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August 2008 Posts
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Wind Power for cars.
So we all know that putting a windmill on a car cannot generate more energy than is in the gasoline being used to drive the car, that would violate the laws of thermodynamics.
However, the question remains, is there some place to put a windmill on a car where it doesn't increase drag but still can generate some electricity that is useful. Probably not, but that doesn't keep people from trying, or patenting these ideas.
Here is one that I find interesting.
The idea is to put a windmill in the space above the truck cab, but below the top of the trailer. This is the place where the wind deflector might be placed. The cool thing here is that the frontal area of the vehicle does not increase, so in that sense, drag does not increase.
However, the question then becomes which is more effecient, 1) put a wind deflector above the cab to reduce drag coefficient and save gas (diesel) 2) put a windmill above the cab to generate electricity.
I suspect that a wind deflector would be more efficient, but I don't have any way to prove it.
Patents are really a form of Art at times. I love Fig 3, of this patent. This car says Chick Magnet.
This one is a little nicerhttp://www.google.com/patents?id=_fUTAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA2&dq=5986429&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=1_1
One related concept, that doesn't violate the laws of thermodynamics, is to put windmills along-side the edge of highways to capture the wind energy from the cars moving down the highway. That could clearly generate power with no reduction in the automotive efficiency. However, perhaps putting up traditional windmills will have a better ROI than putting them beside highways.
Anyway, I don't think there is anything to be gained in efficiency from car mounted windmills, but that doesn't mean people can't patent it and I can't prove it doesn't work.
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The documentary on SAVING GENERAL MOTORS is on tonight Wed. 8-6-08 on CNBC at 9PM EST 1Hr.
Thanks for the TV Guide moment Mark! Your reminder helped me to catch the program on CNBC. It was an interesting show about GM. The comments by the Consumer Reports representative were extremely encouraging that GM may, at long last, be turning into a better car manufacturer, and, by extension, it gives great hope that the Volt will be a well-made vehicle as well as an electric vehicle.