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Hydrogen Turbine-Engine Car

Power when ya needs it?
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(+4, -3)
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Hydrogen-powered cars seem to be on the horizon, somewhere. Maybe. Apparently there "needs" to be a "hydrogen infrastructure" or something silly like that - I guess all those oil workers need to be put to good use or something. I guess SOMEONE needs to make a buck at it :)

And they sound BORING. Sure, the technology is green and great - zero emissions is about as sexy as you can get in the combustion engine biz. Gotta plug it in, get the fuel cells refilled and all that jazz. Speed, responsiveness and power all real mushy (ie old electric cars).


I came across a site where these guys (who are on junkyard wars every so often) were making their own homemade jets, with simple devices - enough to really frighten them given how much power they were getting.

And the first thing that popped into my head was "Hydrogen JET car!"

- hydrogen fuel cells take up the work going slow.

- uses hybrid concepts such as storing electricity from when you brake to recharge the fuel cells (obviously won't be perpetual motion system, but a little extra juice going back into the system is nice)

- hydrogen JET power when ya need it. The jets are run on hydrogen gas rather than fuel.

- jets powers impellers (?)(something which captures the energy from the jet and turns - I'm a design guy, not an engineer); we're not relying on force of thrust for propulsion, but for turning the drive shaft

- hydrogen gas supplied through electrolysis at home using solar, wind power and water

And it won't poop out whenever you mash on the "gas" (ha ha).

This isn't a complete idea yet, it's just keeping me up nights right now.

(I've searched the archive and the web: plenty of jet cars and hydrogen cars - but no hydrogen JET cars :)

[edit: portable recharge unit deleted - thx]

timpestuous, Aug 19 2005

crystler turbine car http://www.turbinecar.com/
Also Wiki it. [the great unknown, Jun 25 2007]


       When the jet blast drives the car through action/reaction, it's a jet car. When the engine's turbine is powering an output shaft to drive the wheels, it's a turbine-engine car. Read the book by Bill Gunston about "Jet and Turbine Engines" for a good tutorial. So you are making hydrogen-fueled turbine-engined car, okay?   

       Other turbine cars used to poop out when people mashed on the gas, because a turbine takes time to spool up. Your electrics may help there. I read about a propane-fueled turbine/electric hybrid a few years back. It was gussied up as a race car, so it might have had some oomph.   

       Fuel cell and turbine combination is new to me. Good luck with it.
baconbrain, Aug 19 2005

       (You'd do very well to remove the bit about a portable electrolysis system... if you've got enough energy (read: stored hydrogen) to convert the water to hydrogen and oxygen, you don't need to fill up. Electrolysis takes an incredible amount of energy.)
david_scothern, Aug 19 2005

       Hydrogen fueled gas turbine would melt the blades: combustion temperature is too high. That's why you only see hydrogen reciprocating engines so far.
strange606, Jun 29 2006

       who says hydrogen will melt the blades?? hydrogen turbines haves been used for years in natural gas power stations (coal gas is 70-80 percent hydrogen) I don't think that'd be a worry. What might be interesting here is a hydrogen turbine/electric hybrid... The major problem with turbine vehicles is that they have high efficiency and power only within a very limited rev range and are unresponsive outside that, the power to weight ratio of the things is good so why not use it to charge a battery or capacitor and have an electric motor drive the wheels. The electrics take care of the turbine lag problem, and you can use your regeneratve breaking too.
greyfiend, Jun 30 2006

       This idea is very intresting. A hydrogen+oxygen (2 in 1)-powered turbine engine, drives two electric generators, one 3-phase alternative current, one direct current. The dc generator powers up rechargable battery, and that powers high-rpm DC start motor, water electrolysis device and control unit. 3-phase AC generator powers up 3-phase elecric motors via 3-phase variable frequency drive. Would this desing make sense?
Kyosuke-kun, Aug 09 2006

       In most things start big and reduce in size (engineering rule) DOD Nasa working on big ones don't waste your time.   

       In this a hunters rule (aim small miss small).Think watch like in construction. The smaller the construction the less you have to worry about the leakage problem.   

       I suggest a set of small turbines that are made as a cast unit. Aim for a unit about 30cm long 12cm width. Conventional carry off of heat by fluids to a radiator. The drive portion should be at the front end with the air directed around the gearing mechanism. There are a couple of options. I personally prefer a small generator on the drive shaft directly. The electric output is then fed to battery units for storage. The exit end is then totally devoted to making sure exit gases are handled properly. You could build them as blocks and stack them. I am so happy with my Toyota Prius that I feel this is the best approach.   

       The second approach is to build 12 units that have a 30 degree outer shape between sides. When you build one successfully then you can stack them in a circle and bolt them together. In this case each of the units tie to a single gear system which is used for direct drive. The shape would be like the old Stimpson Aircraft engine. The problems with direct drive are significant in the area of lubrication and heat transfer for 12 gear units in a circle.   

