Motorcycles

02 Pursuit motorcycle runs on compressed air

02 Pursuit motorcycle runs on ...
Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit
Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit
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Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit
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Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit
The 02 Pursuit motorcycle is based on the geometry of a current-spec 250 cc motocross bike and uses and the DiPietro air engine as its powerplant
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The 02 Pursuit motorcycle is based on the geometry of a current-spec 250 cc motocross bike and uses and the DiPietro air engine as its powerplant
Dean Benstead's air-powered 02 Pursuit motorcycle
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Dean Benstead's air-powered 02 Pursuit motorcycle
Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit
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Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit

A vehicle that runs on air. It sounds like a fantastic idea, but energy is still needed to compress the air and the losses that go hand-in-hand with converting energy still have to be taken into account, just as in fossil fuel-based propulsion systems. Pros and cons aside, we still haven't seen air powered transport make an impact in the race to find economic, environmentally-friendly ways to get from A to B. Industrial Design student Dean Benstead thinks that compressed air does have a role to play in the future transport mix, and he's designed a working air-powered motorcycle prototype with a view to exploring the viability of the platform.

Benstead's "02 Pursuit" motorcycle is based on the geometry of a current-spec 250 cc motocross bike and uses running gear from a WR250F and Engineair's DiPietro air engine as its power plant. In its current form it can hit speeds in excess of 62 mph (100 km/h) and, given that the first prototype was developed with a focus on design rather than engineering, Benstead believes that performance can be improved with further development.

"The concept evolved from research to sketches to computer modeling before the chassis and bodywork was built and fabrication at local manufacturer, Rinlatech Engineering, began," says Benstead.

"I wanted to explore the viability of compressed air as an alternative fuel, and my childhood experiences riding dirt bikes led me to design the motocross bike based around the Engineair engine."

Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit
Benstead worked with project partners including Engineair and Yamaha Australia as well as Simon Curlis and Automotive designer Marcus Hotblack at RMIT to create the 02 Pursuit

Benstead also sees the possibility of a marketable model based on the prototype emerging down the track.

"The next prototype would involve a total re-style, different material choices over the current steel tube chassis, such as aluminum or even a futuristic printed titanium, reducing the weight comparable to a heavy-duty mountain bike."

Dean Benstead's air-powered 02 Pursuit motorcycle
Dean Benstead's air-powered 02 Pursuit motorcycle

The 02 Pursuit will be revealed in a working demo at the Sydney Motorcycle & Scooter Show in Australia on Friday November 25.

