Originally posted by masonicon
How about Water fuel cell, Solar energy, Cold Fusion, and other alternative energy sources for running tanks and other armored vehicles? (forgot about
Nuclear fission energy)
[edit on 27/5/2010 by masonicon]
Water Fuel cells and cold fusion don't exist, and even if they do they're so secret that governments would never put them in tanks where thousands
of enlisted men would work with them, maintain them, and have full access to the technical diagrams.
Solar doesn't work for obvious reasons. Take an Abrams tank. It's about 9.7 meters long by 8 meters wide. The top is thus about 77.6 square meters.
At the equator, the sun shines down at about 600-1000 watts per square meter at noon on a bright sunny day. that's 77600 watts for the whole top of
the tank during the optimal period. Solar panels get up to about 20% efficient. That's about 15 520 watts of usable electricity.
To drive about in a useful fashion, the tank needs a 1,120 kW engine. Solar power from a tank sized panel under optimal conditions provides about 1.4
percent of that. You also can't camouflage solar panels because painting them is moronic.
Wind and hydroelectric are right out, and it should be obvious why.
Nuclear fission requires heavy shielding and probably can't be safely done at tank size. Submarines and ships have the advantage of being much larger
and having an ocean of cool water to dump heat into, as well as not having to worry about weight as much. Nuclear fusion hasn't been achieved in a
form that would be useful for powering a tank yet. There are also problems with radiation shielding and cooling and weight.
Ethanol is out because it doesn't fit with the supply chain and is too flammable to make a good tank fuel. Gas turbine engines like in the abrams can
burn it in a pinch, but it's not something that's likely to be supplied. It also has a much lower energy density than diesel, or even gasoline.
Biodiesel is a good choice, and is probably being looked into.
Hydrogen fuel cells require storing and transporting hydrogen, which is difficult because it has to be pressurized, unlike liquid fuel. It also
suffers from an absurdly low energy density compared to diesel, and tank designers would never sacrifice the range. Battery power is heavy, expensive,
and has terrible energy density, and requires a charging time that's much longer than refueling with a liquid fuel. Ultracapacitors have barely
1/10th the energy density of batteries, making them completely unsuitable for powering a vehicle. Flywheel inertial electrical storage is only on par
with batteries for energy density and has a risk of exploding when jostled.
External combustion engines like steam and stirling engines can't currently match internal combustion engines for performance per weight.
[edit on 2-6-2010 by mdiinican]