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A

Seminar report on
A STUDY OF AIR ENGINE AND A CRITICAL REVIEW
Submitted in partial fulfilment for the award of Degree of Bachelor of
Technology of Rajasthan Technical University, Kota

2011-15
Submitted to:

Submitted by:

Mr. Deepak Sharma

Ankit Bhardwaj

(ASST. PROF. M.E.)

PGI/ME/11/040

Mr. Satish Sharma

11ESDME018

(ASST. PROF. M.E.)

DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING


POORNIMA GROUP OF INSTITUTIONS
SITAPURA, JAIPUR (RAJ)-302022
1

CERTIFICATE
This is to certify that the seminar entitled A STUDY OF AIR ENGINE AND A
CRITICAL REVIEW, has been carried out by Ankit Bhardwaj under my
guidance in partial fulfilment of the degree of bachelor of engineering in
Mechanical Engineering of Rajasthan Technical University, Kota, during the
academic session 2011 - 2015. To the best of my knowledge and belief this work
has not been submitted elsewhere for the best award of any other degree. The work
has been found satisfactory and is approved for submission.

(Sign By Guide)

(Sign By HOD)

Mr. Deepak Sharma

Mr. Naval Jain

Deptt. of M.E.

Deptt. of M.E.

PGI, Jaipur

PGI, Jaipur

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I ACKNOWLEDGE THE GREAT TIMELY AND VOLUNTARY HELP AND GUIDANCE
FROM THE FOLLOWING PERSONALITIES WITHOUT WHOSE HELP THE SEMINAR
COULD NOT HAVE BEEN COMPLETED SUCCESFULLY.

1. First of all I wish to express my thanks to the Poornima Group of Institutions ,


Mr. N.K. Jain(H.O.D) and Mr. Deepak Kumar (Asst. Prof.) for providing all sorts
of helping order to make this training possible.
2. I would also like to acknowledge my colleagues, who was always with me
during the seminar and helped for the successful transformation of an idea into
seminar.

ABSTRACT
In the present energy scenario the fossil fuel sources are fast depleting and their combustion
products are causing global environmental problems. There are couples of option of alternative
fuel such as solar power, tidal power, geo-thermal power, etc. and one of them is Compressed
Air. Compressed Air Powered Engine is an alternative technology which uses compressed air to
run the engine and thus eliminates the use of fossil fuels. Exhaust temperature of it will be
slightly less than atmospheric temperature (i.e. 20-25C) and thus helps in controlling global
warming and reducing temperature rise caused due to other means.
Air Engine can be used to produce power to run automobile, generators etc. This paper
review contains study of a compressed air engine. This engine does not require any of the fossil
fuels like petrol, diesel, CNG, hydrogen etc. to run engine and no power is required to start the
engine, only, compressed air valve is to be opened. It is pollution free and 100% eco-friendly.
There are several technical benefits of using this engine, like as no combustion takes place inside
the cylinder, working temperature of engine is very close to ambient temperature. This helps in
reducing wear and tear of the engine components. Also there is no possibility of knocking. This
in turn results in smooth working of engine. One more technical benefit is that there will not be
any need for installing cooling system or complex fuel injection systems. This makes the design
simpler.
Based on the principle of gas expansion, a new structure of reciprocating air-powered engine is
proposed which is basically a modification of a conventional SI engine.

PREFACE

Present seminar deals with the study of alternative fuel for automobile engines with a special
emphasis on compressed air driven engine. It includes construction and operation of the
pneumatic piston engines. Advantages of the Compressed Air Powered Engine are also
discussed.
This paper summarizes five selected papers on Air Powered Engine or related topics. This paper
is basically a comparative study of the compressed air engine with other conventional engines.
We start with the scarcity and effects of fossil fuels and need for an alternative fuel. Properties of
a compressed air are listed and behavior is highlighted. Then basic principle of the engine and
working is described. In the last chapter conversion of a conventional SI engine to an air
powered engine is shown.

CONTENTS
Page

Title

CERTIFICATE...2
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT........................................................................................3

ABSTRACT............................................................................................................ .4
PREFACE................................................................................................................. 5
CONTENTS............................................................................................................. 6
LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................. 8
ABBREVIATIONS................................................................................................... 9
SYMBOLS................................................................................................................10
1. INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4

Background......................................................................................................11
Air Vehicle vs Electric Vehicle..........................................................................12
Air Vehicle: Status in World..............................................................................12
Air Vehicle: Status in India................................................................................13

2. FOSSIL FUELS: A BLACK PAST


2.1
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5

Scarcity of Fossil Fuels..................................................................................... 14


Influence of Fossil Fuel of Environment............................................................16
Influence of Fossil Fuel of Economy.................................................................16
Search for an Alternative Fuel......................................................................... 17
Fossil Fuel: Context to India......................................................................... 17

3. COMPRESSED AIR: A GREEN FUTURE

Compressed Air............................................................................................... 19
Basic Principle: Thermodynamic Analysis........................................................ 19
Availability....................................................................................................... 20
Compressed Air to Fuel a Car.......................................................................... 20
Advantages of Compressed Air as a Fuel......................................................... 20
3.5.1 Technical Benefits............................................................................... 20
3.5.2 Economic Benefits............................................................................ .21
3.5.3 Environmental Benefits....................................................................... 22
3.6 Disdvantages of Compressed Air as a Fuel...................................................... .23
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5

