posted 7 years ago

New Liquid Air Fuel Could Power Cars

Centre For Low Carbon Futures Reveals Liquid Air Fuel

The Centre For Low Carbon Futures has revealed that liquid air could power cars in the future. In simple terms, it is created when excess energy from a renewable source such as a wind turbine is used to cool (say) 700-litres of air to -196C. This reduces its bulk to 1-litre which is then stored in an insulated vessel. When energy is required, it is heated to boiling point which forces it to expand back to its original proportion (in gas form). This expansion could power a wind turbine that might then produce electricity for the national grid. It could also fuel cars, ships, trains, lorries, motorbikes, etc. Liquid air is potentially invaluable as excess energy from renewable sources is not generally stored. In fact, it is often disposed of which is wasteful and expensive. Whereas this might not concern most electricity users now, it could be a significant issue in the future if the country becomes more dependant on renewable sources. After all, the wind does not blow all the time so we might need to store more power. Furthermore, liquid air is not a concept for the distant future - it is available now. As such, there has been a successful, small-scale, demonstration running in the United Kingdom for the past eighteen months.

Cars Powered By Liquid Air

If liquid air is to power a car the system has to meet certain criteria. Firstly, it must be small enough to be fitted to a standard-size vehicle and leave enough room for passengers and cargo. Furthermore, it needs to be light as too much weight is bad for fuel consumption and handling. It must also enable the vehicle to accelerate smoothly, and to a sensible speed at a sensible pace. Also, a full tank of liquid air must power the car for a reasonable mileage. Such a vehicle must also be supported by a nationwide refuelling system that pumps the air quickly and conveniently. After all poor mileage, limited charging points, and long charging times limit the practicality of today's alternative fuel cars. Cost is a factor too, as the average motorist cannot spend a small fortune on a vehicle. Plus, of course, liquid air must be safe - or at least no more dangerous than today's fuels both while the car is travelling and in the event of a crash.