Science! An Engine Fueled with Liquid Nitrogen

All that is required to fuel these engines, basically, is liquid nitrogen.  We are surrounded by the stuff (most of the Earth’s atmosphere is nitrogen), and making liquid nitrogen is pretty straightforward and is almost a side effect of ‘more useful’ processes.  I would expect almost no ‘carbon footprint’ from this, and a spill from an accident should be almost a non-event — even if it gets on you you would probably take less damage than a similar amount of gasoline, if the gasoline catches fire.  Even accidentally dumped in an environmentally-sensitive area such as a breeding stream it would take a very large amount to have any particular negative impact (unlike gasoline).

I’d really like to see what comes of this.  This appears to have some huge potential.

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7 Comments to "Science! An Engine Fueled with Liquid Nitrogen"

  1. Dave Przybyla's Gravatar Dave Przybyla
    October 18, 2012 - 7:13 am | Permalink

    Years ago I worked on a Physics experiment where we used liquid nitrogen to cool vacuum pumps. The stuff leaves quite a burn if it touches the skin. But not as bad as dropping hot solder on my bare leg.

    • October 18, 2012 - 8:43 am | Permalink

      Also, whatever you do don’t ingest the stuff. You would think that went without saying….

  2. Herb's Gravatar Herb
    October 21, 2012 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I would expect almost no ‘carbon footprint’ from this, and a spill from an accident should be almost a non-event

    The straight forward creation process has a decent carbon footprint depending on the energy source although it does address my common refrain: we don’t have an energy problem we have a fuel (high density, transportable stored energy) problem.

    As for “by product of more useful process” so was gasoline at one point (kerosene was what petro distilling was originally all about) but once it became a common fuel the tail started wagging the dog.

    Finally, a spill may seem non-consequential but handling the stuff is not. Back in my Navy days I had to do liquid nitrogen handling a few times. Nasty , nasty stuff to get on you or sensitive equipment.

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