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February 25, 2001 – Vol.5 No.48

ENERGIES... week of February 25, 2001

GREEN REPLACEMENT TECHNOLOGIES. If the will power were there to begin a major effort to replace our current energy technologies with cleaner more efficient ones, there is no shortage of technological possibilities that could be considered to make that profound change. Clearly, the most difficult challenge is to find a new powerplant for motor vehicles.

Enginion Ag has introduced its Equal Zero Emission Engine (Ezee) as a clean, inexpensive, replacement for the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). Ezee uses thermal energy from Enginion’s Caloric Porous Structure Cell, along with electronic controls, to operate a rotary (Wankel-type) engine. After six years of development with funding from the European Union and the German government, Enginion claims Ezee has zero emissions of HC with NOx and CO emissions so low as to be almost unmeasurable. Ezee can run on a variety of fuels including hydrogen or carbon-neutral biofuels. Efficiency, when measured in a U.S. test cycle, is better than gasoline engines. Cost is expected to be equal or lower than current ICE’s.

Enginion plans to introduce an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) for portable or stationary use by 2004. An Ezee APU that would supply heat and power for a large home would be about the size of a 5 gallon bucket.

 

POWER AT THE WHEELS. The idea of hub motors for electric vehicles is not new. Some electric bikes now use them. In a larger EV an electric hub motor would reside inside the rim of a wheel where a vehicle’s brakes would normally be.

Technologies M-4 (TM4) has introduced its E-WHEEL system which includes a hub motor with self-contained electronic controls. The electronics monitor traction, adjust wheel speed (as required for a moving and turning vehicle), and control regenerative braking to help recharge batteries. An E-WHEEL system can be at two or all four corners of a battery electric, hybrid or fuel cell vehicle.

In general, hub motors eliminate heavy differentials, drive shafts and other driveline components. They also open up more space in the vehicle’s body for passengers, storage, or components associated with fuel-cells.

To be considered with hub motors, though, is cost. The cost of two or four motors must be balanced against that of one motor driving the wheels through the above mentioned driveline components.

 

TEXAS WIND PROJECTS. The Lone Star state will soon be the home to yet two more wind projects. Cielo Wind Power will build the 80 megawatt Llano Estacado Wind Ranch at White Deer, about 40 miles east of Amarillo. The project will have 80 1.0 megawatt Mitsubishi turbines. Llano should be on-line in six months.

Enron Wind will build an as yet unnamed 135 megawatt project near Iraan in Pecos County. The project will have 90 1.5 megawatt Enron Wind turbines. Electricity from the project will be available to wholesale customers - who can buy a portion of the output - through Enron Power Marketing. The project will be complete by the end of the year.

 

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