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Thread: the next leap in car fuel efficiency?

  1. #1 the next leap in car fuel efficiency? 
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    It wasn't until recently that I learned of the science behind batteries. For the longest, I thought they were just stored electricity, nothing more, nothing less. Turns out, they have chemicals in them that, when reacted, create their own electricity. Then, when you're recharging a rechargable battery, all you're doing is reversing that chemical reaction by running an electric current through it.

    This is how crank batteries are possible. Instead of running an electric current through it a la electrolosys, you reverse the chemical reaction by hand via the crank, kind of like you're stirring the chemicals. This kind of thing is extremely useful in hurricanes and other times when battery-powered radios and flashlights are necessary, but when extra electricity is not available.

    This is also the science behind windmills. The electricity is crank-based, but instead of a hand doing the cranking, it's the wind. This technology is growing so fast that it's now becoming available to the common household, as is suggested here.

    My proposal: Could we take one of these ceiling fan-style wind generators, turn it on its side, and put it on the top of a car? This way, the wind-like sensation you get when you ride in a car with the window down will turn the crank (imagine winds of up to 70mph!), and in the process, recharging the battery.

    Now, this won't stop the pain of having to wait several hours for a battery to fully charge, but it WILL keep a battery of the same quality to last longer, thus less frequent charging sessions.

    Of course, I've been wrong before, so... comments?


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  3. #2 Re: the next leap in car fuel efficiency? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    My proposal: Could we take one of these ceiling fan-style wind generators, turn it on its side, and put it on the top of a car? This way, the wind-like sensation you get when you ride in a car with the window down will turn the crank (imagine winds of up to 70mph!), and in the process, recharging the battery.
    What you are missing here is the fact that the energy needed to spin your windmill generator is being provided by the engine of the car. With that arrangement, you've gained nothing (and lost quite a bit) compared to the standard method in which the car's alternator is belt-driven by the car's engine. Sorry.


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  4. #3 Re: the next leap in car fuel efficiency? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    My proposal: Could we take one of these ceiling fan-style wind generators, turn it on its side, and put it on the top of a car? This way, the wind-like sensation you get when you ride in a car with the window down will turn the crank (imagine winds of up to 70mph!), and in the process, recharging the battery.
    What you are missing here is the fact that the energy needed to spin your windmill generator is being provided by the engine of the car. With that arrangement, you've gained nothing (and lost quite a bit) compared to the standard method in which the car's alternator is belt-driven by the car's engine. Sorry.
    Actually, I'm not missing that. You see, as the car is using up battery power to power the car, it's simultaneously (sp) recharging the battery via the windmill. The energy input is greater than the energy output, yes, but by a much smaller margine than if the car didn't have the windmill, in which case the battery would be lasting only a few hours. With it simultaneously (sp) recharging at a relatively slow but potent rate, the battery has the potential to last much longer than if it were going off the plug-in charge alone.

    What I'm proposing here is not meant to totally get rid of the need for gasoline, merely to make the car more efficient. People have it in their heads that hybrid cars are better, but if you look at the big picture, you'll find that they do nothing except lighten your wallet. Allow me to explain.

    One of the biggest "draws" of a hybrid car is the supposed reduced pollution, but really, when you replace half of the gasoline with battery, that battery power needs to come from somewhere, and where do we get most of our electricity? Coal! Coal emmits greenhouse gasses when burned, so ultimately, we're not reducing the pollution; we're just moving it from the road to the power plant.

    Another "draw," which is really the only other draw, is better mileage, but is it really any more expensive to buy gasoline alone than it is to buy half gasoline and half electricity for your battery? Electricity isn't free, people, nor is it cheap.

    My proposal will decrease the number of times that the battery will need that costly recharge, thus lowering the cost of the electricity part of the hybrid car. I don't know how much more clearly I can put that.
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  5. #4 Re: the next leap in car fuel efficiency? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    My proposal: Could we take one of these ceiling fan-style wind generators, turn it on its side, and put it on the top of a car? This way, the wind-like sensation you get when you ride in a car with the window down will turn the crank (imagine winds of up to 70mph!), and in the process, recharging the battery.
    What you are missing here is the fact that the energy needed to spin your windmill generator is being provided by the engine of the car. With that arrangement, you've gained nothing (and lost quite a bit) compared to the standard method in which the car's alternator is belt-driven by the car's engine. Sorry.
    Actually, I'm not missing that. You see, as the car is using up battery power to power the car, it's simultaneously (sp) recharging the battery via the windmill. The energy input is greater than the energy output, yes, but by a much smaller margine than if the car didn't have the windmill, in which case the battery would be lasting only a few hours. With it simultaneously (sp) recharging at a relatively slow but potent rate, the battery has the potential to last much longer than if it were going off the plug-in charge alone.

