Re: Car powered by compressed air ... is that for real?

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Thu Oct 26 2000 - 09:05:22 MDT

"Michael S. Lorrey" wrote:
> wrote:
> >
> > In a message dated 10/25/2000 7:38:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> > writes:
> >
> > > Back at cars, all of the above is cute, but fuel cell designs will win soon
> > > and
> > > then evolve as we get to nanotech.
> Ah, but with air, we can compress the air with nuclear, solar, and other
> non-fossil fuels.

1) Compressed air has poor end to end efficiency when used as an energy
storage medium (typically less than 20%). This is due to the heat
rejected during the compression process being lost.

2) Methanol, an excellent fuel cell reactant, can be efficiently
synthesized from CO2 and water via thermal shift reactions which can be
driven by your non-fossil sources.

3) Methanol fuel cells have better than carnot efficiency, some in
excess of 80%.

4) The usable energy storage density is about 100 times better for
methanol & fuel cells vs compressed air.

Four times the end to end efficiency and 100 times the mileage is a
difficult combination to beat.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

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