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(BBC-US)   Students create world's first bus that runs on formic acid   ( bbc.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Mr van Cappellen, Oxygen, Electric vehicle, Team Fast, formic acid, Carbon, Hydrogen vehicle, Carbon monoxide  
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1479 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Jun 2017 at 6:30 AM (24 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-06-27 02:15:21 AM  
Did you say formic acid?

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-06-27 02:58:35 AM  
Rave passenger reviews: "The bus ran fine, but now I'm covered with welts from all the ant bites".
 
2017-06-27 03:33:10 AM  
Just as long as Orson Scott Card doesn't get any royalties.
 
2017-06-27 06:06:30 AM  
Bugger!
 
2017-06-27 06:31:02 AM  
The fuel is made by fusing water and CO2.  Is there a way to do large scale mining of CO2 from the atmosphere or ocean?  I can see this being attractive if you have to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere to make it, but....
 
2017-06-27 06:36:45 AM  
trippy
 
2017-06-27 06:45:34 AM  
That's actually f*cking smart.

I wonder how beurocracy will manage to get it over a barrel to butsecks it into not-profitable-for-public-use?
 
2017-06-27 07:09:02 AM  
vignette2.wikia.nocookie.netView Full Size
 
2017-06-27 07:18:47 AM  
The exhaust output is CO2? Aren't we trying to minimize CO2 emissions?
 
2017-06-27 07:19:19 AM  
300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.
 
2017-06-27 07:32:36 AM  
s2.quickmeme.comView Full Size


/I guess they do want ants.
 
2017-06-27 07:34:18 AM  
So I felt the need to look up how industrial CO2 is made:

Large quantities of CO2 are produced by lime kilns, which burn limestone (primarily calcium carbonate) to produce calcium oxide ( lime, used to make cement); and in the production of magnesium from dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate).  Other industrial activities which produce large amounts of carbon dioxide are ammonia production and hydrogen production from natural gas or other hydrocarbon raw materials.

That doesn't seem more sustainable than using fossil fuels for making this.  I appreciate this CO2 is being created anyway and better to capture it and reuse it than not, but....

I remember reading an article about the Navy developing a means of extracting CO2 from the ocean and using it to create a diesel fuel for their ships and that seems more carbon neutral at any rate.
 
2017-06-27 07:34:59 AM  

dobro: The exhaust output is CO2? Aren't we trying to minimize CO2 emissions?


Yes. But the carbon cycle means that this particular CO2 is still considered Carbon-Neutral, unlike the CO2 produced form burning Natural Gas, Coal, Oil, or any Fossil-Sequstered Hydrocarbons.

There is a HUUUUUUUGGGEEEEE difference in how damaging each are because of the rate-of-sequestration is in the order of hundreds of millions of years different from the tens of years requred by formic acid.

Hope this helps some.
 
2017-06-27 07:42:52 AM  
Cool. A bus fueled by anty-matter.
 
2017-06-27 07:46:12 AM  

Ambivalence: I remember reading an article about the Navy developing a means of extracting CO2 from the ocean and using it to create a diesel fuel for their ships and that seems more carbon neutral at any rate.


It's still miles longer a sequstration time than using bio-mass as a source. The food 'garbage' in my home town is currently collected, processed, and used to fuel the citywide bus fleet. (and if you live in the city and get your car converted, you can tank up for free!)

The industrial processes you describe were happening in the first place for making cement for concrete, BTW. The collection process of the CO2 also captures the big bunch of other nasty chemicals released during the burning process, that otherwise would be belched out into the air.

Also, the machine in TFA : Although the bus emits CO2, Team Fast argues that the original CO2 used to create the hydrozine is taken from existing sources, such as air or exhaust fumes, so that no additional CO2 is produced - it's a closed carbon cycle in the jargon.

So, none of what you are worried about applies.
 
2017-06-27 07:53:39 AM  

Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.


There are some handy conversions that I always remember due to agreed upon speed limits.

