It’s time to face the music folks. Soon enough, fossil fuels will be gone. We need to find something that can continue to give the magical rolling metal orbs we call “cars”, power and life. Don’t fret! Maybe these ten strange energy sources have some promise.
10.) Gas/Water Mixture
By designing a six-stroke motor that used both gasoline and water, engine builder Bruce Cower concocted a way to make engines more efficient and use less revolutions to make more power. Crower designed the six-stroke to create steam by exposing water to hot pistons, which then cools the engine and creates an extra steam-propelled power stroke. Genius, if it actually works.
In a wood-burning car, wood is “gasified” and turned into a substance that the car’s normal internal combustion engine can run off of without much modification. Though range is slightly more limited than it would be with a normal gasoline engine, wood-burning cars can still maintain normal highway speeds. In fact, wood-burning cars were incredibly popular during World War II, and remain popular today in remote parts of Asia, including much of North Korea.
Using a charcoal stove, a coffee bean byproduct, and a modified gasoline engine that can run hydrogen, a Brit named Martin Bacon was able to hit a record 65 miles per hour in his modified Ford P100 pick-up. Baker’s system uses a boiler that turns the coffee byproduct into hydrogen (and carbon monoxide), which is then fed to the motor.
In a similar feat, Bacon was able to complete a 210 mile road trip in a Volkswagen Scirocco that he had converted to run on coffee. What’s next? Sub- eight minute Nürburgring times?
We could go back to the beginning. Back before humans really knew how to burn through fossil fuels. But maybe instead of a horse pulling a car, we put the animal on some sort of treadmill system that could cultivate electricity and deliver energy to an electric motor? Specifically, one just like the system used with the Naturmobil.
You can achieve a top speed of about 50 MPH by using the power of just one horse! As long as we can figure out some way to keep that horse happy and healthy, why not, right?
No complicated gearing system, no crazy cooling system, and no heavy motor. It’s just you, your pedals, and four wheels. Why can’t all transportation be that simple?
5.) Compressed Air
After just three or four minutes of being filled with air, the Tata OneCAT can use its compressed air motor and be on its way.
Seems like a potentially cool idea, but if that compressed air motor sounds anything like my air-powered impact tools, we might have an issue. And also, it takes a lot of energy just to compress the air in the first place.
4.) Turbine Fuels
Back when American car manufacturers were truly interested in innovation and crazy new things, Chrysler had nearly perfected the turbine-powered car. It could run on nearly anything – gas, jet fuel, diesel, vegetable oil, tequila, you name it. Its engine was able to do 44,500 RPMs (and I bet you thought your S2000’s red line was high). In fact, the biggest complaint about the car was its excessive and unusual noise, but who really cares about that, besides actual people?
Bring on the jet car.
If wind power can work well on the seas, and with energy cultivation in wind farms, surely there has to be a way to implement the technology into daily driving. Maybe we can use a wind turbine to collect electricity, which can be used to propel the vehicle.
Just have to live in a place like Chicago, or something.
2.) Dead Cat Diesel, Maybe
Cats are very beautiful and intelligent creatures, except for when they scratch you and climb all over your keyboard. If your cat died, wouldn’t you want to be able to make light of the situation and convert the your old friend into two thirds of a gallon of bio-diesel, like this German inventor reportedly did?
Not saying that there’s anything unusual about the fact that it’s a German inventor wanting to liquify cats. Just saying.
1.) Methane From Poop
Using methane or “bio-gas” collected from trash and toilet waste, engineers have been able to create what is basically a poop car. This car can perform almost identically to a conventional gasoline car, but in a much more efficient manner, and with less harm to the environment.
Basically, the car starts up normally using gasoline, but when it gets to operating temperature, it switches over to bio-gas.
To capture the bio-gas, engineers use oxygen-starved insects and microorganisms that are forced to break down the waste, thus turning the waste into methane, in a process known as anaerobic digestion.
What if we could design a poop-methane toilet? Let the people make their own gas. Now that would be true freedom.
Suggested By: crowmolly, Photo Credit: Jason Torchinsky/Jalopnik
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Top Photo Credit: Chrysler