Turbine Engine: No Pistons, No Lube, 30% Better Fuel Economy

 

There are more than 5,000,000 heavy duty trucks running up and down US highways each day. Every one of those trucks gets an average of 7 mpg, carries upwards of 200-300 gallons of diesel, and spews out potentially harmful emissions.

Like it or not, we depend on them to bring us our food, fuel, and products for everyday living. It’s a connection that most of us often forget about, only remembering it long enough to curse them as they slow us down on the highway.

It’s also an industry that has recently been hit hard by soaring fuel prices, and now, with the average price of diesel in the US at $4.70/gallon and climbing, it’s sure to get worse.

Needless to say, there’s a rising cacophony of voices within the trucking industry clamoring for relief. Most of this noise currently comes in the form of wanting a break in fuel prices, but really that’s just a temporary fix. Any solution with sticking power would have to offer both economic and environmental benefit — you know, win-win.





Enter Turbine Truck Engines. The company has developed an engine for heavy duty trucks called the Detonation Cycle Gas Turbine (DCGT). Key features of this engine technology include:

  • Uses over 30% less fuel than current heavy duty engines
  • 30%+ fewer emissions including nitrogen oxide (NO, NO2, N2O2) and carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Operates on all fuels and mixtures of fuels: biofuels, hydrocarbon fuels, hydrogen and synthetic
  • Has few moving parts, requiring much less maintenance
  • Has no pistons or valves, and uses no lube oil, filters or pump
  • Is air cooled and lightweight (less than 2 lbs. per hp)

The company has been aggressively seeking investors recently and last year won the prestigious Frost and Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation.

Currently Turbine Truck Engines holds several patents and has a few prototypes under its belt. When (and if) their technology finally reaches the market, the combined savings on maintenance and fuel, as well as environmental benefits, could make this engine extremely popular with truck drivers and trucking companies worldwide.

What do you think? Is it worthwhile to invest in this type of technology, or should we move past fuel altogether and focus on other things such as our rail infrastructure for movement of goods? Is that even possible? Are big rigs a permanent feature of our society? Is there any way to run them entirely on electricity?

Post Related to Engines and Fuel Economy:

Image Credit: Turbine Truck Engines





About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.
  • Fossil fuels are altogether harmful for our health and the environment. Classic engines based on fossil fuels and ignition-based engines, or ones that use compromise solutions of the same fuels are doomed to extinction in the next decade. There’s no purpose to fighting the simplicity and effectiveness of electric engines, because they are cheap to maintain and they can be fed from any power source: gas, wind, sun, water, geothermal, etc. Electricity is the most flexible and universal form of energy yet known. The rest is what destroyed us, it must be history. I write on alternative energy and I am especially delighted of electric vehicles. You can read more of what I wrote on http://www.greenoptimistic.com.

  • Fossil fuels are altogether harmful for our health and the environment. Classic engines based on fossil fuels and ignition-based engines, or ones that use compromise solutions of the same fuels are doomed to extinction in the next decade. There’s no purpose to fighting the simplicity and effectiveness of electric engines, because they are cheap to maintain and they can be fed from any power source: gas, wind, sun, water, geothermal, etc. Electricity is the most flexible and universal form of energy yet known. The rest is what destroyed us, it must be history. I write on alternative energy and I am especially delighted of electric vehicles. You can read more of what I wrote on http://www.greenoptimistic.com.

  • “Potentially” harmful emissions? C’mon… you don’t need to dance around the elephant in the room anymore!

    Diesel exhaust has been classified a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

  • “Potentially” harmful emissions? C’mon… you don’t need to dance around the elephant in the room anymore!

    Diesel exhaust has been classified a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

  • Nick Chambers

    @SolarDude

    I say “potentially harmful” because I have a background in risk assessment and toxicology. Not every pollutant that enters the environment ends up doing harm to people or the environment. Its a matter of exposure duration and amount. If no one is exposed or the duration of exposure is very quick, the potential for harm is low.

    Granted, there are lots of diesel trucks on the road so the potential for exposure at levels that could be harmful is relatively high, but it’s still only a potential for exposure.

    I assure you, I’ve never danced with elephants.

  • When their technology finally reaches the market, could make this engine extremely popular with trucking companies worldwide.

  • When their technology finally reaches the market, could make this engine extremely popular with trucking companies worldwide.

  • mullingitover

    Is it worthwhile to use an engine that reduces fuel consumption by 30%? Is that even a serious question?

    Even if global warming is completely bogus, we are part of a global market where the winners are the ones who use their resources with the highest level of efficiency. That’s why ‘green technology’ is a win-win: even if climate change is a sham, at the end of the day we win when we’re the most efficient.

  • mullingitover

    Is it worthwhile to use an engine that reduces fuel consumption by 30%? Is that even a serious question?

    Even if global warming is completely bogus, we are part of a global market where the winners are the ones who use their resources with the highest level of efficiency. That’s why ‘green technology’ is a win-win: even if climate change is a sham, at the end of the day we win when we’re the most efficient.

