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Man Invents Air-Powered Motorcycle in Garage

We love backyard inventors. Sometimes, we have to take things we hear from them with a grain of salt, though. Like, if someone told me that they made a motorcycle that was powered by air, I might not immediately believe them. But looking at this bike, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it :

  1. Was built in someone's garage
  2. Works exactly as described
  3. Is powered 100% by air

{digg}{/digg}Of course, when I say "works exactly as described" the description isn't all that exciting. The top speed is about 18 mph, and it can only go 7 miles before the air pressure runs out. But this is, after all, a guy in his garage...a lot more power could probably be pulled by tweaking his configuration.

Jem Stansfield, a University of Bristol graduate with a degree in aeronautics, created the bike by strapping two high-pressure tanks onto the side of his Puch moped. The tanks are basically scuba tanks. He uses the visit web site brand levitra without prescription buy (yes, mostly coal-fired) electricity from his house to fill the tanks. The power is then "stored" there, much like a battery, ready for use.

There are several advantages to online viagra sales using air pressure to store energy vs. batteries. First, compressors can recharge air tanks faster than batteries can be recharged, Stansfield says his tanks recharge in "seconds." Another advantage is that air tanks are, overall, very simple things. Though to be able to store a lot of energy in a small place, they need to be extremely strong. Jem's are carbon-fiber tanks of the sort used by firefighters for oxygen. But still, they're far cheaper than even the lead acid battery you've got in your car now.

Of course, MDI is way farther along in developing air-powered vehicles, with sales set to begin in 2010 and a hybrid version on the horizon as well.

Via MotorCycleNews (careful, it crashed my FireFox!)

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Comments (58)Add Comment
Not air powered
written by BBM, April 15, 2008
This is electrically powered, and as you point out, ultimately coal powered.

written by Bob Wallace, April 16, 2008
That's incorrect.

The onboard power is compressed air.

The energy needed to link for you order prescription cialis compress that air could come from a variety of levitra cheap fast sources, from coal to solar. But that's a separate issue.
No, Bob...
written by BBM, April 16, 2008
The air compressor runs on electricity. The energy is stored in the form of compressed air. So, yes, it runs on electricity, and ultimately on whatever provides that electricity.

I'm not saying it's not a cool effort, though.

Merely that it doesn't run on air.

written by Bob Wallace, April 16, 2008
And you continue to be wrong.

This bike is powered by compressed air.

There is no electricity or burning coal pushing him down the street.

One could use falling water to compress the on line pharmacy air.

Or dogs running on a treadmill.

Coal-generated electricity was what Jem happened to have at hand.

But why do I continue replying to this silly thread?

I have no idea.

I must be very bored....
written by nommo, April 16, 2008
It really wouldn't take much to convert this from a fossil fuel compressed air vehicle to levitra on line pharmacy a green energy powered. Switching electricity supply takes minutes (from a decent small supplier like Ecotricity or Good Energy - both do a 100% green tariff).

Then there is the interesting work being done on compressed air turbines themselves (by people like Seamus Garvey), which would enable the electricity generation to be avoided completely in the case of compressed air machines.

Don't you just love garage inventors though!

written by laura, April 16, 2008
Haha I got absolutely no clue how this works but I like it anyway. I hope soon we can all ride on fresh air… But when we have to wait for this guy I’m not sure it’s going to be soon ;-) Anyway I saw a website in which some of you might be interested. It’s the website and during May they plant 5 trees for every gift you buy to celebrate mother’s day. This way you make not only your own mother happy, but also Mother Nature. And when they plant enough trees we make sure that there is enough fresh air to drive our car when this guy figured it all out ;D
written by BBM, April 16, 2008
The point is that something has to compress the air. That is how the energy is stored.

You can not, for example, collect or "mine" compressed air to directly power the bike (the way you can solar, coal, uranium, wind, etc). Something needs to provide the energy that is stored by compressing the air, and it is quite important what that is. That is the key point you are passing over.

This is just like saying a hydrogen powered vehicle is powered by hydrogen. In a sense it is, but this is an irrelevancy because there are not really any natural deposits of hydrogen. It has to be generated, and therefore whatever generates it ultimately powers that vehicle.

As I clearly pointed out in posts above:

So, yes, it runs on electricity, and ultimately on whatever provides that electricity.

Yes, that can be nuclear or solar or whatever... but right now it would be mostly coal (which would be ok if clean coal tech were more advanced and affordable).

My whole reason for these comments is that there are plenty of people that have little grounding in science that see things like "powered by air" and get the the best place viagra free pills wrong idea about what that means:

Haha I got absolutely no clue how this works but I like it anyway. I hope soon we can all ride on fresh air…

But of course you must know that, and as you note above, you must just be very bored.