    What I'm proposing here is not meant to totally get rid of the need for gasoline, merely to make the car more efficient. People have it in their heads that hybrid cars are better, but if you look at the big picture, you'll find that they do nothing except lighten your wallet. Allow me to explain.

    One of the biggest "draws" of a hybrid car is the supposed reduced pollution, but really, when you replace half of the gasoline with battery, that battery power needs to come from somewhere, and where do we get most of our electricity? Coal! Coal emmits greenhouse gasses when burned, so ultimately, we're not reducing the pollution; we're just moving it from the road to the power plant.

    Another "draw," which is really the only other draw, is better mileage, but is it really any more expensive to buy gasoline alone than it is to buy half gasoline and half electricity for your battery? Electricity isn't free, people, nor is it cheap.

    My proposal will decrease the number of times that the battery will need that costly recharge, thus lowering the cost of the electricity part of the hybrid car. I don't know how much more clearly I can put that.
    You are correct about the fact that electric vehicles simply shifting the pollution from the road to the power plant. But I'm afraid that's all that's correct in what you've said.

    I believe you fail to understand that there are energy losses each time you go through a conversion process and that's the basic flaw in your idea.

    What you've proposed involves converting energy a full four times and the overall efficiency is severely reduced. First, you convert from chemical to electrical energy. Next is electrical to mechanical. the next step is mechanical back to electrical and the final is electrical to chemical once again.

    All of that involves a LOT of lost energy. You would come out way ahead to eliminate the final two and simply use what's stored in the battery to power the car. And with all that added loss, you'd actually have to charge the car's battery MORE often rather than less.
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    old Geezer, not sure you understand:

    david is proposing that the battery doesn't power the windmill generater the wind does. Using a coil and magnet with the windmill (turned by wind) moving the magnet inside the coil. This then changes the chemical state of the batery recharching it so the mechanical energy isn't powering the turbine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    old Geezer, not sure you understand:

    david is proposing that the battery doesn't power the windmill generater the wind does. Using a coil and magnet with the windmill (turned by wind) moving the magnet inside the coil. This then changes the chemical state of the batery recharching it so the mechanical energy isn't powering the turbine
    Sure, I understand. What's making the wind? The movement of the car, according to his idea.

    Now if you are just going to park the car on the top of a hill and let the natural wind do the the job, that's completley different. But what do [i]you]/i] do while just sitting there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    old Geezer, not sure you understand:

    david is proposing that the battery doesn't power the windmill generater the wind does. Using a coil and magnet with the windmill (turned by wind) moving the magnet inside the coil. This then changes the chemical state of the batery recharching it so the mechanical energy isn't powering the turbine
    I thought he already knew that, which is why I didn't mention it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Sure, I understand. What's making the wind? The movement of the car, according to his idea.

    Now if you are just going to park the car on the top of a hill and let the natural wind do the the job, that's completley different. But what do [i]you]/i] do while just sitting there?
    I am don't presume to try to defend an idea that i don't completely understand but oh well.

    As a car moves, particles are stationary in comparison (run with it, don't argue semantics) these particles hit the turbine and turn it like wind. To stop cancelation you just add a funnel which connects to one side of the turbine
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    old Geezer, not sure you understand:

    david is proposing that the battery doesn't power the windmill generater the wind does. Using a coil and magnet with the windmill (turned by wind) moving the magnet inside the coil. This then changes the chemical state of the batery recharching it so the mechanical energy isn't powering the turbine
    I thought he already knew that, which is why I didn't mention it.
    I know exactly how a windmill-driven generator/alternator works and the chemistry involved in charging a battery. But that's completely beside the point of energy efficiencies. Or, in this case, the lack of efficency.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    old Geezer, not sure you understand:

    david is proposing that the battery doesn't power the windmill generater the wind does. Using a coil and magnet with the windmill (turned by wind) moving the magnet inside the coil. This then changes the chemical state of the batery recharching it so the mechanical energy isn't powering the turbine
    Sure, I understand. What's making the wind? The movement of the car, according to his idea.

    Now if you are just going to park the car on the top of a hill and let the natural wind do the the job, that's completley different. But what do [i]you]/i] do while just sitting there?
    I understand that the movement of the car is causing the wind, but that doesn't mean anything. The battery would use up the same energy to power the car without the windmill than it would use with it (barring the mass of the windmill itself).

