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Fuel of the future

Fuel of the future

03.02.2015
Car that consume compressed air, solar energy and waste water instead of fuel. What else can we expect in the nearest future?

In December Toyota starts selling its first mass production hydrogen car in the local market. It will be available in the USA and Europe by the end of this year. The car has received a symbolic name Mirai (future).

The principle of operation is based on hydrogen oxidation in an electrochemical generator and, as a result, it generates electric current that supplies the electric engine. It means the car is a kind of electric car, but the power supply is electricity generated by hydrogen, not a battery. Water vapour and heat are extracted into the atmosphere as a result of hydrogen oxidation and it makes this car environmentally friendly. Fuel of hydrogen, which takes 5 minutes, is 482 km (300 miles).

The main drawback of the car is its price, which is 58 000 dollars, which is twice more expensive than the Prius. To stimulate the sales of environmentally friendly vehicles Japan privides a subsidy and it reduces the cost by 19 000 dollars. In the USA they have a similar system which reduces the cost up to 45 000 dollars, which is cheaper than the sensational electric car Tesla.

They are planning to make 700 cars for the USA, Japan and Europe. This small amount is due to lack of developed infrastructure for fuelling hydrogen cars not due to low demand. There are a few hydrogen stations and Toyota promises to fuel these cars for free until they have normal infrastructure. There are 27 hydrogen stations in Europe, 13 in the USA. In the nearest future they are planning to open another 19 stations. The cost of hydrogen is high at the moment and in Russia 40 litres might cost 1 800 roubles. Its price will decrease with the development of hydrogen stations. Besides hydrogen, there are alternative methods of fuelling cars.

Compressed air

In the early 2000 MDI company developed an idea of creating a car with compressed air. According to its calculations, the car can travel 200 km. the Indian car maker Tata became interested in this project and they were planning to launch the mass production of the OneCAT in 2012. However, this has not happened yet.

Solar energy

The Audi A3 Sportback g-tron uses synthetic methane (e-gas) as fuel. This fuel is produced by the reaction of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, the energy for which is taken from solar batteries and wind stations.

Recycling

One of the solutions from Audi is e-diesel. In fact, this is ethanol, which is produced during recycling of waste water by cyanobacteriae.

Oil

Most European diesel vehicles use biodiesel, which is produced by processing vegetable oil, coconut oil, soybean oil. Biodiesel has a short life as it exfoliates eventually.

Spirit

In the USA and Mexico they use ethyl spirit(ethanol) that is mixed with conventional fuel. It has a high consumption and absorbs moisture.

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