300 kph ~= 186 mph (Japanese bike manufacturers' gentleman's agreement)
250 kph ~= 155 mph (German car manufacturers' gentleman's agreement)
110 kph ~= 68 mph (speed limiter set on some light goods vehicles)
90 kph ~= 56 mph (speed limiter set on heavy goods vehicles)
50 kph ~= 31 mph (speed that a maneuver in EU motorbike test had to be done - there was a bit of a kerfuffle when this was first introduced as most urban streets in the UK have a limit of 30 mph)
 
2017-06-27 07:55:57 AM  
I, for one, welcome our new overlords.
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-06-27 08:04:22 AM  
Formic acid is found in nature, delivered in the stings and bites of ants and other insects - the Latin word for ant is formica.

I will never look at my countertops the same again.
 
2017-06-27 08:08:48 AM  

iron de havilland: Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.

There are some handy conversions that I always remember due to agreed upon speed limits.

300 kph ~= 186 mph (Japanese bike manufacturers' gentleman's agreement)
250 kph ~= 155 mph (German car manufacturers' gentleman's agreement)
110 kph ~= 68 mph (speed limiter set on some light goods vehicles)
90 kph ~= 56 mph (speed limiter set on heavy goods vehicles)
50 kph ~= 31 mph (speed that a maneuver in EU motorbike test had to be done - there was a bit of a kerfuffle when this was first introduced as most urban streets in the UK have a limit of 30 mph)


100km = 60mi.  The math is pretty easy from there.
 
2017-06-27 08:15:41 AM  

Mztlplx: iron de havilland: Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.

There are some handy conversions that I always remember due to agreed upon speed limits.

300 kph ~= 186 mph (Japanese bike manufacturers' gentleman's agreement)
250 kph ~= 155 mph (German car manufacturers' gentleman's agreement)
110 kph ~= 68 mph (speed limiter set on some light goods vehicles)
90 kph ~= 56 mph (speed limiter set on heavy goods vehicles)
50 kph ~= 31 mph (speed that a maneuver in EU motorbike test had to be done - there was a bit of a kerfuffle when this was first introduced as most urban streets in the UK have a limit of 30 mph)

100km = 60mi.  The math is pretty easy from there.


Well, yeah, these are just ones that I know off the top of my head from dealing with vehicles limited to those speeds.

100 kph is not a common limited speed as far as I'm aware, but it's double the lowest limit I mentioned, and just over 62 mph.

/Think some mopeds may be limited to 45 kph ~= 28 mph, tbh.
 
2017-06-27 08:38:08 AM  

uttertosh: Also, the machine in TFA : Although the bus emits CO2, Team Fast argues that the original CO2 used to create the hydrozine is taken from existing sources, such as air or exhaust fumes, so that no additional CO2 is produced - it's a closed carbon cycle in the jargon.

So, none of what you are worried about applies.


Maybe for the test vehicles, but for a nationwide or global fleet of vehicles?  Like I said, if you get your CO2 from lime or natural gas, you're still digging it up out of the ground and throwing it into the atmosphere.  It's still better than burning fossil fuels since you're capturing CO2 that is going to get thrown into the atmosphere anyway and reusing it once, but unless you're taking CO2 out of the air or ocean directly (or through decomp of plant material) it's not a closed cycle.
 
2017-06-27 08:45:36 AM  
The horn sounds like the Pink Panther theme?
 
2017-06-27 08:46:08 AM  
img.fark.netView Full Size


/approves
 
2017-06-27 08:51:15 AM  
Yes, but when do we get a catbus?
 
2017-06-27 08:57:24 AM  

Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.


I did some not-really-awake-yet math and figure the acid costs $3.27 per gallon.*


*Your calculations may vary
 
2017-06-27 09:01:21 AM  
Will the horn play the Pink Panther theme song?

oh and 100km/h is Ontario's standard highway speed limit...

I much prefer Saskatchewan and New Brunswick's 110km/h however
 
2017-06-27 09:01:23 AM  

Polish Hussar: Yes, but when do we get a catbus?


It may be a while.

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-06-27 09:06:34 AM  
One and one half miles per gallon of acid. I can imagine Big Oil is in a bit of a panic over this development.
 
