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Don't use any gasoline May 29, 2004 4:20 PM

The ultimate Hybrid Vehicle would run primarily on fuel cells, recharged by free energy from the sun or wind, with an alternate mode run by pedal power. If you plug your car into the power grid, you're burning coal or uranium. Is that what you want? They would be light, not too fast, and pollute not at all. And they should not cost much more than a cutting edge Personal Computer. If you MUST have a motor, try one that uses vegetable oil for fuel and lubrication. No petroleum products. Any budding automotive engineers out there?  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Veg Oil May 31, 2004 11:24 AM

Ive converted my car, a diesel skoda felicia, to use veg oil. Its better for the environment, a bit cheaper, you can use waste oil from restaurants. I walk or cycle for short journeys to reduce my ecological footprint.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 May 31, 2004 12:10 PM

Here are two people who use solar power to recharge their electric vehicles: See also:  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
solar powered canal boat May 31, 2004 4:43 PM

Ive been on a solar powered canal boat. Its amazingly peaceful.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Excellent! June 01, 2004 12:38 AM

I am delighted to see so many members concerned with all aspects of environmental destruction. Ya'll have joined me in the stand, making a difference with what you drive and using your VOICE. Thank you all! :-)  [ send green star]
Reducing our need for fossil fuels June 01, 2004 10:54 AM

I'm an engineer, just out of school, and not working on automotove or energy issues. But I've been contemplating issues that I could have an effect on, and the most interesting to me at the moment is reducing our need for fossil fuels in vehicles. I see oil as the cause (at least partially) of two of the biggest global problems: pollution and political instability. You can argue with me on the second point but not the first. So here's my thought: someday we will not have the fossil fuels to power our cars. The deposits within reach will dry up, and at that time we will be forced to develop another energy source that's as plentiful as the oil and coal was. The ability of scientists and engineers to innovate and create under pressure is amazing. For an example, look at the atomic bomb. It went from experimental theory to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of people in a couple of years. That ability can also be used for good things, and I want to make it happen with clean autos *before* we absolutely need to. So I'm planning on buying a hybrid car in the next year, because that helps the auto makers put more money into research. But I'm also interested in electric vehicles, and this idea of running a car on vegetable oil. My vision of the future is everyone driving electric cars that have as much horsepower as an average compact car today, can accelerate as well, and can go 500 miles on a charge. It will happen, and I want to help. Of course, the electricity will come from somewhere and that's a concern too. I would argue that the best source of that much electricity is nuclear power, and I'm sure I'd get a lot of debate over that. So does anyone have information about electric cars that are on the market right now?  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Old Mercedes diesels June 01, 2004 7:10 PM

Great for converting to biodeisels. Gasoline burners can easily run on ethinol blends as well.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Wean ourselves away from using any oil... June 02, 2004 11:11 PM

I would love it if we would forget their oil! We have reserves of our own, untouched. OK, many argue against using that because it will deplete our supply in a short time! I see that. It is possible to focus on electric / Hybrid / alternative fuels while we are in this stage, then, convert over gradually to the more economical, environment friendly and safer type transportation methods, thus diminishing our dependence on oil! We have the technology, the brains, the need, Let's stick their oil in their ears, and take care of our problem!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Reply to Jay June 04, 2004 3:05 PM

Hi Jay, This is in response to your question posed regarding electric vehicles. I located a few web sites that you may want to check out: 1.) This site is the Gizmo Electric Vehicles. ; 2.) This site lists the auto sales locations in the United Status that sell the EV1. ; 3.) This web site is dedicate to the EV world. If you have additional questions, please let me know. I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I plan to purchase an electric vehicle four years from now, when my warantee on my Hybrid expires. -Sophie  [ send green star]
Diesel vehicles = not designed for petroleum June 30, 2004 5:54 AM

In case anyone is wondering, Dr.Diesel never wanted his engine used for petroleum....he designed it as a "farmer's friend" that would run on stuff the farmer grew. I learned this while developing plans for a sustainability farm in Northeastern PA -a hands on educational center and working farm to bring sustainability within reach for everyone.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Kudzu July 13, 2004 11:15 AM

Can kudzu be used to make some kind of "grassoline"?  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 July 20, 2004 7:21 PM

