An Environmentally Friendly Hummer?

Compared to your normal Humvee, Johnathon Goodwin's modded 2005 H3 Hummer is simply amazing. It gets 60 MPG (compared to 16 for your normal H3), runs on biodiesel (or almost any other oil/fuel available), achieves over 600 Horsepower (instead of the H3's standard 300), goes from 0-60 in five seconds, and uses a "Hydrogen Injection" hybrid system to cut the already low biodiesel emissions in half.

His secret? Combining small military grade turbines (jet engines) with new supercapacitor batteries. His next project is to convert Neil Young's 1960 Lincoln Continental to a hybrid supercar that gets over 100mpg. Wow.

You can read the entire neat story behind Goodwin's conversions at Fast Company. Pic via AutoblogGreen

Ugh, I am sooo sick of cries of "Shenanigans!" or "Fake!" or "'Shopped!" or whatever. Please, at least cite some evidence, other than your own closed-mindedness.
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Gas Turbine engines are not exactly known for high thermal efficiency, but they can be made fairly efficient (providing they are proper bearing design, minimum compressor bleed losses, and a REALLY good regenerator) within a narrow operating speed. Unfortunately this makes it impossible to handle the peaks and valleys of normal automotive driving. So he tacks the supercaps on to handle that -- they have excellent power density, but poor energy density (meaning you can theoretically cover just the transients with them and let the turbine cover the steady state portion of the drive load).

It's an attractive bit of powerpoint engineering with technology culled from Popular Science tidbits, but his promised end numbers are SO ABSURDLY high, it's evident he's speaking from his rectum. As someone who has actually worked on gas-turbine hybrid vehicles, I think he's gonna find the practical aspects a LOT tougher than he envisions. Good luck (but no investment money) to him from me.

Straight talk from Sid.
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Eh, high fuel efficiency and use of bio-diesel do not count as "environmentally friendly" if the thing still weighs as much as an H1 with all those extra gizmos. How much impact will it have over all the non-roads it goes on?

Besides, the biggest hazard of SUVs (in addition to their low efficiency and tearing up the wilderness) is their sheer size which leads to my having to get an even bigger car to see around them and their blind spots!

Meh. Pull another.
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c-dub, I did cite evidence in post #5, as I actually read the article two posts before yours. I guess you were too busy being close-minded to notice.
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Andrew, I read post #5, and there's no evidence there. Expressing doubt without citing cause is not the same thing as evidence -- and if your cause for doubt is just that he hasn't finished the project yet, well, then you are closed-minded. By definition.
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What evidence do I need to cite?

An engine that hasn't been built yet doesn't have any horsepower, and it's 0% fuel efficient because no matter how much fuel you put it, it's all wasted. He could make any outrageous claims he wants. There's no way to test them yet. But apparently some idiots will believe anything, because there isn't any evidence it's wrong.

The burden of proof is not upon me, but as long as you're asking, the numbers are obviously inflated. I'm sure the engine will be more efficient than what he started with, but I guarantee it won't come close to what he's "conservatively" projected.
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Are people still falling for this hydrogen injection crap?! Where does the hydrogen come from? Water. How much energy does take to get the hydrogen from the water? Was this energy factored into the "60 mpg"?

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You're not getting my point: by your own logic, your claims that it won't work are closer to being "fairytale bullsh**" than his are that it will – the difference being that you cite far less evidence than he does. He's been successfully implementing his ideas for years, gaining support of industry professionals all along the way, and you... well, you just read an article in a magazine.

"Shenanigans" is exactly right.
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Ugh, Sid. I'll say, "GM engineers are industry professionals," and you'll say, "The article doesn't say what KIND of engineers they were and besides, it doesn’t take much to be an engineer at GM, the company that brought us the Chevy Vega blah blah blah." I know the routine. My point still stands: simply saying something won’t work isn’t the same thing as demonstrating that it won’t. So I’ll let the guy with the wrench in his hand show me what he can do, rather than listening to blowhards on the web.
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Hah hah... I had to laugh at your last comment. I actually was a GM R&D engineer (Powertrain too, not windshield wipers) for 12 years, and I have little cause to doubt the quality of their engineers, especially GM R&D and the Powertrain guys.