       Remember any leakage is a bad thing. Inner parts can have small porcelain vanes. Output gassing will be small manageable tubes. Run a continual ignition system in the outgassing stream to assure that any h2 outgased is burned. Both the outgas burn and the ignition need to be postive ignition. This may require something like propane storage for this purpose. The amount of carbon exit from the system would be no more than a pilot light for a stove. Run each of the outgassing tubes to separate places in the design. If you combine the outgassed components your potential accidents will be much larger when you are in the development phase.   

       Units are solid two piece cast units that are easily manufactured. Gear the 12 individual motors to a flywheel like central gear that drives the primary drive shaft. There may be a need for small transmissions between each motor and the primary flywheel, unless you can come up with a ganged start for all of the motors at once. Otherwise you need indidividual monitors for each motor and it's entry into the engine drive. Sounds like a good comnputer problem. Spin up of the engine and then sync. Also start up in cold weather might drive you to a small storage of gas either mix to develop a good warm up prior to cutting in the h2.   

       The central drive shaft can drive the input fan with the scoops for the 12 motors directing the input air from the fan. I would not trust a glow plug or spark plug as the igniter. There would a lot initial outgassing of h2. This means a postive flame source at the start. Not hard if you have a secondary source of fuel just to run the igniters.   

       Feed the drive to the electrical system. The whiners that need more snappy acceleration can get it from ganged DC motors for startup and running on each of the driving wheels. You can get any amount of power for the drive but the AMP power drain will be significant. Electrical motors could deliver more power than any drag racer with internal combustion if you have the AMPs to deliver. High AMPs cause problems big hot wires dangerous to maintenance personnel but if you are on your toes no problem. Transforming down causes problems also 15KV 1/4in spark jump plate to plate. Not nice sparks around H2, so low volts high amps best option. Same problems as other electrics with battries and power storage.   

       The storage of the h2 gas will be a problem - Need a lot of storage space. I suggest under the carrage across the car and length of the passenger space. This area has few statistical damaqes in accidents. About 30-60 cu ft space. If the storage is ganged storage tubes each with automatic shut down valves with too much flow, it increases the safety factor for accidents where flow from storage to engine is broken.   

       There are two big problems. 1 The management of resources could be significant computer problem 2 The continual monitor for leakage with alarms (sealed electronic) for h2 another computer problem.   

       Final problem will be getting the public to accept a highly explosive gas in a car that can be crumpled by the nearest 16 wheeler.   

       When you build one I will buy one - no one lives forever. If you had a dime for everyone injured in development of the modern car you would have enough to build this engine.   

       mdtkd 11/4/06
mdtkd, Nov 05 2006

       hydrogen works for a car b/c you can compress a lot of it in a small space, higher energy density than batteries, storing it and producing it is relatively easy and cheap, extracting power from the hydrogen is a little trickier. The best way is a small turbine with a direct connection to a high-speed alternator - something that can handle 40k-60k rpm, you would then still need batteries, but you could get away with about 3 kWh of storage instead of the 100 kWh needed for electric vehicles. wouldn't cost that much, either. 3.6 kWh of fast charge lithium ion batteries $7200, high speed alternator $1500, motors to drive the car, preferrably AC induction, $2-5 k, controller for batteries, motor, and turbine, $1600, specialized charger onboard $2-4k, home hydrogen electrolysis and storage setup $1-3k the turbine itself let's say 10-20 kW output probably $2-3k, hydrogen storage on car $100-300. Let's say your home setup is 71% efficient, you'll get 1 kwh worth of hydrogen out of 1.4 kWh of electricity. Overnight electricity rates are about 4cents/kWh national average, which means you'll get about 3 miles of range out of 4 cents, that's 1.3cents per mile, compare to 10cents/mile with gasoline. So total cost for parts is around $26-27k. if anyone is interested then email me costellogroup@yahoo.com
costellogroup, Jun 23 2007

       oh yeah, i forgot - it's important to keep and store the oxygen produced from the water electrolysis, you dont want to use regular air in your turbine as nitrogen will eat up a lot of the heat produced and you will produce pollution and worse yet, you'll produce nitric acid which will accelerate the destruction of your turbine - the wheel of the turbine will have to be replaced every 20k hours, but that's cheaper than getting a whole new turbine, anyway, thought i'd add that
costellogroup, Jun 23 2007

       something like the ol' Batmobile, sans atomics. Crystler already made a very limited car that runs on a turbine back in the 60's. only nine remain. the best thing is that it could run on any liquid fuel, even cooking oil.
the great unknown, Jun 25 2007

       yeah, if electronics were as advanced then as they are today then the chrystler car would've been a huge success. turbines have about 2-2.5 times the efficiency of normal car ICE's, so gas mileage would immediately at least double if not triple since turbines have better power to weight ratios as well so let's assume turbine saves weight, if not, then turbine drives generator which charges batteries which drive the car. more efficient than today's cars that's for sure.
costellogroup, Jul 12 2007

       costellogroup, Where do you get your information from?
BJS, Jul 12 2007

       my company manufactures microturbines (50kW to 1 MW) for power generation and mobile power applications - numbers come from our sales figures
costellogroup, Jul 21 2007


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