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Could we use compressed air as an alternative fuel source?

Using compressed air might be a bit ineffective but we could just use it to turn generators or vehicles crankshafts right? Its sorta the same as wind energy but in higher quantity's. The main problems I see are is it redundant to compress it, it might freeze the machine, explosion hazard (kinda same as gasoline), and it might not as effective powering machines.

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    Jul 29 2013: It's been done but the cars have a limited range.
    MDI has a hybrid design being developed.

    I wonder why this technology is not being applied to appliances in the home where a simple compressor and air tank might run washers and refrigerators.
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    Jul 28 2013: We use compressed air to start large Diesel engines. Basic physics dictates that it takes more power to compress air than we can harvest from it. We can however use it as a strage medium. They are working on it........

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    Jul 27 2013: After all your reasons why is was a bad idea, you forgot one.... it takes more energy to compress air then it will give back
    • Jul 27 2013: So do batteries. It is a way to store energy from an intermittent power source.
      • Jul 28 2013: Good point Stuart Where? When? and Why? are the questions.
        • Aug 5 2013: Air pressure is better suited for a short term storage. Water is much better if you are storing energy for a longer period of time. If you design buildings to pump water for energy storage you get the benefit of using the power generated at night at half the cost of prime time and then using the energy the next day during peak hours. The savings in cost for the energy would be very real and easy to calculate. However, the building would then need the additional investment of storage tanks for the water, water pumps and a turbine for getting the energy back.

          What is especially critical is that these pumps could be controlled centrally by a municipal power company. If you had that you would then have a way to maximize the use of renewable energy (wind and solar).
      • Aug 6 2013: Good explanation Thank you
  • Aug 23 2013: all of those problems aside, it isn't necessary. alcohol is easily manufactured and 100% green and all internal combustion engines can run on it with very little modification. since we have internal combustion engines everywhere already this is the most sensible solution, it seems to me.
  • Aug 6 2013: it would take more energy to use it than it would output as you would have to filter out pure oxygen then compress it but one thought i have on this is that i think there's a very good reason we don't burn nor compress the air we breath in large quantity.
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    Jul 29 2013: You can use it as a fuel, but you still need to get your energy somewhere to compress the air (or other gasses).

    As a use-able energy carrier, it would need to compete with batteries (stored electricity) and bio-fuels (stored oxidation)

    I think it can serve some purposes, though I can't see it replacing a lot of energy-hungry devices.
  • Jul 28 2013: It is an idea on how to store energy from a wind turbine. A major issue with wind is how to store the energy.

    I think that ultimately we will have to design cities to use wind energy. Since pumping water is about the best way to store energy the city needs to be designed to take advantage of this capability.
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    Jul 27 2013: A while back I read that Indians had a car that ran on compressed air.

    It is a medium it would not produce energy.