A Solar Powered Combustion Engine May Be in Your Future

This may sound counter-intutitive, but researches have begun a project to build an internal combustion engine (a common car engine) that runs off of solar power. Instead of using gas to ignite everything they want to heat water, add a dash of oil, to create a replacement to the overused pollution producing machine that is one of the leading causes of global warming.

To begin, mirrored parabolic solar collectors would be used to heat oil to a temperature of at least 400 to 700ºF (204 to 371ºC). This hot oil would then be injected into the cylinder chamber of the engine, just like gasoline ordinarily is. A few microdroplets of water would then also be introduced, which would turn to steam immediately upon contact with the hot oil.

The rapidly-expanding steam would serve the same purpose as exploding gas, driving the piston downward and turning the driveshaft. As the piston reached the bottom of its stroke, the spent steam and oil would exit the cylinder and be run through an oil/steam separator. They could then each be returned to their respective reservoirs, for re-use within the closed-loop system.

Read more at gizmag.

Formula Zero

Formula 1 is a popular international racing league that eschews anything to do with alternative fuels and engines. Formula Zero, on the other hand, is built on the idea that cars of the future will use carbon neutral engines – thus zero carbon output. This is a great idea for a racing league, so start your engines sport racers!

Read more about Formula Zero.

Hydrogen fuel cells power the racers’ electric engines, which can go 0 to 60 (100 km/h) in 5 seconds and up to 75 mph (120 km/h). Of course, winning isn’t everything … the Dutch team Greenchoice Forze claims 70% renewable materials in their car’s bodywork (such as natural flax fibers and bio-based resin) and offsets its carbon footprint with a green energy provider.

“There is no better way to educate the engineers of tomorrow than to give them an opportunty to get hands-on experience with these technologies and to prove their capbilities in a competition,” says Eiso Vaandrager, one of the original organizers and enthusiasts of zero-emissions racing. “Students interested in starting their team for the next season should contact Formula Zero now.”

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