Forget electric cars, British engineer proposes liquid nitrogen as the fuel of the future

 
 

With high prices of fossil fuels and the emissions related with their use has made auto makers bring about major changes in the way cars are powered, with most of them proposing the use of electricity or hydrogen in eco friendly cars that can run without emitting a single ounce of carbon dioxide from their tail pipes. However, the entire concept of electric or hydrogen fuel cell powered cars is debatable since most of the electricity is still produced in traditional coal-fired power plants.


Peter Dearman, a British engineer believes that liquid nitrogen holds the potential to power cars in a clean and efficient way. To even better the eco credentials of his concept, Dearman says that his method involves the use of nighttime electricity produced by wind turbines to cool air down to the point of liquefying it. The liquid is then stored in vacuum and heated back into gas to power cars.

The engine thought by Dearman is just as revolutionary. The engine dispenses with the costly heat exchanger required to heat the gas to boil it and instead uses a small amount of water and anti-freeze is injected into the cylinder just as liquid nitrogen is drawn in. As the gas is heated it expands rapidly forcing the piston down inside the cylinder.

Apart from being green, a car that runs on the technology is expected to be light in weight since it doesn’t carry any heavy lithium ion batteries. Moreover, since the car doesn’t have to withstand high temperatures, it can be made using cheap alloys and even plastics. The “imaginative engineering” of the engineer does seem commendable, but if issues regarding the safety of a nitrogen fueled car aren’t solved, the entire concept could just remain on paper.

Via: Smart Planet/ The Economist

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