6. Finally something to do with cars. Hybrids. Internal Combustion Engines cannot recover energy from braking. Electric motors can. Internal combustion engines are most efficient under steady state conditions. A hybrid takes the best properties of both. GM is working on light Hybrids that are mostly IC powered but can makes use of some electrical power recovered from waste operations like braking. Honda, Nissan and Toyota are working on Hybrid solutions using more adiabatically efficient small diesels. Hybrids do have problems with transitional start up efficiency in some parts of the driving cycle but this is going to be improved.
7. Diesel power. With improved low sulfur fuel, the low emission diesel is a reality. Diesels are much more efficient due to their super high compression ratios, lower pumping losses, direct injection and use of turbochargers, this gets you 20-25% better economy. Diesels also can rip with the right mods, look at how the Audi Diesel racers are tearing up ALMS. More diesel fuel can be produced out of each barrel of crude than gasoline. In Europe diesels are more popular than gasoline engines for cars. In North America, our refining infrastructures is tweaked to produce more gasoline than diesel, hence our current high price of diesel. If the refinery is set up to do so, diesel fuel can be produced more cheaply with a higher yield per barrel of crude oil than gas.
8. SVO. Not Fords high performance division but Straight Vegetable Oil. With a conversion kit, any diesel engine can be converted to run on straight vegetable oil. Not for everyone but if you wanted to do this, you could beg for free fuel off of restaurants that normally have to pay to dispose of their waste fryer oil. Crisco corn oil cost $2.25 a gallon when you buy it in 5 gallon drums at Costco.
9. Cellulosic Ethanol. Making ethanol from the paper by-products and food scraps in trash is a good idea by me. The processes now being tested do not use as much energy as making ethanol from corn and produces more energy than it consumes. The trouble is tweaking the right kind of bacteria to do the job due to the somewhat inconsistent composition of trash. It’s getting close to becoming workable on a large scale. At 140 octane I like ethanol. I like this idea; it solves a waste disposal issue and creates fuel. I hope it gets worked on.
If the government, the American people and industry buys into these things, I think we can start making an impact now. We can still have motorized fun.
See you in the Matrix.