  • Adam

    Ovidu, that’s nice and all, but electric motors do NOT yet have the torque and power to haul multiple tones of cargo over a mountain chain, in the snow. When you can show me an electric engine that can haul the same amount of cargo the same amount of distance between refueling, and travel at the same speed, THEN we’ll talk.

    As to the article, yes, invest in it, we do not yet have the energy storage to make electric engines for the extreme uses (though I strongly recommend electric engines for commuter travel)

  • Adam

    Ovidu, that’s nice and all, but electric motors do NOT yet have the torque and power to haul multiple tones of cargo over a mountain chain, in the snow. When you can show me an electric engine that can haul the same amount of cargo the same amount of distance between refueling, and travel at the same speed, THEN we’ll talk.

    As to the article, yes, invest in it, we do not yet have the energy storage to make electric engines for the extreme uses (though I strongly recommend electric engines for commuter travel)

  • colinnwn

    Long distance transport should switch to rail, but trucks will always be needed for last mile distribution. Currently batteries for electric don’t have the energy density required by trucks. Long term, fuel cells is a good option. Short to mid term hybrid (which is very similar to locomotive tech) is attractive, along with DCGT is interesting and I wish them the best commercializing it. I wonder if this could be used as the fossil fuel hybrid power plant, and what the chances are in migrating this to personal vehicles?

  • colinnwn

    Long distance transport should switch to rail, but trucks will always be needed for last mile distribution. Currently batteries for electric don’t have the energy density required by trucks. Long term, fuel cells is a good option. Short to mid term hybrid (which is very similar to locomotive tech) is attractive, along with DCGT is interesting and I wish them the best commercializing it. I wonder if this could be used as the fossil fuel hybrid power plant, and what the chances are in migrating this to personal vehicles?

  • Steve

    Electricity is all well and good, but in trucking there is an issue of total power output and total power output per pound (or cube) and fuel storage. Basically what I mean is how do you run a truck on electricity that needs enough fuel to run 100s of miles between fill ups and refill quickly? And, of course, how do you make an electric engine big enough to pull the tons necessary to move a truck over the Rockies at efficient speed without being bigger than the truck itself? Like it or not, liquefied fuels (be they hydrocarbon or even hydrogen) provide the kind of energy density that serious transportation needs whether it is truck, ship, rail or air that cannot be matched with batteries or fuel cells.

    While the internal combustion engine is inefficient, it is relatively compact in size given its power output. A new engine type based on a turbine principal or another technology that is more efficient should be a welcome solution. No solution is a solution for all time either. Technologies will continue to evolve.

  • FarkinA

    The only problem with turbines is that you have to run them at high RPMs to get any usable power out of them.

    High RPMs = high pitched noise

    I’d rather see widespread hydrogen injection, which can be done *today* and gives ~20% efficiency gains and much more than a 30% reduction in emissions.

  • Steve

    Electricity is all well and good, but in trucking there is an issue of total power output and total power output per pound (or cube) and fuel storage. Basically what I mean is how do you run a truck on electricity that needs enough fuel to run 100s of miles between fill ups and refill quickly? And, of course, how do you make an electric engine big enough to pull the tons necessary to move a truck over the Rockies at efficient speed without being bigger than the truck itself? Like it or not, liquefied fuels (be they hydrocarbon or even hydrogen) provide the kind of energy density that serious transportation needs whether it is truck, ship, rail or air that cannot be matched with batteries or fuel cells.

    While the internal combustion engine is inefficient, it is relatively compact in size given its power output. A new engine type based on a turbine principal or another technology that is more efficient should be a welcome solution. No solution is a solution for all time either. Technologies will continue to evolve.

  • FarkinA

    The only problem with turbines is that you have to run them at high RPMs to get any usable power out of them.

    High RPMs = high pitched noise

    I’d rather see widespread hydrogen injection, which can be done *today* and gives ~20% efficiency gains and much more than a 30% reduction in emissions.

  • Nightshade

    Electric is still a long way from being a viable technology due to its limited range and slow recharge time. Before we can start to seriously discuss electric as a serious option, it will need to get to the point where recharge time is measured in minutes, not hours.

    We need to take a serious look at the fact that this engine is a true flex-fueled engine. It can run on any combination of biofuel, petrol-fuel, hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Biofuel and electric produced hydrogen are the fuel sources of the future.

    What I am waiting to see is engines like this in passenger cars and trucks!

  • Nightshade

    Electric is still a long way from being a viable technology due to its limited range and slow recharge time. Before we can start to seriously discuss electric as a serious option, it will need to get to the point where recharge time is measured in minutes, not hours.

    We need to take a serious look at the fact that this engine is a true flex-fueled engine. It can run on any combination of biofuel, petrol-fuel, hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Biofuel and electric produced hydrogen are the fuel sources of the future.

    What I am waiting to see is engines like this in passenger cars and trucks!

  • nemo

    There is no existing infrastructure for the trucking industry to use.

    The energy density of current batteries is simply pathetic.