4. COMPRESSED AIR ENGINE


4.1 Construction....................................................................................................24
4.1.1 Pneumatic Cylinder..............................................................................25
4.1.2 Pneumatic Solenoid Valve and Working ..........25
4.1.3 Compressor..25
4.1.4 Crank Shaft...26
4.2 Working of Air Engine.......................................................................................26
4.3 Issues with Compressed Air Technology Implementation ...................................28
4.3.1 Air Storage & Refueling.......................................................................28
4.3.2 Input Energy .............29
4.3.3 Temperature Change .........29
4.3.4 Multistage Compression ....30
4.3.5 Energy Released ........31
5. CONVERTING A CONVENTIONAL IC ENGINE INTO AN AIR POWERED
ENGINE
5.1 Necessary Changes............................................................................................33
5.2 Operation...........................................................................................................35
5.3 Comparison between Old and New Engine.........................................................36
5.3.1 Difference in Working..........................................................................36
5.3.2 Advantage of Air Powered Engine over Conventional Engine ...............37
6. CONCLUSION.....................................................................................................38
REFERENCES.........................................................................................................40

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure

Title

Page

1.1 MDI Main Engine Configuration.....................................................................12


1.2 Model of Air Car by TATA Motor.....................................................................13
2.1 Various Losses using Fossil Fuels.....................................................................18
3.1 Various Losses of Energy in Air Engine....................................................................23

4.1 Layout of Air Engine........................................................................................24


4.2 Complete Cycle of a Two Stroke Air Engine.................................................... 27
4.3 Multistage Compression Requirement for Air Compression ............................. 31
4.4

Energy released as a function of compression pressure at constant volume of


compressed air.................................................................................................32

5.1 A Conventional SI Engine................................................................................ 33


5.2 The Air Powered Engine................................................................................... 35

ABBREVIATIONS
BDC

Bottom Dead Center

CFM

Cubic Feet per Minute

CNG

Compressed Natural Gas

DC

Direct Current

IC

Internal Combustion

MDI

Motor Development International

PLC

Programmable Logic Controller

PSI

Pounds per Square Inch

SI

Spark Ignition

TDC

Top Dead Center

SYMBOLS
P

Pressure

Temperature

Volume

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

1.1 Background
Fossil fuels (i.e., petroleum, diesel, natural gas and coal) which meet most of the world's
energy demand today are being depleted rapidly. Also, their combustion products are causing
global problems, such as the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion acid rains and pollution
which are posing great danger for environment and eventually for the total life on planet. These
factors are leading automobile manufactures to develop cars fueled by alternatives energies.
Hybrid cars, Fuel cell powered cars, Hydrogen fueled cars will be soon in the market as a result
of it. One possible alternative is the air powered car. Air, which is abundantly available and is
free from pollution, can be compressed to higher pressure at a very low cost, is one of the prime
option since atmospheric pollution can be permanently eradicated. Compressed air utilization in
the pneumatic application has been long proven. Air motors, pneumatic actuators and others
various such pneumatic equipment are in use. Compressed air was also used in some of vehicle
for boosting the initial torque. Turbo charging has become one of the popular techniques to
enhance power and improve the efficiencies of the automotive engine that completely runs on
compressed air.
Climate change and energy security require a reduction in travel demand, a modal shift,
and technological innovation in the transport sector. Through a series of press releases and
demonstrations, a car using energy stored in compressed air produced by a compressor has been
suggested as an environmentally friendly vehicle of the future.

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1.2 Air Vehicle vs Electric Vehicle


During literature survey it is observed that compressed air vehicles has many potential
advantages over electric vehicles which includes no degradation problems of batteries, time
required for refueling the tank, easy disposal of compressed air tank without causing any
pollution as with the batteries. Hence in order to overcome the above stated problems there is a
need of eco-friendly vehicles using compressed air as a working medium in future.

1.3 Air Vehicle: Status in World


The first compressed air vehicles were built by Andraud and Tessi du Motay in Paris between
1838 and 1840. Since then the idea has been tried again and again, but has never reached
commercialization. Currently, related researches of compressed air are carried out all over the
world. The French company MDI has developed a partial commercial production of the air
powered car. MDI plans to sell this clean fuel vehicle and a compressed air hybrid in Europe for
less than 15,000 dollars in near future.

Figure 1.1 MDI Main Engine


Configuration
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1.4 Air Vehicle: Status in India


In January 2007, Tata Motors and Motor Development International (Luxembourg)
signed a license agreement that enables Tata Motors to produce and sell compressed air cars
using MDI technology in India. In 2008, Indias largest car manufacturer also announced that it
would begin production of worlds first commercial vehicle to run on nothing but compressed
air.
The agreement with MDI covered two phases of activity encompassing the technology
transfer and proof of the technical concept in the first phase, and in the second phase completing
detailed development of the compressed air engine into specific vehicle and stationary
applications.
The first phase of this program - proof of the technical concept in Tata Motors vehicles - has now
been successfully completed with the compressed air engine concept having been demonstrated
in two Tata Motors vehicles.
In the second phase of the development, the two companies are working together to complete
detailed development of the technology and required technical processes to industrialize a market
ready product application over the coming years.

