Skip to comments.The whispering wheel [Dutch invention can make vehicles 50 percent more efficient]
Posted on 12/16/2003 5:29:21 PM PST by aculeus
A new Dutch invention can make cars, busses and other vehicles no less than 50 percent more efficient and thus more environmentally friendly. Better still, the technology is already available; it all comes down to a smart combination of existing systems.
This winter, in the city of Apeldoorn, a city bus will be used to prove that the claims about the new invention are true. These are quite bold. E-traction, the company that developed the bus, boasts fuel savings of up to 60 per cent, with emissions down to only a fraction of the soot and carbon dioxide an ordinary bus would blow out of its tailpipe.
In addition, the test bus requires no adaptation, its drivers need no extra training and there'll be no discomfort for passengers. It will simply run on diesel, just like all the other buses, and it should be just as reliable. One thing however will be very different; the Apeldoorn bus hardly makes a sound, hence its nickname "the whisperer".
All this is made possible by an in-wheel' electric engine, in fact nothing more than a normal electric engine turned inside out.
The outer wall of a traditional electric engine is a cylinder lined on the inside with copper wire. If electricity is fed into the copper wire, the current will circle the cylinder on the inside at high speed. Cylinder and wire together are called the stator' (because it doesn't move).
To change the electricity running along the inner wall of the cylinder into movement, another part of the engine comes into play: the rotor'. This is in fact an axle, mounted in the centre of the cylinder, with permanent magnets attached to it. The electrical current in the stator pulls the rotor magnets along and the axle starts to turn.
The wheel works precisely the other way around. The fixed part of the engine - the stator - is now on the inside. The wire is wrapped around it.
The moving part of the engine the rotor - is no longer an axle fitted with magnets but a ring running on the outside of the stator.
The magnets are fixed on the inside of this ring. If power is fed into the engine the magnets will as before - follow the current, but now it's the ring on the outside, which will turn.
And that's what makes the whisperer´revolutionary; a ring functioning as a wheel. By just putting a tire on it you can drive a bus, a car, anything with it. Since the wheel is in fact the engine, no axles or any other friction-producing and therefore energy-wasting mechanical parts are needed.
Even the transmission is unnecessary; if you want to go faster you just run more electricity through the engine. And it works really well while braking, when the in-wheel engine works as a generator, produces electricity to charge the batteries.
Pack of Batteries
The power to drive the Apeldoorn bus is stored in a big battery pack that sits in a steel drawer under the bus. Changing the batteries every time they're drained would be impractical, as would be taking the bus out of service for recharging them for hours on end. Instead, a small diesel-powered generator built into what used to be the bus's engine bay continuously charges the whole battery pack.
Since in-wheel engines are so highly efficient, the generator's diesel engine can be very small, about the size of the compact city car's engine. Because charging the batteries is all it needs to do, the tiny engine consumes very little fuel and can run continuously at a speed of 1700 revs per minute, the most efficient rev count.
Clean and quiet
Passengers will find it more important that the bus is quiet and clean. No more roaring buses pulling away from the station in a cloud of diesel fumes. When the whisperer pulls away (and whenever it drives for that matter), the power comes from the batteries, not the diesel engine which simply keeps on purring quietly.
Furthermore, the constant rev count makes the catalyser much more effective, and the small size of the engine makes it possible to completely fill the rest of the engine bay with sound proofing. Being 90 percent quieter than other buses, the whisperer' really deserves its name.
In the coming six months the bus has to prove itself in everyday practice. Come summer, the city of Apeldoorn is set to decide whether to use whisperers on a larger scale in public transport. Dr Arjan Heinen, inventor of the whisperer and director of E-traction, radiates confidence: "This is a practical solution for present-day public transport. Every bus driver can get behind the wheel and do his job as before, only now it's quiet, clean and energy-efficient."
The future of the in-wheel electric engine seems bright. At the recent Tokyo Motor Show, it was the engine of choice in many of the futuristic hydrogen-powered concept cars.