38 comments
farzin.irani
what is the range of the bike in one tank full of compressed air ?
Slowburn
Already far better than any electric vehicle; its energy storage device wont loose capability an have to be replaced every few years, it fills faster as well.
Ken Waldron
Yet another compressed air engine. This is about the fourth one I've seen announced in as many years. None of them have come to market for a simple reason. They won't work. Compress air, what happens? The container gets hot. That heat radiates away. That is the energy you just put into compressing the air bleeding away. You haven't stored it. Don't believe me, get one of those compressed air cans for cleaning your keyboard. Use it for more than a few seconds and that can gets very cold, and the pressure drops. In order to use compressed air you need to add heat back. So add fins to the tank, but you still have a few problems. You need a very high ambient temperature, so forget using this in winter. If it's at all humid you'll get ice build up on the fins. Ice is a pretty good insulator. Either way, not enough heat input. All that cold air causes other problems. If there is any moisture in the stored air it will ice up your lines. It will also super cool your pistons/cylinders shrinking any gap, potentially causing a siezure. Insulate the tank you say. Then the pressure builds up very quickly and any practical size of tank actually has very little capacity. It's just not a practical invention.
Slowburn
re; Ken Waldron The cooling of the tank happen in accordance to the ratio of the amount of gas being vented to the volume of the tank. Those compressed air cans for cleaning your keyboard, are not filled with air but a low pressure compressed to liquid gas, usually used a refrigerant. Once the temperature of the liquid has dropped to below its boiling point it wont produce \"Steam\" until it is warmed. I have seen pneumatic tool fed CO2 from a compressed to liquid tank without any ill affect. The problem pneumatic powered vehicles have getting to the market is not with the technology; it is with the opinionated fools who won\'t give them a chance.
Lance Crain
@ ken...you need to do some reading and inventing, and less naysaying. First off, those compressed air keyboard cleaners ARE NOT compressed air. (how can you not know this?) Air motors ARE very practical... have you seen any workshop on the planet that doesnt have an air compresser powering every type of tool imaginable? I\'ve never seen a body shop close its doors because of cold weather. Never seen air lines ice up either. frictionless bearings? all use air. Storage tanks are lighter and hold more pressure than ever. How often do good quality air tools sieze? pretty much never if maintained. All good PRACTICAL pieces to the puzzle.
Keith Reeder
Ken, the Flat Earth Society is looking for a new president - you\'d be perfect. Seriously - you COULD NOT be more wrong about this.
Neil Larkins
Right you are, Lance. Air has been the tool-powering medium of choice for years because there are devices that address those various problems that have popped up, such as air driers and filters. The biggest problems for applying air to mobile/vehicular use have been, it seems to me, efficiency and weight, along with capacity. The more research into solving these problems, the closer we get to an ideal state. Innovation should always be encouraged. New and strong lightweight materials are being developed every day and new approachs to motor design and engineering - such as this di Pietro - continue to narrow the gap between \"it doesn\'t work\" and \"amazing how well it works.\"
Ken Waldron
Workshop compressors are not comparable, unless you plan on adding an electric compressor to the bike and a long extension cord. The tanks on a compressor act like a capacitor to allow the compressor to not have to keep running and smooth out the psi variances due to cycling. They don\'t fully cycle from empty to full and back to empty. And there are water traps on those things, because the air DOES cool and the water condenses causing all sorts of nasty issues. They also don\'t have the heat loss issue since they\'re at equilibrium with the compressor providing more energy as needed. Run the tank down without the compressor running and you\'ll find it gets cold. You\'ll also find there\'s not anywhere near enough air in there to run any kind of engine for long. Very low comparative PSI to what is proposed for these engines. Yes, those cans don\'t have compressed air, they have a compressed gas, same difference. They use those gases since they liquify at a higher temperature. That state change results in a dramatic hike in density and thus more is able to be stored in a can. Air motors work great when driven by a compressor since you have an equilibrium state and thus little cooling, and they run at much lower PSI. This a straight physics issue. Look up laws of thermodynamics, Boyle\'s law, etc. If you want that compressed gas to do work for you for any prolonged period of time you\'ll need a darned good heat exchanger and source of heat. I\'m not a naysayer. I actually thought of this solution as a way to keep wind turbines more efficient by compressing air when overloaded to keep the blade speed within safe parameters, and use the compressed air to keep them up to speed when wind is low. Put the storage under the Wind Turbine. But I realized it wouldn\'t work due to the reasons I cited. Put the tank in a large body of water and it might work, but you\'ll need to use some energy to keep the water flowing over the heat exchanger. Inventors who ignore the laws of physics are destined to be foiled by them.
Neil Larkins
According to VitalMX.com, he can ride around for 3 hours at 60kph on a tank of air. That\'s a little over 37mph, a figure which is more familiar to me. Since this is a motocross bike (I think it is...I don\'t know that much about bikes), high speed is not the aim, though power would be and it\'s likely quite powerful. Otherwise, why even build the thing if it can\'t be competitive? Nevertheless, that\'s 111 miles in distance traveled. I would guess that when that bike was gas-powered it didn\'t have much more range than that on a single tank of fuel. By a photo I saw on VitalMX.com, tanks of air are kept on hand and the setup looks like they can be easily and quickly swapped. Now, move those figures around a little and assume the bike is geared to go twice as fast, say 75mph. Can it then be assumed it will be able to travel only half the distance on that one tankful of air? Probably not because of increased wind resistance, but if so, that\'s still a respectable 55 or so miles on a single tank. Even if range is reduced to 50 miles, just add one more tank onboard and bingo! 100 miles on a single filling. Not bad in my estimation.
Albert Sudonim
The news here isn\'t \"air vehicle.\" It\'s the engine design. The DiPietro rotary-air is in it\'s 5th or 6th generation. It has been well demonstrated. It works. Power to weight ratio has increased with each development iteration. They are testing it now in a food market in Melbourne ... powering carts and forklifts & getting the exhaust fumes out of the building. If it pencils out in that environment - if they can prove endurance, performance and maintenance - it is suddenly an exciting product for development or licensing or whatever.