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Author Topic: Time to Tinker  (Read 1834 times)

Offline BlueBee

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Time to Tinker
« on: December 21, 2011, 08:15:23 PM »
Here’s an amazing comparison to keep in mind the next time you drop $50 at the gas pump.

Natural gas is getting very cheap.  It’s now selling at the Henry hub for about $3.12 per million BTU.  There’s no sign that is going to increase in the foreseeable future.  Cheap energy is here to stay IF we can figure out how to use NG.

Gasoline has an energy content of about 120,000 BTU/gallon.  One gallon of gasoline is going for about $3.20 now, but that only gets you 0.120 MBTUs.  

You would need 8.3 gallons of gasoline to equal the energy content in a single $3 unit of natural gas.

8.3 gallons of gasoline x $3.2 a gallon = $26 for the same energy as in $3 unit of natural gas.

Gasoline is now 8 times more expensive than natural gas per BTU!  If you could get your car to run off NG, you could conceivably be driving with a fuel that costs the equivalent of 50 cents per gallon! (or less)

Maybe some of you tinkerers out there should start tinkering  :-D

Offline AllenF

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 09:07:33 PM »
It would take a lot of tinkering to make my diesel run off LNG.    But I would like to see something more happen with fuels out there.   Diesel should not cost 3.66 when plain gas is 2.99.  Diesel is a by product of making gas.  And I can not run over 10 percent bio with my engine block.   Stupid federal emission laws. 

Offline SEEYA

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 10:41:14 PM »
Once upon a time, before computers entered the automotive scene:
There were conversion kits to convert your gasoline burning automobile to LP - liquid propane gas. Natural gas is actually a mixture of gaseous  hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide. To transport natural gas, it would have to be in a liquid state and if you go that far you might as well separate the components and just use LP.
The basic LP system consist of a tank, regulator/ gasifier, and a valve/ metering system at the engine intake. It is a fairly simple system still in use on some industrial lift trucks.
The major issue is the automobiles computer and all the garbage hooked to it. In the last 10(?) years, the computer also governs the transmittions shift points, without the proper inputs the computer will not shift the trans out of low gear.
Back in the 70's, along the Mexican border, Texas ranchers converted their pickups to run on LP. You would see these 200(?) gal tanks mounted behind the cab (in the box), they would fill them in Mexico, at a real good price.

>>It would take a lot of tinkering to make my diesel run off LNG.
AllenF; check out the "Farm Show" magazines, (I think they have a website also) content: Farmer inventors. I seem to remember some articles where diesel trucks utilized LP to increase "power and economy". I think I remember one that actually ran his gasoline pickup on carbon monoxide, produced by the incomplete combustion of fire wood.
** yup, there is a website**

Check your owners manual, I seem to remember in the old 5.7 liter Chevrolet diesels, you could use UP TO 10% gasoline as an anti gelling   agent. Of course if I am wrong,  :oops:your crankshaft will probably exit the vehicle.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 10:03:40 AM by ray »
Live long and prosper!

Online kathyp

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2011, 02:00:42 AM »
we also need to get the tree huggers out of the way.  here they wanted to build a LNG line down the PNW, but it has been blocked by court challenges and protests. 

i agree that we could do a lot more with natural gas, but there is no form of energy production that will not be challenged and made more expensive by the loons.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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Offline VolunteerK9

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2011, 08:09:39 AM »
I dont think it would be incredibly tough for car manufacturers to make a NG model since several tractor mfg's sold the LP models 40 years ago.

http://home.gwi.net/~dclough/jd730.html

Offline SEEYA

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2011, 10:01:59 AM »
For optimum performance / economy, LP farm tractor engines needed slightly higher compression ratios and a slight change of camshaft timing. LP is a great fuel.

Working with a liquid gas of any kind is dangerous, then add the fact that LP is extremely flammable. A person can get frozen and burned all at the same time.
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Offline BlueBee

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2011, 11:45:01 AM »
LP has some disadvantages when compared to CNG.  First it sells for 95 cents per gallon on the NYMEX.  That sounds like a great price relative to gasoline, but 95 cents only gets you 91,330 BTUs of energy.  That means you would need 10.9 gallons to have a million BTUs.  10.9 gallons x $0.95 = $10.  You can get that same million BTUs from natural gas for $3.  Propane costs 3x more than Natural gas at the wholesale level. 

Our current natural gas boom has been from fracking shale, my understanding is most all that natural gas is in the form of methane (CH4) and not the heavier stuff like propane (C3H8).  So we need to tinker with methane as opposed to propane.

You know we’ve dropped the ball big time when Pakistan is ahead of us!!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas_vehicle 

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2011, 03:29:20 PM »
Quote
The major issue is the automobiles computer and all the garbage hooked to it.

I’m not sure I would call all that stuff garbage, but it does making modifying an engine more challenging!  Instead of replacing all the gasoline parts, how about supplementing the gasoline with CNG or LP?  Feed the CNG or LP in as a TBI feed and reduce the amount of gasoline injected by lowering the rail pressure.  Maybe make a car that gets half its energy from gasoline and half from LP/CNG?

A half and half car would require half the size LP/CNG tank, would boost octane values, and would cut your fuel bill in about half.  You wouldn’t need to rip out all the gasoline parts, just make some mods.  A half and half might not be perfect, but it might cut your fuel bills in half?  We import half our oil at this point.  If we ran our engines half off LP/CNC, we might be able to tell OPEC where to go stick it :evil:

Offline sterling

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 06:09:10 PM »
Trucks around here several years back had LP and Natural Gass tanks where they had been coverted, but I have not seen one in awhile.
Buy one of Obama's electric cars then you will not need LP or Natural Gas.
The simple solution for high gas prices is to drill for our own oil. And it would help some if Obama would quit playing politics with that pipe line from Canada to Huston.