Figure 1.2 Model of Air Car by TATA


Motor
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CHAPTER 2

FOSSIL FUELS: A BLACK PAST

2.1 Scarcity of Fossil Fuels


Fossil fuels, as the name suggests, are very old. Although humans probably used fossil fuels in
ancient times, as far back as the Iron Age, it was the Industrial Revolution that led to their widescale extraction. About 100 years ago, the major source of energy shifted from recent solar to
fossil fuel (hydrocarbons). Technology has generally led to a greater use of hydrocarbon fuels,
making civilization vulnerable to decreases in supply. The current study made in the year 2004,
predicts that if the oil is consumed at the current rates, then by 2020, we will be consuming 80%
of the entire available resource.
Latest studies and projections available indicate that the crises of fossil fuel in near future is
inevitable and alternative to fossil fuel must be looked for. Some of the studies made in this
regard are detailed ahead.
i.

When the wells run dry, We use more oil than we find, and if producers are fixing their
figures the end could be closer than thought, by Adam Porter, The Guardian [2005 May
25]
"Predicting the end of the age of oil can be a sticky business. The Association for the
Study of Peak Oil and Gas (Aspo), a collection of industry figures, politicians and
academics, this week held its annual meeting at the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon..."

ii.

Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management, by Robert
L. Hirsch, SAIC, Roger Bezdek, MISI, Robert Wendling, MISI for the National Energy
Technology Laboratory of the US Department of Energy [2005 February]
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"The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an
unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices
and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the
economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options
exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be
initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking."
iii.

Expert says Saudi oil may have peaked, by Adam Porter [2005 February 22] : "As oil
prices remain above $45 a barrel, a major market mover has cast a worrying future
prediction. Energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, of Simmons & Co
International, has been outspoken in his warnings about peak oil before. His new
statement is his strongest yet, 'we may have already passed peak oil."

iv.

U.S. Energy Policy: A Declaration of Interdependence, by David J. O'Reilly Chairman


and CEO, ChevronTexaco Corporation [2005 February 15] "Simply put, the era of easy
access to energy is over. In part, this is because we are experiencing the convergence of
geological difficulty with geopolitical instability... We are seeing the beginnings of a
bidding war for Mideast supplies between East and West."

v.

New Oil Projects Cannot Meet World Needs This Decade, by Oil Depletion Analysis
Centre [2004 November 16] "World oil supplies are all but certain to remain tight through
the rest of this decade, unless there is a precipitous drop in demand, according to the
results of a study by the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC). "The
study found that all of the major new oil-recovery projects scheduled to come on stream
over the next six years are unlikely to boost supplies enough to meet the worlds growing
needs."

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2.2 Influence of Fossil Fuel on Environment


It is observed that with increasing pace of civilization, uses of transport have become essential
part of life and increasing in geometrical progression. This is leading to very hazardous condition
due to high rate of pollution. Many of the environmental problems our generation faces today
result from our fossil fuel dependence. These impacts include global warming, air quality
deterioration, oil spills, and acid rain.
Emissions from an individual car are generally low, relative to the smokestack image many
people associate with air pollution. But in numerous cities across the country, the personal
automobile is the single greatest polluter, as emissions from millions of vehicles on the road add
up. Driving a private car is probably a typical citizens most polluting daily activity. Gasoline
and diesel fuels are mixtures of hydrocarbons, compounds which contain hydrogen and carbon
atoms. In a perfect engine, oxygen in the air would convert all the hydrogen in the fuel to
water and all the carbon in the fuel to carbon dioxide. Nitrogen in the air would remain
unaffected. In reality, the combustion process cannot be perfect, and automotive engines emit
several types of pollutions like CO, NOx, SO2, Volatile Organic Compounds,O3 etc.

2.3 Influence of Fossil Fuel on Economy


Oil, the master energy resource, is the driver of economic growth. But our financial system is
wired for economic growth. This is the challenge. It is structural change that is needed. Over the
last 150 years relatively cheap oil has enabled economic growth to happen. It has transformed
agricultural methods, enabled world population to grow, and powered transport. So now, not only

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are we required to adapt to life with less oil, but the very enabler of economic growth is
becoming more and more unaffordable.
Our economy may well recover somewhat, but that recovery will lead to increased oil use, which
leads to increased prices, which will lead to another economic contraction. And this cycle will
repeat with each subsequent recovery being weaker than the last. So no amount of optimism or
wishful thinking can bring back economic growth. Future economic growth will be impeded by
the depletion of critical, natural resources, the increased costs of extraction and its associated
negative environmental impacts, and ever mounting debt. This is not a temporary phenomenon, it
is the start of a long series of cyclical recessions, and it signifies the end of growth. It is a great
disruption to our normal patterns.