    Ultra capacitors, if and when they are mass produced will help, but are nowhere near the energy density of diesel.

    My off-the-cuff calculation based on current energy densities of LiOn off of wikipedia versus 400 gallons of diesel yields a semi dragging around 116 cubic metres of LiOn battery to do the long hauls.

    Even if commuter traffic moves to electric, trucks will be longer in making the transition.

    Improving current technology is only a good thing. As is finding more efficient transport methods like rail – which probably would be more popular if it had not been stiflingly over-regulated in comparison with the trucking fleets.

    Frankly, I see nothing wrong with storing energy in diesel. Especially if we find reasonably efficient ways of generating it. Perhaps algae farms.

  • nemo

    There is no existing infrastructure for the trucking industry to use.

    The energy density of current batteries is simply pathetic.

    Ultra capacitors, if and when they are mass produced will help, but are nowhere near the energy density of diesel.

    My off-the-cuff calculation based on current energy densities of LiOn off of wikipedia versus 400 gallons of diesel yields a semi dragging around 116 cubic metres of LiOn battery to do the long hauls.

    Even if commuter traffic moves to electric, trucks will be longer in making the transition.

    Improving current technology is only a good thing. As is finding more efficient transport methods like rail – which probably would be more popular if it had not been stiflingly over-regulated in comparison with the trucking fleets.

    Frankly, I see nothing wrong with storing energy in diesel. Especially if we find reasonably efficient ways of generating it. Perhaps algae farms.

  • herman444

    Reciprocating versus Revolving (no wasted energy reversing direction)

    coupled with a heavy duty PIV transmission (Positively

    Infinitely Variable)

    Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of it

  • herman444

    Reciprocating versus Revolving (no wasted energy reversing direction)

    coupled with a heavy duty PIV transmission (Positively

    Infinitely Variable)

    Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of it

  • This would be a great transition until electric cars go mainstream. It will be a while before electric cars/battery tech gets to the point of powering large trucks. In the interim we will operate at some point in a mixed hydrocarbon/alternative environment.

  • This would be a great transition until electric cars go mainstream. It will be a while before electric cars/battery tech gets to the point of powering large trucks. In the interim we will operate at some point in a mixed hydrocarbon/alternative environment.

  • The Heretic

    Electric motors don’t have enough torque to haul freight? Gee, somebody better tell the railroads; they use electric motors to haul thousands of tons over the steepest mountain passes every day of the year – have for decades. Yes, they use diesels to generate the electricity that drives the motors, but the electric motors are what propel the trains, not the diesels.

    The problem is not how powerful the electric motors are, but rather how to provide a mobile electric motor enough electrical power.

    But back to the original topic. I can’t get to the website to see the prototype or info on it (must be overloaded) so I can’t make any judgements on it – but it sounds promising (reciprocating IC engines have always seemed primitive and inefficient to me and I used to work as a pro mech).

    We need multiple solutions for our energy consumption problems because no one solution is going to be replace our current systems overnight. We need hybrids and other efficiency improvements because affordable fuel cells won’t be here for quite a while.

  • The Heretic

    Electric motors don’t have enough torque to haul freight? Gee, somebody better tell the railroads; they use electric motors to haul thousands of tons over the steepest mountain passes every day of the year – have for decades. Yes, they use diesels to generate the electricity that drives the motors, but the electric motors are what propel the trains, not the diesels.

    The problem is not how powerful the electric motors are, but rather how to provide a mobile electric motor enough electrical power.

    But back to the original topic. I can’t get to the website to see the prototype or info on it (must be overloaded) so I can’t make any judgements on it – but it sounds promising (reciprocating IC engines have always seemed primitive and inefficient to me and I used to work as a pro mech).

    We need multiple solutions for our energy consumption problems because no one solution is going to be replace our current systems overnight. We need hybrids and other efficiency improvements because affordable fuel cells won’t be here for quite a while.

  • We really just need to move on and bite the bullet. These diesels are lowering our life quality which ripples down into everything.

  • We really just need to move on and bite the bullet. These diesels are lowering our life quality which ripples down into everything.

  • phil

    Funny that the Germans ran the Panzer Divisions on synthetic fuel from German coal

    reserves (without computer tech.) Yet 63 years later Exxon, Shell et al have never been able to make gas and diseal as the Germans did. …Or maybe they got the formula and burned it?

  • phil

    Funny that the Germans ran the Panzer Divisions on synthetic fuel from German coal

    reserves (without computer tech.) Yet 63 years later Exxon, Shell et al have never been able to make gas and diseal as the Germans did. …Or maybe they got the formula and burned it?

  • JohnD

    Adam

    “but electric motors do NOT yet have the torque and power to haul multiple tones of cargo over a mountain chain, in the snow.”

    You could not be more wrong. Electric motors make HUGE amounts of torque. That is why locomotives use electric motors, that is why the Tesla EV is so fast 0-60.

    There are valid critiques of electric vehicles (range, recharge time…) stick to those; don’t make things up, or speak of that which you do not know.