    Let me try and put this in scientific terms (this is, after all, a science board): Do you understand the theory of Special Relativity (General Relativity will work, but Special Relativity is enough). One of the statements of this theory is that if you were standing on the side of the interstate, and a car went by you going 70mph, you would see him zip on by at 70mph, but at the same time, the guy driving the car would see you zip on by at 70mph as well. Who's right? Special Relativity states that both are equally right.

    Apply this to my idea. Is it the car that's moving or the wind? According to SR, it doesn't matter, because the windmill is getting turned either way.
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    [quote="davidstebbins"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    old Geezer, not sure you understand:

    david is proposing that the battery doesn't power the windmill generater the wind does. Using a coil and magnet with the windmill (turned by wind) moving the magnet inside the coil. This then changes the chemical state of the batery recharching it so the mechanical energy isn't powering the turbine
    Sure, I understand. What's making the wind? The movement of the car, according to his idea.

    Now if you are just going to park the car on the top of a hill and let the natural wind do the the job, that's completley different. But what do [i]you]/i] do while just sitting there?
    I understand that the movement of the car is causing the wind, but that doesn't mean anything. The battery would use up the same energy to power the car without the windmill than it would use with it (barring the mass of the windmill itself).
    But what you fail to understand is that the windmill places a load on the power that's driving the car. Even ignoring the mass of the windmill, it makes a big difference, indeed. It's adding to the air resistance of the car. And that takes extra energy to overcome.

    Let me try and put this in scientific terms (this is, after all, a science board): Do you understand the theory of Special Relativity (General Relativity will work, but Special Relativity is enough). One of the statements of this theory is that if you were standing on the side of the interstate, and a car went by you going 70mph, you would see him zip on by at 70mph, but at the same time, the guy driving the car would see you zip on by at 70mph as well. Who's right? Special Relativity states that both are equally right.

    Apply this to my idea. Is it the car that's moving or the wind? According to SR, it doesn't matter, because the windmill is getting turned either way.
    Very sorry to dissapoint you, but relativity has absolutely nothing to do with this situation. And the example you gave doesn't involve realitivity at all - just very basic Newtonian physics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    old Geezer, not sure you understand:

    david is proposing that the battery doesn't power the windmill generater the wind does. Using a coil and magnet with the windmill (turned by wind) moving the magnet inside the coil. This then changes the chemical state of the batery recharching it so the mechanical energy isn't powering the turbine
    Sure, I understand. What's making the wind? The movement of the car, according to his idea.

    Now if you are just going to park the car on the top of a hill and let the natural wind do the the job, that's completley different. But what do [i]you]/i] do while just sitting there?
    I understand that the movement of the car is causing the wind, but that doesn't mean anything. The battery would use up the same energy to power the car without the windmill than it would use with it (barring the mass of the windmill itself).
    But what you fail to understand is that the windmill places a load on the power that's driving the car. Even ignoring the mass of the windmill, it makes a big difference, indeed. It's adding to the air resistance of the car. And that takes extra energy to overcome.
    No actually, I'm not failing to understand that. Suppose the car had a weight of 4000lbs. and the windmill had a mass of 200lbs. The total weight of the system is 4200lbs. It would take just as much energy to power that system as it would a 4200lb truck. That's what I meant by that.

    Let me try and put this in scientific terms (this is, after all, a science board): Do you understand the theory of Special Relativity (General Relativity will work, but Special Relativity is enough). One of the statements of this theory is that if you were standing on the side of the interstate, and a car went by you going 70mph, you would see him zip on by at 70mph, but at the same time, the guy driving the car would see you zip on by at 70mph as well. Who's right? Special Relativity states that both are equally right.

    Apply this to my idea. Is it the car that's moving or the wind? According to SR, it doesn't matter, because the windmill is getting turned either way.
    Very sorry to dissapoint you, but relativity has absolutely nothing to do with this situation. And the example you gave doesn't involve realitivity at all - just very basic Newtonian physics.
    Even if I got the name of the field of science wrong, that still doesn't bar my example from being applicable to this proposal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    No actually, I'm not failing to understand that. Suppose the car had a weight of 4000lbs. and the windmill had a mass of 200lbs. The total weight of the system is 4200lbs. It would take just as much energy to power that system as it would a 4200lb truck. That's what I meant by that.
    Still incorrect. As I said, neglecting the mass of the windmill, it's the air resistance introduced by the windmill that DOES take extra energy to overcome. In fact, perhaps you can visualize the effects of air resistance more easily by comparing it with dragging a anchor behind the car. If the anchor is sized properly the final effect (extra energy required) would be exactly the SAME as with the windmill.

