compressed air specialist Tel: 01480 217904
Fax: 01480 217409

Unit 2 Steel Close
St Neots, PE19 8TT

Compressed air car

A compressed air car utilises pneumatic power to propel itself forward. The engine runs on either compressed air alone or, as with a hybrid engine, compressed air and another form of energy such as petrol or diesel.

The idea of compressed air cars has been around since the 1920’s and so far the concept has not taken off on a commercial scale. This is mainly due to concerns over the storage of the compressed air.

The quest for zero emission transport

The key benefit of using compressed air in the automobiles is the lack of emissions from the tailpipe. Large cities could benefit enormously from improved air quality and a dramatic drop in the levels of pollution. The compressed air does need to be produced from somewhere though and for compressed air cars to really take off a cleaner scalable source of renewable energy is required. At present the introduction of pneumatic powered cars would only move the pollution and environmental impact away from congested areas of traffic and towards the power stations.

compressed air car

Economic reasoning

Although development models have cost millions to produce, on a large scale compressed air automobiles would prove very cost effective. Consider that you would no longer require a turbo system, engine cooling, spark plugs, catalytic converter etc etc. The simplicity of an air powered motor could mobilise developing nations and give a boost to local economies.

Concerns over safety

The fundamental concerns hindering the development of compressed air cars is safety. Experimental manufacturers claim compressed air storage is safe, even at pressures of 320 bar, due to carbon fibre tanks. As well as offering a low weight solution to storing compressed air, carbon fibre does not splinter in the event of a rupture. While concerns are high the idea of sitting on top of a 50 litre container of petrol didn’t appeal until it became common place.

A future for the car that runs on air?

As of 2009 safety testing is currently taking place in the USA for a lightweight air powered car. Claims have been made that by heating the air prior to entry into the air turbine it is possible to produce double the energy output. Although details are not readily available it is clear that a lot of money is being spent on research which suggests there might be a future for the car that runs on air.
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