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Air Powered Engines

Updated on January 19, 2013

Air Power Revolution

Power from an Air Engine?
Yes. You heard me right, an air engine.
An engine that uses compressed air to drive it as opposed to an internal combustion engine which uses a fuel to burn, or an electric which has to have heavy batteries.

As crazy as it sounds, there are hundreds of experimenters doing this now. From modifying lawnmower engines, to full sized V-8s. Of course there are industrial turbine motors that can be used, but I'm talking about things that you can do to an existing engine.

Some of these motors, because of heated air expanding creating even more pressure, are as close as we will ever get to Perpetual Motion. Though because we are working from the pressure build up from solar heat causing atmospheric pressure. This pressure is what keeps it from being perpetual motion because we are actually using solar energy. It is not perpetual motion like the opponents would have you to believe that we are trying for.

The downside of these cars is they have to be light weight and have air tanks that can hold extremely high pressure without the possibility of puncture in an accident.

An intriguing idea that is not actually in it's infancy. Some of these designs come from the 1800s. Some of the biggest advances could have been used to power automobiles back in the 1930s!

So why aren't we using this technology now? Too many in the scientific community say it can't be done, and then there is speculation that the fossil fuel lobbies are suppressing this information. For obvious reasons.

So what would you do if you never had to refill you car again?


Photo courtesy of MDI

Energine and MDI

A electric hybrid vehicle running from on board pressure tanks, the PHEV, created by Energine and presented at The Paris AutoShow in 2002, was a car powered by standard engine that didn't run on fuel, it had been simply reconfigured to run on about 10 bar of air and from there powered a generator that ran the batteries that powered the electric motor.

MDI is producing several different prototypes, but even though they have produced a more efficient motor assembly with less moving parts, they use the same exact principle as Energine.

These designs are interesting and would still save a ton of fossil fuel, but they still have to be filled with compressed air frequently. They have a good range and the MDI AirCar has an on board air compressor that supplies a source of air for longer trips.

But that compressor still uses fossil fuel to be powered, unless you either used regenerative breaking to build an electrical charge for an electric powered compressor. Or you ran the compressor off of an alternative source such as alcohol or hydrogen.

HHO systems have been designed that would run a single or twin cylinder motor without any extra fuel.

While an excellent alternative to a gas guzzler, these cars are still far from perfect and with the pre-production woes that MDI is experiencing, they seem to be just too far out of reach as of yet, by us commoners.

Regenerative Compression

I know, big words, but what this means is that you have two air tanks. One tank is connected to the other with a check valve. The check valve keeps the air going in only one direction.

The first tank only gets the air that has already passed through to engine or air that is pumped in from some other source, say: a suction piston on the engines flywheel. This tank keeps a lower pressure but because of the check valve assembly, the lower air pressure gets heated under it's own pressure as it gets released into the other tank.

Heated air becomes even more pressurized. Because of this, the air in the second tank is much higher pressure. The volume of air hasn't changed, but the ambient heat has caused this tank to have more pressure.

This tanks sends the higher pressure to the motor which produces the power. This power can be used to push a car, power a generator, even (as evident around the turn of the century) to push mining trains that had been converted from steam locomotives.

There will be some loss of energy and many advocates say not to let the recycled air back into the first tank because there is no reliable way, not even with a pressure relief valve, to control the vacuum created by the motors intake cycle, and/or the increase in pressure should the motor make even more pressure by way of heating the system even more.

They say to vent it out and bring in more of the outside air.

The down side of this type of system is that while stable, if there are any oils present in the check valve assembly, the unit gets hot enough that it could ignite the oils and explode. Or the system could over charge itself.

Correct precautions could prevent these kinds of dangers. Precautions like making sure that your check valve assembly is inside your tank. Should it explode, the tank would act as a buffer, containing the explosion.

Maintenance and the correct filter system would take care of any oils getting into the system.

For much more on this subject visit Pneumatic Options Research Library A wealth of information and a terrific guy.

Will you build or buy one?

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