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Pedal to the metal

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Forget hybrids and fuel cells. Some scientists in the US think cars of the future could run on powdered-metal fuel, reports KURT KLEINER.

If smog-choked streets test our love for petrol and diesel engines, rocketing fuel prices and global warming could end that relationship once and for all. But before you start saving for the fuel cell-powered electric car that industry experts keep promising, there's something you should know: the car of the future will run on metal.

So reckons Dave Beach, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, who has come up with a plan to transform the way we fuel our engines.

Chunks of metal such as iron, aluminium or boron are the thing, he believes. Turn them into powder with grains just nanometres across and the stuff becomes highly reactive. Ignite it and it releases copious quantities of energy.

With a modified engine and a tankful of metal, Beach calculates that an average saloon car could travel three times as far as the equivalent petrol-powered vehicle.

Better still, because of the way that this metal nano-fuel burns, it is almost completely non-polluting.

That means no carbon dioxide, no dust, no soot and no nitrogen oxides.

> Full Article

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The Anarchyst Cookbook has a "recipe" for constructing a metal "bomb" that could burn through an engine block... I never thought the same concoction could run that engine. I wonder what the damn thing is made of, to handle the extremely high temps? (I didn't bother reading the article, so maybe my answer is there)

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Wonder if it's possible... a car running on gunpowder. Is it possible to capture the energy from, say, a bomb? Maybe use that to run an electric motor. Will that create CO2?

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