"Inspired" by gas prices...

Discussion in 'Gas Engines' started by die_dunkelheit, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. die_dunkelheit
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Location: The People's Republic of California

    die_dunkelheit NA Student

    Inspired (read, "pissed-off") by gas prices, $4.25/gall. and rising here in the California central valley, let's discuss methods for increasing fuel economy. Regardless how far outside the box it is or an off-the-shelf gadget you have experience with, let's hear it gent's...

    I'll start off:
    A few years ago my brother-in-law showed me this seemingly ridiculous contraption of PVC pipe and some plastic tubing that used lye (NaOH) dissolved in water and beer or soda cans to generate hydrogen. The hydrogen was plumbed through plastic tubing to a condenser to strip the steam generated during the exotherm. of the lye/aluminum reaction, then the hydrogen was fed into the intake of a fuel injected automobile.
    The idea here is that the hydrogen, being less stable, would burn before the gasoline, then the fuel injection computer would pickup on the unburned gas in the exhaust and lean the fuel air mixture thus increasing fuel economy.
    Sorry I don't recall the amount of increased fuel economy, and can't find the original site it was posted on, but it seemed to work, effectively driving your car (at least partially) on your kitchen trash...

    On a similar note, maybe safer too (there's a lot less NaOH), some folks are adding hydrogen cells which draw on the car's electrical system. There are a ton of youtube videos on this topic, here are some search results.
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The easiest method is smaller cars without all the accessories and definitely no A/C
  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    This is the answer:

    Make all cars smaller and lighter.

    It's that simple.

    For example, see this 128mpg Kubota 3 cylinder diesel car... from 1982!!!!


    We've had the capability to have great mileage and the opportunity to save the planet for many years. However, we, as a species are too dumb to do it.
  4. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    This is the answer:

    Get rid of cars.

    It is that simple, really.

  5. BPL
    Joined: Dec 2011
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    BPL Senior Member

    "Shipping by barge is more energy efficient.

    The measure of energy efficiency in transportation is the amount of energy expended to move a certain weight of load over a given distance, expressed as BTUs required to move one ton one mile (a ton-mile). Water transport expends 433 BTU per ton-mile versus 696 for rail. It is much more efficient to move cargo through water than over land. Supporting this conclusion are the statistical data reflecting the relative distance each mode of transportation can carry one ton of cargo for every gallon of fuel burned.

    Truck - 59 miles

    Train - 202 miles

    Barge - 514 miles

  6. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I couldn't agree more, but didn't want to sound as radical as I am. :D

    I also think to save the world and reduce energy demand, only those who absolutely need to be on site should have an office in another building away from their home. Heating and cooling (and building) an office and a home for every person on Earth doubles (or more) the energy wasted each day. Plus, if you got rid of the "office", nobody would need to commute. One car per family to get supplies would be enough.

    Failing that, companies should be set up like a college campus. Most people move to be near work anyway, so why not move into an entire community built around a company that looks and feels just like a college campus?

    You could walk to work (no cars at all needed - maybe a few ZipCars in the town when you need to use one) and you could fly or take the train wherever you needed to go.

    Those basic changes would save the planet, improve the economy and give people back billions of hours of their lives to enjoy instead of spend them behind the wheel going to/from an office.

    Highways are old school. It's time to replace them with something new.
  7. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I don't think our society will survive without making significant change, fast. Reducing the number of cars and people is going to happen one way or another. There's just to many issues to even begin to mention. But personal transportation will inevitably improve when and only when the corporate powers that be have enjoyed there oil profits windfall as long as possible.

    If you watch the movie "Gashole" you'll find an interview with a guy who did research for Shell in the 60s on cars that would get 100+ mpg just like in Cats post. Its not that we couldn't all be driving cars that get three and four times the mileage we get now, its just that the oil and gas industry wouldn't be getting its pound of flesh if we did.
  8. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have looked into this for many years. Both of those methods may cost you more to accomplish that any real savings. Also just dumping H2 in the intake will displace O2 and reduce the density of the intake air. Both of these could drop the efficiency of the engine. The EPA has tested a lot of such devices to see if it affect emissions, all they tested had no effect, some even reduced economy.

    Hydrogen is not bad fuel, very light and abundant everywhere, can be extracted from water, and put outs no pollution when burned, and no C02 either. If you can generate H2 with solar panels, and have it absorbed into a H2 storing material like iron hydroxide or titanium hydroxide, you can than safely carry it as a fuel in a vehicle to run the engine off of the H2. those these type of fuel cells are rather heavy it can be made to work. You can store H2 in regular pressure tank, but H2 will slowly leak through most steel, aluminum or composite materials, and it is very dangerous to have high pressure H2 stored in a car. Also a tank the size of your trunk might get you 50 miles. Not very practical. And when you run out and not near a sours of H2, you have to get a tow home.

    Propane is not a bad choice, we just bought some for our home system, 500 gallons at only about $2.16 a gallon delivered. It has about 10 percent less energy per gallon than gasoline, but it is still a good buy. IT also burns very clean, with slightly lower CO2 output. I can fill a smaller tank for a converted car from my household tank and never have to stop at a gas station again. And as a bonus I would not have to pay the hwy tax on it either since it was bought for home use (not exactly legal in most states, but there is no practical way to stop you).

