The Answer to Maxwell's riddle:
Any process that converts pressure into
velocity and back into pressure with minimum energy loss can be adapted to
inject low pressure air into a pressurized air tank without using a compressor
Think about compressed air as a carrier of solar energy . . .
Approximately 500º of Solar heat energy has been added to every atom of the atmosphere (“Free Air”) @ + 40º F. (Absolute Zero is (minus) – 460ºF).
With those thoughts in mind, it is time to seriously consider re-visiting the known compressed air technology which makes compressed air a fitting candidate for use as an energy source. Applying intense focus on the effort to discover any economical method of raising atmospheric air pressure ("Free Air") to a usable pressure level, and in such volume, so that the imbedded Solar internal energy (heat content) of air can be used to run an air motor.
It is heat that provides the energy needed to push pistons, and it's only because of the Sun that the average tank of compressed air is able to do anything at all.
After 99% of the Sun’s radiant energy that strikes the Earth has failed to be converted to mechanical work, besides the work performed in causing the heating up of the Earth's atmosphere, and the consequent storage of that heat energy in every atom of the atmosphere, there sits this sea of "totally" unused energy which does nothing other than blow around the planet as weather.
Despite the phrase "light as air," the atmosphere is anything but, weighing in at a whopping 5.5 quadrillion tons (4.99 quadrillion metric tons). With 14 zeros trailing after it, that's a lot of mass, and it's the storage medium for all of the heat energy radiated into the air by the Sun. The next time a hurricane or tornado blows your house down, don't despair, according to the propeller-heads it just wasn't possible. Ambient heat is "totally" dissipated. Wrong.
All that is needed is a little weather inside a tank full of compressed air. The atmosphere of this planet carries easily available clean solar energy, and the compressed air motor uses heat energy as-is without the need to convert it to something else. An air-motor is actually a heat pump that uses compressed air as its working medium instead of freon. Heat pump technology makes it possible to directly inject “Free Air” into the compressed air already in a tank. Most conventional heat pumps can provide three times more heat energy to their application than the amount of electrical energy used to operate them. This is called the “Coefficient of Performance,” (COP). With a “storm” in a full air tank, a COP for compressed air power that matches or exceeds attainable heat pump COP can be expected. There is more energy in a tank full of compressed air than is needed to start an air motor and keep the tank full for a few moments. Replenishment of the solar energy leaving the tank with more solar energy on its way into the tank is the requirement to facilitate maintenance of the tank pressure and volume, and the process of continual replenishment can go on indefinitely.
To understand the elements, and their relationships to each other, which make compressed air a viable candidate for a “clean-tech” energy source, consider the following:
Energy is the ability to do work, whereas pressure is a component of force, and force is a component of work, making pressure two steps removed from being qualified to do any work. Pressure, without mass and acceleration of that mass, cannot perform any work. Many people have the incorrect impression that “pressure” is capable of doing work. Pressure does not flow from one place to another. Matter can flow from one place to another.
When pressure can be used to cause velocity, the velocity is only a component of momentum, and momentum is only a component of the kinetic energy that is inherent in mass which is actually moving. When combined, these elements can be utilized to cause a mass of air to move through an interface device that makes it possible to inject “Free Air” into an air tank containing compressed air.
Over 100 years ago engineers figured out that conservation of the heat energy recognized as the “heat of compression,” AND a method of injection of large amounts of “Free Air” into an air tank, without using a compressor pump. Adding "Free Air,” into a tank containing compressed air without having to use a compressor pump, would significantly enhance the ability to use compressed air as a source of energy for converting the energy of the Sun into usable mechanical power.
INJECTING high volumes of low pressure “Free Air” into a tank of compressed air, allows a very economical maintenance and re-supply of compressed air at rated pressure and volume needed to power air motors.
Understanding these few basic ideas about how compressed air works is essential to being able to use air to its best advantage, and its best advantage is that COMPRESSED AIR CONTAINS A HUGE QUANTITY OF SOLAR ENERGY. It’s time to start using that “Free” solar energy.
The conventional air compressor, unbeknownst to most engineers, does not invest any of the energy used to accomplish its “compression work,” in the medium being compressed. “Compression work,” in this instance, is the act of pressurizing air; ramming a large volume into a small volume, which produces a "pressure” elevated above atmospheric air pressure. All of the energy used by the compressor pump in the act of compression is dissipated in the form of heat losses incurred by the mechanical and electrical configuration, (heat caused by friction and electrical resistance). The air that is being compressed inside the air tank, generates its own heat because of the the atoms and molecules of air, and other elements mixed in the air, being slammed together and at high speed, (this secondary heat also causes additional compression of the air inside the tank.
As many textbooks of the earlier "hands-on" era of pneumatics will explain, ALL COMPRESSION WORK IS (usually) LOST AS HEAT and therefore, the work done by an air motor is derived from the heat the air carried before it was compressed.
The act of using a compressor pump to move air into a tank, which increases the pressure inside the tank, does not invest any of the heat energy expended to operate the compressor pump in the air inside the tank, unless the “heat of Compression” is captured before it dissipates and is also injected into the air tank. The act of compression is an attempt to put something, “air,” where it doesn't want to go, so, it's not surprising that all the “compression work” is converted into heat and is lost into the atmosphere, unless the “heat of compression” is captured.
Again the answer to Maxwell's riddle is:
Any process that converts pressure into velocity and back into pressure with minimum energy loss can be adapted to inject low pressure air into a pressurized air tank without a compressor pump.
The process has been known for more than 100 years.
The point is that, by comprehension of the actions-reactions of compressed air as a carrier of solar energy, instead of the classic mistake of thinking of compressed air as the by-product of a compressor, it suddenly becomes very important to focus on any unusually affordable method of raising air's pressure to a usable level so its internal energy (heat content) can be used to run an air motor for free.
The programmed focus and thought-connection between elevated pressure and the forceful compression of molecules into a confined space, can be eased out of the way to make room for the comprehension that low pressure air can be injected into a high pressure tank, and that once injected, its pressure, or ability to expand, becomes elevated by mixing it with the air already in the tank, and that the newly injected air’s heat energy, or ability to do work, was put there by the Sun, which heated the atmosphere, and that the Sun constantly replenishes that energy, for free.
No meter can be attached. No charges can be demanded for the heat energy pumped in to the atmosphere by the Sun!
The process of low pressure INJECTION of gasses into a high pressure tank has been competently performed with steam for 150 years: low-pressure-gas can be injected into a high-pressure-gas tank.
All that is needed is an equalizer in an air tank that uses the attributes of compression.