Tag: fuel

Amidst Record-Breaking Cold, Hungarians Burn Bricks of Money To Keep Warm

By Veronique Greenwood | February 16, 2012 3:54 pm

As North America enjoys a startlingly balmy winter, Europe is in the midst of a cripplingly frigid cold snap, with snow in Rome that damaged the Colosseum and hundreds dead from the cold. In Hungary, charities are getting heating fuel from the government…in the form of piles of money.

The moolah—Hungarian forints—that people feed into their stoves is paper currency so tattered and worn that is has to be retired from circulation. To make it truly burnable, the authorities tatter it even more, in special factories where old forint bills are shredded and then pressed with fragments of wood into combustible bricks, by workers who must wear special clothes with no pockets.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Move Over Alligator Shoes, It's Time for Alligator Fuel

By Joseph Castro | August 19, 2011 9:06 am

spacing is importantIt’s a handbag. It’s a wallet. No, it’s biofuel.

A genuine alligator-leather purse could put you out hundreds of dollars, but alligator fuel may come fairly cheap. Large fuel plants could produce biofuel from alligator fat for as little as $2.40 a gallon, suggests a recent paper published in the journal Industrial Engineering Chemistry Research. Last we checked, the old-fashioned stuff from long-dead critters was retailing for a buck or so more.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Can Scientists Really Turn Seawater Into Jet Fuel?

By Boonsri Dickinson | August 20, 2009 10:45 am

matza74.jpgNavy chemists are claiming they can take seawater and turn it into hydrocarbon fuel—which, if it ever happens, would be great, since the ocean contains 140 times the amount of carbon dioxide held in the air. But right now, the notion of an endless supply of jet fuel from the Atlantic seems too good to be true.

Granted, the idea is gaining ground: Researchers are working on the process of taking carbon dioxide from ocean water and mixing it with hydrogen that has been split from water molecules. And Naval Research Laboratory chemist Robert Dorner has even been able to create fuel from refined seawater by tweaking a process that normally uses coal to produce hydrocarbon fuel.

But before seawater can become a gasoline resource, the researchers will have to figure out the right catalyst to use. In general, too much methane is produced when the wrong catalysts are used in fuel-making, causing fewer hydrocarbons to form—which means less fuel is produced.

So assuming it all gets ironed out, what are the chances this would ever work? Well, scientists have been able to take just about anything and turn it into oil, including turkey, poop, and human corpses—but these alternative sources still haven’t become anything close to major sources of fuel.

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Image: flickr/ Matza74

MORE ABOUT: fuel, oceans, water

An Edible Race Car? New Formula 3 Car Made Out of Vegetables

By Rachel Cernansky | May 5, 2009 3:52 pm

f3.jpgA Formula 3 car that’s compost-able? Probably not completely, but if it’s made from potatoes and soybean foam, it must be pretty close!

The ecoF3, developed in Britain, has a steering wheel made from carrots, outer bodywork made from potatoes, and an interior seat made from soybeans. The biodiesel engine runs on chocolate extracts and vegetable oil, and plant-based lubricants grease the car’s moving parts.

The car will not be permitted to compete in championships since the fuel prevents it from meeting regulations, but its developer says it would deliver the same performance as a more conventional race car—and probably be more fun to watch! (Especially if any loose parts fall off along the way—carrot sticks on the racetrack?)

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Image: Flickr / Nick Bramhall

The World’s Fastest Car…Powered By Wind, That Is

By Boonsri Dickinson | April 1, 2009 1:52 pm

gb_record_run_side_credit_peter_lyons.jpgWhile automakers (and magazines) are shrinking their car designs to become fuel efficient these days, one man decided to forgo fuel altogether and tap into wind power. And now, British engineer Richard Jenkins has broken wind-powered car records, reaching a whopping 126.1 miles per hour when he drove his Ecotricity Greenbird in Nevada.

Arguably, the Greenbird doesn’t look anything like a car—people describe it as a “very high performance sailboat.” But while most wind-powered cars use large sails, Jenkins decided to use a solid wing, so that wind could sweep over it and propel the 1,300 pound car into motion. To offset the resulting lift, Jenkins added smaller wings to keep the car on the ground.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Could Poop Fuel Our Future? New Sewage-Powered Buses Hint at Yes

By Boonsri Dickinson | March 25, 2009 11:53 am

poofinal.jpgBathroom time may not be wasted time after all: A year’s worth of your poop can be turned into 2.1 gallons of useable diesel. And the Norwegian capital of Oslo plans to put all that waste to work powering 80 of its buses with fuel made from the Bekkelaget sewage treatment plant, which houses the waste of 250,000 people.

If all goes as planned, the city’s other waste treatment plant, as well as biofuels made from food waste, will eventually contribute to the total supply—and with serious results: Fueling 400 or so buses this way would reduce 30,000 tons of carbon emissions a year.

While the idea certainly has an “ick factor,” it’s not like gas-station attendants will have to start shoveling sewage directly into a bus’ fuel tank.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Scat-egory, Technology Attacks!

And We Mean Anything Into Oil: U.K. Garbage Trucks Run on Trash

By Rachel Cernansky | February 3, 2009 4:42 pm

trashWe’re all for innovative new forms of fuel. And when there’s a hint of irony, it’s all the better.

Last week, SITA UK, a recycling and waste management company, and the Kirklees Metropolitan Council in Northern England unveiled a garbage truck that runs on power produced by the very garbage it collects.

The truck will gather waste from 25 bins that have been newly installed around town, and transport the trash to the Energy from Waste power station and recycling center. There, the refuse will be burned to produce electricity, which is not only used to recharge the battery-operated electric vehicle overnight, but also contributes about 10 megawatts of power to the municipal electric grid every day.

The truck, a modified Ford Transit, runs on a 40kWh lithium-ion battery pack and can reach 50 mph. It has a range of 100 miles and takes six to eight hours to recharge.

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