 times the pressure of the typical car tire. The air is fed into four cylinders where it expands, driving specially designed pistons. About 25 horsepower is generated.

    Though technical problems are being worked out, company officials say the car is capable of 70 mph and a 120-mile range under normal city conditions, performance that is comparable to electric cars.

    Critics say the car has had trouble living up to its range projections. But company officials say they are trying to overcome that by warming the stored air.

    Recharging the onboard tanks takes about four hours using the car's small compressor, which can be plugged into any wall outlet. Gas stations equipped with special air pumps can replenish the tanks in about three minutes. Company officials say the oil only needs to be changed every 31,000 miles.

    The idea of using compressed air isn't new. Writer Jules Verne predicted in the 1860s that the technology would be used to power cars in Paris by the late 20th century. Some primitive engines date to the early 1900s, and compressed air has been used for years to start race cars.

    Negre, who designed engines for Formula One cars, founded MDI in 1991 to further develop compressed-air technology. The company's factory is in Nice, France, and employs about 40.



    MDI hopes to raise money by selling hundreds of franchises to investors who will be licensed to produce and sell air cars regionally. Only the Nice plant will remain under direct MDI control.

    At least 40 franchises have been sold in France, Spain, South Africa and New Zealand, company officials say. The money has helped develop prototypes, but it has not been enough to build production models something that has been delayed several times.

    Vencat says the company has been trying to sell licenses in the United States, but MDI has not had any success, though he says there is some interest.

    Jean-Pierre Maeder, the chief executive officer of ZevCat, a small company in San Francisco, says he is interested in becoming America's first distributor of air cars.

    Maeder, a Swiss native with experience in factory production and alternative car technology, would like a franchise to build and sell MDI vehicles in Northern California. He says he needs about $20 million to do it.

    But capital has been hard to come by. A few years ago, Maeder's company made a public offering of 250,000 shares of stock at $2 a share to raise money for an MDI license. There were no takers.

    "It's a Catch-22 situation," Maeder said. "Investors want to see the product and drive it. They think it's too good to be true. But there are no production models here yet."

    Vencat estimates that the company needs an additional $5 million to $10 million to start producing cars in Nice and to meet vehicle requirements in MDI's franchise areas.

    Company officials say they are optimistic the car will sell if they can only get it into production. There is a surging demand, they say, for more eco-friendly transportation, such as electric cars and hybrid vehicles that combine electric motors with internal combustion engines.

    "Once we have the cars out there, we have won the battle," Vencat said. "For now, we are just surviving."


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  3. #2
    Guest

    compressed air car

    it was so nice to read about compresed air car.i would like to make many people know about this and i want to do a technical paper on this topic .i need your guidence for doing that technical paper on compressed air car,so please give me some model papers on compressed air car..it would be very helpful for me. thanking you.

  4. #3
    Guest

    compressed air car

    I thought Mexico City bought a bunch of these cars from a French company last year to replace their taxis and reduce smog?

  5. #4
    Guest

    compressed air car

    It's not polution free, it just relocates the polution from the tailpipe of the car to the coil and oil burning power plants. Those power plants burn coal and oil to make electricity which powers the air compressor that puts the pressurized air in the car.

    As long as all your power plants are very far away from your most heavily poluted areas, the net effect is a more broad distribution of polution rather than having it highly concentrated in a handful of large cities.

  6. #5
    Guest

    compressed air car

    Except for places that use wind or solar or nuclear power.

  7. #6
    Guest

    compressed air car

    The original article claims "Gas stations equipped with special air pumps can replenish the tanks in about three minutes" (to 4500 psi).

    Almost everybody who is familiar with compressing air, such as SCBA or SCUBA users, know the hazards of filling an air tank too fast. It's the same thing that makes a diesel engine's fuel-air mix ignite: Fast compression generates heat. (Can you say "adiabatic"?)

    There's got to be some pretty heroic heat-exchangers associated with that fast a compression to that high a pressure. Anything less will set things on fire and melt plastic, among other things.

  8. #7
    Guest

    compressed air car

    i gotta believe that having a central energy plant has some economy of scale to not polute as much as a detail gas engine would.

    i don't know if i've ever heard what the difference in polution is though.

    although somehow i think this would be a great application for a windmill - use the wind, compress air in a tank.

    for very high pressure systems, i know designers have used metal tubing rather then a large bottle like a SCUBA tank. a garden hose concept coiled up would hold higher pressure then a SCUBA bottle of the same volume.

    see ya



  9. #8
    Guest

    compressed air car

    I INVENTED A CAR THAT RUNS OFF AIR
    BUT YOU DONT NEED TO CHARGE THE
    CAR THE CAR RUNS OFF IT SELF
    I CAME UP WIYH THIS IDEA IN
    1998
    IF YOU WANT TO MAKE YOUR CARS BETTER
    GIVE ME A E-MAIL
    MY CAR IS THE BEST WAY TO GO
    YOUR CAR IS GOOD TO BUT ITS TO MUCH
    WORK FOR ME.

  10. #9
    Guest

    compressed air car

    I've got 4 words for you JD:

    "Conservation of energy law"

    Have fun with your flintstones car though. My sister's little kid has one too.

  11. #10
    Guest

    compressed air car

    forget trying photosmith - my old aunt never understood WHY we couldn't *just* put little windmills all over cars to take that wind energy & use it!

    she even wrote letters to ALL of the big three manufacturers!

    i wish i kept a copy of at least one of them. the writers back then answering her sure were good at diplomatic ways of telling my aunt she didn't have a clew!

    see ya


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