Offline SEEYA

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2011, 06:51:39 PM »
The system, I am familiar with, operates on a 5 volt reference and the measurements are in Millivolts. The computer works on the ground side, either reading the sensors or grounding the necessary component to make it work, 
The problem areas would be:
The throttle position sensor (ignition timing, fuel mixture and transmittion shift points) and the oxygen sensors (fuel mixture), in the exhaust. 
The fuel injectors have a minimum pressure, below which they will not function. I don't know what would be required to change the dwell of the injector.

IMO the tank would have to be located over the rear wheels (basically above the current gas tank)and the body modified to allow for an access door and the restraints for the tank(s) and some sort of collision barrier to prevent rupturing the tank or its components.

Live long and prosper!

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2011, 10:38:29 PM »
Sterling, I don’t think the electric car is ever going to make a dent in oil consumption using the existing technology.  GM has only sold a little over 6000 Volts and that poor volume is even with a lot of Obama bucks to subsidize the price.  New car sales in the US this year are projected to be over 12 million vehicles, over 14 million in 2012.  6000 Volts doesn’t help anybody but the celebrities that live in Celebrity ville (where it doesn’t get very cold).  The battery systems just aren’t ready to replace oil.  The power grid isn’t ready for the extra load.  The generating stations are not ready for the extra load.

As for the pipeline, I agree with you; build it.  That helps a little bit with the supply side of the equation but does nothing to slow the demand side.   Some say oil will be back to $150 a barrel this summer (it’s at $99 right now).  You’ll never stop the price of oil going to the moon, unless you make a serious dent in demand.    

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2011, 10:46:22 PM »
Ray, you raise some good concerns, that’s where the tinkering comes in :-D  If you’re trying to retrofit an existing vehicle, you can’t expect perfection since you can’t change things like compression ratios, but maybe you could make something that is “good enough”.

Spark:  The higher octane of the gas fuels means you don’t have to worry about being over advanced (and knocking).  The higher flame speeds might warrant applying some retard.  If that is the case, it is a lot easier to retard spark from a OEM computer than advance it!  (ie delay circuit). 

Fuel:  Somehow you would need to reduce the injector dwell.  If lowering rail pressure alone isn’t good enough, then you would probably need to electrically interrupt the dwell to reduce the gasoline injected per cylinder.

O2 sensors:  They detect O2 in the exhaust, it really shouldn’t matter what type of fuel you’re burning.

TPS:  The biggest function of the throttle is to let in more air, mechanically or electrically.  The computer then matches the injector dwell to the amount of air ingested to meet emissions (14.7:1).  For our tinkering, maybe we tie the TPS into the valve of our CNG/LP.   We then flow CNG proportional to the amount of air the engine is allowed to suck.  The computer and O2 sensors can trim the net A/F ratio via the gasoline injectors (to meet emissions).

Shift points:  I don’t see where these would need to be fooled with.  Just let the OEM controller control the trans solenoids as normal. 

Offline SEEYA

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2011, 01:25:20 AM »
>>The higher flame speeds might warrant applying some retard
A small amount of diesel fuel or an even smaller amount of two-cycle oil will slow your flame speed
>> Somehow you would need to reduce the injector dwell.
It MIGHT be possible to swap out smaller injectors. A 4 liter 6 cylinder engine, would have a single cylinder displacement of 0.67 L. A 2 liter 4 cylinder engine, would have a single cylinder displacement of 0.5 L.
>>They detect O2 in the exhaust
There signal causes the computer to lean or enrich the fuel mixture.
>> Shift points
The computer also controls the transmittion oil pressure. Low pressure could cause the clutches to slip and eventually failure. If you don't mess with the TPS, you won't mess with the trans.

DISCLAIMER: I have a little experience with some GM systems. These systems can be vastly different, not only between manufacturers, but also between model year, engine type and the model itself.

Automotive parts suppliers do not allow returns of electronic parts. Salvage yards would probably be the best place to get extra parts.

TRIVIA: General Motors built a Truck in the early teens, it was battery powered!
Live long and prosper!

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2011, 12:20:02 PM »
Quote
Buy one of Obama's electric cars then you will not need LP or Natural Gas.
Funny thing is the old GM knew that electric cars in their current form are not ready for production, that’s why they scrapped the EV1s, IMO.

There are some interesting ideas that might make the electric car a more viable option for many markets.  Better Place has a paradigm shift for operating/renting electric cars which they see as a bigger market than the Internet x 10!  Interesting piece about them in Time.  http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2066975,00.html Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place

Evidently China forecasts at least 170million new vehicles in China in the next 5 years.  That’s as much NEW load on the world’s oil supply as all the oil we already import every day.  There is no way supply can match that much new demand.   What happens to price when demand >> supply?

Tinker now and you might be able to avoid $10 per gallon gasoline :-D

Offline BlueBee

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Re: Time to Tinker
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2011, 12:51:04 PM »
Ray, you make some more good points.  Your points are why I’m thinking it might be a good idea to leave the gasoline parts in your car and just supplement them with CNG/LP.  If you leave the gasoline parts in, the existing computer system still has the ability to do what it is supposed to do:  lean/richen the fuel (via gasoline) in response to the O2s, control the trans force motor and shift solenoids, let in more air in response to TPS, set the spark timing, control emissions, manage torque, etc.

Maybe we control our CNG/LP piggyback system with a Propeller.   http://www.parallax.com/propeller/
I’ve got some Propellers that are in need of a good project.  I haven’t thought of a good bee application for them yet  :-D

 

anything