Posted by JBDen on October 28, 2005, 3:51 am
Metal: The fuel of the futurePremium
* 22 October 2005
* Kurt Kleiner
* Magazine issue 2522 New Scientist
The clean, green car of the future will cruise the highway on a tankful
of powdered metal - welcome to the new Iron Age
IF smog-choked streets test our love for gasoline and diesel engines,
then rocketing fuel prices and global warming could end that
relationship once and for all. But before you start saving for the
fuel-cell-powered electric car that industry experts keep promising,
there's something you should know. The car of the future will run on
So reckons Dave Beach, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in
Tennessee, who has come up with a plan to transform the way we fuel our
engines. Chunks of metal such as iron, aluminium or boron are the
thing, he believes. Turn them into powder with grains just nanometres
across and the stuff becomes highly reactive. Ignite it, and it
releases copious quantities of energy. With a modified engine and a
tankful of metal, Beach calculates that an average car could travel
three times as far as the equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle.
Posted by richard schumacher on October 28, 2005, 2:39 pm
Great! Now we can use all that powdered iron and aluminum that's just
been lying around and making a mess. Of course shoveling the slag out
of the fuel tank at each fillup will be a pain in the ass, but that's
Posted by gcowan on October 28, 2005, 4:57 pm
Yes, it is. Progress, I mean.
But the fuel will be pellets, not powder,
and the slag will go to its own bin, not back to the fuel bin.
Their combined volume will be about 2.5 times more than an
equivalent gas tank's, but their location on board won't be as
restricted as a gas tank's.
--- Graham Cowan, former hydrogen fan
boron as energy carrier: real-car range, nuclear cachet
Posted by dbs__usenet on October 29, 2005, 5:30 am
I read about boron years ago. It had several flaws, including solid
waste disposal and dealing with impurities. I never got the feeling
that it would be as easy to use nor as cheap as battery power. As an
energy carrier, you'd have to look at the whole energy chain needed to
purify it, pelletize it, etc.
Posted by Michael Pardee on October 29, 2005, 6:03 am
And, of course, the inefficiencies of de-oxidizing the boron and of
recovering the energy by burning. There are hurdles in that path.