2.4 Search for an Alternative Fuel


Many research works are being carried out to find the alternative to fossil fuel. Alternative fuels,
known as non-conventional or advanced fuels, are any materials or substances that can be used
as fuels, other than conventional fuels. Conventional fuels include: fossil fuels (petroleum (oil),
coal, and natural gas). Some well-known alternative fuels include biodiesel, bioalcohol
(methanol, ethanol, butanol), chemically stored electricity (batteries and fuel cells), hydrogen,
non-fossil methane, non-fossil natural gas, vegetable oil, propane, and other biomass sources.
Compressed Air is one of the important and freely available alternative fuel.

2.5 Fossil Fuel: Context to India


India is developing country. Still per capita income of average person is very low to meet out the
minimum requirement of person. Maximum population of country is still living in villages.
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There transport is still either bi-cycle or Motor Bike. Current hike of fossil fuel is going
tremendously high up to 30-40 % every year. With this pace up to 2010 prices may go double
than what is today and by 2030-40, it may fetch to Rs.1000 per litre. A time will come when
common person would not be able to purchase fuel to even run the Motor-Bike. It is not only due
to rate of increase of vehicles in India. It is worldwide problem that 80 % of fossil fuel is being
consumed in transport with increasing mobility of persons to day and daily consumable materials
are being transported through Road Transport. Thus it is need of day to explore possibility of
alternative for fossil fuel to make environment free from emission & make children healthy.
With high rate of consumption of fossil fuel it also necessary to make sustainable energy or in
other words of erstwhile PRESIDENT of INDIA Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam make INDIA energy
freedom by 2030, which he has spoken in his speech on the eve of 14th Aug.2005 of
Independence day. So we need a focus on Alternative Fuel Research.

Figure 2.1 Various Losses using Fossil


Fuels

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CHAPTER 3

COMPRESSED AIR: A GREEN FUTURE


3.1 Compressed Air
Compressed air is a gas, or a combination of gases, that has been put under greater pressure than
the air in the general environment. Current applications using compressed air are numerous and
diverse, including jackhammers, tire pumps, air rifles, and aerosol cheese. According to
proponents, compressed air also has a great deal of potential as a clean, inexpensive, and
infinitely renewable energy source. Its use is currently being explored as an alternative to fossil
fuels.

3.2 Basic Principle: Thermodynamic Analysis


Compressed air is clean, safe, simple and efficient. There are no dangerous exhaust fumes of or
other harmful by products when compressed air is used as a utility. It is a non-combustible, nonpolluting utility. When air at atmospheric pressure is mechanically compressed by a compressor,
the transformation of air at 1 bar (atmospheric pressure) into air at higher pressure (up to 414
bar) is determined by the laws of thermodynamics. They state that an increase in pressure equals
a rise in heat and compressing air creates a proportional increase in heat. Boyle's law explains
that if a volume of a gas (air) halves during compression, then the pressure is doubled.

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Charles' law states that the volume of a gas changes in direct proportion to the temperature.
These laws explain that pressure, volume and temperature are proportional; change one variable
and one or two of the others will also change, according to this equation:
(P1 V1) / T1 = (P2 V2)/T2
Compressed air is normally used in pressure ranges from 1 bar to 414 bar (14 to 6004 PSI) at
various flow rates from as little as 0.1 m (3.5 CFM - cubic feet per minute) and up.

3.3 Availability
Air is natural source and available freely in atmosphere, which can be stored after compressing it
to desired pressure. This is the only source which can be stored at very high pressure and can be
retained without any loss after lapse of passage of time, which can drive so many domestic
appliances such as vacuum cleaner, mixy and pumps, running Power generator when electric
power is off instead of using inverter to have clumsy arrangements of battery etc.

3.4 Compressed Air to Fuel a Car


It is hard to believe that compressed air can be used to drive vehicles. However that is true, and
the air car, as it is popularly known, has caught the attention of researchers worldwide. It has
zero emissions and is ideal for city driving conditions. MDI is one company that holds the
international patents for the compressed air car.
A proved fact: Research by MDI shows that an Air Powered Car can travel 171 km by using
electricity costing about Rs. 80-100 which would cost about Rs. 570 for a normal S.I. engine car
giving an average of 15 kmpl.

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3.5 Advantages of using Compressed Air as a Fuel


3.5.1 Technical Benefits
Air Powered Engine is an alternative technology which uses compressed air to run
the engine and thus eliminates the use of fossil fuels. Exhaust temperature of it will
be slightly less than atmospheric temperature (i.e. 20-25C) and thus helps in
controlling global warming and reducing temperature rise caused due to other
means. As we are going to convert the already existing conventional engine into an
air powered one, this new technology is easy to adapt. Another benefit is that it
uses air as fuel which is available abundantly in atmosphere.
Apart from above other technical benefits are as follows:
i.

The temperature of the engine while working will be slightly less than the
ambient temperature.

ii.

Smooth working of the engine due to very less wear and tear of the
components.

iii.

There is no possibility of knocking.

iv.

No need of cooling systems and spark plugs or complex fuel injection


systems.

3.5.2 Economic Benefits


Some major economic benefits of Air Engine are listed below
i.

No use of expensive fossil fuels as the free air is compressed and taken to use.

ii.

For this reason people can easily shift to the new technology.Compressors use electricity
for generating compressed air which is relatively much cheaper and widespread.

iii.

