This is such a cool idea that I just had to come at it, even though I’m a few months behind on the original announcement. In September, 2009, a new car aptly named the “Algaeus” completed it’s cross country tour successfully and refueled the idea that algae might bring natural solutions to our high tech problems after all. The algae fueled car traveled 3,750 miles across the country, spreading the word of new possibilities. After it completed it’s tour, it then joined the “Green Energy Bus”, the Veggie Van Organization and the FUEL team for a college tour to further spread the green word. The “Green Energy Bus” is a retrofit interactive classroom that shows students just how the new concept works.

The Algaeus is the brainchild of Sapphire Energy, the leader in algae-based renewable fuel, who joined with the team behind the award winning film FUEL, to complete the first cross-country car tour powered by a blend of algae-based gasoline in an unmodified engine. It took a total of 10 days after starting in San Fransisco and making it’s way to New York City, to which it arrived on September 18. The Algaeus presents a tantalizing peek into a very likely future which excites me. Sapphire Energy provides the fuel for the extraordinary car, containing a mixture of hydrocarbons refined directly from algae-based Green Crude and extracted through Sapphire’s proprietary process. However, there really is nothing extraordinary about the car in reality. It could be your car, the way things are hopefully going to turn out!

(more…)

Imagine that there will be such a thing as a Magnesium Combustion engine. In fact, it’s not imagination. Japan, via the Tokyo Institute of Technology, is developing an efficient solar powered laser. This laser will supposedly aid in the development of a viable magnesium combustion engine.

According to Takashi Yabe, a professor of mechanical engineering and science, their goal is to create a powerful laser that can effectively combust magnesium from sea water. Isn’t it fascinating to know that Magnesium is a great energy source? Did you know that its energy storage density is 10 times more than hydrogen? Moreover, it is also immensely abundant.

Mr. Yabe also claims that magnesium oxide produced from the reaction can again be converted into magnesium. This recycling process does require enormous heat but the conversion process makes the energy source sustainable and reusable. Also, in order to operate a magnesium combustion engine, solar power is required for the lasers. Lasers concentrate sunlight on neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet. I know this sounds like deep science and it’s almost a yawn but if you think about it, you know that solar powered lasers depend on mirrors. Regardless of all these twists and turns, Mr. Yabe, along with his colleagues at the University, have already developed an immensely powerful laser that can fill the bill.

So the magnesium combustion engine is no longer a fantasy. The entire project has been made possible with the addition of chromium. Through the addition of Chromium, “the efficiency from sunlight to laser is greatly enhanced”, according to Mr. Yabe. Instead of large mirrors, they have made use of a small Fresnel lens. Amazingly, in their work, they have “used only 1.3 meter squared and achieved 25 watts,” Yabe explained, adding, “so we are expecting 300 to 400 watts with the four-meter-squared Fresnel lens.”

By experts in the field, this is considered an unusual approach. But according to the same experts, “The key issue is cost and total efficiency.” There are also many other ways of generating hydrogen from solar power. And all of these projects make possible the entire spectrum of renewables to be at our disposal in the future. Our imagination is the only limit in the potential world view.

Solar Laser courtesty of Eco Friend

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,


Digg!

submit to reddit

India’s largest automaker has announced that it will begin producing the world’s first commercial air-powered vehicle. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre for Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air to push its engine’s pistons, instead of gasoline. Some 6000 zero-emissions Air Cars hit Indian streets in August of 2008. Here is a picture of their model:

The $12,700 CityCAT, pictured above, can hit 68 mph and has a range of 125 miles. It will take only a few minutes for the CityCAT to refuel at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units. And you can imagine how cheap compressed air is actually going to be. According to the manufacturer, MDI, it should cost around $2 to fill the car’s carbon-fiber tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. Drivers also will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car’s built-in compressor to refill the tanks in about 4 hours. This last perk is the best. You can just fill up your car while it’s in the garage. Cool.

The problem with this item is that we won’t see it here. It has an all glue construction that won’t pass our stringent regulations for automobiles. Also, if you take a look at it you can see that it’s not the kind of thing that Americans are going to get worked up about. Even so, you can’t write it off as insignificant considering that MDI has signed deals to bring this vehicle to 12 countries, including Germany, Israel and South Africa. It is ideally suited to these smaller countries where cars don’t take as much of a beating.

(more…)