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Cryogens are effective thermal storage media which, when used for automotive purposes, offer significant advantages over current and proposed electrochemical battery technologies, both in performance and economy. An automotive propulsion concept is presented which utilizes liquid nitrogen as the working fluid for an open Rankine cycle. The principle of operation is like that of a steam engine, except there is no combustion involved. Liquid nitrogen is pressurized and then vaporized in a heat exchanger by the ambient temperature of the surrounding air. The resulting high – pressure nitrogen gas is fed to the engine converting pressure into mechanical power. The only exhaust is nitrogen. The usage of cryogenic fuels has significant advantage over other fuel. Also, factors such as production and storage of nitrogen and pollutants in the exhaust give advantage for the cryogenic fuels.




8.2 Comparing Energy Densities 9.0 TECHNICAL ISSUES

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9.1 Range Extension and Power Boosting 10.0 CONCLUSION



an automobile can readily be propelled while satisfying stringent tailpipe emission standards. In geographical regions that allow ultra low emission vehicles. pollution etc. Nitrogen propulsive systems can provide automotive ranges of nearly 400 kilometers in the zero emission mode. The basic idea of nitrogen propulsion system is to utilize the atmosphere as the heat source. Some of the advantages of a transportation infrastructure based on liquid nitrogen are that recharging the energy storage system only requires minutes and there are minimal environmental hazards associated with the manufacture and utilization of the cryogenic "fuel".seminarsonly. When the only heat input to the engine is supplied by ambient heat exchangers. fuel. As the prices for fuels are increasing and the availability is decreasing we have to go for alternative choice. This is in contrast to the typical heat engine where the atmosphere is used as the heat sink. www. Here an automotive propulsion concept is presented which utilizes liquid nitrogen as the working fluid for an open Rankine cycle. These include performance.Cryocar Seminar Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION The importance of cars in the present world is increasing day by 3 . There are various factors that influence the choice of the car. the range and performance of the liquid nitrogen automobile can be significantly extended by the addition of a small efficient burner. with lower operating costs than those of the electric vehicles currently being considered for mass production.

it uses air to heat and boil liquid nitrogen.seminarsonly. except there is no combustion involved. The principle of operation is like that of a steam engine. heating it up with ambient 4 . converting pressure to mechanical power.Cryocar Seminar Chapter 2 HISTORY Researchers at the University of Washington are developing a new zeroemission automobile propulsion concept that uses liquid nitrogen as the fuel. drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual Volkswagen transmission. At present the tank is pressurized www. This heat exchanger is like the radiator of a car but instead of using air to cool water. Applying LN2 as a portable thermal storage medium to propel both commuter and fleet vehicles appears to be an attractive means to meeting the ZEV regulations soon to be implemented. Instead. The only exhaust is nitrogen. Pressurizing the working fluid while it is at cryogenic temperatures. the potential for attaining quasi-isothermal operation appears promising. a converted 1984 Grumman-Olson Kubvan mail delivery van. The engine. a radial five-cylinder 15-hp air motor. which is the major constituent of our atmosphere. Ambient heat exchangers that will not suffer extreme icing will have to be developed to enable wide utility of this propulsion system. The liquid nitrogen is stored in a thermos-like stainless steel tank. The LN2000 is an operating proof-of-concept test vehicle. The resulting high-pressure nitrogen gas is fed to an engine that operates like a reciprocating steam engine. and expanding it in reciprocating engines is a straightforward approach for powering pollution free vehicles. liquid nitrogen at –320° F (–196° C) is pressurized and then vaporized in a heat exchanger by the ambient temperature of the surrounding air. Since the expansion engine operates at sub-ambient temperatures.

however. A preheater. uses leftover heat in the engine's exhaust to preheat the liquid nitrogen before it enters the heat exchanger. Many details of the application of LN 2 thermal storage to ground transportation remain to be investigated. to date no fundamental technological hurdles have yet been discovered that might stand in the way of fully realizing the potential offered by this revolutionary propulsion concept.Cryocar Seminar with gaseous nitrogen to develop system pressure but a cryogenic liquid pump will be used for this purpose in the 5 . www. and the corresponding amounts of cryogen to provide a 300 km driving range would be 450 kg and 280 kg. called an economizer. The specific energy densities of LN 2 are 54 and 87 W-h/kgLN2 for the adiabatic and isothermal expansion processes. respectively.seminarsonly.

seminarsonly.Cryocar Seminar Chapter 3 LN2000'S LIQUID NITROGEN PROPULSION CYCLE Figure 1: LN2000 liquid nitrogen propulsion cycle. 6 .

