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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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It’s people like Peter Dearman who make us great

According to latest figures, petrol sales slumped by 10 per cent this spring despite a dip in prices at the pumps.

Cars are getting more fuel efficient, but this is more of an indication of how cash-strapped the country is, how we’re cutting back on journeys, buying less, visiting friends and family less, spending fewer days out, which all impacts on the economy.

But all this looks like changing in the future.

A new form of cheap fuel has been developed and most importantly, the raw materials are widely and easily available.

The new system turns hot air into energy.

Well, it actually freezes air into a liquid, then uses that to power a motor.

Obviously, this hasn’t come from Shell, Exxon, BP, Amoco or any of the other big oil producers.

No, using air for energy is all the idea of a genius bloke in a shed in Hertfordshire.

Peter Dearman is what is termed a ‘garage inventor’, which means he tinkers about in a big room littered with engines, mechanical parts and bits of cable.

Actually, powering engines using liquid air was invented before the petrol engine, it’s just that Peter Dearman has developed it to such a point that he can run his car on it.

The engine operates by injecting cryogenic, or liquid air, into the engine to produce a high-pressure gas that provides the power.

A hydrogen exhaust leaves water vapour, but Dearman’s exhaust coughs out nothing but cold air.

It’s this sort of stuff that made and continues to make this country great: an individual with a curiosity a willingness to question, to tinker about and explore ideas.

People like Trevor Baylis, Tim Berners Lee, even James Dyson.

A major engineering firm has picked up the idea and a two-year test at a power station, part-funded by the Government, has been a success, but more money is needed to scale-up the scheme.

The money needed is not the multi millions and gazillions needed for turbines and nuclear, yet this system could be so much more efficient, longer lasting, much simpler and light years ahead environmentally.

So after all this time, there is a use for local and national politicians, just make them all meet in a walk-in fridge...

While I’m on the subject of fuel, technicians behind the nuclear dump plans for west Cumbria are sure that all this shale gas extraction at Blackpool (or fracking) is in no way going to cause any geological shifts up here in the future aren’t they?

Aren’t they?

Fracking is also planned for an area near Longtown and there are also schemes being floated for drilling down into our ancient volcanic rock and producing geothermal heat.

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