Smooth working will lead to less wear & tear, so lesser maintenance cost.

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iv.

Compressed air is most sustainable. It has no volatility or temperature or much weather


effect .Once compressed air is stored through compressor, it will be available at any time
without any loss of Pressure.

3.5.3 Environmental Benefits


Compressed air may be definitely as an alternate for running light vehicle, which is presently
creating emission due to use of fossil fuel and ultimately effects public health hazard. The major
benefits of Air Engine in the direction of environmental safety are as follows:
i.

As the exhaust temperature of this engine will be slightly less than the
atmospheric temperature (i.e. 15-25 oC). So this will help in cooling the
environment.

ii.

And if this technology is widely used than it will help in controlling global
warming. These are some green bytes associated with this technology.

iii.

Exhaust gases leaving the engine will be only air having low temperature. So
this will eliminate the problem of harmful emissions, in conventional engines.
This gives us environmental benefit of using this engine.

iv.

Also as there will be no thermal radiations produced, radar cant detect these
vehicles. So this will help our army too.

3.6 Disadvantages of using Compressed Air as a Fuel


Apart from the benefits listed above, there are some disadvantages which are as follows:
i.

The principal disadvantage is the indirect use of energy. For conventional combustion
motor cars, the energy is lost when chemical energy in fossil fuels is converted to
mechanical energy, most of which goes to waste as lost heat. For compressed-air cars,
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energy is lost when chemical energy is converted to electrical energy (if electricity is
produced from chemical sources), when electrical energy is converted to compressed air,
and when the compressed air is converted into mechanical energy (fig 5.1).
ii.

Compressed air vehicles likely will be less robust than typical vehicles of today which
poses a danger to users of compressed air vehicles sharing the road with larger, heavier
and more rigid vehicles.

iii.

Compressed air has a low energy density comparable to the values of electrochemical
lead-acid batteries. While batteries can somewhat maintain their voltage throughout their
discharge and chemical fuel tanks provide the same power densities from the first to the
last litre, the pressure of compressed air tanks falls as air is drawn off.

iv.

Cars powered alone by compressed air have a limited speed range but can have
comparable speeds to present day vehicles by converting them into hybrid cars, for e.g.
compressed air plus electric car.

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Figure 3.1 Various Losses of Energy in Air Engine

CHAPTER 4

COMPRESSED AIR ENGINE

4.1 Construction
The construction of compressed air engine mainly consist of pneumatic cylinder, pneumatic
solenoid valve, compressor and crank shaft.
A typical layout of an Air engine is as shown in figure 4.1.

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Figure 4.1 A layout of Air


Engine

The main components of the Compressed Air Engine are as follows4.1.1 Pneumatic Cylinder
Pneumatic cylinders are mechanical devices which produce force, often in combination with
movement, and are powered by compressed gas. To perform their function, pneumatic cylinders
impart a force by converting the potential energy of compressed gas into kinetic energy. This is
achieved by the compressed gas being able to expand, without external energy input, which itself
occurs due to the pressure gradient established by the compressed gas being at a greater pressure
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than the atmospheric pressure. This air expansion forces a piston to move in the desired
direction. Once actuated, compressed air enters into the tube at one end of the piston and, hence,
imparts force on the piston. Consequently, the piston becomes displaced by the compressed air
expanding in an attempt to reach atmospheric pressure.
4.1.2 Pneumatic Solenoid Valve and Working
The term solenoid usually refers to a coil used to create magnetic fields when wrapped around a
magnetic object or core. In engineering terms, the solenoid describes transducer mechanisms
used to convert energy into motion. Solenoid valves are controlled by the action of the solenoid
and typically control the flow of water or air as a switch. If the solenoid is active (current is
applied), it opens the valve. If the solenoid is inactive (current does not exist), the valve stays
closed. The action of the pneumatic solenoid is controlled by the use of pneumatics. The opening
or closing of a valve is referred to as "changing state."
4.1.3 Compressor
A gas compressor is a mechanical device that increases the pressure of a gas by reducing its
volume. Compressors are similar to pumps: both increase the pressure on a fluid and both can
transport the fluid through a pipe. As gases are compressible, the compressor also reduces the
volume of a gas.
Compressed air Piston range operates between 0.75 kW to 420 kW (1hp to 563 hp) producing
working pressure at 1.5 bar to 414 bar (21 to 6004psi). Compressed air Vane compressors operate
between 1.1 kW to 75 kW (1.5 to 100hp), producing working pressures of 7 to 8 and 10 bar (101
to 145psi).
4.1.4 Crank Shaft

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The crankshaft translates reciprocating linear piston motion into rotation. To convert the
reciprocating motion into rotation, the crankshaft has "crank throws" or "crankpins", additional
bearing surfaces whose axis is offset from that of the crank, to which the "big ends" of the
connecting rods from each cylinder attach.