The parts and their functions are discussed in detail below: 3. Expander Engine. 200 liter automotive tank for liquid hydrogen containment has been estimated to be between $200 and $400 (in 1970 dollars). low boil-off 7 .seminarsonly.1 PARTS OF A LIQUID NITROGEN PROPULSION CYCLE The main parts of a liquid nitrogen propulsion system are: 1. a structurally reinforced dewar could readily have a seven-day holding period.1. Heat exchanger. 4. Thus the expense of a 400 liter LN2 tank (or two 200 liter tanks) is expected to be reasonable. www. 3. and reasonable cost. Crashworthy cryogen vessels are being developed for hydrogen-fueled vehicles that will prevent loss of insulating vacuum at closing speeds of over 100 km/h. minimum size and mass.Cryocar Seminar 3. 2. 5. Using appropriate titanium or aluminum alloys for the inner and outer vessels. Pump. The cost of a mass produced. Cryogen Storage Vessel.18 Moderately high vacuum (10-4 torr) with super insulation can provide boil-off rates as low as 1% per day in 200 liter (53 gal) containers. Economizer.1 Cryogen Storage Vessel: The primary design constraints for automobile cryogen storage vessels are: resistance to deceleration forces in the horizontal plane in the event of a traffic accident.

The pump which are used for this purpose have an operating pressure ranging between 500 – 600 Psi. Multiple expansions and reheats can also be used although they require more complicated machinery. Thus. it is noticed that the efficiency is high.2 Pump: The pump is used to pump the liquid nitrogen into the engine. The design of this heat exchanger is such as to prevent frost formation on its outer surfaces. uses leftover heat in the engine's exhaust to preheat the liquid nitrogen before it enters the heat exchanger. which is similar to how classical reciprocating steam engines are regulated.1.1. 8 . This is similar to the preheating process which is done in compressors. Hence with the use of the economizer.4 Expander: The maximum work output of the LN 2 engine results from an isothermal expansion stroke. called an economizer.seminarsonly. As the pump. pumps liquid instead of gas. The maximum www. 3. Vehicle power and torque demands would be satisfied by both throttling the mass flow of LN2 and by controlling the cut-off point of N 2 injection. Rotary expanders such as the Wankel may also be well suited. because the amount of heat addition required during the expansion process is nearly that required to superheat the pressurized LN2 prior to injection.1.3 Economizer: A preheater. Hence the economizer acts as a heat exchanger between the incoming liquid nitrogen and the exhaust gas which is left out. A secondary fluid could be circulated through the engine block to help keep the cylinder walls as warm as possible. Achieving isothermal expansion will be a challenge.Cryocar Seminar 3. engines having expansion chambers with high surface-to-volume ratios are favored for this application. the efficiency can be improved.

They are wrapped back and forth to fit within a packaging volume having 0.5 m x 0. 9 . the heat exchanger will be sized accordingly. For an isothermal expansion engine having an injection pressure of 4 MPa. The transient responses of the LN2 power plant and the corresponding operating procedures are topics to be investigated. Incoming air will pass through a debris deflector and particulate filter before www. the vaporizer should be capable of heating the LN 2 at its maximum flow rate to near the ambient temperature on a cold winter day.seminarsonly. 3. To insure cryomobile operation over a wide range of weather conditions. Each element is a 10 m long section of aluminum tubing having an outside diameter of 10 mm and a wall thickness of 1 mm. Thus the heat exchanger system should be prudently designed to absorb at least 75 kW from the atmosphere when its temperature is only 0°C. Since ambient vaporizers are widely utilized in the cryogenics and LNG industries. be converted to useful mechanical power with about 40% efficiency.04 m dimensions and are arrayed in the heat exchanger duct.5 Heat Exchanger: The primary heat exchanger is a critical component of a LN 2 automobile. in principle. there exists a substantial technology base.4 m x 0. The required control system to accommodate the desired vehicle performance can be effectively implemented with either manual controls or an on-board computer. Since reasonable performance for personal transportation vehicles can be obtained with a 30 kW motor. portable cryogen vaporizers suitable for this new application are not readily available at this time. it was modeled as an array of individually fed tube elements that pass the LN 2 at its peak flow rate without excessive pressure drop.Cryocar Seminar power output of the propulsion engine is limited by the maximum rate at which heat can be absorbed from the atmosphere.1. the heat absorbed from the atmosphere can. To estimate the mass and volume of the primary heat exchanger.