Luke, I could not agree more we need to take advantage of the free energy that is naturally available to us. The problem being our government and for the most part our country is more interested in making money not saving the environment or providing anything for free. Especially something like oil, which leads to huge amounts of money Just as veg oil Hemp is also a good alternative source. If our government would get their heads out of their asses we could also us Hemp for paper instead of cutting all our trees down that take many years to mature. This move could also help our Farmers make a living.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Complex issue July 22, 2004 9:23 AM

everyone has made great points about alernative energy sources and the need to switch from fossil fuels to something less damaging. I think it is always important not to become too one-sided on any issue as that may mean you are close minded. Besides the great expense that would be created if we were to make a sudden jump from fossil fuels to say solar energy, there would also be the question of what to do with the technology we have now. Of course we could also convert things so they work on solar. But what about those individuals who don't want to or can't afford it. To force people to do anything is not democratic. Could we convince people to switch to alternatives. I'm sure we can. It will require honesty and commitment however. What company is going is going to lead the charge? Government? Ever heard of an honest politician? Should the big companies for coal and oil carry the burden of cost to switch to alternatives? Maybe, but how will you make them do that. Stiffer regulations and pollution taxes will work but the cost will be passed on to the consumer who is still stuck with technology that uses fossil fuels. The only change can be a gradual one. How gradual? I wish I knew. it is estimated that we have enough oil reserves to last for another 80 yrs , and enough coal to last twice that at least. As technologies become more fuel efficient we will use less fossial fuels and thus extend the time we can keep using them. Yes, I know, at least energy efficieny would mean less pollution but we would still be stuck with fossil fuel technology making it hard to give good reason for becoming completely alternative. With advances in tire technology, batteries, and light weight metals automobiles may be giving 100mpg on average by 2050 (this includes trucks, and other heavy autos hopefully). That's a big hopefully. I recently took an energy economics class and everything comes down to people's perceptions (got to get an awareness program going), cost (low income folks can't afford higher prices with alternatives and if government carries the higher costs then we (people) are still paying and power companies are not), the whole chagne to alternative energy technologies has to be econimically viable (with the economy in the state that it is in noithing is going to happen any time soon). For me it all comes down to people's perceptions. If everyone knew of the dangers of fossil fuels they would be more apt to pay higher prices for cleaner technology. Theoy would vote for government that supports this technology, and they would become more consumer conscious and not buy products/services from companies that support the use of fossil fuels. The problem? people are so caught in the daily struggle of their lives that have no time to listen, or care nothing for these issues. Coal and oil are slow killers and people need to be shocked suddenly to wake up and smell the stench. otherwise when we do decide to do something it  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Hybrid car ideas July 22, 2004 9:45 AM

Coal and oil are slow killers and people need to be shocked suddenly to wake up and smell the stench. otherwise when we do decide to do something it will be too late. One thing that few people have thought of for there hybrid cars to make them go the extra mile is to incorporate solar technolgy into the system. There is something called thin film solar that isn't very solar efficient (i think they convert about 8% of the solar energy coming in). Because thin-film solar is flexible and very manageable it may be possible to incorporate it into your car windows as a kind of tint (of course not all of the rear and front glass shields but perhaps at the tops of them). Or have solar as part of your roof, hood, and trunk using thin'-film solar. this would extend the battery charge when driving and result in hybrids having to use the engine even less to charge the battery. Wouldn't it be great if 18 wheelers carried those crates they have covered in thin film solar, using the energy to power the truck! RVs! I can't wait for to be able to afford a Ford Explorer HSUV (i ride a bike by the way and have not driven a car of my own in 7 years, i take PT or rent when i need to travel long distances). Fuel cells hybrids would be great. on a massive scale i don't know if we generate enough energy from solar to suppot all the cars(fuel cells are not very efficient at making energy compared to other technologies). there would be panels everywhere you went. of course we could also use wind energy (takes up space too). there is a problem with using ethanol and bio-diesel as well. the amount of crops we would have to grow if everyone used these fuels would be ridiculous. i can only begin to imagine the agricultural nightmare that would be caused. for now they are a good idea and better than not doing anything. but on a large scale adoption process things could get disastrous. by the way, i support bio-diesel, just not as a long term solution. there are a lot of good things to be said about bio-diesel and i do hope it catches on and we take it as far as we safely can. go bio-diesel users! i'm not contradicting myself folks just making sure we all look at things from different sides. nothing is ever simple and clear cut. someone with valid opposing views will always complicate things. there are some other cool auto technologies out there but i don't remember the websites. i will do some research and post it next time i'm in here.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Flexible Fuel hybrids with pv panels? July 22, 2004 10:13 AM

Wow! Just imagine a flexible fuel hybrid (can use bio-diesel, hydrogen, or NG), with thin film solar, and polymer proton batteries. things that make you go hmm. here is ca r that can nearly 100mpgs.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 July 23, 2004 10:26 AM