  • JohnD

    Adam

    “but electric motors do NOT yet have the torque and power to haul multiple tones of cargo over a mountain chain, in the snow.”

    You could not be more wrong. Electric motors make HUGE amounts of torque. That is why locomotives use electric motors, that is why the Tesla EV is so fast 0-60.

    There are valid critiques of electric vehicles (range, recharge time…) stick to those; don’t make things up, or speak of that which you do not know.

  • Bill

    I am a retired Mechanic,and agree with what is being said here. A piston engine by design is beating it self to death through normal operation.. A turbine engine (JET) is smooth operating etc but a fuel hog. However they will burn about anything that squeeze in a fuel nozzle. Im a Big fan of electric power and we need more and better research on now retrofitting what we have in operation.Than go make the ion engine or anti matter drive or what ever we care to invent. Bill

  • Bill

    I am a retired Mechanic,and agree with what is being said here. A piston engine by design is beating it self to death through normal operation.. A turbine engine (JET) is smooth operating etc but a fuel hog. However they will burn about anything that squeeze in a fuel nozzle. Im a Big fan of electric power and we need more and better research on now retrofitting what we have in operation.Than go make the ion engine or anti matter drive or what ever we care to invent. Bill

  • Adam, so explain how a locomotive works. You do know that diesel locomotives use the diesel engine to drive a generator at constant speed, and then electric motors at the wheels to propel the train, right?

  • Adam, so explain how a locomotive works. You do know that diesel locomotives use the diesel engine to drive a generator at constant speed, and then electric motors at the wheels to propel the train, right?

  • rich

    turbine power is the way to go! in the world of general / commercial avation, turbine engines dominate for the reasons listed in the article: they generate a very sizable amount of power, and are much easier to maintain then piston engines do to the simplicity of design. now today’s aircraft engine only accepts the gasoline blend jet-a, but the fact that they could make a truck turbine accept all major blends out there could be a great asset to the trucking industries.

    this may not be the perfect solution, but at least it will greatly cut down on time spent for repairs, cost of parts, and gas!

  • rich

    turbine power is the way to go! in the world of general / commercial avation, turbine engines dominate for the reasons listed in the article: they generate a very sizable amount of power, and are much easier to maintain then piston engines do to the simplicity of design. now today’s aircraft engine only accepts the gasoline blend jet-a, but the fact that they could make a truck turbine accept all major blends out there could be a great asset to the trucking industries.

    this may not be the perfect solution, but at least it will greatly cut down on time spent for repairs, cost of parts, and gas!

  • SxC

    Electric engines are all well and good, but the power to

    charge the eninges still has to come from somewhere.

    Unless you are planning on building dozens of nuclear(!) power stations, Wouldn’t that use more fuel and make more air pollution?

    BTW, The only reason I mention nuclear power is that there is no alt that can produce the amounts of power needed to charge X million electic cars/trucks….

  • SxC

    Electric engines are all well and good, but the power to

    charge the eninges still has to come from somewhere.

    Unless you are planning on building dozens of nuclear(!) power stations, Wouldn’t that use more fuel and make more air pollution?

    BTW, The only reason I mention nuclear power is that there is no alt that can produce the amounts of power needed to charge X million electic cars/trucks….

  • jimbo92107

    Not good enough. America must rebuild its railway system, engineered to run on solar-electric power. Perfectly feasible, self-sustaining. Land beside railway lines is plentiful, trains are inherently capable of storing solar generated energy in batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.

    Next problem…

  • jimbo92107

    Not good enough. America must rebuild its railway system, engineered to run on solar-electric power. Perfectly feasible, self-sustaining. Land beside railway lines is plentiful, trains are inherently capable of storing solar generated energy in batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.

    Next problem…

  • chris

    oh yes, diesel engines are ruining peoples’ lives everywhere. what are we thinking? let’s just shut down the entire industry until we figure something else out.

  • chris

    oh yes, diesel engines are ruining peoples’ lives everywhere. what are we thinking? let’s just shut down the entire industry until we figure something else out.

  • kaeghl

    I can’t figure out why no one is producing a serial hyrbid. Its senseless.

    The Tesla roadster is a serial hybrid, why not make a truck one?

    You have a gas (or diesel) generator that is operating at peek efficieny at all times (saves on gas) that is not connected to the road at all. It just generates power for the motors and batteries, just like the trains we have here in Chicago.

    So why does no one do this for trucks?

  • kaeghl

    I can’t figure out why no one is producing a serial hyrbid. Its senseless.

    The Tesla roadster is a serial hybrid, why not make a truck one?

    You have a gas (or diesel) generator that is operating at peek efficieny at all times (saves on gas) that is not connected to the road at all. It just generates power for the motors and batteries, just like the trains we have here in Chicago.

    So why does no one do this for trucks?

  • Sadly this is an utter waste of time. Its so sad really. the ONLY way to save money is to not use gas.

    If you had a commodity that everyone HAD to have and it was the only thing you sold and everyone knew it and HAD to suck it you.

