When the concept of green vehicles comes to mind many of the first fueltypes most think of is electricity, hydrogen, or biofuels. There are,however, those out there that believe that alongside those fuel typesair itself is a worthy addition to the green vehicle fuel line up. Using air as a fuel source can range from a wide variety of vehicle designs,including those using turbines or kite-like apparatus for propulsion,but the focus recently has been on using pneumatics.
According to Per Tunestal, a researcher from the Lund University inSweden who focuses on engine design, using pneumatics in electricvehicles and hybrids could prove more effective and more cost efficientin the long run. According to Tunestal, it is possible to developtechnology for use in electric vehicles that would allow the car tostore energy created from using the breaking system as compressed airinstead of in a potentially expensive battery. With the battery removedfrom the equation Tunestal believes that this could ultimately create aline of cheap pneumatic-electric hybrids.
Another member of the Lund University, a doctoral student named SasaTrajkovic, had backed up Tunestal’s claims with his own research intothe use of pneumatics in green vehicles. According to Trajkovic, fortyeight percent of the energy generated from breaking would be capable oftransfer for use as engine power later on. He also has stated that based on his own simulations into the use of pneumatics, city buses usingsuch technology could potentially cut their fuel usage down by nearlysixty percent.
Although the researchers over at Lund are optimistic thatpneumatic-electric hybrids are possible, they have stressed that thetechnology needed to make those models a reality does not yet exist inany concrete form. It is their hope, however, that as time passes thetechnology can be quickly developed in order to pave the way for a newtype of hybrid.
Photo Credit: Thomas Myhre
Richard is a Justmeans staff writer for theEnergy and Emissions category. He is a recent graduate of WesternCarolina University in North Carolina where he studied History andProfessional Writing. With an interest in the development andapplication of the latest computer, energy, and fuel technologies, hebelieves that the world must strive, with the help of these services, to better our societies for future generations. A love of science fictionat an early age served as the platform for introducing him to the worldof alternative energy and fuel sources, and he finds it exciting to seewhat were once only dreams in the minds of creative thinkers nowbecoming a reality. Richard spends a majority of his free timeresearching subjects relating to alternative fuel and power technology,reading, writing, and video gaming.