Power

How Biodiesel Fuel-Cells Could Power The Future (And Your Car)

[social_buttons] After years of development, the Washington-based company InnovaTek is testing a hand-sized microreactor that can convert virtually any liquid fuel into hydrogen, producing a portable hydrogen stream for use in adjoining fuel-cells. Since the microreactor units can be linked together, InnovaTek has developed systems capable of producing anywhere from 1 to 160 gallons of hydrogen per minute—enough to supply a hydrogen refueling station or, even more exciting, creating on-board hydrogen for fuel-cell powered vehicles. That’s InnovaTek’s eventual goal anyway: having their technology built into cars, where energy-dense renewable fuels could be converted into motion, bypassing combustion and the production of exhaust gases entirely, and powering a much more efficient...

Switchgrass Could Displace 30% of US Petroleum Usage With 94% GHG Reduction

In January, USDA researchers completed a five-year evaluation of another biofuel feedstock with the potential to make a serious dent in US petroleum usage. In the largest study to date, switchgrass has been shown to produce 540% more energy than was used to grow, harvest, and process it into cellulosic ethanol, while reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 94% when compared to gasoline. USDA geneticist Ken Vogel commented that the study demonstrates switchgrass’s potential to be a major renewable biofuel that reduces GHGs and could “potentially displace 30 percent of current U.S. petroleum consumption.”

The World’s Most Fuel Efficient Car: 285 MPG, Not A Hybrid

[UPDATE 9/15/09]: Volkswagen’s Diesel-Hybrid L1 Concept Gets 170 MPG, Available by 2013 Welcome Google search visitors: This is just one of many articles produced here on a daily basis on Gas 2.0. If you find this post interesting, sign up for our RSS feed and stay up to date. This is what a team of engineers can do when challenged to push the limits of fuel efficiency and technology. You may have already heard of VW’s 1-liter car, but take a closer look. It’s a sports-economy concept car produced a few years ago by VW engineers, to answer one big question: could they build a car that consumes less than 3 liters of fuel for every 100 km traveled? It turns out they could, but they didn’t stop there. Instead, VW blew by that goal to create a car that uses only 1 liter of fu...

Study: Your Car Can Run On 20% Ethanol

A University of Minnesota study found that using higher blends of ethanol (20%) blended into gasoline did not cause damage or cause performance problems when used in standard gasoline engines. Over half the gasoline sold in the US is already blended with 10% ethanol (E10), but higher blends were thought to run the risk of causing engine damage. Higher blends of ethanol, up to 85% (E85), will only work properly in engines converted to accept the fuel. Using 40 pairs of vehicles commonly found on American roads, a year-long research effort found that increasing ethanol blends from 10 percent (E10) to 20 percent (E20) in a gallon of gasoline provided an effective fuel across a range of tests focusing on driveability and materials compatibility.

Learn How To Make Biodiesel On YouTube

Trying to learn how to make biodiesel, or interested in seeing how it’s done? It always helps to get a visual, and you may not be aware that there are currently enough biodiesel videos on YouTube to develop an entire college course on the subject. I’ve thrown out a representative sample, just to give you an idea of what’s available. While this is a good general introduction to homebrewing biodiesel, I have to repeat the disclaimer I made earlier (see 6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere – Part II): before attempting this on your own it’s important to do your homework. Don’t trust it just because you’ve seen someone do it. Most of these videos don’t discuss the specifics of making biodiesel, and for that I would recommend a solid resource...

6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere (Part II)

The first part of this guide should give you some good resources for finding biodiesel at home and on the road. But don’t think you have to rely on retail biodiesel to get by. Homemade (aka “homebrew”) biodiesel may be available in your area, or you may be inclined to make your own. While fuel quality obtained by this method can vary considerably, it’s still possible (even likely) to get fuel that meets national standards. That being said, you may have to get your hands dirty, and this will require a bit more research than finding a local biodiesel pump. Options 1-3 of this guide are located here. 4. Biodiesel Coops: Discount Fuel At A Price Another option for the intrepid is to join hands with other biodiesel enthusiasts and participate in making the fuel yourself....

6 Ways To Find And Use Biodiesel Anywhere (Part I)

Looking to find a source of biodiesel? Perhaps you followed my previous post, 7 Steps To Buying A Diesel, or maybe you already have a vehicle and feel it’s time to boycott OPEC oil. Either way, this guide will help you figure out how to get from A to B exclusively on biodiesel. Part II (options 4-6) of this post can be found here. Remember that biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine (warranty issues aside) without modification. The only conversion necessary is where you decide to fill up, and that’s what this guide is intended to supplement. One caveat: be advised that biodiesel use can be tricky in cold weather, and depending on location and season you may have to drop to a 50% or even 20% biodiesel blend (more on that later). Without further ado: 1. At Home: Find Biodiese...

How to Get 76 MPG

We don’t need new technology to save us, just a little ingenuity. After a few minor tweaks, Ernie Rogers can get up to 76 mpg in his 2003 VW diesel Beetle: He drove 1375 miles…[on] just 18 gallons of fuel– 1200 miles of which was accomplished on just one tankfull (15.5 gallons). His trip fuel economy was 76 miles per gallon. Rogers’ car included several small refinements that added up to the exceptional mileage: a drag reducing device he designed and built himself (pictures [here]), lower-rolling-resistance tires, low-friction engine oil, and use of a B5 biodiesel blend fuel to increase efficiency and improve emissions. That’s right, it’s a non-hybrid that puts the Prius to shame. Granted, this test was at 55 mph, but the VW still gets between 57-65 mpg ...