    Take a guess what happens when we starting using 30% less fuel? It will get 30% more expensive for that fuel.

    Gas is $4 a gallon right bow June 10th. If on june 11th I could snap my fingers and raise our average fuel economy from 20mpg to 40mpg instantly in one day TAKE A GUESS what fuel would cost come june 12th.?

    Thats right $8 a gallon. Its a lose lose I am paying the SAME price per mile drive AND I spent money to improve my mpg for nothing.

    The ONLY solution is Electric Motors. IE NO GASOLINE AT ALL. then it does not matter what the raise the price too.

  • Sadly this is an utter waste of time. Its so sad really. the ONLY way to save money is to not use gas.

    If you had a commodity that everyone HAD to have and it was the only thing you sold and everyone knew it and HAD to suck it you.

    Take a guess what happens when we starting using 30% less fuel? It will get 30% more expensive for that fuel.

    Gas is $4 a gallon right bow June 10th. If on june 11th I could snap my fingers and raise our average fuel economy from 20mpg to 40mpg instantly in one day TAKE A GUESS what fuel would cost come june 12th.?

    Thats right $8 a gallon. Its a lose lose I am paying the SAME price per mile drive AND I spent money to improve my mpg for nothing.

    The ONLY solution is Electric Motors. IE NO GASOLINE AT ALL. then it does not matter what the raise the price too.

  • I disagree on the battery mass issue. first even if your 116 cubic meters is accurate (I question that though) but lets use it for now. HOW MUCH MASS does 116cubic meters of LITH weigh? Few hundred pounds?

    Whats 400 Gallons of diesel weigh? 6.87 pounds per gallon of almost 2800 pounds!! and your concernd over 500-600 pounds Even 1000 pounds of batteries?

    HOW FAR could a big rig go on 2800 pounds of batteries?

  • I disagree on the battery mass issue. first even if your 116 cubic meters is accurate (I question that though) but lets use it for now. HOW MUCH MASS does 116cubic meters of LITH weigh? Few hundred pounds?

    Whats 400 Gallons of diesel weigh? 6.87 pounds per gallon of almost 2800 pounds!! and your concernd over 500-600 pounds Even 1000 pounds of batteries?

    HOW FAR could a big rig go on 2800 pounds of batteries?

  • Joyce Patton

    I have been in the trucking business since 1977, on May 12th,2008 we closed our company. This was due to the continued rising fuel cost, insurance and shippers refusing to shoulder the responsibility of the added cost of the fuel. We are now trying to sell our property here in Atlanta,Ga, but you know what has happened to the real estate market. We had planned to sell our property with a great shop and offices and fund our retirement. Now we are no longer living the American Dream and trying to be able to salvage what we have worked for. My stocks have gone south and they are worth about half what I paid for them.

    I would invest in this engine because of what our country and our industry needs. Would love to be one of your supporters. I would love to able to test one of these engines and prove that this technology is what our country needs.

    Looking forward to hearing from you in the future.

    Joyce Patton

  • Joyce Patton

    I have been in the trucking business since 1977, on May 12th,2008 we closed our company. This was due to the continued rising fuel cost, insurance and shippers refusing to shoulder the responsibility of the added cost of the fuel. We are now trying to sell our property here in Atlanta,Ga, but you know what has happened to the real estate market. We had planned to sell our property with a great shop and offices and fund our retirement. Now we are no longer living the American Dream and trying to be able to salvage what we have worked for. My stocks have gone south and they are worth about half what I paid for them.

    I would invest in this engine because of what our country and our industry needs. Would love to be one of your supporters. I would love to able to test one of these engines and prove that this technology is what our country needs.

    Looking forward to hearing from you in the future.

    Joyce Patton

  • Nick Chambers

    @ Joyce Patton

    I do feel sorry for the trucking industry right now. It’s a group of folks that has no recourse to pass on the costs of high fuel prices (unless you belong to one of the mega-mega trucking fleets like Swift and can purchase your fuel a few million gallons at a time to negotiate a better deal; but I’d rather see the little independent truckers be able to make it more than I care about Swift).

    We’re facing a growing crisis in how our goods are delivered. I hope that someday we can help the trucking industry to become more efficient and use alternative fuels, but right now it’s not an option. I’m glad you appreciated the article. Please pass it on to your former business colleagues and let them know that these companies are out there and need help to get their goods to market.

  • TheEngineer

    Interesting,

    I’m wondering about four problems…

    1. Thermal efficiency (cooling issues)

    2. pollution due to too low burn temperature

    3. drive wheel sealing

    4. compressor power loss

    If they can solve those problems.. hats of to them.

  • TheEngineer

    Interesting,

    I’m wondering about four problems…

    1. Thermal efficiency (cooling issues)

    2. pollution due to too low burn temperature

    3. drive wheel sealing

    4. compressor power loss

    If they can solve those problems.. hats of to them.

