Our Energy Crisis - Solutions for Transportation
Written 8/08
by: David Rich

Clearly we cannot keep going on they way we have been; polluting the planet and exhausting those natural resources. Besides it becoming just way too expensive we need to find a better solution to our energy crisis.

Hydrogen:
I believe hydrogen as a viable energy source is possible, but it is true that the major power companies will gain total control long before this is a common place energy source.  Just like how the phone companies fought the internet as long as they could, then bought all the major ISP, so they would not loose control of information exchange. They will also work in planned obsolescence, in stead of giving us the best tech available, in order to make it as profitable as possible and maintaining our dependence on them for energy.

Natural Gas:
We do not hear much about using propane or natural gas for cars, but they have been making them for decades now. They are clean burning compared to petroleum. The natural gas fuel is only about $1 a gallon USD. A far cry less than the $4 we pay for petroleum and much better for the environment.


Electricity:
In years past this had been a huge problem working out a good system. The electric car was far too heavy with a huge bank of lead acid batteries which took up a lot of room in the car. The batteries did not last long and were very expensive and messy to replace.  A friend of mine had bought a new Honda Insight several years ago just to convert into a fully electric car and drives it regularly. He recently replaced the large heavy lead acid batteries with small banks of 36V lithium-ion batteries made by Dewalt tool company for their cordless drills, which are a type of lithium-ion battery formulation that do not heat up with strong current draw, like most other lithium batteries we are familiar with in cell phones and lap tops.  He dropped over 700# and now has even more range than before.  It is good for the electric company for people to use electricity for charging during the night when consumption is low and most industry is sleeping.
  There is also the added advantage of recouping a great deal of kinetic energy lost in stopping our moving vehicle with electric cars, making the wheels an electric generator.

Pneumatic:
There is another energy source that may prove to be even better and very clean. There are a couple developers of pneumatic motors for cars that will run on just pressurized air of course. These motors are remarkably small and light weight, the fuel is as light as air, and the pollution is nil. They have developed a car with over 200 mile range with carbon fiber tanks that will just split if in a serious impact, in stead of exploding. These high pressure tanks can fill in 4 hours over night, or within 3 minutes at a service station. The equipment the service station would need to buy for this would be much less expensive than a hydrogen set up and they would not need to hook up to a large water source, so the cost would be very low. Although because of this we may never see it in mass production if the power companies have anything to do with it.

Safety:
We do not hear about this as well.  Driving could be safe, like playing in bumper cars. My Grandfather developed the Water bumper for cars and trucks back in 1969. They quickly sold them for Police vehicles, and even here in Portland to Tri-met for the buses, with the major insurance companies willing to offer a 20% discount for those who had this safety bumper put on their vehicle. We moved from Sacramento California to Fruit Heights Utah, to work at the factory being built in Salt Lake City. That is pretty much where I remember growing up. Dad had a large house built in a nice neighborhood, since the Water Bumper business seemed to be a huge winner. The hardest sales issue was that most cars at the time still had chrome plated metal bumpers, and this was a very different look for the cars.

I say this as factual, because if you think about it, the car manufacturers long before this had the technology to make a far superior bumper front and back. The wheels on cars need a 3 part system to continually take the weight of the car versus the impact of the bumpiest roads without any damage occurring. One part is the spring to gradually absorb the impact. The second is the shock absorber to resist the recoil effect of the spring, and the inflated rubber to resist the damage of the car on the road. Or the other car and other objects you might come in contact with. So, you must ask yourself: Why after over 35 years since my Grandfather's work on this would all the major auto manufacturers still refuse to design this into their vehicles if it would save so much damage and the many lives, when they know that 80% of all accidents happen on the city street and parking lots at under 20 mph? That means a good 75% of all accidents would result pretty much as damage and injury free. It would be more like playing bumper-cars out there.

He could not work on such a level to incorporate his safety bumper into the frame, as it had to be an after market product, so he had to go a different route and simplify it, since people would not want to pay that much for an add-on part to their car. The hydraulic effect of the tap water in this rubber cell did the work of all three parts of the suspension, and could be bolted on with little difficulty on most cars. I have seen the films where they have a man sitting on the trunk of a car equipped with his water bumper, and have another car also with his water bumper mounted, run into the parked car at 15 mph. Not only was there no discernable damage, but the volunteer had his legs between these two cars and did not hardly suffer much bruising. One volunteer even got the confidence to place his head between the two cars with a 10 mph impact, and again suffered no long term injuries.

At that time he also developed the 15' deep freeway divider safety barriers under the same sort of principals, that luckily are still being made and placed around the world, even if my Grandfather was not able to profit from that. Over a decades latter, I heard on the local news where a drunk driver had hit one of these dividers head-on at an estimated 70 mph, and was able to get out of the car and walk. The car was seriously damaged, but keep in mind that hitting a solid object at 20 mph is considered fatal. I believe that was still before air bags.

 

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dave@jezzball.com