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Old 03-17-2009, 02:28 AM   #1
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Air Based Hybrid?

I don't like electricity based hybrids for a variety of reasons and wonder if air could be used instead. You'd have a smaller engine (ideally one designed with supercharging in mind) that could be supercharged from a compressed air tank and a compressor to pump it up (and give you regenerative braking). When you need extra power for accelerating, you'd use air from the tank. It seems like with clever design the tank could be integrated into the frame to save space and/or weight. With a home compressor you could even have the equivalent of a plug-in hybrid (at least to an extent). A turbocharger for energy recovery may or may not make sense (same with an intercooler). Obviously there's more cost, more complexity, and probably more overall weight, but that's true of electric hybrids as well.

A more advanced approach would be to use an engine cycle that relies on external compression, but that's taking it to a whole other level.

Truthfully, I don't think this is the way to go either, but it makes for an interesting technical discussion.
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Old 03-17-2009, 04:37 AM   #2
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not exactly what you are talking about but they do make an air powered car. they are actually producing it in india (or they said they were at least). they have a contract with tata motors (a big car company over there). I know, funny name.

I heard that they have issues with it freezing up in the winter. another member on this site also told me that they were extremely loud. I haven't seen one in person so I don't know. it is an interesting concept though.

http://zeropollutionmotors.us/

they also have a hybrid that is gas/air but the gas runs a compressor.
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Old 03-17-2009, 04:51 AM   #3
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I've heard air cars have pretty bad overall efficiency. The air tank technology is very interesting on those.
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co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
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: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:38 AM   #4
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air hybrid engine listed on green car congress.

regards
gary
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:45 AM   #5
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The article was published february 1-09 on the green car congress web site.
sounds similar to the op's idea.

Compressed air engines have a couple of major problems. one is the presence of any combustible vapor in the presence of air compressed above 500 psi has the potential for spontaneous ignition.

The MIDI is a compressed air powered car that was supposed to be the solution with compressed air drives and storage at many thousands of psi. It may be feasible for short distances but the vehicle will have to be very light.

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Old 03-17-2009, 06:49 AM   #6
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I did a quick search and they seem to be using the air in an air motor, rather than as a source for supercharging the main engine. Very similar, though.

UPDATE:

My bad, their suggested layout uses air in an air motor AND to supercharge. I scanned a little too quickly. Seems kind of complicated, but since the air motor could also be the compressor, maybe it'd work fine.

Since it was mentioned, their Round Engine is very neat, but I worry a lot about sealing problems for such a complicated geometry. You can't really trust estimated performance data from device developers as it tends to be rather rosy. Be cool to see real world empirical figures.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
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Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
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: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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