Friday, 1 May 2009

Air powered motorcycle

A friend recently made me aware of this story.
A garage inventor in Bristol, UK, has converted his Puch moped to air power. Propelled by 2 high-pressure scuba tanks, his vehicle has a top speed of about 18 mph, and a maximum range of about 7 miles. Technical enhancements to the pressure tanks and/or the power unit could make the air-powered motorcycle a reasonable inner-city mode of transport for delivery services, security services, etc.  Or he could hook up with the Chopper Golf Cart guys and tackle the golf market.
As the comments to the original article attest, there is a lot of debate over whether such a device would ultimately offer any significant ecological advantage once one considers the full cost of energy required to pressurize the tanks, etc., but his Puch does provide an interesting prototype, and one which will spawn other backyard inventors to improve the concept.
Just don’t expect to see a convoy of these heading down I-90 into Sturgis any time soon.


  1. here again an interesting piece of Engineering, I'd say. I heard some chap in South Africa powered a minivan on air...not sure where that project stands today.
    I have to agree with you on the environment point of view, I also think the cost of pressurizing the tanks with air, plus the power plants it requires to do so on a large scale would probably make it economically not viable.
    Excellent post, thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. I expect most of the issues/concerns related to the provision of pressurized air would be fairly easy to overcome. The real limiting factor IMO is how little latent energy there is in stored air. That's what will keep ranges and speeds too low to be of much use. Think Segway with a 30-minute battery life, for instance,

  3. Your opinion is 100% correct
    you can't get around the basic formula: PV=nRT (Being the relationship between pressure, volume and temp


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