4.2 Working of Air Engine


A compressed-air vehicle is powered by an air engine, using compressed air, which is stored in a
tank. Instead of mixing fuel with air and burning it in the engine to drive pistons with hot
expanding gases, compressed air vehicles use the expansion of compressed air to drive their
pistons. The complete cycle of a two-stroke air engine is as shown in figure 4.2.
When the piston is at the top position (Fig. 4.2a) its spindle opens the ball valve, the compressed
air fills the space of cylinder. The air exerts pressure on surface of the piston, causing its
movement down and rotate the crankshaft (Fig. 4.2b). The valve closes when piston is moving
down, but the air is still expanding and exerts a force on the piston. In the lower turning point
(Fig. 4.2c) piston is opening outlet window and releasing air outside. Exhaust temperature of it
will be slightly less than atmospheric temperature (i.e. 20-25C) and thus helps in controlling
global warming and reducing temperature rise caused due to other means.
The shaft is starting to move by inertia (Fig. 4.2d) then pushes the piston to the top and closing
the off window. In the cylinder are small amounts of air, so the piston moves upwards until it will
again open the ball valve and the cycle repeats.

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Figure 4.2 Complete cycle of a two stroke air engine

4.3 Issues with Compressed Air Technology Implementation

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Compressed air cars are not yet available in most places but the technology behind them
is being perfected so that they can be introduced into the market. These cars can be powered
solely by air or by a combination of air and fuel, such as diesel, ethanol, or gasoline which is
how a hybrid electric vehicle runs. Compressed air car engines are fueled by a tank of
compressed air, instead of an engine that runs with pistons and an ignited fuel air mixture.
Basically, compressed air cars are powered by the expansion of compressed air. Vehicles that run
on compressed air sound like a fantastic idea on paper, but bringing this technology to the masses
have proven, well, a difficult road to travel because of some inherited technical problems with
compressed air. The present article gives a brief report to highlight such problems so that some
methods can be designed to counter to improve the efficiency of compressed air vehicle.
4.3.1 Air Storage & Refueling
The cars are designed to be filled up at a high-pressure pump and thus the tanks must be
designed to safety standards appropriate for a pressure vessel. The storage tank may be made of
metal or composite materials. The fiber materials are considerably lighter than metals but
generally more expensive. Metal tanks can withstand a large number of pressure cycles, but must
be checked for corrosion periodically. It may be possible to store compressed air at lower
pressure using an absorption material within the tank.
The Tata/MDI air car version had 4,350 psi in its tanks, which would require stations to install
new high-tech air pumps, a difficult investment for station owners. As thought by engineers and
designers, the storage tank would be made up of carbon fiber to reduce the cars weight and
prevent an explosion, in case of a direct collision.
Carbon-fiber tanks are capable of containing air pressure up to 4500 psi, something the steel
tanks are not capable of. For fueling the car tank with air, the compressor needs to be plugged

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into the car, which would use the air that is around to fill the compressed air tank. This could be a
slow process of fueling; at least until air cars are commonly used by people, after which high-end
compressors would be available at gas stations that would fuel the car in no time at all.
4.3.2 Input Energy
Compressed air to very large pressures is extremely expensive to produce and it is very
inefficient to use. Of the energy required to produce compressed air, less than 20% of input
energy is left for use. That means 80% of what is paid for is used up before compressed air is put
in the distribution system. In order to use air storage in vehicles or aircraft for practical land or
air transportation, the energy storage system must be compact and lightweight. Energy density is
the engineering term that defines these desired qualities. Compressed air has a low energy
density. In 300 bar containers, about 0.1 MJ/L and 0.1 MJ/kg is achievable, comparable to the
values of electrochemical lead-acid batteries. While batteries can somewhat maintain their
voltage throughout their discharge and chemical fuel tanks provide the same power densities
from the first to the last litre, the pressure of compressed air tanks falls as air is drawn off.
It is important to take into consideration that the energy needed to compress the air into
the tanks comes from the electrical grid. Such electric grids are generally supported with use of
fossil fuels. However, efforts are going on to make use of non-conventional sources of energy
like solar and wind to compress air.
4.3.3 Temperature Change
In adiabatic process of compression of air, the heat of compression is retained, that means, there
is no heat exchange resulting in zero entropy change, so the compressed air becomes very hot.
Compressed air would experience a temperature rise due to the energy that has been added to the
gas by the compressor which can be controlled with isothermal or adiabatic compression

30

processes. In an isothermal compression process, the gas in the system is kept at a constant
temperature throughout. This necessarily requires removal of heat from the gas. This heat
removal can be achieved by heat exchangers (intercooling) between subsequent stages in the
compressor. To avoid wasted energy, the intercoolers must be optimized for high heat transfer
and low pressure drop. Naturally this is only an approximation to an isothermal compression,
since the heating and compression occurs in discrete phases. Some smaller compressors can
approximate isothermal compression even without intercooling, due to the relatively ratio of
surface area to volume and the resulting improvement in heat dissipation from the compressor
body itself.
An adiabatic process is one where there is no heat transfer between the fluid and the
surroundings: the system is insulated against heat transfer. If the process is furthermore internally
reversible (smooth, slow and frictionless, to the ideal limit) then it will additionally be isentropic.
An adiabatic storage system does away with the intercooling during the compression process,
and simply allows the gas to heat up during compression, and likewise to cool down during
expansion. This is attractive, since the energy losses associated with the heat transfer are
avoided, but the downside is that the storage vessel must be insulated against heat loss.
4.3.4 Multistage Compression
Power requirement can be controlled through multistage compression of air. The compression
generates heat, the compressed gas is to be cooled between stages making the compression less
adiabatic and more isothermal. The inter-stage coolers typically result in some partial
condensation that is removed in vapor-liquid separators. By cooling the compressed air between
each stage, the compression curve moves to near isothermal. The work done by the compressor is
less if it is multi-staged. A multi-stage compressor is one in which there are several cylinders of