An electric fan will draw the air through the duct when the automobile is operating at low velocities or when above normal power outputs are required. the frosted tube rows may have ample opportunity to de-ice once the vehicle comes up to speed. The tube exterior heat transfer coefficient is based on that for a cylinder in cross flow and the internal heat transfer is for fully developed turbulent flow. the flow rates of LN2 for the isothermal and adiabatic cycles to generate 30 kW would be 115 gm/sec and 187 gm/ 10 . The formation of rime ice is highly probable. tube fins. respectively. and axial thermal conduction. The atmospheric moisture will be removed relatively quickly as the ambient air is chilled over the first few tube rows. Thus. The bulk temperature of the air is assumed to decrease across each tube row as determined from energy conservation and the pressure drop is determined for the whole tube bank. If the propulsion system operating conditions were such that the LN 2 could only be heated to 250 K prior to injection. The heat transfer calculations also account for N 2 pressure drop and variations in its thermodynamic properties in the tube elements. it will not preclude effective operation. Even though inclement weather will certainly degrade the performance of the cryomobile. leaving extremely dry air to warm up the coldest parts at the rear of the heat exchanger where the LN2 enters. start up.Cryocar Seminar encountering the elements.seminarsonly. frost accumulation. Some of the important phenomena not considered at this stage of analysis were the effects of transient LN2 flow rates. these approaches may not be necessary since high LN 2 flow rates are only needed during times of peak power demand and the heat exchanger elements are much longer than necessary to elevate the LN 2 temperature to near ambient at the lower flow rates required for cruise. However. Surface coatings such as Teflon can be used to inhibit ice build up and active measures for vibrating the tube elements may also be applied. The previously www.

When operating on a typical California day. it is expected that this over-designed cryogen vaporizer will readily heat the LN2 up to ambient temperature without any appreciable icing. The LN 2 viscous pressure drop would be about 0.05 MPa. www.Cryocar Seminar described heat exchanger configuration can theoretically heat the higher LN 2 flow rate to 250 K with 25 radiator elements when the vehicle is traveling at 25 km/sec (16 mi/h) and the ambient air temperature is only 0°C. If the same mass was added by the manifolds and duct then the net mass of the heat exchanger would be less than 40 kg.seminarsonly. The electric fan would require approximately 1. which is easily compensated for with the cryogen pump. the total tubing mass would be 19 kg. Since each element is 0.76 kg.5 kW to accelerate the air and overcome the 400 Pa pressure drop through the heat exchanger if the vehicle were standing 11 .

Figure 2: Temperature . and the one chosen for this study.seminarsonly. www. The easiest to implement. to employing a hydrocarbon-fueled boiler for superheating beyond atmospheric temperatures. These range from the Brayton cycle. however.Cryocar Seminar Chapter 4 POWER CYCLE There are many thermodynamic cycles available for utilizing the thermal potential of liquid nitrogen. This system uses an open Rankine cycle.entropy diagram for the open Rankine cycle.and even three-fluid topping cycles. to using 12 . is shown below. The temperature – entropy diagram for the open rankine cycle is described below.

ready for expansion. without considering pump work.11 MPa at state 5 would result in the N2 exhaust having enough enthalpy to heat the LN 2 to above its critical temperature in the economizer. www. they do provide specific energies competitive with those of lead-acid 13 . Isothermal expansion to 0. The specific work output would be 320 and 200 kJ/kg-LN2 for these isothermal and adiabatic cycles. Further heat exchange with ambient air brings the N 2 to 300 K at state 4. While these power cycles do not make best use of the thermodynamic potential of the LN 2. The liquid is pumped up to system pressure of 4 MPa (supercritical) at state 2 and then enters the economizer. State 3 indicates N2 properties after it is being preheated by the exhaust gas. respectively. whereas adiabatic expansion to state 6 would not leave sufficient enthalpy to justify its use.1 MPa and 77 K.seminarsonly.Cryocar Seminar State 1 is the cryogenic liquid in storage at 0.

