In past one decade the phrase ‘go green’ has acquired a completely new meaning. Pollution and global warming have emerged as the two biggest threats to the safety and security of the world. When it comes to pollution, automobile manufacturers are often the ones cornered. However, since past few years millions of dollars have been poured in research for an alternative to petroleum and gasoline. One of the most shocking discoveries of the whole exercise is the realization that even ‘Air’ can be used as a fuel.
Why are we asking this now?
The idea of air-powered cars are still in research phase. But if the buzz is to be believed by early next year the first prototype will be launched in the American market. A lot many companies in US and Europe are working on their own prototypes. As of now APUQ has made an Air car. Other major manufacturers like TATA Motors, Energine and Air Car Factories SA are also working on their own prototypes. Air cars are designed in such a way that they have an inbuilt air compressor. Once you plug your car into the compressor, the compressor uses the available air to refill the compressed air tank.
Is it really that serious?
The biggest advantage of air-powered car engine is that it produces zero pollution. The innovative use of aluminum in the car design also makes it comparatively lighter than a petrol run car; the average weight of such cars is around 2,000 pounds, a lighter body is essential to achieve higher fuel efficiency and speed.
What others are saying?
Although, an air car produces no pollution as the source of power is a compressed air in its tank, pollution is indeed produced when the car is being refueled. Another hindrance to zero pollution stance is the fact that the air compressor runs on gasoline and this creates pollution and other waste products when burned.
As the fuel is air itself the cost of running and maintaining air-based car is relatively cheaper. The batteries too are designed in such a way that the rate of self discharge is minimum, so the car can be left unused for longer durations of time.
Covering longer distances without refueling will also be a disadvantage in the beginning as the unavailability of public charging points is also a hindrance. Compressed air tanks have unsatisfying storage capacity keeping the car’s size and weight in mind. Even on efficiency count, air cars have a long way to go compared to petrol or gasoline-based vehicles.
What can be done?
Since past two decades, the search for an alternative and safe fuel has become a primary objective for the researcher in the automobile industry. Everybody is aware of the depleting crude oil reserves, with some estimate stating that all the world petrol will run out in 2045. Plus the enormous amount of damage to the environment in itself is a huge issue. In such a scenario, air cars are like breath of fresh air. The fact that air as a fueling source is non depleting, safe, efficient and eco friendly only adds up to the thrust towards production of air cars in the days to come.