By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Energy
Martin Bacon' s coffee-powered car became the world's fastest organic waste-powered car, reaching speeds of 77.5 miles per hour.
You know how so many people rely on endless cups of coffee to fuel them through the workday? One inventor figured that it wasn't such a bad idea to build a car that can also get a serious jolt from the leftover grinds.
But Martin Bacon' s vehicle isn't just your average organic waste-powered car (if there is such a thing); It also recently became the world's fastest. A few weeks ago, the vehicle set a new Guinness World Record during a run in which it reached speeds of 77.5 miles per hour and sustained an average speed of 66.5 mph. The previous speed record, set last year by the wood-burning Beaver XR7, was 47.7 mph.
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The huge improvement upon the previous record is partly due to clever modifications such as gutting parts of the vehicle to make it lighter, but much of the credit goes to Bacon's gasification system. Some of you might recall that the time machine in the film "Back to the Future" used a similar biomass-converting device, though Bacon's version of a "Mr. Fusion" obviously doesn't work using nuclear fusion.
Working with a team of volunteers from Teesdale Conservation in Durham, England, the engineer turned a run-of-the-mill Rover SD1 into a bean-burner by rigging it with an onboard wood gas generator that incinerates wood and coffee grounds at temperatures well above 1292 degrees F. What they got was a synthetic gas that's comprise of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and methane that's automatically supplied to the vehicle's V6 engine.
While much of the automotive industry is moving toward battery-powered electric motors, gasification technology, revived from the WWII era, may someday develop into another attractive alternative. There's not only the potential to reduce garbage from landfills but the clean-burning syngas fuel produced can be used to make ethanol or to power hydrogen fuel cells.
Here's a video that explains the concept:
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Sep 27, 2011
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Makes more sense to digest organic waste anaerobically to produce methane, use that as fuel. No external power source needed, and the only byproduct is fertilizer.
"Incinerates wood and coffee grounds at temperatures well above 1292 degrees" Means you need an external power source to produce the gas and that power source is a primary pollutor; in carbon, ash, greenhouse gasses, and heat. TANSTAAFL!
I first read about wood gasification during WW II England in a 1970's issue of The Mother Earth News. Clever way to overcome the fuel shortages, though crude and never efficient. If the process can be made efficient it can help reduce landfill waste and be another arrow in our quiver to wean us off fossil fuels. Good effort that needs more input of funds, IMHO. Thanks, Tuan