2017-06-27 09:07:00 AM  

edmo: Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.

I did some not-really-awake-yet math and figure the acid costs $3.27 per gallon.*


*Your calculations may vary


They can probably make the engine more efficient and improve the mileage.  Not much you can do with the fuel...you might be able to crack the CO2 further and increase the oxidation...but then you'd be emitting CO or carbon soot which kinda defeats the whole "clean fuel" thing.

It's a good idea, but it can be improved from here.
 
2017-06-27 09:10:49 AM  
i2.kym-cdn.comView Full Size

"What is this? A fuel made from ANTS!"
 
2017-06-27 09:15:23 AM  

Mztlplx: edmo: Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.

I did some not-really-awake-yet math and figure the acid costs $3.27 per gallon.*


*Your calculations may vary

They can probably make the engine more efficient and improve the mileage.  Not much you can do with the fuel...you might be able to crack the CO2 further and increase the oxidation...but then you'd be emitting CO or carbon soot which kinda defeats the whole "clean fuel" thing.

It's a good idea, but it can be improved from here.


I think the real value here is a way to safely and easily transport and dispense a fuel for hydrogen fuel cells.
You won't get a Hindenburg event with formic acid.
 
2017-06-27 09:20:27 AM  

Mztlplx: I think the real value here is a way to safely and easily transport and dispense a fuel for hydrogen fuel cells.
You won't get a Hindenburg event with formic acid.



Formic acid's nasty stuff, though. Lots of hazards with that stuff -- you wouldn't want to get a drop on you or your car or your clothes or the ground or anything. It dissolves glass and flesh and probably almost everything except certain plastics.
 
2017-06-27 09:23:50 AM  

Mztlplx: edmo: Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.

I did some not-really-awake-yet math and figure the acid costs $3.27 per gallon.*


*Your calculations may vary

They can probably make the engine more efficient and improve the mileage.  Not much you can do with the fuel...you might be able to crack the CO2 further and increase the oxidation...but then you'd be emitting CO or carbon soot which kinda defeats the whole "clean fuel" thing.

It's a good idea, but it can be improved from here.


The idea is to extend the range of a fuel cell vehicle. Not by making the fuel cell more efficient, but by towing a 1000 pound tank of acid behind it. I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say this sounds like a bad idea.
 
2017-06-27 09:36:24 AM  
FTA: "The tailpipe emissions are only CO2 and water," explains Mr van Cappellen.

I thought the goal was for no carbon dioxide emissions as that is the greenhouse gas we should all be trying to reduce.

A natural gas vehicle would likely have emissions just as good if not better as this one does and they already exist.
 
2017-06-27 09:43:38 AM  
"No, I said we were sick of ants, not sycophants."
 
2017-06-27 09:49:33 AM  

uttertosh: That's actually f*cking smart.

I wonder how beurocracy will manage ...


Butter emails?
 
2017-06-27 09:50:37 AM  
phaseolus:

Formic acid's nasty stuff, though. Lots of hazards with that stuff -- you wouldn't want to get a drop on you or your car or your clothes or the ground or anything. It dissolves glass and flesh and probably almost everything except certain plastics.

And ants
 
2017-06-27 10:22:17 AM  
Thants & Blants
Youtube TrryML0XVuY
 
2017-06-27 10:31:55 AM  

Spectrum: Mztlplx: edmo: Mztlplx: 300 liters gets a large bus 200km.  Not terribly efficient, but it's a start...

/pedant mode:  1km = 0.6mi, so 200km = 120mi, not 180.  C'mon, Beebs, that's Daily Fail stuff, you're better than that.

I did some not-really-awake-yet math and figure the acid costs $3.27 per gallon.*


*Your calculations may vary

They can probably make the engine more efficient and improve the mileage.  Not much you can do with the fuel...you might be able to crack the CO2 further and increase the oxidation...but then you'd be emitting CO or carbon soot which kinda defeats the whole "clean fuel" thing.

It's a good idea, but it can be improved from here.