Again, I think it is a cool effort.

7 miles is nothing to levitra online india spit at
written by Roy, April 16, 2008
most electric scooters I've seen that claim "up to 18 miles" get 2.7, and could only get 3 on a flat surface with no rider. Charge time versus charger wattage versus motor wattage versus cruising speed... the math was easy.

Schwinn lied to me. 18 my foot.
written by jesus jones, April 16, 2008
He could fill those tanks with a footpump and hard work, and by your logic the bike would then be powered by whatever he ate, and since everything we can eat ultimatly got its energy from the Sun via photosynthesis this would be a solar powered bike.
There's more where that came from.
written by Dave, April 16, 2008
This is from a TV show called "Planet Mechanics". It's currently running in the UK on the National Geographic channel and I'm religiously watching it every week. The site says that the next one is being aired on the 21st of wow)) where to get cialis April but I have already seen it last week. Go figure.

Basically, the two guys (Jem and Dick) have ten weeks to come up with ten different ways to save the environment.

The air-powered bike is being used to replace the petrol powered bike that was used by a sandwich shop to make deliveries. Jem actually rode the bike for a whole day to make the buy cialis australia deliveries. It needed topping up after every delivery but as they said, from empty to full took literally 10 seconds.

Last week (the episode being aired next week) they visited a farmer who used vast amounts of oil to run a grain-dryer for a couple of months each year. They planned on using methane extracted from cow pooh to power it but they couldn't make that work. Instead they used the methane to power a rape-seed extractor which crushed the rape-seed he grew on his farm to make oil. He now has much more independence and uses much less fossil fuels.

Anyway, videos here:
Episode guide here:
written by Chris, April 16, 2008
So, I suppose my "human" powered bicycle is actually fossil fuel dependent as well, since it is conceivable that, at some point during its construction, fossil fuels were used. Also I'm sure that fossil fuels were used in the production and distribution of the foods that provide energy for my body. So tell me, is there any way to be "green" or should I just give up now, buy a HUMMER, and say screw future generations?

Your logic infuriates me.
written by sodapop, April 16, 2008
Not 100% powered by air. Electricity is used to compress the air. Electricity typically comes from burning coal...
I have my doubts about efficiency
written by Airmon, April 16, 2008
I've spent a lot of time working with scuba systems and find discount cialis highly compressed air. First: a portable scuba system with a 5hp motor takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get levitra prescription fill a tank. That's a lot of energy. Much of it is wasted in heat. 5HP running flat out for 40 minutes is enough energy to take you much farther than 17 miles .

Second: These are multi stage compressors ( three or four stages ), each stage feeding the next which further compresses the air. When you're done, it exits the compressor at 3000psi and goes to the tank. The energy of the air re-expanding is what would drive the look there get cialis cheap scooter.
However, since the motor is going to use regulated air pressure at perhaps 125psi, any pressure above that is going to be wasted by regulating the air pressure down. That's most of the energy.

Nifty trick, good job making it work, but I think lots ( most ) of the energy is wasted.
written by Bob Wallace, April 16, 2008
He's running the compressor at the "parking spot" and then quickly dumping compressed air into the bike when needed. That accounts for the quick refill time.

As whether it's overall energy efficient, that's another matter.

written by BBM, April 16, 2008
He could fill those tanks with a footpump and hard work, and by your logic the bike would then be powered by whatever he ate, and since everything we can eat ultimatly got its energy from the Sun via photosynthesis this would be a solar powered bike.

Yes, he could do that, but it would take much more total energy than simply pedaling the how much is viagra bike, of course. So that would be inherently wasteful.

Power source...
written by Maffiou, April 17, 2008
What's all this nitpicking about where the power is comming from ?
Extending the logic to say it is powered by electricity, you'd have to take into account how this electricty was generated, because like compressed air, it doesn't grow on trees...

As for the refill time, what prevents a futur system from working like those hydrogen generators that you start seeing in garages: fill up slowly on solar or wind power and maintain a large tank for instant refills. In that case, you wouldn't need a huge amount of power, certainly not 5HP...

You can even imagine a system where if the tank is full, the overflow can be used to send power to the grid...

Obviously this system is a work in progress, but it looks promising to me...
written by Ninjalicious, April 17, 2008
since all energy originally (theoretically) came from the the "big bang" than I guess it should be call "big bang" powered! jeez...

Compressed air powered vehicles
written by Air Powered Vehicles, April 18, 2008
The source of the energy to produce the compressed air can be via mechanical meas as well. For example. It could be produced via a 100% mechanical hydro turbine along a river water fall.

