[These eco-geek items don’t really fit the “News” category, but I can’t think of where else to put them. Serendipitously discovered this item in the course of researching a comment for the last one. Again, mega-cool – this system has the potential to increase applied energy efficiency in wheeled transportation by at least 50%. Their site suggests that fuel efficiency could be as much as 3x a conventionally geared bus once you factor in their use of regenerative breaking! Basically, what this does is eliminate the drivetrain used in a conventional vehicle to transfer energy from the motor to the wheels (and the associated efficiency loss). -Thomas]
I did a bit of background research to assure myself this wasn’t “crank” science… nope: turns out the New York Times has covered it, as well as other media outlets, and a prototype is being tested in a Dutch town.
News article on e-Traction bus from Dutch science site: The Whispering Wheel
A new Dutch invention can make cars, busses and other vehicles no less than 50 percent more efficient and thus more environmentally friendly. Better still, the technology is already available; it all comes down to a smart combination of existing systems.
This winter, in the city of Apeldoorn, a city bus will be used to prove that the claims about the new invention are true. These are quite bold. E-traction, the company that developed the bus, boasts fuel savings of up to 60 per cent, with emissions down to only a fraction of the soot and carbon dioxide an ordinary bus would blow out of its tailpipe.
In addition, the test bus requires no adaptation, its drivers need no extra training and there’ll be no discomfort for passengers. It will simply run on diesel, just like all the other buses, and it should be just as reliable. One thing however will be very different; the Apeldoorn bus hardly makes a sound, hence its nickname “the whisperer”.
This could make the air-powered vehicle mentioned in my previous post even more efficient. As the e-Traction web site points out, up to 50% of the energy used to drive the wheels is lost due to friction, etc. in the drivetrain between the motor and the wheels. Plus, as a bonus, this system uses regenerative breaking to recover even more efficiency… and electric batteries last longer when used in less taxing ways!
Not to mention the reduction in noise pollution, particulate exhaust, and that they have exactly one moving part, and thus are extremely low maintenance.
All in all, mega cool. Maybe there is hope for our society. Note that these innovations are being driven by small companies, and often at least partially funded or validated by public institutions, acting as early adopters (such as in this case).
Why aren’t the big car companies all over this?