I think the combo of all different types of alterative sources is the best decision. Meaning if we did not pick just one way on doing this as of yet, but rather encourage the use of alterative sources in general this would help make it more of a gradual shift and also not such an agricultural nightmare because not everyone would be using the same technology. This could also be good for the expansion and growth of the different technologies  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Thank you July 30, 2004 1:28 AM

Excellent comments everyone. I feel that many of these subjects and ideas are awesome! I think that having numerous options is definitely the way to go. I wish that the vehicle and oil industries felt the same way. Knowing that there are people like you out there, I feel at ease. Thank you all.  [ send green star]
Hemp Car August 03, 2004 6:12 PM  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Photovoltaic (solar) panels August 06, 2004 5:46 PM

Lets run a few numbers. A basic 4 passenger car that can coexist on the highways with today's vehicles probably needs at least 30 HP. In the mountains it needs more. One horsepower equals 746 watts, when you include motor efficiency a horsepower equates to about 1000 watts, or 1 kW. Solar insolation (the amount of energy received) is about 1 kW per square meter (roughly 10 square feet). Decent photovoltaic panels run in the 20% efficiency range. That means they will put out 20% of the 1 kW, or 200 watts, per meter^2. So if you need 30 kW and each square meter produces 0.2 kW, you'll need 150 square meters (30/0.2) of PV panels, and those panels have to remain normal (perpendicular) to the sunshine as the roadway twists and turns. That would take a vehicle bigger than an 18 wheeler and of course you couldn't run a truck that big on 30 HP. So the idea of PV-powered cars just doesn't work. Even if, somewhere in the future, science came up with 100% efficient photovoltaics, it still wouldn't be practical. Not even close. (On Mercury, closer to the sun, it might work. But but you'd need one hell of an air conditioner!!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Richard W....... August 06, 2004 6:10 PM

I should have began the previous message by complimenting you on thinking original thoughts. My analysis of PV wasn't meant as a slam and I apologize if it looked that way. Keep coming up with ideas, the world needs them! I've been involved with energy and inventing for most of my 65 years and have learned a few things along the way that might help in these discussions. First, the market will prevail. The best mousetrap doesn't win, the best marketing wins. VHS video recorders weren't as good as Beta, but the marketing was better. So VHS won. Second, it is incredibly hard to displace old technology with new. The people with today's technology are making money today. Some other people with tomorrow's technology will (or would) be making money tomorrow. But the today people have money now, money for lobbying to maintain the status quo. The newbies can't lobby because they don't have any money yet. And if the status quo can be held, they never will. Likewise, the companies making money today have employees today. They vote. Anyone who ran on a platform of, say, solar powered cars would have a lot of opposition from those who are feeding their families on gasoline-powered cars. Don't underestimate this force. Besides, today's technology is amortized already. And the workers (engineering, design, test, production, marketing, sales, field support, repair and maintenance, parts suppliers, fuel refining, fuel distribution, fuel retailing, safety, regulation, taxation) are all large segments that are in place already for the internal combusion gasoline engine. For any new technology to displace that, all those segments have to be developed and put in place before the market can exist. And that takes mega mega mega bucks. There is more --- but enough for now. If anyone is interested, I'll continue.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
energy August 20, 2004 5:46 AM

I love all of the comments. I'm young, but I'm also involved in the energy industry, so I've been thinking a lot about future energy sources and auto power. I tend to agree that economics will prevail as the driving force to cleaner technologies. There is a well known graph that says world oil output will peak in about 25 years. This doesn't mean that it'll be gone then, just that every year after that supplies will be a little less. This number is very debatable (some people say more like 80 years) but its also unpredictable. At any rate, even when supplies start slowing down (maybe we're seeing this now?) prices are going to go up. If we do go over that hump, and people acknowledge that we have, prices are going to go through the roof, especially since demand is constantly rising. I don't think that any alternative energy industry can put a dent in the oil industry until then, but it will happen. Coal will last longer but no one is going to make a car that runs on coal. Depending on the political situation at the time, the US might tap into its own reserves. But if we do, it'll be gone quickly. So, at some point in my lifetime (hopefully) the majority of energy consumption will switch to something other than fossil fuels. We don't really have a mechanism to replace gasoline for car power that can achieve the same performance and cost (correct me if I'm wrong), but getting alternative sources to that point is simply a technological challenge. That's why I plan on spending my engineering career in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels (particularly oil from unstable countries). My vision, and I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, is all electric cars on the road in 30 years. And this massive new electricity source? Nuclear. Fission has its problems (waste, security) but its clean compared to fossil fuels. At the same time though, we should be researching, and putting more money into, nuclear fusion. Fusion, when it works, will have no radioactive byproducts -- only inert helium. It remains a huge technological challenge, but I think it might be the energy source of the future. Feel free to debate any of my ideas.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
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