Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Motorcycle Runs on Air?

A couple of university researchers from Taiwan have developed an air-powered motorcycle. Here's an excerpt from a report by Jessica Marshall from Discovery News:

    "We may be driving on air in the next few years. That is, we may be driving vehicles powered by compressed air, instead of gasoline or diesel fuel.

    Researchers Yu-Ta Shen and Yean-Ren Hwang of the National Central University in Taiwan have developed an air-powered motorcycle, which uses the energy in compressed air, rather than gas, to drive the motor." -- Jessica Marshall, Discovery News

Of course, the real benefits of such a system might best be achieved in an air-powered automobile that has more room to house the bulky mechanism necessary to pull this off.

Let the alternative fuel games begin.

Here's the complete story. Feel free to comment on this story in the Comments section, below.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Walt:

This is a fascinating issue that has already seen a practical application. It is my understanding that fork-lift type trucks and warehouse vehicles already run on motors of this design. Of course, the question has been how can the pressure tanks be made larger and safer for the street. This consideration becomes even more of an issue for motorcycles.

After reading the article, I think it also becomes evident that the US market relies on two-wheeled vehicles for recreation, which might not be the case in the Taiwan sector. Even a 20-mile commuter scooter would get boring here.

However, this could be the ultimate vehicle for politicians. Candidates running for office could simply speak into a tube with a one-way valve and get unlimited distance and unlimited horsepower from compressed BS, of which this is no shortage in Washington, D.C.

Fondest regards
Jack Riepe (Vindak8r)

Anonymous said...

lol! thanks for the chuckle.

The art says that AFTER they expand the tank, it could go maybe 20 miles. Then they say it would be okay for in a city. Ummm... you mean a small town? 20 miles wouldn't even get you across Des Moines, Iowa and back!

And of course, there's that darned old Physics thing:
- a fat American wouldn't be able to go as far as a skinny Asian per tank of air.
- it takes energy to compress the air. (From the "Ain't No Free Lunch" box)

But there could be an upside... California would finally be able to meet their air quality standards as everyone drove these things their allotted 20 miles, then walked the rest of the way to work and home. (But they'd STILL get the energy to compress the air from those dirty Texas coal plants!)

Anonymous said...

What everyone seems to ignore is the fact that just because it runs on air DOESN'T mean it doesn't cause any pollution. Where do you think the air compressor that fills the tank gets it's electricity?? That's right, from an electrical power plant somewhere (probably coal) that has to put out just as much if not more pollution than if the bike ran on gasoline. Energy isn't free people, it has to come from somewhere. Unless it's wind or solar, all you are doing is moving the pollution source from one place to another. And, the more times energy is converted from one form to another, the more WASTE you get and inefficient the process becomes.