  • bryan

    It is a difficult argument to tackle. On one side we need change now and on the other if we jump into the first promissing technology that could potentally make the best choice. If we aren’t careful we will just end up in this same situation again. To make the best choice we need to make sure our energy is sustainable and clean. The only option that is even close right now is electric. No matter what happens the US population will have to make a lifestyle change. I think this is going to prove to be the most difficult part. There are still peoplebwho don’t care enough to do anything about it not to mention the negative stigma the almost anything considered alternative has. The only reason everyone is for hydrogen is because of the publicity. Proof positive that we have to convince the public to convince the auto makers.

  • bryan

    It is a difficult argument to tackle. On one side we need change now and on the other if we jump into the first promissing technology that could potentally make the best choice. If we aren’t careful we will just end up in this same situation again. To make the best choice we need to make sure our energy is sustainable and clean. The only option that is even close right now is electric. No matter what happens the US population will have to make a lifestyle change. I think this is going to prove to be the most difficult part. There are still peoplebwho don’t care enough to do anything about it not to mention the negative stigma the almost anything considered alternative has. The only reason everyone is for hydrogen is because of the publicity. Proof positive that we have to convince the public to convince the auto makers.

  • Drew

    Reading the three pages of comments on this so far really does open ones eyes as to how out of touch people in this nation are with one of the most needed industries we have. Face it folks, with out trucks our nation ceases to exist/the economy nose dives and doesn’t recover/we all lose everything.

    I(like patton above) Have been in the trucking industry for years and have seen vast changes like never before in just the past 7-8 years. I do consider myself one of the lucky few out there that I have a contracted haul that gives a rising fuel surcharge, so unlike others I only pay $0.97/gal for fuel. That allows me to survive the down time we are having but, it does not make up for the fact that everything else is rising in cost!

    I would welcome these engines right now if offered just to try them out. I think it’s a good start to try and develop better systems for the future in this industry. The rail system can barely handle the mass of freight they move now, therefore they would have to severly expand their operating system in a hurry to keep up, and with out the trucks….what does this nation do with the estimated 2-5 million jobs and 70,000 companys that would stop operation in a single day???? I see one of the largest contributers to this economy as the EPA! Yes the eco system and the planet are things that need to be protected and company’s nedd someone to answer to when they destroy and harm the landscape, BUT……..we also have to have a way to live in this world and the EPA has harmed the life of the people more then they have helped us in the past 20 years. Trucks cost more now due to exaust standards and the equipment is more costly to maintain. Now combine that with $4.89(yes we pay more for #2 diesel then gas and use more of it with less MPG)and we have an economical disaster on our hands! Make the EPA back off of the oil companys and let them tap the north american continent for oil NOW…..that way we can afford to stay alive while we come up with better ways to run this country and it’s industries! Besides, shouldn’t the greatest country on earth be energy independant???

    And where are the flying cars that run off of thin air that were promised to us back in the fifty’s????

  • Drew

    Reading the three pages of comments on this so far really does open ones eyes as to how out of touch people in this nation are with one of the most needed industries we have. Face it folks, with out trucks our nation ceases to exist/the economy nose dives and doesn’t recover/we all lose everything.

    I(like patton above) Have been in the trucking industry for years and have seen vast changes like never before in just the past 7-8 years. I do consider myself one of the lucky few out there that I have a contracted haul that gives a rising fuel surcharge, so unlike others I only pay $0.97/gal for fuel. That allows me to survive the down time we are having but, it does not make up for the fact that everything else is rising in cost!

    I would welcome these engines right now if offered just to try them out. I think it’s a good start to try and develop better systems for the future in this industry. The rail system can barely handle the mass of freight they move now, therefore they would have to severly expand their operating system in a hurry to keep up, and with out the trucks….what does this nation do with the estimated 2-5 million jobs and 70,000 companys that would stop operation in a single day???? I see one of the largest contributers to this economy as the EPA! Yes the eco system and the planet are things that need to be protected and company’s nedd someone to answer to when they destroy and harm the landscape, BUT……..we also have to have a way to live in this world and the EPA has harmed the life of the people more then they have helped us in the past 20 years. Trucks cost more now due to exaust standards and the equipment is more costly to maintain. Now combine that with $4.89(yes we pay more for #2 diesel then gas and use more of it with less MPG)and we have an economical disaster on our hands! Make the EPA back off of the oil companys and let them tap the north american continent for oil NOW…..that way we can afford to stay alive while we come up with better ways to run this country and it’s industries! Besides, shouldn’t the greatest country on earth be energy independant???

    And where are the flying cars that run off of thin air that were promised to us back in the fifty’s????

  • nemo

    Chris Taylor, Since your website is rather broken and I bet the e-mail address listed there is probably just a spam trap (and the “license” link is broken at that) I’ll just say here I picked the most generous value for LiOn off the wikipedia energy density page.

    The energy density by volume was far more generous than that by mass.

    By mass, it was 0.5% the energy density of diesel.

    Yes, it is reusable. But there is a reason we haven’t all jumped on the battery bandwagon. The technology simply is not there yet.

    Don’t forget that choosing to use something that weighs 200 times as much as diesel fuel means reducing the vehicle’s range as well.

