SEARCH BLOG: AUTOMOBILE
Every so often, an old technology comes to mind when I'm hearing or reading about alternative fuels.
Today, there was another article in the paper about how ethanol production was screwing up the corn markets. No, let's not get into the price of tortillas, etc.
The point is that there always seems to be a downside with alternatives to gasoline as a primary fuel for motor vehicles. That got me to thinking about how the great global warming crises has been politically maneuvered into defacto energy policies and the implications of such.
Ethanol is the poster child for unintended consequences (see my post yesterday). But batteries tend to fall into that same arena. So, besides an ethanol/electric hybrid or a soot spewing diesel, what are the choices for a "greener" motor vehicle?
Over a decade ago, Ward's Auto World was asking if the flywheel might be the next great thing. Ohio State University Physics Department thought so.
So what happened to that idea? Consider this: if electricity is generated by nuclear power and used to spin flywheel vehicle drive systems, no CO2 is generated at all for transportation energy. None.
But trying to find current efforts on this technology leads to... not much. Perhaps because a flywheel alone cannot sustain power to a vehicle for enough duration to be practical. Perhaps it might have to be combined with batteries to provide enough driving range to satisfy vehicle owners... flywheel/electric hybrid?
Early flywheels were monstrous disks that had monstrous implications in a moving vehicle accident. New flywheels are more cylindrical and considerably more stable. Is it cost? Is it ignorance? Is it not enough political clout?
Just asking. I think this is a case when a perfectly perfect solution may be overlooked.
Anyone have any info on this? Please comment.
UPDATE - after some further searching I came up with two sources with information within the past two years about this potential technology: