Is the petrol engine on it's way out? - Alfa Romeo Forum
You are currently unregistered, register for more features.    
General Alfa Discussion Strictly Alfa Romeo talk only!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
(Post Link) post #1 of 75 Old 15-01-08 Thread Starter
Status: Wyrd is Life
AO Gold Member
 
Stori's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
County: -
Posts: 11,591
Times up for Petrol????

Something to think about..... I realise not specifically Alfa Related. GM which is loosing it's "World's largest car maker" title to Toyota is pinning it's flag to the likes of Electric cars...hmmmm I wonder where Hydrogen power, the savior of the world, has gone?????


THE world's biggest car maker , General Motors, believes global oil supply has peaked and a switch to electric cars is inevitable.

In a stunning announcement at the opening of the Detroit motor show, Rick Wagoner, GM's chairman and chief executive, also said ethanol was an "important interim solution" to the world's demand for oil, until battery technology improved to give electric cars the same driving range as petrol-powered cars.

GM is working on an electric car, called the Volt, which is due in showrooms in 2010, but delays in suitable battery technology have slowed the project.

Mr Wagoner cited US Department of Energy figures which show the world is consuming roughly 1000 barrels of oil every second of the day, and yet demand for oil is likely to increase by 70 per cent over the next 20 years. Some experts believe the supply of oil peaked in 2006.

The remaining oil reserves are deeper below the Earth's surface and therefore more costly to mine and refine.

"There is no doubt demand for oil is outpacing supply at a rapid pace, and has been for some time now," Mr Wagoner said. "As a business necessity and an obligation to society we need to develop alternative sources of propulsion."

He added: "So, are electrically driven vehicles the answer for the mid- and long-term? Yes, for sure. But … we need something else to significantly reduce our reliance on petroleum in the interim."

GM is so convinced about ethanol it has signed an agreement with a supplier that claims to have come up with a way of producing ethanol that is cheaper and more efficient than refining oil. The supplier claims it can produce ethanol from "almost any material" such as farm waste, municipal waste, discarded plastics - even old tyres.

The car industry has had a love-hate relationship with ethanol, which is most commonly derived from crops such as corn, wheat and sugar cane. At first, car makers criticised ethanol-blended fuel because most vehicles weren't compatible with it. Then car makers changed their tune and embraced ethanol-blended fuel after retuning engines to suit the new mix.

Chevrolet Volt concept electric car



Stori is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Status: The BSD says konnichiwa
Global Mod Team
 
BigFoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Japan
County: Tokyo
Posts: 114,689
Re: Times up for Petrol????

At the Detroit motor show going on right now, even Ferrari came out with a version of the F430 that goes on ethanol.
BigFoot is offline  
Status: GTV RIP
AO Silver Member
 
zulu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: United Kingdom
County: Shropshire
Posts: 1,037

Member car:

159Ti

Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
hmmmm I wonder where Hydrogen power, the savior of the world, has gone?????

I still think that that will eventually be the answer. It's what Honda and Toyota are still concentrating on. The problem is the fuel cells, not the engines from what I understand.
Even Jeremy Clarkson reckons that whoever invents a safe, inexpensive method of storing Hydrogen will be the saviour of the motor industry (and very likely extremly rich to boot)
zulu is offline  
Status: zzzzzzzz
AO Platinum Member
 
symon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: United Kingdom
County: Oxfordshire
Posts: 37,094
Re: Times up for Petrol????

I don't think electricity is the answer, it may be clean at the point of use, but it creates pollution or nuclear waste when it is generated.
I read that drax powerstation pumps more CO2 out in a week than the whole of britains cars pump out in a year. The result of electric cars would be more demand for electricity, and more power stations being built.

I am convinced hydrogen is the answer in the long term, although technology is not yet advanced enogh for us to use it fully.
symon is offline  
Status: One foot in, one foot out!
AO Platinum Member
 
zulu ferret's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: wgc
County: herts
Posts: 42,278
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Palm oil production is destroying the Indonesian forests, so where is the answer to propulsion? Will we still have a planet that supports life by the time the 'boffins' find an answer? I'll be long gone, but keep searching folks, for the grandkids sake?:
zulu ferret is offline  
Status: V8, baby. V8
AO Silver Member
 
Commanderfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SW London
Posts: 5,559
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by zulu View Post
I still think that that will eventually be the answer. It's what Honda and Toyota are still concentrating on. The problem is the fuel cells, not the engines from what I understand.
Even Jeremy Clarkson reckons that whoever invents a safe, inexpensive method of storing Hydrogen will be the saviour of the motor industry (and very likely extremly rich to boot)
I completely agree, Hydrogen is the way forward as the byproduct of burning hydrogen is water (steam). No greenhouse gas production - just what we need. You can bet a fair amount of power willl come out of Hydrogen too - it fuels the sun.

By comparison, electric cars are only a solution if the electricity comes from nuclear and renewable resources. Sadly most electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) so driving an electric car is no better than driving a petrol car - you're just burning the carbon at a different time.
Commanderfish is offline  
Status: One foot in, one foot out!
AO Platinum Member
 
zulu ferret's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: wgc
County: herts
Posts: 42,278
Re: Times up for Petrol????

CNN showed a programme the other evening, early morning, where researchers, scientists are flat out working on hydrogen cell developement. Not quite there yet, but it's got to happen shortly, as it is the only real viable answer, or so these experts said.:
zulu ferret is offline  
kgb
Status: 147 QVD-R
AO Silver Member
 
kgb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Bulgaria
County: -
Posts: 2,334
Re: Times up for Petrol????

In January issue of TopGear they showed a Honda that is ready for production...using Fuel Cell.
kgb is offline  
jug
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
jug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Durham
Posts: 3,681
Re: Times up for Petrol????

going back to reality for a moment, petrol and diesel are going to be the main fuels for cars for a lot longer than i'll be alive. why? the people making money from oil are the most powerful people on earth, they wont let things change, so it doesn't matter what great solutions technology can provide.
jug is offline  
Status: Daddy bear
Global Mod Team
 
bazza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Congleton - The centre of
Posts: 44,644

Member car:

AMG C63 estate

Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by zulu View Post
Even Jeremy Clarkson reckons that whoever invents a safe, inexpensive method of storing Hydrogen will be the saviour of the motor industry (and very likely extremly rich to boot)
Surely the major issue is finding a way of making the hydrogen in the first place.
As I understand it, it currently takes more energy to split water down into oxygen and hydrogen than can be gained by burning the hydrogen so gained.
bazza is offline  
HSTDriver
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Times up for Petrol????

I find it quite amusing that GM have taken this stance on electric cars, after the farce that was their EV-1 (google 'Who Killed The Electric Car' for more details)
 
Status: -
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,986
Re: Times up for Petrol????

I'm concerned at the efforts to promote ethanol. If the main source is crops then at some point we are going to have food competing with energy for resources. That means developed societies driving and eating and undeveloped societies (probably where the stuff is to be grown) starving.

The fuel cell does seem to be the way forward but I can't help thinking that if a cheap source of electricity generation can be found (Nuclear fusion, anyone?) then that would be a better solution.

I also think a massive push for increased public transport would also improve energy use and efficiency. can't see it happening anytime soon here in britain though, can you? As an example it cost me £50 to tarvel 180 miles by train and it took me over 5 hours. same journey by car would have cost me £25 quid in diesel and I'd have made in half the time. Long time before the train is a realistic option for us here in Britain. Oh, and two of us did the trip so in theory it would have cost £12;50 each by car!
Will is offline  
HSTDriver
Status: - Update
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
I also think a massive push for increased public transport would also improve energy use and efficiency. can't see it happening anytime soon here in britain though, can you? As an example it cost me £50 to tarvel 180 miles by train and it took me over 5 hours. same journey by car would have cost me £25 quid in diesel and I'd have made in half the time. Long time before the train is a realistic option for us here in Britain. Oh, and two of us did the trip so in theory it would have cost £12;50 each by car!

Public transport should be one of the main priorities for any government in this country, but the problem is that to do the job properly will cost £billions, and take many years, probably a decade, maybe more.

No governement is going to sink that huge level of investment into something long term, when they are only sitting for a 4 or 5 year stint.

(And if you book in advance on rail journeys you can get some fantastic bargains btw)
 
Status: -
AO Platinum Member
 
Ralf S.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: The land that Time forgot
Posts: 13,128
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Commanderfish View Post

Hydrogen is the way forward as the byproduct of burning hydrogen is water (steam). No greenhouse gas production - just what we need. You can bet a fair amount of power willl come out of Hydrogen too - it fuels the sun.
Only if you burn pure hydrogen in pure oxygen. Unfortunately the atmosphere (where a car sucks its air from) is only 20% oxygen. The rest is nitrogen and carbon dioxide and all sorts of other gases.

By the time you compressed that lot with a mix of hydrogen and then burnt it, what comes out of the exhaust is anyone's guess.


Hydrogen is made industrially by Steam Methane Reforming. Steam Reforming uses thermal energy to separate hydrogen from methane and methanol and involves the reaction of these fuels with steam on catalytic surfaces. These reactions occur at temperatures of 200C or more.

It doesn't sound very environmentally friendly to me.. I think hydrogen is a non-starter, today. Nuclear fuel is where it's at, really.


Ralf S.

No bullets for Chaingun..
Ralf S. is offline  
Status: -
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 3,986
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by HSTDriver View Post
Public transport should be one of the main priorities for any government in this country, but the problem is that to do the job properly will cost £billions, and take many years, probably a decade, maybe more.

No governement is going to sink that huge level of investment into something long term, when they are only sitting for a 4 or 5 year stint.

(And if you book in advance on rail journeys you can get some fantastic bargains btw)
Hmmm, seem to remember Labour promising just this back in '97 (part of john prescot's original brief) and they've now been in power just under 11 years. haven't even seen the start!

I did actually know about the pre-booking deals but on some occasions (and this was one) you just have to get up and go. Locally I can get to carlisle (35 miles) from Dumfries for £3.60 return. That is perfect as the station is in the certain of the city (no parking) and we are just a short walk from the line here. It therefore becomes the no-brainer option to take public transport. it's the same when we are in Italy: sold the car years ago 'cos it's a short, cheap trip by urban train 20 km) and costs next to nowt.
Will is offline  
Status: V8, baby. V8
AO Silver Member
 
Commanderfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SW London
Posts: 5,559
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
Only if you burn pure hydrogen in pure oxygen. Unfortunately the atmosphere (where a car sucks its air from) is only 20% oxygen. The rest is nitrogen and carbon dioxide and all sorts of other gases.

By the time you compressed that lot with a mix of hydrogen and then burnt it, what comes out of the exhaust is anyone's guess.
No not really - I did a science degree and I'm a bit rusty so feel free to correct me, but here's what I remember; Carbon dioxide would not burn (it is in fact the oxidation product of burning carbon), nitrogen is chemically inert under normal conditions and does not easily oxidise. There are a few other trace gasses floating around the atmosphere in very low concentrations but any problems they might cause could be eliminated by adapting the catalytic converters we already have for petrol cars.

As for the energy efficient production of hydrogen, perhaps that is the trillion dollar question. I know hydrogen can be seperated out of sea (or other) water on a massive scale, but I believe the method is electrolysis, which uses electricity to seperate the hydrogen from the oxygen (the by-product is purer oxygen for you too, I think!). How much electricity compared to yield of hydrogen I do not know but I think I have seen people on telly saying it could be done relatively cheaply.

Take a lok at this article from which I quote: "The amount of energy in the water molecule is thus vast, and has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of energy it takes to break down that molecule. This is an extremely important point, as so many people — even scientists — are unclear on this concept. And yet if we can find an economical means to break down the water molecule, our energy problems are over."

Running an Automobile on Hydrogen Using Water, by Drunvalo

I have also seen on the net several articles regarding plans for offshore hydrogen plants splitting sea water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis. Some suggest providing the electricity for electrolysis using wind or solar power generated on site, others using thermal gradients within the sea. I guess tidal power would be possible in an estuary (by the way the UK has approved a massive tidal electricity plant in a major estuary recently - can't remember which one, might be humber or maybe severn.

Brat Pack no.8
Commanderfish is offline  
jug
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
jug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Durham
Posts: 3,681
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by bazza View Post
Surely the major issue is finding a way of making the hydrogen in the first place.
The Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2007 (this year was called "a dna driven world") suggested that methane producing bacteria are a viable source of methane to use for fuel, and methane is more suitable than hydrogen because it is much easier and safer to store. powerstations that use natural gas can use methane so its great for that (no cost to switch), and we already have the technology to make engines and storage suitable for cars that use methane (methane powered cars have been around for decades and only limited by the supply of methane) so i think it is very unlikely that hydrogen will win over methane when methane is so much closer to answering our prayers already. all thats missing is a storage and harvesting method for these bacteria. compared to hydrogen, methane is vastly closer to offering a solution.

but thats still very long term and beyond my lifetime.
jug is offline  
Status: ready to race
AO Silver Member
 
rafe005's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Devon
Posts: 5,245

Member car:

159 1.9jtdm

Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by jug View Post
The Richard Dimbleby Lecture 2007 (this year was called "a dna driven world") suggested that methane producing bacteria are a viable source of methane to use for fuel, and methane is more suitable than hydrogen because it is much easier and safer to store. powerstations that use natural gas can use methane so its great for that (no cost to switch), and we already have the technology to make engines and storage suitable for cars that use methane (methane powered cars have been around for decades and only limited by the supply of methane) so i think it is very unlikely that hydrogen will win over methane when methane is so much closer to answering our prayers already. all thats missing is a storage and harvesting method for these bacteria. compared to hydrogen, methane is vastly closer to offering a solution.

but thats still very long term and beyond my lifetime.

I agree which Jug about methane. I sincerely believe though that the way we will go forward is with Electric cars and methane power stations will not be far behind. As far as I am concerned though its not the range of electric per se thats the problem its the charging. For example, most cars will go 400 miles on a tank of fuel ( or there abouts) and when you run out it takes about 5 mins to refuel. Now if electric cars only had a 200 mile range (which i believe has been attained, but please correct me if i'm wrong) BUT, you could plug them in at an electric station and re-charge the batteries in about 5 mins (instead of overnight), then i dont think there would be a problem with switching to electric for the average motorist. Therefore, for me, the main issue that needs to be looked into is the rate of charge, not necessarily the ultimate range of the car. I'm sure if the above was possible then most people could cope with a 200 mile range, as long as electric stations were as prolific as petrol stations.
But then, as most people are saying, this is going to be well outside of our lifetimes! Thats my 2 pence worth over and done
rafe005 is offline  
jug
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
jug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Durham
Posts: 3,681
Re: Times up for Petrol????

if electric cars have batteries i think petrol stations would become battery swapping staions, where you remove the flat battery and refit a precharged battery, so it takes the same time as filling with petrol. all cars would use standard sizes and types of battery, and people will pay extra for a larger capacity higher voltage 'sports' battery.

screw the environment, i want leaded 5star. oh the good old days, when an engine was all about power and torque, not emissions and economy.
jug is offline  
Status: V8, baby. V8
AO Silver Member
 
Commanderfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SW London
Posts: 5,559
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by jug View Post
if electric cars have batteries i think petrol stations would become battery swapping staions, where you remove the flat battery and refit a precharged battery, so it takes the same time as filling with petrol.
Good idea, but I dont think that's going to be popular, because battery capacity decreases with age, and you'd hardly want to swap your new battery for a crappy 2 year old one that only carries 100 miles worth of charge. Not to mention the safety issues of old corroded batteries... who' s going to be liable when they break?
Commanderfish is offline  
Status: V8, baby. V8
AO Silver Member
 
Commanderfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SW London
Posts: 5,559
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by jug View Post
screw the environment, i want leaded 5star. oh the good old days, when an engine was all about power and torque, not emissions and economy.
That's why hydrogen is a great idea - not only clean, but the amount of power you can produce from hydrogen is IMMENSE! Once the technology is established, hydrogen engines which produce more bhp than petrol cars should be easy to produce. MORE POWER!! Does that get you interested?
Commanderfish is offline  
jug
Status: -
AO Silver Member
 
jug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Durham
Posts: 3,681
Re: Times up for Petrol????

yeah it definately brings its own problems, but a "charge while you wait" system isnt possible with current technology unless we are willing to sit and wait.


power is good
jug is offline  
Status: V8, baby. V8
AO Silver Member
 
Commanderfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SW London
Posts: 5,559
Re: Times up for Petrol????

If hydrogen took off, it wouldn't surprise me if there were 1000bhp production cars within 10 years...
Commanderfish is offline  
Status: Back in a Quad
AO Platinum Member
 
OperationAlfa's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: United Kingdom
County: Essex
Posts: 23,457
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Hydrogen engine's probably won't sound as nice though.
OperationAlfa is offline  
Status: V8, baby. V8
AO Silver Member
 
Commanderfish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SW London
Posts: 5,559
Re: Times up for Petrol????

Quote:
Originally Posted by OperationAlfa View Post
Hydrogen engine's probably won't sound as nice though.
Oh I think Alfa would find a way to make the induction and/or exhaust sound wicked... it's what they're best at, apart from styling, engines and handling!
Commanderfish is offline  
Reply

Go Back   Alfa Romeo Forum > Misc Lounges > Community Discussions > General Alfa Discussion

Tags
engine , petrol

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome