Electronic and Hybrid Engines Be Used Instead of the Petrol Engines
Hybrid engines and electric and other forms of fuel are being tried the world over on account of multiple problems. It is not only for vehicles but also for the industries that use fossil fuels and chemicals for manufacture. The primary problem is the pollution of the air, water and the entire planet on account of fossil fuel use. Not all fossil fuel forms are harmful. For example CNG, compressed natural gas is less harmful. The use of fossil fuel has deadly repercussions on human, animal and plant health. In other words all life on the planet can be at jeopardy. The shocking truth is revealed as follows: John Vidal of the Guardian reported that millions die in Asia on account of vehicle pollution. According to the report he quoted, issued by a consortium of universities working in conjunction with the UN, most of the deaths in Asia are caused by air pollution and fifty two million people died by particle air pollution in 2010. (Vidal, 2012, p. 4)
Air pollution causes cognitive decline, strokes and heart attacks. Thus with the rise in automobile use the air pollution in India is far above the legal limits of 100 micrograms per cubic metre. This can rise to nearly 1,000 microgram’s during festivals like Diwali. (Vidal, 2012, p. 4) Worldwide, over three million people a year died from air pollution in 2010, and air pollution is ranked world’s top 10 lists of killer diseases. Some of the solutions explored for this situation include exploring car and fuel technology that are current from 1999. That is the tip of the iceberg. The second problem is that the fossil fuel will be finished in the next fifty or so years, and then it would be better to find sustainable alternate energy now itself, both for transportation and for other industries. Nations that now have oil are being contentiously chaperoned by the other nations for the oil and this has set an unhealthy political trend.
Apart from the pollution angle and availability angle the search for a hybrid vehicle began with the Middle East crisis of the 1970s. Actually the search began with a cleaner way of producing more electricity which could then replace all other forms of energy. Thus solar energy, wind energy, thermal energy etc. was tried. Locomotives with diesel engines were silently replaced by electric engines. There was a lot of concern for the changes in the environment that was brought about by the pollution and other issues that brought generation of power also in focus. The unmitigated consumption of oil that was being imported into the United States caused the birth of the concept. (Eto, 1996)
The history of these efforts began in the 1970s in response to the oil crisis and the increasing dependence on outside sources of oil and the need to conserve power on account of the environmental effects of electricity generation, the questionable method being nuclear power. By the 1980s many states began providing incentives to follow the “least-cost or integrated resource planning principles. Electric utility DSM programs reached their largest size in 1993, accounting for $2.7 billion of utility spending or about one percent of U.S. utility revenues.” (Eto, 1996)
Thereafter the spending has peeked off owing to the changing business interest and the industry being restructured. The changes being made in the adoption of new technology and the concern for the environmental protection in the process of electricity generation is current and the U.S. electric utility DSM programs are the result of and probably also are the cause of the electricity industry restructuring. (Eto, 1996) These changes also created a lot of changes in technology and the quest for alternate sources of energy. The demand side analysis was also a tool that this crisis shaped. The consumer’s interest in the ecology has the motor industry trying to come up with vehicles that run on clean fuels and one solution is the hybrid fuel machine that uses both the clean fuel and a little petrol. (Imperial College, Environmental Planning and Management)
The electric engines are by far the cleanest vehicles. The modern market thus is based on the demand for the cleanest vehicle. The problem is that the hybrids and electric powered vehicles are very costly and cannot be afforded by the ordinary man. Corporate are therefore wresting with the problem of making cheap and affordable vehicles and clean and cheap fuel. The paradigm that has to overcome is the generation of energy from costly sources like the sun, Hydroelectric projects and so on which has to have investment by the concerned countries. Thus the whole thing argued is a part of a clean environment and environmental planning thus is also an important process in production, urban planning and city administration. In the automobile industry it is also a market niche that could help the company progress. (Imperial College, Environmental Planning and Management)
The problem is to cut the cost of manufacture because consumers will not pay more than necessary, even if they are concerned about the environment. The consumer would spend a limited in amount on something that gives him the maximum satisfaction. (Stone, 1988, p. 18) During the 1960s the environmental movement and the “small planet” consciousness changed the ecological worldview causing investigations into sustainability both for individuals and organization planning and the necessity of adjusting economic factors to the social needs which calls for a different set of planning specifically with the impacts on environment for each project. This applies to all models of development. (Wheeler, 2004, p. 34) Taking the fuel issue and the hybrid vehicles the progress between 2000 and 2012 has been tremendous. Examination of the principles and the method of the working of different vehicles and their advantages are in order. What is hybrid and alternate fuel vehicle?
Alternate energy vehicles- the types and principles:
The most considered alternate energy is the stored electrical energy. Thus there are now Hybrid-electric vehicles — HEVs which use the power of the gasoline engines and electric motors to gain fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxiliary power for electronic devices and power tools. Regenerative Braking is used in such vehicles to use electric motor resistance causing the wheels to slow down. “In return, the energy from the wheels turns the motor, which functions as a generator, converting energy normally wasted during coasting and braking into electricity, which is stored in a battery until needed by the electric motor.” (U.S. Department of Energy: How Hybrids Work: Fuel Economy U.S. Govt Issue)
Electric Motors are thus used in conjunction with the conventional engine and the electric motor gives the energy necessary for accelerating, passing, or hill climbing. Thus the use of the fuel is put to the minimum and the electric motor alone provides power for low-speed driving conditions where internal combustion engines are least efficient. (U.S. Department of Energy: How Hybrids Work: Fuel Economy U.S. Govt Issue) This also helps in stopping the wastage of fuel while the vehicle idles at signals for example. In such times the electric motor takes over and the engine is shut off, thus preventing wasted energy from idling. (U.S. Department of Energy: How Hybrids Work: Fuel Economy U.S. Govt Issue) This is the basic schema of the type of vehicle and shall be explained further with the following figure.