For more discussion on air powered vehicles see the "Air Powered Vehicles" yahoogroup
Mealer American Motor Co.
written by JL MEALER, April 19, 2008
Interesting plan for the moped... great work.
Use the pedals, your legs will stay stronger!

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Mealer American Motor Co (MAMC).
Our cars will be the free trial of cialis legit soltion that the world needs along with the desperate need of the world to canada in levitra have a strong American economy.
Check it out and keep an eye on us....
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written by Mike Hayes, April 24, 2008
At 18 mph with a 7 mile range... isn't it nearly as efficient to simply hop on a bike and pedal yourself somewhere? I do an average of about 10-12 mph on an xtracycle sport utility bicycle and can easily go 20 miles or more without having to "refuel". And with the xtracycle I can easily haul up to 200 lbs of cargo. Again not saying it's not a nifty invention... but its usefulness... well I give him an A for effort.
nice verey nice
written by zee, April 25, 2008
i see the bicke. amzing jop we making gloves if u need any gloves rely me al-haqent want gift the glove .if u want any dizing we send the free .
written by zee, April 25, 2008
i see the bicke. amzing jop we making gloves if u need any gloves rely me want gift the glove .if u want any dizing we send the free glove.
Reply to BBM
written by Me, April 26, 2008
No it's actually solar powered. Because ultimately all sources of power come from the sun. :P
written by Specht, April 29, 2008
Maybe he could add a Solar powered motor to power you on the way back???
written by Richard R. Carley, May 09, 2008
Would like to talk ? email to Jem Stansfield.
Can you help me plleasee. Ive got a couple of
ideas that I would like to share with him.

Richard Carley
written by Bob Braun, May 12, 2008
Ok compressed air whizzes, stop being silly. There are many ways to compress air, including filling an underground cavern (as in Quebec, Canada ) by diverting river water and letting the weight of the water compress it. No coal, no silly comments.
Bob from Canada
young inventors
written by blair, May 14, 2008
look at you all saying that its powered by electricty

the air comppressor is probably only using an amount off about two air conditioners running for only seconds

get a life

cheap light weight and green
written by skeptikool, May 15, 2008
I like the system. Coal powered? Not where I live.

I'd prefer the system attached to a mountain bike, in which case I would do much pedaling and see the system as a power-assist. Those air tanks would need to be attached further back.
written by Rafael, May 15, 2008
You have to recognise that the Life-Cycle (craddle to grave) energy employed (for compressing the air and transfer it to the storage tanks in the mopped) is less than most of other commercially available technologies for "non-polluting" vehicles:

- Hydrogen
- Electric Vehicles
- Fuel Cells
- Etc.

That is, the whole Life-Cycle for compressing the air that, in fact, powers the mopped that delivers the meals is less than all of the other technologies above.

Captain of S/V Eclipse
written by Nicholas, May 30, 2008
To All for comment:
Pressure is applied to any object when submerged in water, eg. Deep ocean depths.
Applying pressure to achieve compressed air by dropping a tank, (simplified of course for more scientific engineering necessary to accomplish this) would creat great pressures (many atmospheres)on air in vessels capped off and raised to the surface. The compressed air would then be tapped off to shoreside facilities at very inexpensive cost, eliminating power facilities for air compression. Any thoughts? Thanks,
Take That Idea And Improve On It...
written by AorphiA, June 09, 2008
That idea he has is a great start, seriously. Now... take that idea and improve on it and/or using slight of the same principal by adding your own ideas to make it better. ;D All you would need is an air compressor, the tank to store the air, multiple mini windmill type energy generators to generate more energy to power the air compressor to continue adding air to the air tank to make up for what is used to power the bike. A small pull along trailer to mount on the multiple mini windmill energy generators. And... if you want to add even more energy, you could also add a solar panel along with the multiple mini windmill energy generators. Once it is all hooked up correctly, you should always have a constant flow of air to keep the bike moving, meaning you would have an unlimited source to power the bike.
written by A Fan Of Jem, June 11, 2008
Of course it is amazing!!!

Do a better one if you think it's not good enough. :D
But I love it.

People should be happy that some others like Jem try to 'save the planet'!
Thank You!

Some of these comments are ridiculous...
written by Jeremy, June 14, 2008
It's air powered, drop it,lol... any electricity used is minuscule,Much less even than your alarm clock used last night before waking you up in the morning, it literally takes only about 10 seconds to fill up these tanks with the compressor used... its technically more energy efficient than Pedaling a bike!!! dont believe me, do the calculations yourself,lol, just try and figure out how much energy in the form of calories it takes to pedal 7 miles at a speed of 18 mph, then find out the exact amount those tanks hold, then you can find out how fast the compressor compresses the air.

This will show you, he obviously isn't using a compressor meant for scuba tanks, which by the way are NOT 5hp, 5hp would be insane for compressing a scuba tank, my compressor is 1/2 hp and fills my tank with an hours worth of air in 10-15 minutes!!!

Anyway, find out the average peek energy use of compressors able to compress air as much air as his does in around 10 seconds or so,even up it to ones that can do it to one minute! 6 times slower than his does it in!!! and your energy use will still be so minuscule that it actually will be less than if you pedaled it yourself! (technically making it more eco friendly than riding a normal man powered bicycle,lol...)

By the way, the reason why its more eco friendly, is because all those calories you burn while riding the bike comes from somewhere, and thats the food you eat, and if your the average person, most of the food you consume uses quite a large amount of fossil fuels before it makes it to your table, even if you don't count whats used on the farms to/raise it, or if you don't count shipping either, just the fuel used for the electricity in the supermarket or store you buy it from will still have a larger negative impact than the electricity used for refilling this bike...

Now you may ask, if I know so much about this stuff, why don't I do the calculations for myself then post them to prove this all to you? well, I HAVE done the calculations for myself, but I have never believed that all the answers should just be handed to you, you need to learn to look into it yourself, do the simple calculations, and see the facts for yourself, if you don't learn to look for the truth yourself, you'll never find it.

So from now on, if your skeptical about something, thats great, research it, do the math, and make sure for your own sake that you know for a fact what your saying is true.

*steps down off of his scientific soap box and exits stage right.*
Get over the Electricity thing.
written by Craig, June 16, 2008
Get over the "It runs on electricity thing". It uses air to power the vehicle, how the air gets there is another thing.

Using your same theory, means that petrol cars also run on electricty, Because, without electricity, your petrol station couldn't "pump" your petrol into your car. SO, feel free to tell me how "Electrically pumping petrol into a car" or "electrically pumping Air into a car" is any differant? I don't see you crapping on about how Petrol cars are really powered by electricity..
written by Raghu, July 08, 2008
Hi all,
I would like to know the specifications ( configuration, bore, stroke, valves) of the air-engine that Jem used for his moped.
written by davidEdwinLewis, July 10, 2008
The tanks could get compressed by somehow trapping the strong winds of a tornado. Then we could power the trailer parks for free. Its powered by compressed air dude. How the air gets compressed is none of your business really. The future is beautiful!
written by RAHUL, August 13, 2008
this was a very good concept for today as we all r fighting global warming......
I wanted to have information about the engine you used......plz rply for the same n details abt what kind of engine u used to make it possible
Chinese Student
written by Chinese Student, August 29, 2008
Could anyone inform me Jem Stansfield's e-mail address?
Chinese Student
written by Chinese Student, August 29, 2008
Could anyone inform me Jem Stansfield's e-mail address?
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
compressed air two wheeler
written by sankarmahesh, September 06, 2008
please tell the detail about cost,capacity of air tank,efficiency in percentage,if any drawbacks mention it
wind power
written by gerard, September 08, 2008
hook up a windmill to a compressor and off you go! im trying to do this myself but am trying to find a compressor that will allow the connection.
written by Paul Eckerson, October 30, 2008
Mount 2 tanks at a 45 degree angle as fairings and a 3rd tank above them horizontially. The 3 tanks can all be part of the fairing for better year round operation. Build in the headlight and turn signals. All this will help to streamiline it and increase it's range. Lots can be done be using a rear fairing for battery, storage, and motor and drive systems. Refine IT!
written by Charlie, March 05, 2009
It looks like his tanks are 9 liter 300 bar fiber carbon SCBA tanks. (87 cubic feet, 4500 psi). Bicycle pumps and compressors for tools aren't going to fill them.

The stored energy in each tank is about 1.5 MJ, or 0.8 kilowatt-hours of energy. Since 300 bar/4500 psi compressors are only about 50 efficient, it will take about 1.6 kWhr to fill each of the two tanks. (1600 watts for two hours).

The "refill in seconds" obviously is by tapping into a larger tank that is kept filled by the compressor.
written by kalivd, March 27, 2009
I missed this program on TV and i live in india.. i m a engineering student and working on a similar thing. if u can manage to pitch in some more details about this bike.. specially about that air motor like what torque is used to propel this bike it would help me a lot..
What if...
written by bak, May 09, 2009
It was made into a hybrid that has pedals and a pump powered through pedaling in conjunction with the existing setup so that the riding can tap the tanks when he wants some rest? I know that overall, it would take more power but the idea of using the air uphill and pedaling downhill is tempting. Anyone think it's possible?
Not such thing...
written by Boaslad, May 22, 2009
First off I'd like to say I love the bike idea. it's one I have been knocking around for years. It's nice to see I am not the only nut-job out there...

