Thursday, February 3, 2011

Death of internal combustion (is the title of the article)

I don't necessarily agree with that statement though. Let me elaborate.

I truly feel that for the short-term foreseeable future (lets say ~75 years) there will be a need for internal combustion powered machinery, including vehicles. The "problem" is its too simple of a way to get power to the ground, and more importantly storing energy. Let alone people just being used to it. Regarding traditionally fueled and traditionally used cars, people now see those as appliances, not technology. Yes there have been tons of advances over the last 50 years in how a gasoline/petrol-fueled/otto-cycle engine works, from multi-valve multi-cam direct injection designs to the change from carburation to fuel injection, the basic idea is exactly the same as in 1910 (year chosen arbitrarily). Diesels have changed even less. Yes I know they started out as 2-cycle VERY basic stationary engines and are now computer controlled common-rail injected multi-fueled things, the inside is basically the same. We may have hit a wall for IC engine design (until the next BIG breakthrough). And for god sakes, stop trying to force-feed consumers this hub-bub that foodstock-based-ethanol is even remotely a good idea. I love the idea of naturally-derived hydrocarbon-based fuels, but why not biomass or something else being tossed out anyway? Algae-sourced biodiesel? Why are we growing something that can be food to artifcially enter an already saturated market?

While I love my non-computer controlled, mechanically injected diesel Land Rover, it can be fueled by nearly anything within reason fitting its requirements (fun fact, the diesel-cycle engine was not designed to run on a particular specific fuel. It originally ran on Peanut oil, NOT a waste product of Gasoline production, but mineral oil was also used) its really not a typical car. That's what I'm talking about, typical cars that have the exclusive purpose for day to day transport, that's it. That's where the idea of electric cars makes the most sense. Not a contractor hauling building supplies to a job-site, not me offroading on the weekends, and not autocross racers.  Having a 1955 Porsche 356 for the weekends isn't going anywhere...

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