The idea is to extend the range of a fuel cell vehicle. Not by making the fuel cell more efficient, but by towing a 1000 pound tank of acid behind it. I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say this sounds like a bad idea.


It's not efficient in this format.  But the engine's efficiency can be improved, and formic acid tanks can be designed into the vehicle instead of a trailer.

And formic acid, nasty as it is, is still safer to handle and distribute than hydrogen gas.
 
2017-06-27 10:50:06 AM  

Mztlplx: And formic acid, nasty as it is, is still safer to handle and distribute than hydrogen gas.


Easier? Yes.

Safer? Meh. Hydrogen is no more dangerous than any other flammable gas (or liquid with a low vaporization point).
 
2017-06-27 11:07:25 AM  

Mztlplx: make the engine more efficient and improve the mileage.  Not much you can do with the fuel...you might be able to crack the CO2 further and increase the oxidation...but then you'd be emitting CO or carbon soot which kinda defeats the whole "clean fuel" thing.

It's a good idea, but it can be improved from here.


Still a lot cleaner than diesel exhaust though, no? If the larger cities converted their public transport -- busses, taxis -- to this stuff it might go a long way to cutting down air-quality problems there.
 
2017-06-27 11:25:14 AM  
How many ants fit on the treadmill?
 
2017-06-27 11:32:12 AM  
Anthill Inside
 
2017-06-27 12:04:50 PM  
The list of partners is impressive.

http://www.teamfast.nl/partners/
 
Oak
2017-06-27 12:51:42 PM  
The ant has made himself illustrious.
Through constant industry industrious.
 So what?
 Would you be calm and placid. If you were full of formic acid?


- Ogden Nash
 
2017-06-27 01:30:24 PM  
antastic.skView Full Size
 
2017-06-27 01:57:05 PM  
If you're using formic acid just to transport hydrogen for a fuel cell, it's a pretty inefficient way to do it.

Formic acid contains about 4.3% hydrogen by weight. Since hydrogen combusts with ~120 MJ/kg of energy, that means a kilogram of formic acid only contains about ~5 MJ of usable energy. A kilo of gasoline holds 42. Even wood burns for around 20.

Even if the fuel cell were close to 100% efficient, you'd need 2 gallons of formic acid to replace one gallon of gasoline in a combustion engine.

I think they'd be better off working with a methanol fuel cell.
 
2017-06-27 02:26:55 PM  

hogans: [iFrame https://www.youtube.com/embed/TrryML0XVuY - 480x360]


Oh damn it, that should have been my job.
 
2017-06-27 03:28:56 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: If you're using formic acid just to transport hydrogen for a fuel cell, it's a pretty inefficient way to do it.

Formic acid contains about 4.3% hydrogen by weight. Since hydrogen combusts with ~120 MJ/kg of energy, that means a kilogram of formic acid only contains about ~5 MJ of usable energy. A kilo of gasoline holds 42. Even wood burns for around 20.

Even if the fuel cell were close to 100% efficient, you'd need 2 gallons of formic acid to replace one gallon of gasoline in a combustion engine.

I think they'd be better off working with a methanol fuel cell.


You should totes email them about this. I'm certain they hadn't factored in anything you said before going with your option.

Which is why they don't have a working prototype, and you do, amarite?

Ambivalence: but unless you're taking CO2 out of the air or ocean directly (or through decomp of plant material) it's not a closed cycle.


TFA: such as air or exhaust fumes,


See this embiggened bit? That's the bit that NEEDS put into legislation regarding the SOURCE of the CO2.

If you want, then it can happen real fast, too.

One can pressure one's local gov't to start a program like the one I mentioned above (for the biowaste of your town), which provides a sequestration facility. It's busses, not moon rockets, we're talking about, you sweetiepie! ;-p *ironicfedoratip*
 
2017-06-27 03:36:47 PM  

rockymountainrider: Will the horn play the Pink Panther theme song?

oh and 100km/h is Ontario's standard highway speed limit...

I much prefer Saskatchewan and New Brunswick's 110km/h however


Evidently no one gets that joke anymore
 
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