Speaking of nut-jobs... I would love to just point something out if you really want to split hairs about whether or not this is actually a "green" idea. Consider this. There is NOTHING you can do, EVER, that is completely "green". For example do you plant you own garden? What about the fossil fuels that were used to mine the metal that the tools are made of? What about the fossils fuels that were used to transform the raw ore into a usable item that you can use? What about the fossil fuels that were used to harvest the plants that the seeds came from? What about the fossil fuels that were used to transport the tools and seeds to a store near you? What about the fossil fuels used by YOU to go to said store and purchase said items? What about the fossil fuels used to harvest the trees that were used to make the money that had to be transported to you so that you could make said purchase? While we are splitting hairs, let's split ALL of them. My point? The electric company is going to burn the coal ANYWAY, regardless of whether the minority of us use or don't use it. Might as well put THEIR waste to OUR good use, and stop nitpicking over petty, minuscule, and quite honestly moot points.
Another observation...
written by Boaslad, May 22, 2009
I am pretty sure the quick refill is easily attained, even with a normal scuba style compressor. The solution? A much larger holding tank permanently connected to said compressor. If I was doing this, this would be the method I would use. Fill the big tank automatically any time it's pressure drops below a specified point. Refill of the vehicle tanks is accomplished by simply using a regulator and a release valve. In this manner refilling the vehicle tanks can literally be done in seconds. Some care would have to be taken to ensure that the tanks do not fill TOO quickly, or you stand the risk of an explosive rupture. The point is, the compressor is NOT filling the vehicle tanks directly. Fluid Dynamics 101. Pressure always seeks a balance. If the pressure at point A (in this case a large storage tank) is greater than the pressure at point B (the vehicle tanks) the air will naturally move from point A to to point B in order to balance the pressure.
written by Tom Miller, July 02, 2009
I've wanted to build something like this bike for a long time, but Jem Stansfield actually did it. I like the pedal-assist idea, I think more tanks can be added and a faring added to streamline the bike. I wonder if the most efficient air mtor is being used. The air could be stored in a central home tank filled at least halfway at night by a wind machine with gear or belt assist to push high pressure into the main tank. The main tank could be topped off automatically by a standard or rotary compressor.
want to know the air engine details
written by vijay, July 23, 2009
very good keep it up and this is the future in evry mobile field and within 5years it will be all over the world!!!
What about the end effect?
written by Bruce, October 24, 2009
I cant understand why anyone would be against this. (not realy air powered). The by product of Fossil fuels has so many harmful issues, air and water and earth pollution from releases from storage facilities. Not to mention the direct release from just burning the fuel.
Hydrogen is many years away, maybe it will work.
Electrical/battery needs years to get better, but very soon it too will be a plugged in system in the home.
The first internal combustion engines were very small at first, this has big promise.
written by Derik, December 17, 2009
This does not need to be powered by fossil fuels, I am a high school student who has built a go cart that is powered by compressed air, we are going to use solar energy to fuel the air compressor, but in France where the air powered cars are really popular they use tidal energy to power the air compressor. If they were to just use coal and other fossil fuels to power the compressor we are still stuck with the issue or using non-renewable fuels. I think this is a great invention and thanks for this idea using a light bike is a much better idea than actually using a heavy steel go kart.
written by HungaryBoy, January 05, 2010
In Hungary we have got a challenge to ride,whith air it's called Pneumobil.
Thats not a new thing...

Peace! Laca
written by Steve, May 28, 2010
May i point out the law of conservation of energy. If you don't understand it then learn it. Compressed air is the least efficient. You will spend way more energy compressing the air through energy losses (friction, heat, noise, etc.) than the mechanical energy you will extract....period.

Any natural mechanical energy will be better off being converted to electricity than compressed air. That is why the steam engine no longer exists.
Like it but...
written by Cvecara Beograd, February 22, 2011
To big tanks and too small distance....
air hydraulic foot pump!!!
written by t s balasubramaniam, January 14, 2013
hi,maybe u can use two air hydraulic foot pump which has 10000 psi for the air engine to drive it !! yr comments please maybe use a air engine like de pietro air engine !!1 thanks
written by Cvecara Beograd, May 27, 2013
Great! It's an environment-friendly vehicle smilies/smiley.gif

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