If you read the article, GM isn't doing ANYTHING based on this guy's work. The closest it comes is 2 guys (and who knows what kind of GM engineers they were-- doorhandle release engineers?) at a hotel saying "nice job on the engine swap". Whoopee. I'm pretty sure very few people in GM Powertrain or GM R&D have ever heard he stuffed a Duramax into a Hummer H2. And getting it to work on biodiesel is frankly no big deal. The U.S. auto industry has been already moving (too slowly in my opinion) towards diesels (especially for trucks) because it's an instant sizable improvement in thermal efficiency and thus fuel economy. Additionally, the diesel combustion cycle is a whole lot less fussy than the Otto cycle regarding fuel specifications. As diesel carries an unfair public perception of high emissions (not true), touting up the "biofuel capability" is smart marketing. It's the same with the whole "Live Green Go Yellow" GM ethanol campaign -- everyone knows that very very few of those vehicles will ever see a drop of E85, but it's good PR (and it gives the manufacturers huge CAFE fuel economy credits).

Don't get me wrong - the guy can probably do very nice one-off engine transplants... quality Monster Garage type work. But his alternate engine statements are frankly goofy and anyone with knowledge in the industry will see that right away. As a lot of other folks have stated, if you want to "change the world" with good fuel economy and performance, starting with a way way too heavy Hummer is a dumb way to do it. That doesn't mean you need to use a SMART or Honda Insight, but how about a pickup engineered to be large and utilitarian, but (relatively) *light weight*? Mass is the killer of fuel economy, emissions, and perfromance. Anybody who tries to solve these three without tackling mass is windmill jousting.

Straight talk from Sid.
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Well, Sid, now you've gone and disarmed me with an entirely thoughtful response (although I do have to say that I predicted your "door-handle engineer" comment with startling accuracy). I happen to agree with much of what you said, at least as much as I'm qualified to understand (I had a bit of engineering in college, but not much). Again, I'll let the guy prove himself wrong. It seems like he's done some pretty amazing stuff so far – stuff I certainly haven’t seen before – so he gets my encouragement.

I think I do disagree with your statement that it's "dumb" to start with a Hummer. I think it's actually quite brilliant, because it demonstrates the power of the technology without alienating people who love their big, ridiculous truckzillas. Changing people's perceived "need" for massive, overly powerful vehicles isn’t his game, which is fine. He’s doing what he’s interested in, and good at, and that’s a net gain all around.
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I've got no arguments from the guy doing whatever he wants ... until he starts looking making outrageous technical claims, looking for investors, and suggesting Preston Tuckeresque style "big auto company" conspiracies against him. That's when I denounce him as being full of crap.

And, I know where you are going with your Hummer comments. I'm not advocating being a game-changer by cajoling people into all driving microcars. But so-called "light duty trucks" (which includes the H2) in the US are way way overweight. There has never really been much attention paid to getting their weight down. If you want to have sweet fuel economy and performance, neglecting the chassis mass is a major oversight. The guy is dreaming up a magic powertrain. As a powertrain engineer, I wish it was that easy. Gotta work on the whole system. Take a look at a Honda Insight. Yeah, it's a hybrid with a funky powertrain, but they also worked like hell to get the mass down AND reduce the rolling resistance AND reduce aerodynamic drag. The guy should work on a truck that's a real full sized truck, but acknowledges these as well. Lot's of (relatively) low hanging fruit in terms of mass. He's still thinking Monster Garage engine swaps. Ain't gonna happen.
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Hi Sid,

Again, I don't disagree. I think we just see the potential in this project differently: I see as more conceptual, a means of raising awareness about the kinds of issues that are popping up on these posts. Would it have made more sense for him to start with a more rational vehicle? From an engineering standpoint, certainly. But would it have been written up in "Fast Company" and posted on this blog if he had? Probably not.
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