    As I and others noted, trains are a reasonable solution to this problem. But that does not help the truckers.

  • nemo

    Chris Taylor, Since your website is rather broken and I bet the e-mail address listed there is probably just a spam trap (and the “license” link is broken at that) I’ll just say here I picked the most generous value for LiOn off the wikipedia energy density page.

    The energy density by volume was far more generous than that by mass.

    By mass, it was 0.5% the energy density of diesel.

    Yes, it is reusable. But there is a reason we haven’t all jumped on the battery bandwagon. The technology simply is not there yet.

    Don’t forget that choosing to use something that weighs 200 times as much as diesel fuel means reducing the vehicle’s range as well.

    As I and others noted, trains are a reasonable solution to this problem. But that does not help the truckers.

  • Nick:

    Good article and great discussion. As food for thought for both you and the truckers who have been reading this, I would suggest also checking out Capstone Turbine, http://www.microturbine.com

    They have been producing turbine/electric hybrid buses for several years and have models that just might work for large trucks. Capstone has been designing, manufacturing and refining their turbines for at least ten years and have almost 20 million total turbine operating hours under their belts.

    Disclosure: I have been investing in Capstone for years, since I have always liked small turbine technology and believed that it provided certain advantages that reciprocating engines could not achieve.

  • Nick:

    Good article and great discussion. As food for thought for both you and the truckers who have been reading this, I would suggest also checking out Capstone Turbine, http://www.microturbine.com

    They have been producing turbine/electric hybrid buses for several years and have models that just might work for large trucks. Capstone has been designing, manufacturing and refining their turbines for at least ten years and have almost 20 million total turbine operating hours under their belts.

    Disclosure: I have been investing in Capstone for years, since I have always liked small turbine technology and believed that it provided certain advantages that reciprocating engines could not achieve.

  • rich

    electric is nice and it has come a long way the newer used cells are lithium like in a laptop recharg time is much shorter then days of old it has been drop to the minutes level and speeds increased Tesla in california makes a sports car that is faster then the latest ferrari check them out they may have a solution to the problem or are working on it

  • rich

    electric is nice and it has come a long way the newer used cells are lithium like in a laptop recharg time is much shorter then days of old it has been drop to the minutes level and speeds increased Tesla in california makes a sports car that is faster then the latest ferrari check them out they may have a solution to the problem or are working on it

  • Uncle B

    Steel wheel on steel rail for extremely low rolling friction and turbine or piston diesels to produce diesel/electrics is hard to beat. What we need is greater control over current rail systems and huge improvements in methodology – current cars too heavy, engines pollute, inter-city systems don’t exist, goddamit a kid with a lego set can do a better job! Tracks are visibly piss-poor, and still on wood, not cement like Europe, engines and cars are huge, oversized and slow, we need lots of fast computer piloted and controlled electric container cars for fast light delevery and leave the odd very heavy freight load to trucks? Anything is better than the shit we currently call a rail system. What we have came from Britain in the 18th century There is lots of room for improvement!

  • Uncle B

    Steel wheel on steel rail for extremely low rolling friction and turbine or piston diesels to produce diesel/electrics is hard to beat. What we need is greater control over current rail systems and huge improvements in methodology – current cars too heavy, engines pollute, inter-city systems don’t exist, goddamit a kid with a lego set can do a better job! Tracks are visibly piss-poor, and still on wood, not cement like Europe, engines and cars are huge, oversized and slow, we need lots of fast computer piloted and controlled electric container cars for fast light delevery and leave the odd very heavy freight load to trucks? Anything is better than the shit we currently call a rail system. What we have came from Britain in the 18th century There is lots of room for improvement!

  • Dave

    Engine efficiencies improvements will take a long time. Alternative fuels will take a long time. Trains are vastly more efficient. Their major difficulty lies in competing with trucks, which run on taxpayer provided highways, while railroad are responsible for owning and maintaining their roadways. Impossible. We can’t abandon highways, but we CAN make trucks run more like trains. Platooning technology would allow trucks to run like trains..close together, drafting, saving enormous amounts of energy.

    Vehicle platooning for cars is difficult because they’re of such diverse sizes. Long haul trucks are almost identical in size, and it would be relatively easier to retrofit them to platoon. And that improvement would be equally helpful when/if all those other propulsion improvements come to pass?

  • Dave

    Engine efficiencies improvements will take a long time. Alternative fuels will take a long time. Trains are vastly more efficient. Their major difficulty lies in competing with trucks, which run on taxpayer provided highways, while railroad are responsible for owning and maintaining their roadways. Impossible. We can’t abandon highways, but we CAN make trucks run more like trains. Platooning technology would allow trucks to run like trains..close together, drafting, saving enormous amounts of energy.

    Vehicle platooning for cars is difficult because they’re of such diverse sizes. Long haul trucks are almost identical in size, and it would be relatively easier to retrofit them to platoon. And that improvement would be equally helpful when/if all those other propulsion improvements come to pass?