    Even if I got the name of the field of science wrong, that still doesn't bar my example from being applicable to this proposal.
    Yes, it does. The problem is that you've yet to understand some of the very basic principles of physics. I've tried very hard here to not "talk down" to you but I have to say that you need to spend a lot more time studying, apparently, before you can even grasp what's involved in air resistance. And that's very, very basic stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Still incorrect. As I said, neglecting the mass of the windmill, it's the air resistance introduced by the windmill that DOES take extra energy to overcome. In fact, perhaps you can visualize the effects of air resistance more easily by comparing it with dragging a anchor behind the car. If the anchor is sized properly the final effect (extra energy required) would be exactly the SAME as with the windmill.
    pft, you people know nothing. Build the turbine into the roof of a car (or even inside the car) would stop your air resistance argument. and as to wieght, ever heard of Bolsa wood?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Still incorrect. As I said, neglecting the mass of the windmill, it's the air resistance introduced by the windmill that DOES take extra energy to overcome. In fact, perhaps you can visualize the effects of air resistance more easily by comparing it with dragging a anchor behind the car. If the anchor is sized properly the final effect (extra energy required) would be exactly the SAME as with the windmill.
    pft, you people know nothing. Build the turbine into the roof of a car (or even inside the car) would stop your air resistance argument. and as to wieght, ever heard of Bolsa wood?
    That would buy you nothing at all. It still presents air resistance because you need the force to drive the turbine regardless of where you locate it.

    And, nope, never heard of "Bolsa" wood. But I do know about "balsa" wood. :wink: (And that wouldn't help air resistance either, though it would lower the total mass involved - that's all.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Still incorrect. As I said, neglecting the mass of the windmill, it's the air resistance introduced by the windmill that DOES take extra energy to overcome. In fact, perhaps you can visualize the effects of air resistance more easily by comparing it with dragging a anchor behind the car. If the anchor is sized properly the final effect (extra energy required) would be exactly the SAME as with the windmill.
    pft, you people know nothing. Build the turbine into the roof of a car (or even inside the car) would stop your air resistance argument. and as to wieght, ever heard of Bolsa wood?
    So tell me (because I'm terrible at reading between the lines), are you supporting me or Mr. Alzheimer's himself, Old Geezer?
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    Frankly, the need for something like this is next to none. Car batteries rarely have to be recharged, as the running of the car charges them anyway. And although it won't charge them completely, it will still take a very long time for them to run down. A very long time. That is if you don't leave your headlights on all night.
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    Quote Originally Posted by Nevyn
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Geezer
    Still incorrect. As I said, neglecting the mass of the windmill, it's the air resistance introduced by the windmill that DOES take extra energy to overcome. In fact, perhaps you can visualize the effects of air resistance more easily by comparing it with dragging a anchor behind the car. If the anchor is sized properly the final effect (extra energy required) would be exactly the SAME as with the windmill.
    pft, you people know nothing. Build the turbine into the roof of a car (or even inside the car) would stop your air resistance argument. and as to wieght, ever heard of Bolsa wood?
    So tell me (because I'm terrible at reading between the lines), are you supporting me or Mr. Alzheimer's himself, Old Geezer?
    That's actually pretty humorous! But not for the reason you intended. It's correct that we have an age-related problem here, but it's not mine - it's yours. :wink:

    It was obvious from the very beginning that you simply haven't been around long enough (too young, in other words) to have learned the principles that form the very basics of what I've been trying to explain to you.

    Let me put it another way. All you've really done is slightly re-invent one of the oldest perpetual-motion machines around: connecting a motor to a generator which is supposed to power the motor which runs the generator... and so on. But you actually made it worse by including a battery and producing wind to drive a turbine (or windmill, if you prefer). So you decoupled the machine and added even more energy losses to it.

    Once you get to the point that you actually understand what's involved in wind resistance AND the losses of power conversion, you will think back to this whole thing and realize how foolish that idea really was.

    Meanwhile, please don't quit school! Because you've still got LOTS to learn.
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    David, don't mess with the Old Geezer. He knows what he's talking about.

    Another old geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    David, don't mess with the Old Geezer. He knows what he's talking about.

    Another old geezer
    Thank you, Harold.

    The lad actually shows good promise, I've no doubt he will learn as he goes along. All he needs is time and exposure to facts.
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