Why not a car with a flow cell drive?

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Why not a car with a flow cell drive??

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-cell

An inspiring alternative: The Quant e sports sedan from the Liechtenstein company NanoFlowcell is said to produce 925 hp with an electric flow cell drive

Source: dpa-tmn

Among the alternative drives, the electric motor is given the best future prospects – despite problems such as insufficient range. But there are also other approaches beyond gasoline and diesel.

W.ow can we replace horses? Tinkerers and inventors found different answers to this question over 100 years ago. There were car engines that burned gasoline or diesel, but also electric, gas and steam cars. The drives that are conventional for us today only gradually gained acceptance: diesel and gasoline engines.

In the face of ever scarcer fossil resources, the call for alternatives to reduce climate-damaging emissions is getting louder. The industry is not just relying on electric cars or electric hybrids. Other concepts are also being pursued. Three examples:

The flow cell drive

The Liechtenstein company NanoFlowcell AG was not taken very seriously by observers when it presented the Quant e-sports sedan with a flow cell drive in 2014, to which it attributed up to 925 hp. Driving performance like that of a super sports car, ranges like that of a gasoline engine, paired with a cheap and climate-neutral fuel, nobody really wanted to believe that.

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-drive

Driving performance like a racing car and range like a gasoline engine: An electrolyte fluid should provide the basis for this

Source: dpa-tmn

And in fact, this information has not yet been supported by any scientific publication. "For use in vehicles, some apparently larger technical problems still have to be solved," says Prof. Lutz Eckstein, head of the Institute for Motor Vehicles at RWTH Aachen University. "No research institution that deals with the technology achieves comparable energy densities or degrees of efficiency."

Nevertheless, there are numerous research projects and activities that are dedicated to the redox flow battery, which is also the basis of the quantum. The principle of a flow cell is that the electrical energy present in two separate liquid electrolytes is converted into electrical current. There are currently unanswered questions as to whether and when the technology will arrive in cars.

Hydraulic hybrid drive

The hydraulic hybrid drive works completely without electricity. A compressed air drive was widely spoken of when PSA Peugeot Citro├źn presented drivable prototypes based on the Peugeot 2008 with a hybrid air concept on board in the summer of 2014.

Excess braking energy is not stored as electricity in an electric battery, but in a compressed air tank via a pump and hydraulic oil. It can again be converted into jacking. So the combustion engine gets a break more often. CO2 emissions are reduced – in city traffic by up to 45 percent. According to the PSA information at the time, the talk was of less than 70 grams per kilometer.

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-drive

Hydraulic hybrid drive from Peugeot: Excess braking energy is stored in a compressed air tank and accessed

Source: dpa-tmn

The technology has been tried and tested because it has been in use in mobile machines for a long time, says Prof. Eckstein. In terms of costs, the hydraulic hybrid drive is also an option, because neither rare earths (as in the production of electric motors) nor other expensive materials are required in mass production.

Assuming a sufficiently large number of units, PSA assumes that the hybrid air drive can be implemented more cheaply than an electric hybrid drive. But the company has so far not found a cooperation partner with whom this would be possible, says Peugeot spokesman Ulrich Bethscheider-Kieser.

But the energy density of the compressed air storage tank is low. In other words, a purely hydraulic drive would “massively restrict the permissible payload of a vehicle due to the mass of the additional components, despite the short range,” says Eckstein.

The Peugeot 308 R-Hybrid on the course

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-dead long live plug-in hybrid

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The Peugeot 308 R-Hybrid is still just a prototype – but one that has what it takes to be a small series. After all, the engineers at the French manufacturer are optimistic. D.but they are enthusiastic …

Source: Wolfgang Groeger-Meier

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-dead long live plug-in hybrid

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… also a valid reason. Because up to 500 hp can be activated for the compact car via Launch Control. That you can accelerate to 100 km / h in 4.0 secondst has to sit is …

Source: Wolfgang Groeger-Meier

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-cell

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… of course, and this is no different with this Peugeot with its bucket seats. If you operate the little muscle man from the cockpit, you are directing …

Source: Wolfgang Groeger-Meier

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-flow

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… 272 PS strong 1.6-liter turbo, which is, however, supplemented by an electric motor each on the front and rear axles. Result: a performance at Porsche level. The first 15 kilometersOr the plug-in hybrid can …

Source: Thomas Geiger

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-dead long live plug-in hybrid

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drive purely electrically. At least the standard consumption can be reduced to 3.0 liters, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 70 g / km. The top speed is with consideration limited to the electric drive components to 250 km / h.

Source: Wolfgang Groeger-Meier

In the Hybrid Air, for example, the energy from the compressed air storage is only sufficient for a distance of a few hundred meters with the hydraulic unit alone, and the components still take up a lot of space.

Prof. Ferdinand Dudenhoffer from the CAR Institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen says: "An isolated solution from the PSA Group that will hardly achieve market penetration."

But beyond the car, the effort could be worthwhile: "Some research work confirms that the hydraulic hybrid approach can make sense when hydraulic work drives or systems are already present in a vehicle," says Prof. Eckstein. For example forklifts or garbage trucks.

LNG – liquefied natural gas

Anyone driving a natural gas vehicle today has Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in their tank – that is, compressed methane that is stored at a pressure of 200 bar. A very new variant is the fossil fuel in liquefied form: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

One advantage of LNG: the higher energy density compared to CNG – one liter takes you further. But this is paid for with a very high amount of energy required for liquefaction, explains drive expert Eckstein.

In addition, the storage is more complex than already with a natural gas tank: The storage must be cooled to around minus 160 degrees Celsius and well insulated. The engine technology, on the other hand, is tried and tested – it is a combustion engine.

Why not a car with a flow cell drive?-flow

Giving liquid gas: In addition to natural gas in compressed form (in the picture), liquefied natural gas is also a very new variant as a fuel

Source: dpa-tmn

According to the experts, the fact that LNG arrives in cars with its comparatively small tank is not a very realistic scenario. "The additional effort hardly seems attractive," says Eckstein. The situation is different, however, in long-distance freight transport, where larger amounts of fuel are carried.

Whether CNG or LNG – when it comes to CO2, the gas is exemplary regardless of the state of aggregation. Compared to petrol and diesel, the emissions are around a quarter lower.

The structural change towards alternative drives is continuing, as the consulting firm Bain & Company states in a current study. Driving force: above all falling prices for batteries. According to this, the costs for lithium-ion battery systems will decrease significantly by 2018 – from 260 euros / kWh today to below 150 euros / kWh.

"Thanks to the further development of battery technology, even 110 euros / kWh will be possible from 2022," predicts Klaus Stricker, from Bain & Company. From then on, it is to be expected that the cost advantage of conventional drives will be lost.

And Prof. Dudenhoffer assumes that all manufacturers of e-cars will already offer sufficiently large ranges by 2020, and that charging the power storage will then only take around 15 minutes. dpa

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