Mother's Alternative Energy Vehicles

Whether it's fuel from manure or solar and wind-powered electric car technology, moving towards more ecologically sound forms of transportation can only be a step forward.

| March/April 1974

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    One idea for electric car technology is to use wind and solar power to charge the batteries.
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    A small, methane biogas car might be the first step toward vehicles powered by renewable energy.
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    A more efficient, light urban vehicle that runs on gasoline (40 or 50 miles per gallon) may be a good transitional vehicle.
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    Biogas from cow manure and other decomposed organic material is an easily renewable alternative fuel.

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Whether or not the Arabs, the large petroleum companies and the world's politicians "solve" the current "energy shortage", present and future generations are going to have to find more ecologically sound ways of living on the earth. The most easily tapped and the cleanest reserves of fossil fuels have already been, are being or very shortly will be exploited. The free ride is drawing to a close. The "conventional" power we use from now on is going to be increasingly difficult to extract, increasingly "dirty" and increasingly expensive.

And — despite repeated assurances from political "leaders", the AEC and other vested interests — there's no magic solution just over the horizon or lurking it laboratory . . . that we see, anyway. This, then, looks to us like a very good time to [1] start scaling down the energy requirements of our gluttonous society and [2] begin an honest search for ways to harness the planet's renewable sources of power

Toward this two-phased end, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is organizing a program of "alternative" energy research and development. Members of the magazine's staff have already (November 2, 1973) unveiled a working experimental methane generator and are using data gathered from the operation of that unit to design what we hope will be a much improved and more efficient fuel-producing waste digester.

The MOTHER EARTH NEWS staffers are also engaged in the construction of at least two "alternative" energy vehicles at this time (early 1974). Both are two-place, ultra-light urban automobiles. One will be powered by homemade methane and the other will run on electricity generated by MOTHER-operated windplants and solar collectors. The machines will be tested during the summer of 1974 and there's a possibility that a third (steam powered) version of the car will be put together a little later.

Why? Because, except for freak and short-term situations, the era of inexpensive gasoline is surely a thing of the past. And we aren't going to completely design the urban sprawl out of our nation overnight. And, until we do rebuild the Unified States and Canada in a more environmentally sound manner, our citizens are going to continue both needing and wanting personal transportation.

This particular project is designed to find out whether or not renewable energy sources can safely (from both the planet's and the people's standpoint) satisfy that demand.

12/6/2007 7:24:25 AM

The efficiency of an steam engine is 7% and requires more sun energy now for this the additional solar power panel is require and addition to this byecicle charger is required.

12/6/2007 7:16:53 AM

Considering the efficiency of an steam engine is not more than 7% where to produce the steam will enough too..... and for the day light solar panel is also required and you must add one more charger i.e. bicycle charger where you can support additional.

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