31

different diameters. The intake of air in the first stage gets compressed and then it is passed over
a cooler to achieve a temperature very close to ambient air. This cooled air is passed to the
intermediate stage where it is again getting compressed and heated. This air is again passed over
a cooler to achieve a temperature as close to ambient as possible. Then this compressed air is
passed to the final or the third stage of the air compressor where it is compressed to the required
pressure and delivered to the air receiver after cooling sufficiently in an after-cooler.
Figure 4.3 Multistage Compression Requirement for Air Compression

4.3.5 Energy Released


Compressed air is more expensive than many other utilities when evaluated on a per unit energy
delivered basis. Therefore, energy released by the compressed air is very important and thus are
Figure 4.4 Energy released as a function of compression pressure at constant
volume of compressed air

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the factor like volume of compressed air, compressed air pressure and expansion flow rate under
isothermal or adiabatic conditions of expansion on which it depends. Figure 4.4 shows the
typical control characteristics of energy release by the compressed air on its isothermal or
adiabatic expansion as a function of compressed air pressure, volume of compressed air and flow
rate. Applying best energy release management and control practices, the desired energy can be
achieved.

CHAPTER 5

33

CONVERTING A CONVENTIONAL IC ENGINE INTO AN


AIR POWERED
5.1 Necessary Changes
The normal 4 stroke SI engine is shown as:

Figure 5.1 A conventional SI engine

To convert a conventional IC engine into an Air Powered one, few components are to be
replaced.

34

First of all replace the spark plug with a pulsed pressure control valve which can create required
pressure. Now the pulsed air firing in this valve is controlled by controlling the supply of
electrical signal to the plunger. For this we require an electronic timing circuit which can control
the flow of electrical supply to the plunger of this valve. This can be achieved by using PLC
circuit. Now speed of the engine will be controlled by controlling this input signal.
Now fuel tank is to be replaced with air vessel, as it requires pressurized air as input. And two
things are to be taken care while designing air vessel:
1. First is its strength to withstand high internal pressure, which exists due to compressed
air. For this outer body of it should be made of a material, having high strength, like
carbon fiber.
2. Second is its capacity to store air and its weight. Now replace cam with a modified cam.
This is to be done, so that both the inlet and outlet valves open and close at the same
time. Main advantage of doing this is to achieve better scavenging system. Also this will
result in conversion of 4 stroke engine into 2 stroke air engine, which in turn gives us the
benefit of low mean effective pressure requirement in addition to other operational
benefits.
The new Air Powered engine, after modifications would look like as follows:

Figure 5.2 The Air Powered Engine

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5.2 Operation
Initial torque is supplied from the DC exciter motor, and then the engine
operation starts.
Stage 1: When the piston is in the TDC, compressed air is injected through
the pulsed air firing valve, which pushes the piston to BDC.
Stage 2: Due to the motion of the engine and its inertia, the piston moves
back to TDC, pushing the air out of the valves.
The plunger of the pulsed firing valve is controlled by a timing circuit which is specifically a
PLC programmed circuit. It supplies the electronic signals by which the plunger moves so that it
opens and closes the pulsed firing valve.

5.3 Comparison between the Old and New Engine


36

5.3.1 Difference in Working


On comparing it with the working of normal SI 4 stroke engine, we can say
that:
i.

Stage 1 of the air engine comprises of the combined operation of


Suction stage and

Power stage of the normal 4 stroke SI engine.


ii.

Stage 2 of the air engine comprises of the combined operation of the


Compression stage and Exhaust stage of the normal 4 stroke SI
engine.

5.3.2 Advantages of Air Powered Engine over Conventional Engine


i.

Air, on its own, is non-flammable, abundant, economical, transportable,


storable and, most importantly, nonpolluting.

ii.

Compressed air technology reduces the cost of vehicle production by


about 20%, because there is no need to build a cooling system, fuel
tank, spark plugs or silencers.

iii.

High torque for minimum volume. The mechanical design of the engine
is simple and robust.

iv.

Low manufacture and maintenance costs as well as easy maintenance.


Lighter vehicles would mean less abuse on roads, thus, resulting in
longer lasting roads.

v.

The price of fueling air powered vehicles will be significantly cheaper


than current fuels.

37

vi.

When the air is being compressed at reasonable speeds, it heats up.


The heat given off during compression could be reclaimed for space
heating or water heating,

vii.

Transportation of the fuel would not be required due to drawing power


off the electrical grid. This presents significant cost benefits. Pollution
created during fuel transportation would be eliminated.

Compressed-air vehicles are comparable in many ways even to electric


vehicles and their potential advantages over electric vehicles include:
viii.