To explain further the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have an internal combustion engine and electric motor. They use batteries to power an electric motor and use another fuel, such as gasoline or diesel, to power an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source. This use of electricity from the grid to run the vehicle brings down the operating costs and petroleum consumption, relative to conventional vehicles. (Alternative Fuels Data Center: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles Govt Energy site)
These vehicles have both the Electric Motor and Engine Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. Commuting may be done on all-electric power, plug in the vehicle to charge it at night, and be ready for another all-electric commute the next day. The internal combustion engine is used when battery fails or there is intense requirement for heating or air conditioning. If the vehicle is driven for a short distance then it need use only electric power. (Alternative Fuels Data Center: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles Govt Energy site) In such models the vehicle is suited to use the public grid and can be charged at gas stations by plugging the vehicle to an electric source and this is clean and without attendant problems as with fossil fuel.
The working of the system is shown in the Figure given here. “Parallel hybrid operation connects the engine and the electric motor to the wheels through mechanical coupling. Both the electric motor and the engine can drive the wheels directly. Series plug-in hybrids use only the electric motor to drive the wheels. The internal combustion engine is used to generate electricity for the motor. General Motors — GM uses a slightly modified version of this design in the Chevy Volt. GM refers to this design as an extended range electric vehicle — EREV. The electric motor drives the wheels almost all of the time, but the vehicle can switch to work like a parallel hybrid at highway speeds when the battery is depleted.” (Alternative Fuels Data Center: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles Govt Energy site)
Modern Hybrid Vehicles Schema:
There is a combination of processes that involve the combustion engine, electromotor and an accumulator with the modern combustion engines runs in a range of 30-40%. Gas engines’ effectiveness is on the bottom on the range while the diesel engines are somewhat better. The engine must be at optimal conditions. Fuel is wasted when the car is at idle position when the engine consumes fuel while the car does not perform any activity. The other drawback of the combustion engine sought to be overcome include the limited range of RPM the use of transmission is necessary. “The number of gears is usually also limited which creates yet another reason why the engine cannot work at its optimum conditions.” (LCE, 2013)
To overcome this use of alternate fuel, including steam, ice and other forms of combustion have been tried to create the energy even when the car idles. The use of electric engines is justified because of the fact that electric engines’ effectiveness is at 95% and all that at a wide range of RPM and load. The linear combustion engine is suitable for serial hybrid vehicles. The concept illustrated in the figure below shows that the Combustion engine has no mechanical connection with wheel, but only supplies electrical power to a storage battery. Thus there is no need for transmission as the traction motors can work effectively in a wide range of RPM. There is also no need for a differential gear when two engines are used. Additional smaller four smaller engines one for each wheel resulting in a full-fledged four-wheel drive without a need for a complicated axle differentiation. The engine completely turns off when the accumulators are charged. (LCE, 2013)
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles — PHEVs can be charged with electricity like pure electric vehicles and run under engine power like hybrid electric vehicles. PHEVs are powered by two energy sources — an energy conversion unit and an energy storage device. The energy conversion unit can be powered by gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, or other fuels. “The batteries can be charged by plugging into a standard 110-volt electrical outlet-capability conventional hybrid electric vehicles do not have-in addition to being charged by the energy conversion unit when needed.” (Virginia Clean Cities, 2013) The plug-in hybrid electric vehicles the entire power comes from the stored electricity. Thus either pure electricity can be used for short trips as commuting and can alternate with the engine can be used when longer trips are required, the benefit is that the PHEV does not need to be plugged in to operate. In future there can be a two-way connection between the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and the local utility grid. (Virginia Clean Cities, 2013)
The electric engines are by far the cleanest vehicles. At present to reduce costs and pollution the hybrid systems enumerated above could also be used. This will flow with the current market because these vehicles combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxiliary power for electronic devices and power tools. The engine and the electric motor could be used alternately thus the internal combustion engine is used when battery fails or there is intense requirement for heating or air conditioning and these vehicle batteries of the hybrid electric vehicle can be charged by an outside electric power source, by the internal combustion engine, or through regenerative braking.
It can be run on battery power, and batteries can be charged from the grid, solar panels, or other means that could be explored. This would help relieve the dependence on fossil fuel and the horrors of pollution like deaths caused by air pollution and health problems like cognitive decline, strokes and heart attacks. Thus with the rise in automobile use the manufacturers must be compelled to stop manufacture of vehicles that use fossil fuel but instead make it mandatory to create and market only hybrid vehicles. Apart from this the concerns are that the U.S. is the biggest consumer off petroleum from the Middle East and the resources in the Middle East may either dry up or may not be available for use by hostile conditions. Further other nations are waking up to the hazards of pollution and may insist on zero pollution vehicles. Car manufacturers therefore must switch to these models now itself.
Alternative Fuels Data Center. Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles Govt Energy site.
Eto, Joseph. 1996. The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Utility Demand-Side Management Programs.
Imperial College. Environmental Planning and Management. Imperial College Press.
LCE. 2013. Modern Hybrid Vehicles Schema.
Stone, P.A. 1988. Development and Planning Economy: Environmental and Resource. E & FN Spon: London.
U.S. Department of Energy. How Hybrids Work: Fuel Economy U.S. Govt Issue.
Vidal, John. 2012. Pollution from car emissions killing millions in China and IndiaStudy published by Lancet says surge in car use in south and east Asia killed 2.1m people prematurely in 2010. The Guardian News Paper UK, p. 4.
Virginia Clean Cities. 2013. What is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle? Plug-in Hybrid Schematic.
Wheeler, Stephen M. 2004. Planning for Sustainability: Creating Livable, Equitable, and Ecological Communities. Routledge: New York.
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