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Stupidity strikes again...

http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2841984

My comments on why this device is utter bullshit.

1. A/C is really just about moving heat. Heat doesn't like being transported-- it takes a lot of energy to do it. Pelzier-effect heat pumps are terribly inefficient and generate a lot of heat on their own.

2. Peltzier elements draw electricity, which has to come from -somewhere-. Yes that's right, it does come from the engine in the form of electricity taken from the alternator, which isn't terribly efficient itself. 5 peltzier elements would consume roughly 400 watts -- that's 33 amps from a car alternator and roughly 1/5th of it's entire output.

3. This output wouldn't even come close to what a spot-cooling standard sized car air conditioner can output.

4. Cars don't use FREON anymore. They use R134a.

5. R134a is not ozone depleting. At all. Not even slightly. It's so safe, the "canned air dusters" that are frequently sold in computer stores are just pure R134a. You spray them into the atmosphere in large quantities and there is no problem.

6. No gas would be saved for the same amount of cooling in a given car unless efficiency is increased. Pelztier coolers are not as efficient, so the first law of thermodynamics makes this device physically impossible.

I'm glad that the kids came up with a cooler using the pelztier effect. But I'm afraid it's concept has been employed for years, this isn't some big discovery, it doesn't work very good, it doesn't do the things they claim, and it's not operating on the facts that stand. R134a isn't evil. Auto manufacturers tried using it numorous times. Any way to get better gas mileage and create HVAC in a cheaper manner requiring fewer parts and less weight is a GOLDMINE to auto makers. Rest assured, they have tried it much more than these kids did and it simply DOES NOT WORK.

And my favorite line is:

"Today, the young inventors say, U.S. drivers use about 7.9 billion gallons of fuel each year to run their air-conditioners, which draw power from the engine. By adopting their contraption - which taps into the electrical system"

I think that the kids that made this device need to tap into the electrical system and fry what little brains they have because energy doesn't come from nowhere, and if the reporter who put this story together had half a brain it wouldn't be published.

Not to sound harsh, but this is BULLSHIT.

- Keman

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
bikercheetah
Jul. 21st, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
Look, they're 18 years old. They've created something that did take time an effort. It's not a break-through, as you've called it. It works, not very efficient, but it works. Look at the old style computers when it first came out. It was the size of a damn building.. Now we're carrying them around, since they're the size of damn binders. It COULD be a good start to help things move forward in the right direction.

Or you could do like most convertible owners do. Not use A/C. A little sweating doesn't hurt anyone, as long as they stay hydrated. :P
wolffit
Jul. 21st, 2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
It's a scam. The kids are lying about it's function or have figured out a way to break the laws of thermodynamics.

If you believe this kind of crap, I recommend you go out and put some magnets around your fuel lines. The magnetic fields will re-align the molecules of gasoline and allow for more complete combustion-- you should see a 20% increase in fuel mileage.

*smirk*

- Keman
hastka
Jul. 22nd, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I will agree with the "they're 18" thing, but I also agree with Keman that it's like "congratulations, you thought of something obvious and replicated experiments done 15 years ago." It's worth winning a high school science fair maybe, maybe even a spot in the paper, but a five figure scholorship? Come on.

Also, given there are peltier icechests and stuff these days, it's really a miniscule leap to try to adapt that to a car (in fact, some conversion vans used to HAVE peltier iceboxes, I think). Again the difference being, an icechest doesn't have windows and sit in the sun... and a car isn't wrapped in insulation.

Then again, it IS Utah. ;) Prolly the most technologically innovative thing to come out of there in 30 years, heheh.

Interestingly, since I was just posting about people filching my ideas, I came up with the concept of a peltier auto ac/heater for electric cars in 1997, but found it used way too much power to be useful. Who knows, maybe peltiers today are that much more efficient.
wolffit
Jul. 22nd, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC)
That's just it. Even the most efficient peltier elements today are still MUCH less efficient than phase-change cooling. Using these systems, noone will save gasoline in fact thay'll use much more. This 'discovery' is a scam, intentional or otherwise. And these kids have been awarded for it.

- Keman
toob
Jul. 21st, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
But it's FUNNY bullshit!
harlkyn
Jul. 21st, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
I think if GM looked into the idea and threw it out after their engineers, all with degrees and years of experience, came to the same conclusions you did, then I doubt a couple of kids would accomplish what they didn't. In fact, the engineers probably had custom-built Peltiers with higher efficency and computer-designed electronics and all that crap.

And yeah, if they tap into the electrical system with something that draws that much power, they'd need a second alternator, which would basically put the same load on the engine as the A/C compressor.
kysh
Jul. 21st, 2005 04:42 pm (UTC)
I think if GM looked into the idea and threw it out after their engineers, all with degrees and years of experience, came to the same conclusions you did, then I doubt a couple of kids would accomplish what they didn't. In fact, the engineers probably had custom-built Peltiers with higher efficency and computer-designed electronics and all that crap.

You have far, far too much faith in engineers. ^.~

-Kysh
harlkyn
Jul. 21st, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
As a field service guy that curses engineers every day, believe me when I say, "No. No, I don't." :)
firedhusky
Jul. 21st, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC)
Doubtfull device... tho they won 50 K and a trip :P

If you feel anoyed, imagine the other thousens that were in the competition.

I personally would like to see specs and tests on that machine.

FDH
wolffit
Jul. 21st, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
I just wrote in a nastygram to the newspaper that wrote about this. I suggest they research it further and expose this invention for the SCAM that it is.

This is like seeing someone awarded for a perpetual motion device -- something which the US patent office will REFUSE to allow because any such device is physically impossible to exist given the basic laws of thermodynamics. You cannot create energy from nothing.

- Keman
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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