Compressed-air

vehicles

are

unconstrained

by

the

degradation

problems associated with current battery systems


ix.

Much like electrical vehicles, air powered vehicles would ultimately be


powered through the electrical grid which makes it easier to focus on
reducing pollution from one source, as opposed to the millions of
vehicles on the road.

x.

Compressed-air tanks can be disposed of or recycled with less pollution


than batteries.

xi.

The tank may be able to be refilled more often and in less time than
batteries can be recharged, with refueling rates comparable to liquid
fuels.

xii.

The tanks used in a compressed air motor have a longer lifespan in


comparison with batteries, which, after a while suffer from a reduction
in performance.

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CHAPTER 6

CONCLUSION
With the use of non-conventional energy sources such as compressed air engine we can
set a milestone in the field of green technology because it is the demand of the time to adopt
green technology. On the whole, the technology is just about modifying the
engine of any regular IC engine vehicle into an Air Powered Engine. The Air
Powered Engine technology is cheaper in cost and maintenance, can be
easily adapted by the masses and it doesnt cause any kind of harm to the
environment. Instead, its widespread use will help mankind in controlling the
serious problem of global warming.
Cars powered by compressed air are an alternative to hybrid vehicles
and to cars powered only by electricity from fuel cells or lithium-ion
batteries. The greatest advantage of air vehicles is their low price the
39

simplest MDI model costs less than $ 5; 300. For comparison, the most
popular hybrid car the Toyota Prius Luna (bottom of the range) costs $
34,000 in 2011.
One feature where the compressed air vehicle outclasses other cars is its
light weight (due to its composite tank and simple structure), which easily
translates into energy needs. By contrast, other energy-saving solutions are
equipped with a heavy pack of battery or fuel cells.
Moreover, these expensive batteries have to be replaced every few
years at great cost and with due care given to eco-friendly disposal. A
compressed air tank will suffice for the entire lifetime of the vehicle and is
safe even during accidents (according to [8] the composite material does not
explode but only cracks allowing the reservoir pressure to fall slowly without
causing any danger).
One major drawback of pneumatic motor vehicles is their poor range,
resulting from the limited size of the compressed air tank (low density
energy).

This

disadvantage

is

only

slightly

set by the small mass of the vehicle. Filling up the 200 liter tank to a
pressure of 350 bar at the assumptions adopted previously cost $ 2.74 (in
reality, less), which like-for-like is about one-quarter the cost of a gasolinepowered car. This volume of air enables the AIRONE MDI to go about 80 to
135 km (according to [7]). In its simplest configuration, air motor efficiency is
very low, due to the need to cool the compressed air before it goes into the

40

tank. The best way to improve the efficiency of this engine is to use ambient
heat to warm the working medium and engine cylinders.
Compressed air for vehicle propulsion is already being explored and
now air powered cars are being developed as a more fuel-efficient means of
transportation. Some automobile manufacturers are further

exploring

compressed air hybrids and compressed fluids to store energy for vehicles
which might point the way for effective air powered vehicles design.
Unfortunately there are still some serious problems to be sorted out, like lack
of starting torque and cost of compressing air, before air powered vehicles
become reality for common use but there is a hope that with the
developments in science and technology which are also in agreement with
the environment, air-powered vehicles will definitely see light of the day.
If the compressed air technology is implemented in the light transport
vehicles such as: motorbikes
etc., it will practically generate zero pollution and
technology will reduce the

compressed air engine

emission up to 50-60% as presently 80 % of

pollution is generated due to the transport sector.


Thus compressed air is definitely going to be the most attractive and
efficient clean energy option for 21 st century. It surely is the Futuristic Mode
of Transport. Lets move from a Black Oil Past to a Green Air
Future

REFERENCES

41

1. Wojciech SZOKA, Dariusz SZPICA, Adaptation Of Classic Combustion Engines To


Compressed Air Supply, Acta mechanica et automatica, vol.6 no.1, 2012.
2. Patel B. S., Barot R. S., Air Powered Engine, National Conference on Recent Trends in
Engineering & Technology, May 2011.
3. Lal Abhishek, Design and Dynamic Analysis of Single Stroke Compressed Air Engine,
International Journal of Renewable Energy Research Vol.3, No.2, 2013.
4. Yadav JP and Singh Bharat Raj, Study and Fabrication of Compressed Air Engine, SJPSET : ISSN : 2229-7111, Vol. 2, Issue 1, 2011.
5. Singh B.R. and Singh Onkar, Study of Compressed Air as an alternative to fossil fuel for
Automobile Engines, International Conference on Challenges and Strategies for
Sustainable Energy and Environment, UP, India, June 2006.
6. Szabowski ukasz, Milewski Jarosaw, Dynamic analysis of compressed air energy
storage in the car, Journal of Power Technologies 91 (1) 2336, 2011.
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Journal of Researches in Engineering Automotive Engineering, Global Journals Inc.
(USA) Volume 13 Issue 1 Version 1.0, 2013.
8. MDI. Analyse comparative. Technical report, 2009.
9. Air car: compressed air technology
//www.aircarcompressedairtechnology.com/indexeng.php (accessed on 2nd August, 2014).
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