Air Car Abstract
The Air car is a car currently being developed and, eventually, manufactured by Moteur Developpement International (MDI), founded by the French inventor Guy Nègre. It will be sold by this company too, as well as by ZevCat, a US company, based in California. The air car is powered by an air engine, specifically tailored for the car. The used air engine is being manufactured by CQFD Air solution, a company closely linked to MDI. The engine is powered by compressed air, stored in a glass or carbon-fibre tank at 4500 psi. The engine has injection similar to normal engines, but uses special crankshafts and pistons, which remain at top dead
center for about 70% of the engine’s cycle; this allows more power to be developed in the engine. Though some consider the car to be pollution-free, it must be taken into account that the tanks are recharged using electric (or gasoline) compressors, resulting in some pollution, if the electricity used to operate the compressors comes from polluting power plants (such as gas-, or coal-power plants). Solar power could possibly be used to power the compressors at fuel station.
An Air Car is a car that can run on compressed air alone without the use of conventional fuels used in present day automobiles. The car is powered by an air engine. The air engine is an emission-free piston engine using compressed air. The engines are similar to steam engines as they use the expansion of externally supplied pressurised gas to perform work against a piston. For practical application to transportation, several technical problems must be first addressed:
» As the pressurised air expands, it is cooled, which limits the efficiency. This cooling reduces the amount of energy that can be recovered by expansion, so practical engines apply ambient heat to increase the expansion available.
» Conversely, the compression of the air by pumps (to pressurise the tanks) will heat the air. If this heat is not recovered it represents a further loss of energy and so reduces efficiency.
» Storage of air at high pressure requires strong containers, which if not made of exotic materials will be heavy, reducing vehicle efficiency, while exotic materials (such as carbon fibre composites) tend to be expensive.
» Energy recovery in a vehicle during braking by compressing air also generates heat, which must be conserved for efficiency.
» It should be noted that the air engine is not truly emission-free, since the power to compress the air initially usually involves emissions at the point of generation.
This most recent development using pressurized air as fuel in an engine was invented by Guy Nègre, a French engineer. In 1991 the inventor Guy Nègre started up Moteur Developpement International (MDI), Luxembourg and invented a dual-energy engine running on both compressed air as on regular fuel. From this moment on he managed to create a compressed air only-engine, and improved his design to make it more powerful. In the 15 years he’s been working on this engine, considerable progress has been made: the engine is now claimed to be competitive with modern ICEs. It is probably still not as powerful as an ICE (although depending on which model of air engine vs model ICE). Proponents claim that this is of little importance since the car can simply be made lighter, or the tanks be put on a higher pressure (psi-level), pushing the engine to above a comparable ICE- engine.