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Old 12-30-2010, 01:58 PM   #11
The_AirHawk
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There was a few years back a fledgling technology I read about that used small, reusable alumina (or some other ceramic) pellets to power a fuel-cell type generator for electric Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs). "Refueling" was as simple as hooking it up to a machine via a special hose that siphoned-out the spent fuel-pellets, while replacing them simultaneously with "recharged" pellets - something like a 2-3 minute procedure. Off you would go - with a "new battery" essentially, while the machine automatically processed the spent pellets and recycled them to be used in the next refuel.

I can't recall the name of the company, the process, nor where I read the article (Machine Digest or EC&M perhaps?). I've never seen it "in action" - but the idea was really intriguing.

I believe that any "electric cars" (or bikes!) to be a real-life, viable replacement for current IC technology will need to use something like that.

Hell, ChryslerBD (Before Daimler!) had developed a hydrocarbon-powered Fuel Cell (read: used Gasoline OR Diesel) that produced enough power to actually run an SUV; it produced electricity and emitted only water. And kept refining it to the point that they were on the cusp of actually Marketing it to Joe Public - then Cerberus bought them, and sold the technology and rights to Nissan (who have done nothing with it, so far as I can tell).

It was an immensely complex and expensive machine, but it used current resources and fuel-distribution, was True Zero Emission (even less than a plug-in car! No Coal-fired Powerplants!), and got comparable mileage to current standard IC vehicles. Further refinement could surely have improved mileage and Fuel Cell output, I bet.

Nothing, though.
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:02 PM   #12
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You could address the issue of battery degredation in a manner similar to octane pricing for gas...pay for "premium" batteries that have 98% of their capacity available at high discharge rate (for example) vs. lower performing (older, amortized) cells. Since useable battery capacity has to do with discharge current, this would effectively allow you to purchase performance when you want it, and go cheap when you're cruising without necessarily sacrificing range.
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:35 PM   #13
Morbo the Destroyer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_AirHawk View Post
There was a few years back a fledgling technology I read about that used small, reusable alumina (or some other ceramic) pellets to power a fuel-cell type generator for electric Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs). "Refueling" was as simple as hooking it up to a machine via a special hose that siphoned-out the spent fuel-pellets, while replacing them simultaneously with "recharged" pellets - something like a 2-3 minute procedure. Off you would go - with a "new battery" essentially, while the machine automatically processed the spent pellets and recycled them to be used in the next refuel.

I can't recall the name of the company, the process, nor where I read the article (Machine Digest or EC&M perhaps?). I've never seen it "in action" - but the idea was really intriguing.

I believe that any "electric cars" (or bikes!) to be a real-life, viable replacement for current IC technology will need to use something like that.

Hell, ChryslerBD (Before Daimler!) had developed a hydrocarbon-powered Fuel Cell (read: used Gasoline OR Diesel) that produced enough power to actually run an SUV; it produced electricity and emitted only water. And kept refining it to the point that they were on the cusp of actually Marketing it to Joe Public - then Cerberus bought them, and sold the technology and rights to Nissan (who have done nothing with it, so far as I can tell).

It was an immensely complex and expensive machine, but it used current resources and fuel-distribution, was True Zero Emission (even less than a plug-in car! No Coal-fired Powerplants!), and got comparable mileage to current standard IC vehicles. Further refinement could surely have improved mileage and Fuel Cell output, I bet.

Nothing, though.
Wow, that's really interesting! Fuel-cells have been powering spacecraft since the 60's; the Shuttle has three of them and they produce a tremendous amount of electricity. The by-product water is consumed by the astronauts. Unfortunately theirs run on liquid hydrogen; which is a little more inconvenient than the pellets in the system you noted.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:15 PM   #14
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Jeff,

Thanks for the serious critique. I really appreciate it.

A lot of the downsides and issues you stated are real and crossed my mind while I was considering this. It's not clear at all that swappable batteries can evolve as a market-driven technology. As you noted, there's a pretty big up-front investment, and bringing together an industry coalition to drive the concept might be impossible.

Thanks for the link to Better Place. I guess the old adage that "Nothing is original" proves true again.

You're welcome. Ultimately, who knows how this whole search for alternatives will play out? It's good to keep churning the ideas.

Happy New Year to all!

Jeff
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:19 PM   #15
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Wow, that's really interesting! Fuel-cells have been powering spacecraft since the 60's; the Shuttle has three of them and they produce a tremendous amount of electricity. The by-product water is consumed by the astronauts. Unfortunately theirs run on liquid hydrogen; which is a little more inconvenient than the pellets in the system you noted.
That was the neatest thing about the Chrysler system - it used "typical" commonly-found sources of Hydrogen (i.e. petroleum) - no using electricity to "crack" Hydrogen out of NatGas, no storage-losses (Hydrogen is hard to keep inside anything for long periods of time), no special filling-stations, etc.

Hydrogen, like Oxygen, is in nearly EVERYTHING - but not commonly found on this planet "all by itself". It's also not particularly "energy dense" in its pure form - there's more Hydrogen (trapped in molecule-chains) in a typical gallon of gasoline than in a gallon of Liquid Hydrogen.........

I have been wracking my brain to think of the company that developed the fuel-bead process.

OK, with a bit of time spent researching, here's a whitepaper I found: http://www.nuvera.com/pdf/Fuel_Cell_...icat ions.pdf

I can't recall if that's the company, but it looks like the technology I was remembering.
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Last edited by The_AirHawk : 12-31-2010 at 03:26 PM.
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