GreenGT H2

You may have seen pictures of the GreenGT H2 from the eco-friendly race car group shots taken at this year’s 24 hours of Le Mans. The H2 is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that drives two electric motors on the rear axle. It will take the experimental technology spot in Garage 56 (the Nissan Deltawing was in Garage 56 this year) for the 2013 race. This animation shows the layout of the car and how the fuel cells work in conjunction with the car’s air compressors.


*UPDATE* Techologic Vehicles and GreenGT posted another video to show off the sound the H2 makes when the fuel cell is fired up:

Source: Techologic Vehicles on YouTube

HydroICE Solar Engine

A couple of inventors in Missouri have figured out a way to convert combustion engines to run on solar power. Yes, you read that right. They are calling to the Hydro Internal Clean Engine (it’s a play on the common acronym for Internal Combustion Engine). Here is a diagram of how it works from their patent application:

The process involves using a parabolic mirror to focus sunlight in order to super heat oil to somewhere between 400 and 700 degrees Fahrenheit (205 to 371 degrees Celsius). The oil is then pumped into the cylinder of the engine while the piston is at the top of its stroke. A small amount of water is then injected into the cylinder. Once the water makes contact with the hot oil, it’s instantly vaporized into a cloud of steam which has the potential of having 3,000 times the volume. The steam expansion is what pushes the piston down the cylinder and turns the crank. The oil and water are then exhausted out of the cylinder, separated and reused. The brilliance of this idea is that it uses existing engine technology. Their prototype is a converted 31cc two stroke engine from a weed whacker. The overall efficiency isn’t projected to be better than current photovoltaic cells, but the HydroICE Engine will be significantly cheaper. The two inventors are planning to team up with the Missouri University of Science and Technology and Missouri State University to continue development of the HydroICE engine. They’re currently trying to raise money for the research and development on Indiegogo. Here is their investor pitch with a detailed animation of how the HydroICE engine will work featuring a cutaway version of their prototype:

This is one of those simple ideas that makes you bonk yourself on the head and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I think it has potential to become a very practical and inexpensive way to harness solar energy once all the details are worked out. If you agree with me, head over to their Indiegogo page and take part in their crowd funding.

Source: Missouri Sustainable Energy LLC via Gizmag

Jay Leno Ecojet

Jay Leno’s Ecojet is a project that’s been two and a half years in the making with the help of his garage mechanics and industry friends. The goal was to build a high performance car powered by a turbine burning soy bean oil based biodiesel. Like engines, turbines turn thermal energy into rotational mechanical energy. Instead of compressing air and fuel for detonation, the expansion of heated air turns a fan-shaped turbine on a rotating shaft. The most common automotive application is a turbocharger that harnesses the thermal energy of exhaust gasses. It’s work is then used to compress fresh air to force into the engine’s cylinders. Turbines are only used for direct mechanical drive in heavy duty applications like tanks, trains, ships and helicopters. They’re a lot more efficient when they can stay spun up at high rpm’s. Piston-cylinder engines are generally more efficient for the stop and go duty cycles seen in cars, but that’s not to say that turbines were never used in cars. Check out this vintage promotional video for Chrysler’s turbine car program from the early 60’s. Jay Leno owns one of the 50 cars that were made available to the public.

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