    There are kits you can buy to convert either carburated engines or fuel injected engines to run on propane. Another advantage with propane is that if you run out when out on a drive, there are many places that sell propane for campers and fleet trucks. You can even get a 5 gallon tank from most Seven-Eleven stores (design the system to use the standard tanks and fittings and you can refill from any vendor).

    If you wanted to go all out, propane has an octane rating of 116 (as compared to gasoline which at best is 92 for costly premium). This means if you rebuild your engine to run at 12 to 1 compression ratio, and strip off all the now unnecessary emissions controls off your car, you will recover the lost power and efficiency by converting to propane. Best to do this with a car over 25 years old, most states exempt older cars from emissions inspections and testing (but you have to check with your state). some also allow exemption for "alternative" or "experimental" fueled vehicle. But many states will charge you a hefty fee to making up for the fact you will not be paying gasoline taxes. So I think it is best just to use an older car and stay below the radar.

    I recently bought a large propane fuel tank, half full, with a gauge and the regulators, from a wrecking yard for only 25 cents (yes, 25 cents). They considered it a hazard and could not send it to the crusher, so they were just getting rid of it. There must be about $20 worth of propane in it. But now I have my tank, and just need a only car to experiment with.

    If you want to build large fermentation tanks you can brew your own ethanol, you could run a car on it. You would have to reprogram the fuel injection to use it, ethanol has about half the amount of energy per gallon as gasoline. So if you now get 26 miles per gallon, after you convert to pure ethanol you would get about 14 mpg after the conversion. Commercial ethanol cost twice as much as gasoline, so it is a bad buy. And it puts out more emissions than gasoline too, it is a stupid waste of resources that our government forces us to buy that crappy mix if ethanol and gasoline. All it does is make corn farmers rich, drives both food and gasoline costs up. They just had a better lobby group than the consumers.

    An alternative is go find the old Geo metros, and early honda CRX, rebuild them and customize the engines, strip out the extra weight, and you will get an honest 45-50 mpg with them.

    There are no practical things you can do to an existing car to improve the economy that are worth the cost. When you need tires you can buy narrow ones with a finer tread pattern, and run them at 50 or 60 psi, that will lower the rolling resistance. Make the car as light as possible by stripping out all the extra weight. Put in a larger dia exhaust system (reduces exhaust system loses), keep it in good tune. But the tires, exhaust systems and extensive engine mods will cost way more than you will recover in savings. Unless you need to replace those items anyway. I bought an old project car for $100 when I was in collage. I did a complete rebuild of it, altering the engine extensively, improved the economy from a stock 27 mpg to 34 mpg. And got more power out of it too. I think I had about $800 into the car when I was done, but it would not have been worth it to pay someone else to do it. Nor would that be legal in California now, where I lived at the time.

    Forget about the magic devices, or special additives, all are frauds, snake oil, charlatans. The auto makers are way beyond not knowing how to get better fuel economy. Keep the car in a good condition is about the best you can do.

    The real problem is most people want large trucks and cars, and they drive them pretty hard too. I can go from 28 mpg to 32 mpg (15 percent!) by just changing the way I drive. Better planning when you run errands also can help, and just stay away when the traffic is heavy.

    the only way the price of fuel will drop is if the supply will increase. There are many centuries worth of known supplies, the problem is political, not practical. If the government would issue more drilling permits, allow more refineries to be built, and allow competition across state lines (federal laws restrict sales of various gasoline formulations across regions, gives each refinery a monopoly enforced by federal law), the price will come down.
  9. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I gotta disagree Petros
    I've seen some pretty slick conversions that got pretty awesome mileage

    I recently saw an interview with a guy who used a vaporization system to atomize gas, he then mixed it with water vapor and sent that down the throat of a carborater. He and his friends claimed they used 2 gallons of fuel to go about 200 miles. In an old road master. Which is about a 4500 lb car.

    I don't thing fuel injection is the answer. I think it might have been a way to redirect the efforts to improve mileage into a direction that would limit success enough to ensure fuel sales. IE just like the EV-1 project was killed in preference for the hydrogen car, the carborater engine was fazed out for a system of lower potential. Its a simple mater of profit.

    Doesn't mater to me much any more because I run on waste oils now, and its free. But I'm pretty convinced that the oil and gas industry has been on a hundred year plan to squeeze every dime it can out of the world economy.
  10. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Propane is a dream come true, I agree there too.

    I wanted to run my outboards and generator off propane on my new boat (solar refrigeration and power), but there is nowhere to fill it up when you run out of "gas" dockside.

    If only they would install propane fills at the docks instead of having to rent cars and go find it, I would run as much of the boat as possible on it.

    Another benefit of propane, aside from everything Petros mentioned, is that you will *never* have to clean out the carb from dirty fuel.
  11. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    ya it doesn't glaze the cylinders either, or carbon build up in the exhaust manifolds or headers. So you get better flow longer with propane

    I wonder how it might react to being added to moisture laden air at he throttle body if you'd end up with better mileage like with the gas vapor.
  12. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    And you're quoting me why??.

  13. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

  14. Milehog
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Milehog Clever Quip

    These figures are from a water transportation association and are definitly skewed.
    I don't have any data here but shipping by rail can be about twice as efficient as their claim.

  15. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    Top of my head, freight by train is about 500 miles per ton per gallon.

    These cars exits, I own a couple of them (Audi A2 3l and VW Lupo 3L) in Germany and the new VW L1 will be out in 2013/14 at around 160 mpg (US) and 190 mpg (imp.)
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