Skip to main content

View Diary: Official: Oil 'like a girlfriend' - leave her before she leaves you (196 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Compressed air is not so great. (none)
    Yes, compressed air loses on two factors.

    Compressed air is a relativly inefficient means of storing energy. Compressing air generates heat and an increase in pressure. The pressure of the compressed air can be used to drive a motor. The heat is lost to the environment and not usefully retrieved when the compressed air is re-expanded. Compressed air only stores a portion of the energy used to compress it.

    Second, compressed air cylinders are bombs when they rupture as they might in accidents or just from poor maintenance. Despite its inefficiency, compressed air can store a lot of energy. When a compressed air cylinder ruptures all of that energy is released at once in an explosion. With an explosive like gunpowder, TNT, etc. rapid combustion is used to generate an increase in pressure. With compressed air, the increased pressure already exists in the cylinder and can be released with the same effect. Compressed air explosions bend metal, knock down buildings and kill people very effectively.

    An empty limosine pulled up and George W. Bush got out.

    by beerm on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 12:57:55 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  well, when ya gotta go... (none)
      gasoline, of course, makes for a MUCH safer explosion....
    •  I heard of an accident (none)
      A bottle with compressed oxygen had valve ruptured and went through 4 floors/ceiling in a laboratory building.  Good news: you do not get a fireball like with gasoline.

      Torpedoes used to run with compressed air.  It seems that this is an easy way of building lighweight powerful engine -- you want torpedoes to be fast and they are, needless to say, disposable.

      Question: can you recover heat energy lost during compression by a heat exchanger?  Otherwise, you loose ca. 90% of energy with 10-fold compression.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site