Guy Negre is finally pushing on with his air-powered car concept. It’s something I’ve been hammering on about for some years now, ever since the concept was introduced to me by a funny old Frenchman in Chatelus Malvaleix. When he first told me, I though he was joking, but after investigating the concept, I’m all for it! In fact, I’ve put my name down on the short-list for one.
Why did we go to Chatelus Malvaleix? Because I looked on the map of France for somewhere we’d not been before. The town has a wacky name – so we went! It’s in the Creuse, a historically poor part of France that’s bypassed by all the motorways – so no-one goes.
The key is that it’s actually powered by electricity, and as I’ve said many times, we can make electricity from almost anything and transport it almost anywhere. Electrical Energy Storage, particularly for transport, has always been a bit of a problem – most technical solutions involve batteries running with various weights, temperatures and dodgy looking chemicals.
The machine has a tank that in the current (no pun intended) situation will need pumping up by running the motor in reverse by plugging it into the mains. If compressed air stations are commonplace (there are already places in Devon where scuba-divers can pump their tanks up) like petrol stations are now, then the car can be recharged in 3 minutes.
The only problem is that Guy, like most (French) men, has become fascinated with extra technology to make his car “sexy”. A lot of this is fancy door locks and alarms, lights etc, that look like they might have trouble in wet weather. Whether the heater is up to cold climates as well, well, only time will tell. Despite these (potential) flaws, it’s a sound concept that has at it’s heart a brilliant piece of mechanical engineering in the connection rod which is double-jointed to extract as much power from the power stroke as possible. This is necessary because of standard thermodynamic laws; that is, it’s not a heat engine like a car engine or a steam engine.
The car will reduce city pollution as it has to all intents and purposes, zero emissions. The electricity has to come from somewhere of course. I’ve already discussed this in another posting and will provide sound calculations for the UK based on historical energy demands to show that we are not in a disaster scenario where the country has to rely on dodgy countries for it’s energy, where people drop dead from asthma and other illnesses, where the sea just keeps rising and rising, where we have to fight stupid wars to maintain the energy flow, and where the only alternative that most pundits can see is global famine from biofuel and job losses and bankruptcies as industry collapses. There is no need for any of this to happen. People just need to put their thinking caps on and this car is part of the solution.
Later I will come up with a figure that will show the potential electrical power obtainable by forcing solar cells to be installed on every roof, starting with warehouses and the like. I’ll describe techniques using current technology to store all this electrical power for on-demand surges, night-time, winter and the like.