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Home > Focus > Green Travel Using Compressed Air

Green Travel Using Compressed Air

di Jonathan Hankins [1], 1 Febbraio 2010

This month a lecturer and students at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology unveiled a prototype of a motorbike powered solely by compressed air [2]. The project was created by lecturer Simon Curlis and carried out by by a team of students. Curlis's goal was to produce an emissions free motorbike capable of travelling at more than 100 miles per hour, a feat that is soon to be tested on a dried up lake in Australia.

Obviously the production of an emissions free engine without batteries seems to be a great breakthrough as it negates the need for highly toxic battery production and can be much lighter, but there are still some problems to be addressed with the technology. Compressed air is potentially explosive in the case of an accident, and the volume power ratio of air is incomparable to that of petrol, meaning that you either have to carry more or stop to re-fuel more often. One idea is to have a compressor on the bike that you can plug into the mains when the bike is parked to supplement the use of a compressor at home. Engineering student Edwin Yi Yuan who hopes to continue research into what he sees as a fun post graduate project admits that investment is required if a serious technological breakthrough is to be made.

If 'riding down the Queen's highway moving like a streak of lightening' isn't your scene, you could take a test drive in MDI Enterprises Air car [3]. MDI have been producing prototype air powered cars since 1995, and the company website offers technical specifications, designs and tentative prices for their future models, some of which also use a small petrol driven engine to re-charge the compressed air tanks allowing for great improvements in autonomy. They will also produce engines for motor boats, generators, tractors and light aircraft. Unfortunately their models are not yet on sale, but can be ordered in advance, although production dates have not yet been published.

In 2007 MDI signed a licensing deal with India's largest car maker TATA, and have ambitious plans to produce these cars for the mass market, but their release has been put off several times due to development issues with the technology. Rajiv Dube, President of Passenger Cars was quoted in late 2008 [4] as saying "The technology for an automobile engine that runs on compressed air is still in the development stage and launch of cars fitted with such engines from the Tata Motors stable in the near future is ruled out".

(photo: DSC00149 [5] - by Zeusandhera from Flickr)

Mostra/Nascondi i link citati nell'articolo

Link citati nell'articolo:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/360/5406/Motorcycle-Article/Green-Speed-Air-Motorcycle.aspx
  3. 3] http://www.mdi.lu/
  4. 4] http://www.cartradeindia.com/car-bike-news/tata-compressed-air-car-to-take-time-110388.html
  5. 5] http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeusandhera/2112081950/
CC Creative Commons - some rights reserved.
photo by Zeusandhera from Flickr
Leggi anche: Design-Push Innovation: Changing Accepted Meanings an interview with Roberto Verganti


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