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Smog Eradicator - Automotive Carbon Scrubber


Ric Richardson recently finished a digital simulation of an on-board carbon scrubber for petroleum fueled vehicles. The digital model uses at its heart a small portable version of the CO2 scrubbers that are used on submarines.

The CO2 scrubbers use Monoethanoleamine (MEA) in a cooled state to collect CO2 then the unique properties of the chemical will release the CO2 when heated. The digital simulation used a fictitious CO2 scrubber based on a stripped down submarine scrubbing engine. The vehicles exhaust (a Lincoln Navigator in the simulator) was run through a liquid scrubber containing the MEA collector. The collector was cooled by the vehicles air conditioning system. When the vehicle is not in use the MEA solution warms up and releases the CO2 into a removeable collection chamber/ container.

A Lincoln Navigator emits approxiamately 500grams of CO2 per km or 1.77 lbs of CO2 per mile. The scrubber is a smaller lighter digital adaptation of the CO2 scrubbers used in submarines and unlike those (which remove almost all the CO2), the proposed scrubber is about 68% effective. The reason for this is that the back pressure of a fully closed exhaust system would adversely effect the exhaust efficiency and design of the target vehicle.

The simulation test results show an 18% loss in efficiency from the vehicles engine due to having the air conditioner on full time and the back pressure from the scrubber system on the exhaust. However the combined effect of the scrubber on the exhaust reduces the CO2 emissions by 63%. This means that a Navigator could have the same emissions as a Ducati motorcycle or a hybrid.

Other problems to handle
This solution only collects CO2. One big problem remains, namely, what to do with it? In the simulation the collection container is exchanged with another empty container after every 50 miles. The full container of CO2 is released in a residential back yard greenhouse. The CO2 emissions for a family that travels 200 miles per week can be absorbed by vegetation in glass house conditions of about 400 square feet. This, and other possibilities are being explored in further digital simulations before physical proof of concepts are attempted.

In the simulator greenhouse CO2 levels were set to 1000 parts per million or 3 times current natural levels. Levels of CO2 above this result in bleaching which effects the plants negatively and drastically reduces the process of photosythnesis.

Please feel free to comment on the test or supply references for similar experiments you may know of. Ric is exploring the patentability of of some or all of the concepts here disclosed.
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