It depends on which way current-flow goes... Reverse the positive and negative terminals on the commutator, and the mechanical force reverses.
BTW, the idiot who wrote this is obviously an idiot... There are no electric "engines." Only electric "motors." ;)
I'm not up on battery technology, but this may or may not be a weak point in the system. A relative owns a Honda hybrid, and he noted that the battery is supposed to be replaced every year at a not-inconsiderable cost. (Though I don't recall the figures so I don't know what the savings are...) And that is in a car that presumably relies less on its battery than one these vehicles.
Whether the battery materials can be inexpensively recycled, whether they're using better batteries... there's a lot I don't know. I'd be happy to see something like this succeed, but I'm sceptical of reports that speak so glowingly of a future of the sort where "at the mere pressing of a stud, one will be able to converse directly with anyone anywhere across the globe."
Dang it, where are those flying cars they promised?
Not necessarily an idiot. More likely a recent product of the American public education system.
Actually, according to Websters definitions, either term could be used interchangeably. (really, look it up). It is far, far more common to refer to electric motors as 'motors' not as engines, particularly in the US. Calling an IC engine a motor is completely common though.
I mentioned this idea (motor in wheels) on a thread once and was promptly imformed by Freeper engineers that it wouldn't work for various reasons (don't remember the thread and it's been quite a while). Maybe some engineers could comment on this. Also on what the use of the new (neodymium) 'super' magnets would mean to this type of arrangment as far as efficiency and power output.
2. I also have some trouble believing that 1700 rpm is the diesel engine's optimum speed -- it sounds too low.
It appears the biggest saving is the use of direct drive motors. This eliminates losses from friction, slippage, etc. in power trains. No transmission, no differential. One of the biggest plusses about front wheel drive cars is the elimination of the hypoid rear axle. The hypoid gear set, unlike spur gears, relies on sliding of the gear tooth surfaces. This is why they require 90W gearlube and run so hot. Commutatorless electric motors, using Hall sensors and electronics instead of graphite-on-copper brush systems have really come a long way recently and efficiencies better than 90% are not uncommon.
The following is a reprint of Chapter III from the Fish Carburetor Book by Michael H. Brown, pages 11-12 (1982): III.
The 100 MPG Carburetor Myth
There have been numerous books and plans written purporting to "reveal the secrets" of the famous "200 mpg carburetor," a device supposedly built in 1935 by Charles Nelson Pogue of Winnipeg, Canada.
As of this writing Mr. Pogue is in a nursing home in Winnipeg, Canada. Several of our customers have visited with him. Each came away with a slightly different story. Mr. Pogue actually did manufacture a carburetor he titled the "Winnipeg" in the late 1930s; 317 all told. One of our customers had one and claimed it delivered 35 mpg on a Ford Mustang with considerable loss of power; however, he agreed to let us have it for testing and we are still waiting.
There are two problems with the "Pogue principle," which is being touted in high mileage seminars and books all over the country.
The first is that the Pogue carburetor violates the first law of thermodynamics, a commonly accepted scientific postulate that has been with us since 1830. The law is written as follows: U = q + w Or, in simple English, if you have chemical energy in a system (U) in its expenditure, it must equal q (heat) plus work (w). That is, if you have 100,000 BTUs in a gallon of fuel in which you then burn the end productsin a system operating at 30% efficiencyyou will have 30,000 BTUs of work and 70,000 BTUs of heat.
Anything you put inside the combustion chamber can do only one of two things during the ignition stroke. Produce energy (mechanical movement) during the reaction. Absorb energy (leave out the exhaust as heat) during the reaction.
There has been a lot written about the "unburned particulates" furnishing the extra fuel for the extra 50 mpg or so, but if youll check the Fish dynatune emissions levels youll see there arent enough of them to get you another 300 yards down the road. The second problem encountered with Pogue-type devices is thatin some instancesthey actually predate the carburetor.
