We covered compressed air vehicle, CAV here before and always wondered how they would stack up against electric vehicles, EV. The verdict is in.
The gist is that the idea of of using clean, fresh air to power a vehicle sounds like a good idea and certainly is a clean alternative but what goes around it is the problem, as we pointed out before. Compressing air with our current technology is highly inefficient.
The Achilles Heel Of CAV. Until we find a more efficient solution to compress air without losing energy, CAV will have an upward battle against electric vehicles, EV. A recent study from the journal Environmental Research Letters has also weighed in, compressing air with our current technology does not add up. In fact, it makes even worse than producing electrons and feeding them in an EV.
According to the study: “The life-cycle analysis of the compressed-air car, however, showed that the CAC fared worse than the BEV in primary energy required, GHG emissions, and life-cycle costs, even under our very optimistic assumptions about performance. Compressed-air energy storage is a relatively inefficient technology at the scale of individual cars and would add additional greenhouse gas emissions with the current electricity mix. In fact, the BEV outperforms the compressed-air car in every category.”
All in all, it might be a set back for CAVs until we find more efficient ways to compress air. Until then, as usual engineers and scientists will work at it.