4 ¢ /km 0. Table1: Performance of the open Rankine cycle.9 ¢ /km 2.5 kg/km Operating Cost:‡ 3.6¢ per kg-LN 2 was derived assuming only the energy cost of production.93 kg/km 87 W-h/kg-LN2 750 kJ/kg-LN2 314 kJ/kg-LN2 6 kJ/kg-LN2 Isothermal † Based on 7.6¢ per kg-LN2 production cost.seminarsonly.8 kW for highway cruise at 97 km/h. ‡ Based on 14 .Cryocar Seminar Chapter 5 Performance of the open Rankine cycle The thermodynamic and economic performances of the adiabatic and isothermal modes of the open Rankine cycle are shown in Table 1. These figures are based on the specifications of a modified Honda CRX for which performance data were available. www. The cost of 2. Process Adiabatic Pump Work: 6 kJ/kg-LN2 Net Work Out: 194 kJ/kg-LN2 Heat Input: 419 kJ/kg-LN2 Energy Density: 54 W-h/kg-LN2 LN2 Flow Rate:† 1.

www. Assuming an industrial electric rate for interruptible power of 5¢/kW-h. in accord with delivery prices of LN2 in large quantities. Marketing the other commercially important components of air will help offset the LN2 production costs. or 1540-1920 kJ/kg. Since the equipment needed for air liquefaction can be powered solely by electricity. The actual work required in a modern LN2 plant is 2.0-2. so the ideal work to manufacture LN 2 from air is very nearly that for using nitrogen as a feedstock. 769 kJ/kg. Cryogenic separation of nitrogen from other condensables in air typically requires only a very small fraction of the total energy. A cost-benefit analysis is needed to determine the smallest air liquefaction machinery that can be used to produce LN 2 in an economical 15 . the energy cost would amount to 2. This work is exactly the reversible work obtainable from an ideal cryo-engine.5 times the minimum.Cryocar Seminar Chapter 6 LIQUID NITROGEN MANUFACTURE The cost of the LN2 "fuel" is expected to be reasonable. The primary expense for producing LN2 is the energy cost for compression of air. it is conceivable to decentralize the "fuel" manufacturing process and to place small scale production facilities at the LN2 dispensing sites.6¢/kg-LN2.

78.e. the inverse of the coefficient of performance for a refrigerator. Thus. or 2. is given by the difference in thermodynamic availability. Additional potential remains for heat sinking by the cold N2 vapor. the www.Cryocar Seminar Chapter 7 THERMAL STORAGE EFFECTIVENESS: Because the design and expense of the cryomobile are driven primarily by the cryogen heat sink. the ideal work output is 576 kJ/kg of LN2. While the specific energy of LN2 or batteries is far below that of hydrocarbon fuels. Ψ = h − sTo. This "reversible work" for LN2 is Wr = 769 kJ/kg-N2 and the corresponding sink efficiency is β = 1.9 for Tl = 77 K and Th = 300 K. between liquid and ambient states. only a small fraction of the reversible work needs to be recovered to provide the cryomobile with a driving range commensurate with that of battery-powered vehicles of comparable weight. The relative merits of different ZEV technologies must also be evaluated on considerations other than performance such as environmental friendliness and commuting 16 . This specific energy is significantly higher than the 180-300 kJ/kg achieved with lead-acid batteries. it is useful to characterize performance by a "sink efficiency". For a reversible cycle with fixed sink and source temperatures the ideal sink efficiency is β = Th/Tl − 1.seminarsonly. i. then brought up to ambient temperature (To = 300 K). and the ideal work recoverable from an expansion engine as LN 2 is evaporated at 77 K. β = W/Ql. If only the enthalpy of evaporation of LN2 (hfg = 199 kJ/kg) is used to sink such an engine.

rather than the several hours required by most electric car concepts.Cryocar Seminar internal combustion engine cars cannot operate without polluting emissions and thus should not be compared with ZEVs. or more than twice that of a typical electric car. 17 . the operating cost per mile of a liquid nitrogen car will not only be less than that of an electric car but will actually be competitive with that of a gasoline car. By feeding these exhaust gases to the nitrogen liquefaction plant. As compared to fossil fuels: The process to manufacture liquid nitrogen in large quantities can be environmentally very friendly. Motorists will fuel up at filling stations very similar to today's gasoline stations. The exhaust gases produced by burning fossil fuels in a power plant contain not only carbon dioxide and gaseous pollutants. but also all the nitrogen from the air used in the combustion. A liquid nitrogen car with a 60-gallon tank will have a potential range of up to 200 miles. When liquid nitrogen is manufactured in large quantities. Chapter 8 ADVANTAGES Studies indicate that liquid nitrogen automobiles will have significant performance and environmental advantages over electric vehicles. the carbon dioxide and other undesirable products of combustion can be condensed and separated in the process of chilling the www. 8. a liquid nitrogen car will be much lighter and refilling its tank will take only 10-15 minutes. even if fossil fuels are used to generate the electric power required.seminarsonly.1.

and thus no pollutants need be released to the atmosphere by the power plant. and other repositories from which they will not diffuse back into the atmosphere. Consequently. The sequestered carbon dioxide and pollutants could be injected into depleted gas and oil wells. or they could be chemically processed into useful or inert substances. 8.2.seminarsonly.Cryocar Seminar nitrogen. Specific energy is a useful figure of merit because it correlates closely with range. deep mine shafts. Even the www. deep ocean subduction zones. the implementation of a large fleet of liquid nitrogen vehicles could have much greater environmental benefits than just reducing urban air pollution as desired by current zero-emission vehicle mandates. The above figure shows how a liquid nitrogen based propulsion cycle fares against the various electrochemical storage media mentioned earlier. Comparing Energy Densities: Figure 3: Specific energy for various energy storage 18 .

www. Ideally the phase change material would be slowly "recharged" as it absorbs heat from the atmosphere while the vehicle is parked and during cruise when peaking power is not required. Fast recharging with electric heaters may also be considered.1. By increasing the gaseous N 2 temperature to 500 K. methane topping cycle. the specific work at 4 MPa for the adiabatic engine is increased by 60% to make it nearly the same as the work from an isothermal expansion engine operating at 300 K. in part.Cryocar Seminar next generation. nickel-metal hydride battery. We recognize that this added complexity must compete in mass and compactness with the alternative of just carrying more 19 . In this particular propulsive cycle an extra superheat of 200°C results in only a 30% increase in specific power.seminarsonly. upwards of 160 W-hr/kg can be achieved. Range Extension and Power Boosting: Range extension and performance enhancement can be realized by heating the LN2 to above ambient temperatures with the combustion of a relatively low pollution fuel such as ethanol or natural gas. only matches the performance of the isothermal open Rankine cycle. Thus the advantage of operating above ambient temperature depends. on how isothermal the expansion process can be made to be. There is also the intriguing possibility of storing energy for boosting power or extending range by applying a medium that undergoes a phase change to the final superheater segment of the heat exchanger system. By adding a. Chapter 9 TECHNICAL ISSUES 9. And the open Rankine is not the highest performing cycle available.

Manufacturing LN2 from ambient air inherently removes small quantities of atmospheric pollutants and the installation of largescale liquefaction equipment at existing fossil-fuel power stations could make flue gas condensation processes economical and even eliminate the emissions of CO 2. infrastructure investment. www. The convenience of pumping a fluid into the storage tank is very attractive when compared with the typical recharge times associated with lead-acid batteries.Cryocar Seminar Chapter 10 CONCLUSION The potential for utilizing the available energy of liquid nitrogen for automotive propulsion looks very promising. Time to recharge (refuel).seminarsonly. in addition to range and 20 . when comparing the relative merits of different ZEV technologies. and environmental impact are among the issues to consider.

Cryocar Seminar REFERENCE WWW.seminarsonly. edu Heat transfer. washington. Holman 21 . J. aa.