Lets elaborate in both cases.
Back before the carburetor as we know it came into being in the 1890s there were several novel methods of getting fuel into the engine. One method was using a kerosene-soaked rag to drip fuel into the engine. Another methodthat became quite commonwas allowing air to pass over the surface of gasoline and then to be sucked into the engine. Sometimes a valvecalled a "mixing valve"would be positioned between the fuel reservoir and the engine. The valve would pop open when the downward motion of the piston created enough suction. This methodand variations of ithave been touted all over the United States in "100 MPG CARBURETOR" seminars sponsored by various individuals as being the "ultimate" in sophisticated fuel systems, usually with exhaust heat or radiator water added to "vaporize" the fuel much more effectively than a standard carburetor.
There are a number of things wrong with the concept of such a "100 MPG" system.
The first is that the gasolines in use during the days of the mixing valve were far more volatile than the ones in use today. Some of you may remember when you could stand ten feet away from an open pan of gasoline, light a match, and watch the gasoline immediately catch fire.
Gasolines were changed in the 1930s with the advent of the catalytic cracker now used in petroleum refining. Carburetors like the Pogue, which depend on easily vaporized gasoline, simply will not work with todays gasolines.
The second seminar-taught error is the method of using exhaust heat or radiator water to heat the fuel to the "vapor" point to extend the mileage. Warming or preheating fuel does have some value, but its limited. Consider using hot water from the radiator to vaporize the fuel first.
Todays gasolines do not completely vaporize until they reach 450º Fahrenheit heat, while the maximum temperature of the water in todays pressure radiators reaches only 250º Fahrenheit. You just cant heat a substance to 450º Fahrenheit using a 250º Fahrenheit heat source. At least, not on this planet.
Exhaust heat works a bit differently.
It is the function of an internal combustion engine to change chemical energy into heat, and then the heat into mechanical movement. If the heat is not changed into mechanical movement it simply leavesas heat. Any time you feel heat coming off an engine you are feeling wasted energy. The exhaust ports of an engine that operated at 100% efficiency would be ice-cold to the touch since ALL the heat would have been changed into mechanical movement. Which means that the more efficient your engine is the less exhaust heat youre going to have.
For example, if you have 600º Fahrenheit exhaust heat produced by one gallon of gas over a 20-mile trip and you use "exhaust heat" to "vaporize" the fuel and go 60 miles, what produces the 600º Fahrenheit heat for the next 40 miles?
If you answered "two more gallons of fuel," go to the head of the class!
Seriously, there are ways to go several times the distance on a gallon of fuel (none of them involving carburetors); its just that the foregoing examples arent two of them. In short, Charles Nelson Pogue was a machinist with no formal training in thermodynamics and may have actually believed that what he was attempting would work. All a carburetor can do is meter and atomize fuel in correct proportion to air.
Any further increases have to come from increasing the thermal efficiency of the engine itself (such as raising compression) or reducing rolling friction. And this last is why a diesel locomotive with steel wheels will go ten times as far on a gallon of fuel as a diesel truck of the same weight with rubber tires.
For Pogueor any similar carburetorto go 100 mpg on a gallon of fuel on a vehicle normally going 20 mpg, the air/fuel ratio would have to be in the neighborhood of 75 to 1 or better.
Any second-year college chemistry student knows that.
Probably a 'stationary engine' type of engine that is designed to run at a specific speed only. Load increases injector volume to maintain a constant speed no matter what the power draw. Some of those China Diesel generators I've seen seem to run ar pretty low speeds. That's why they seem to run for ever, I immagine.
maybe the saudi and chavez governments will be able to run on hot air because their oil will be useless in 20 years. there is going to be a lot of madresses without money pretty soon.
BTW, my own truck's diesel engine has no interest at all in reving above 2000 RPM. I imagine the torque peak is around 1700.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.