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Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-06-04 01:29
  Subject:   Well hello, summer formulation gasoline!
Public
  Music:Halliburton is my biznatch... and biznatch is good!

431 miles, 9.533 gallons, 45.211 MPG

My nine and a half gallon tank fillup cost me $25.16 at CostCo.

This tank is a couple MPG higher than average, because I've been driving with the windows down and consequently can't leadfoot it at 70-75 MPH all the time. When my Civic was built, the speed limit was 55, and I'm betting the engineers who built it made the engine and transmission optimially efficient right around that speed. Of course, air resistance goes up with the square of your velocity too, so that's likely a factor.

It's going to be a long, hot summer. And I'm going to be hating life, commuting an hour each way with no air conditioning...
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Nikkou: edward lear's jumblies
  User: jumblies
  Date: 2006-06-04 03:48 (UTC)
  Subject:   Mobile sauna!
Keyword:edward lear's jumblies

Drive to work in your underpants! Get a tan!

Or start off for work before down and don't drive back till after the sun goes down. (Haw haw!)

-So Sympathetic.
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MegaZone
  User: zonereyrie
  Date: 2006-06-04 07:09 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
No A/C? Suck.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-06-04 08:28 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Even worse - I asked my mechanic, who I love to freakin' death and has never steered me wrong, how much it would cost to retrofit AC... $5500! Gawd, the car's only worth like $2500!

Of course, this whining may seem like small potatoes to you, since you have a mortgage!
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MegaZone
  User: zonereyrie
  Date: 2006-06-04 08:51 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
DAMN! When I bought my Cherokee in 1994 I was broke so I got no frills - AM/FM, no A/C, etc. Fortunately the summber of 95 was a mild one in MA, then I moved to Berkeley and weather was mild - except driving home from work in Pleasanton, because that valley could get over 100 degrees in the summer.

But when I moved back to MA in 98, that summer was hot and sticky and I wasn't as broke anymore, so I had A/C put in the Jeep. I don't remember exactly, but I think it was less than $2000. I want to say a good bit less, but it was 8 years ago so it isn't clear.

I do have a mortgage, but I wouldn't consider $5500 small potatoes!
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  User: randomchris
  Date: 2006-06-04 09:07 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Holy crap. Can't you just stick a fridge in it and leave the door open? It'd be cheaper...
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The Perfect Girl
  User: mercyspeaks
  Date: 2006-06-04 08:45 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
You should get an electric car.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-06-04 08:51 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Right you are!

In fact, what I really want is to tear the engine out of my civic and do some kind of ethanol turbine conversion, plus a flywheel regenerator.

(Insert 2,000 words of further nerd rambling here.)
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MegaZone
  User: zonereyrie
  Date: 2006-06-04 08:52 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Biodiesel is probably easier to get then Ethanol, no? And you can run that on diesel, biodiesel, blends, even kerosene, etc. ;-)
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-06-04 10:17 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Biodiesel is ridiculously easy here in the People's Republic of Boulder. We actually have an open to the public gas pump that you can buy biodiesel (blend or pure) from. Also, the damn hippies here have done the engineering so you can distill your own ethanol.

And yeah, the turbine will run on a lot of different fuels. I theory I think it's slightly more efficient on heavier fuels, due to a larger temperature differential (i.e., it gets a lot hotter and so the upper bound give by the carnot efficiency is raised) but that also leads to your turbine getting burned up earlier. Better to lose a percent or two and run on ethanol.

Really, the whole drivetrain has to be designed together. My favorite flavor of the moment is a planetary IVT used as a power-split device (like the Prius) to either spin an electrical generator (which could then go to either batteries or motors) or else spin up the flywheel. Though the flywheel can also get energy back through the IVT from the wheels. Or you can hold the flywheel still and let the wheels recharge the batteries. Or dump both the flywheel and the turbine through the generator for quick acceleration.

Pretty good system. Efficient, reasonably simple, flexible. Ben Rosen and crew already built one and it worked great. But it was 20-odd years ahead of its time, unfortunately.
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  User: nickhalfasleep
  Date: 2006-06-05 00:58 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Dunno if Honda has any small diesels that fit american standards.

I think a propane micro-turbine, a capacitor discharge circuit, and an electric motor would be a pretty crazy setup.


"yeah, she idles at 20,000 rpm..."
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