New design for motorcycle engines powered by compressed air

College Park, MD (June 22, 2010) — Most motorcycles in the world today use engines that burn gasoline, contributing to greenhouse gasses and adding air pollution to the surrounding area. Now two scientists in India have conceptually designed a new, cleaner motorcycle engine that uses compressed air to turn a small air turbine, generating enough power to run a motorcycle for up to 40 minutes.

Their design, described in a recent issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, could be combined with a compressed air cylinder as a replacement for traditional internal combustion engines. In areas where motorcycles are a major source of public transportation, such a technology could cut emissions substantially if widely implemented.

According to Bharat Raj Singh, one of the two authors on the paper and a researcher at the SMS Institute of Technology in Lucknow, India, some 50 to 60 percent of present emissions in some areas could be reduced with the new technology, though a number of technical challenges remain. Designing a compact but high-capacity air tank to store sufficient “fuel” for long rides is a major hurdle. Existing tanks would require someone to stop about every 30 km (19 mi) to swap tanks.

The article, “Study of the influence of vane angle on shaft output of a multivane air turbine” by Bharat Raj Singh and Onkar Singh was published May 6, 2010 in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. See:

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Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) that covers all areas of renewable and sustainable energy-related fields that apply to the physical science and engineering communities. As an electronic-only, Web-based journal with rapid publication time, JRSE is responsive to the many new developments expected in this field. The interdisciplinary approach of the publication ensures that the editors draw from researchers worldwide in a diverse range of fields. See:


The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators and is one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences. Offering partnership solutions for scientific societies and for similar organizations in science and engineering, AIP is a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. AIP publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Its online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.

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