Making a car using Air as fuel is an innovating idea. The other such ideas like battery operated or electric car powered by solar cells or batteries, fuel cells, Hydrogen used as fuel etc., have not gone beyond prototype stage to work out plans for commercial production.
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, and cars would run on fresh air. But Guy Negre, a French inventor, is the kind of bloke who doesnâ€™t think much of clichÃ©s. For that one reason alone, ten years ago, he started to work in the south of France, a region better known for luxury villas on an engine that would run on, well, thin air.
Now, Tata Motors, Indiaâ€™s largest automobile company, is enamored by his research and has joined hands with Negreâ€™s family-owned company Moteur Development International (MDI), in an attempt to bring this â€˜cleanâ€™ technology home.
The air-powered engine is modeled on the conventional internal combustion engine. However, instead of fossil fuels like petrol or diesel combining with air and generating energy, this engine will produce momentum by releasing compressed air.
Although a car that generates momentum from compressed air is an interesting concept, the critical question is how efficiently and conveniently can you store the power generated said the automobile expert.
Negre believes he has found a way out by compressing air into fiber tanks which in turn, expands to push the pistons and create movement. Because there is no combustion, there will be no pollution. Equally important, the oil that lubricates the engine will need to be changed only once every 31,000 miles. Of course, there are concerns on how the idea will scale up. But those concerns are for another day.
The agreement between Tata Motors and MDI includes financial support from Tata for further development of the technology. A Tata Motorsâ€™ spokesperson said the refinement of the engine and the technology requires a couple of years of more work. So we can expect such cars on the road only after that.
MDI has created prototypes of four vehicles powered by this engine. These include a car, a taxi that can ferry five passengers, a pick-up truck and a van. However, Tata Motors is interested only in the engine.
If larger automobile giants like GE, Toyota, Nissan, BMW and likes seriously pursue the research and make the car running with non conventional energy fuels then it really a boon to global environmental control and also make metros around the globe pollution free to a large extent. We hope the day is not far off.