  • Don Carver

    If your engine dose all that you say then you will like this web site of a new fuel source. It is a news broadcast a little over 9 minuts long. Check it out A John Kanzius, an amazing new discovery.

    salt water burns.com

  • Don Carver

    If your engine dose all that you say then you will like this web site of a new fuel source. It is a news broadcast a little over 9 minuts long. Check it out A John Kanzius, an amazing new discovery.

    salt water burns.com

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  • ChuckL

    Solar Dude,

    You sound like a Microsoft fanboy talking about Linux. Your data on the diesel is woefully out of date, and if you think that gasoline exhaust is not harmful try breathing it for a while. Just have someone around to resuscitate you.

    Adam,

    Have you ever heard of a diesel-electric locomotive? Of course they are rather inconvenient to use on the highways.

  • ChuckL

    Solar Dude,

    You sound like a Microsoft fanboy talking about Linux. Your data on the diesel is woefully out of date, and if you think that gasoline exhaust is not harmful try breathing it for a while. Just have someone around to resuscitate you.

    Adam,

    Have you ever heard of a diesel-electric locomotive? Of course they are rather inconvenient to use on the highways.

  • mike h

    how does it move by rocker arm or chain pulley what kind of fuel is it moved by circulating water that circulates a drum cylinder in a houing powered by wood,gasoline,propane,solar/wind

  • mike h

    how does it move by rocker arm or chain pulley what kind of fuel is it moved by circulating water that circulates a drum cylinder in a houing powered by wood,gasoline,propane,solar/wind

  • Dumbo

    jet engines you say? then in the future i can expect there will be no more 18-wheelers since they’ll all be flying.

    and please don’t dance with elephants, we step on toes alot.

  • Dumbo

    jet engines you say? then in the future i can expect there will be no more 18-wheelers since they’ll all be flying.

    and please don’t dance with elephants, we step on toes alot.

  • xygnus1

    @ Adam…electric motors definately have the torque to do the job, what do you think trains have? Although the truck would also have the motors on the wheels and not power the wheels threw a drivetrain. Also, use of a turbine if you can get 100 percent caloric value out of a bio or fossle fuel it would be the most efficient engine next to hydrogen.

  • xygnus1

    @ Adam…electric motors definately have the torque to do the job, what do you think trains have? Although the truck would also have the motors on the wheels and not power the wheels threw a drivetrain. Also, use of a turbine if you can get 100 percent caloric value out of a bio or fossle fuel it would be the most efficient engine next to hydrogen.

  • I have the idea of making new fuel efficient rotery type engine. please let me know whether i can joing with you and develop the systerm.

    Hemantha.

  • Mike Locke

    Electric engines have a much better power to weight ratio than turbine or reciprocating piston engines. The problem with an electric truck is the fuel energy density.

    Diesel: 45MJ/kg, 36.4MJ/liter
    LION battery 0.72MJ/kg, 2.23MJ/liter
    This means to get the same range, Lion batteries requires 45/0.72 = 62.5 times the weight and 36.4/2.23 = 16.3 times the space of diesel fuel. That is with no allowance for the cooling system that large lion battery systems require. With a typical truck carrying about 200 gallons of diesel, weighing 200*7.15lb/gal = 1430 pounds, the Lion batteries would weigh 1430*62.5=89375 pounds, exceeding the 80000 lb GVWR of most tractor-trailer rigs.

    Things are actually a little better for the Lion because the diesel engine is only about 20% efficient while the electric engine and controller are at least 90% efficient. That brings the battery bank down to “only” 19861 pounds for a range equivalent to 200 gallons of diesel, still an excessive number.

    Charging such batteries is less of a problem. The energy in 200 gallons of diesel is enough to run roughly 2 driver shifts without recharging. It is a reasonable time to stop and spend a few hours recharging.

    The energy to recharge the batteries is also not so much of a problem. Large fossil fuel powered stationary generators are about 45% efficient compared to the 20% efficiency of a typical truck engine, providing at least 50% system fuel consumption reduction even after factoring in losses in the batteries, power grid, etc. In addition, electricity may be generated by means other than burning fossil fuels, such as solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, etc, further decreasing the total amount of fossil fuel that needs to be burned to generate electricity.

    Only a small fraction of the USA would need to be covered with solar panels to generate all of the electric power needed to meet current demands plus these types of additional demands. The USA currently uses about 5320Tera-watt hours/year. A 1 square yard typical solar panel generates 120 watts for 3 hours/day (factors in clouds, winter, etc), or 0.13MW/year, so a total of about 41000 Million square yards or area. Since there are 3.1 million square yards in a square mile, that comes of 13225 square miles of covered area. Although this sounds very large, the lower 48 states have 3.1 million square miles, so the covered area would be only 0.4% of the total. Of course construction costs would be substantial and would require national level determination.

  • ryan campbell

    You don’t mention a single downside to turbine engines of which the most glaring is heat. Chrysler made a turbine car in the 60s and it’s downfall was that you could practically melt the car behind you. They are also a lot more expensive than diesel or gas motors.