This is all about augmentations of human energy with electric power for cycling
as the most sustainable form of human transportations

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

135 km ride with support vehicle.

Having done 155 km in day during my long trip, I was keen on crossing 200 km per day which I felt was achievable by me provided battery charging is taken care of. Shankaranna who services my omni past ten years had installed a inverter in his Nano car and offered to join me. When we were finalizing our trip, he called his brother Mohan asking him if he will come with us.

I was scared of chilly weather and left home @ 6 AM with three layer of clothing and lights on. The programmable meter from Canada was restricting the power flow during wet & chilly conditions. So I switched it off till sun came up thereby losing power usage data during those few km. I could get the distance data from GPS. The usual road was dug up for up gradation and I used interior roads to reach NH towards Bangalore.

I was coming out of hotel after breakfast when Shankaranna & Mohan reached Uppinangady. There we kept the battery used till then for charging in Nano. They went inside the hotel for breakfast and I hit the road towards Nelyadi. Part of this moderately uphill road is one of the most enjoyable to pedal I found so far. Dinakar happened to meet us by chance and he gave proper road directions towards Dharmasthala. There are many interior roads in very good condition due to pradhana manthri graameena rasthe ......

There was a switch between Battery and inverter that started malfunctioning and connected cables became hot said Shankaranna and I felt it is a bad omen & will slow down our progress. Still we kept going forward & Dharmasthala, Ujre and Belthangady passed one after the other.

Passing Guruvayanakere I remembered old acquaintance Ranjan Rao whom I had not seen past twenty years. A local TV stringer chased us on motorcycle & caught us while we were having roadside discussion. There we happened to meet a staff of Ranjan who said he is in town & will leave for Bangalore later. So I decided to see Ranjan Rao and followed him. Later we found that he had already left for Bangalore and Smt Vidya Nayak whom we met arranged for battery charging.

Our TV stringer friend after making a video clip summoned a Udayavani reporter who interviewed me while my trike batteries were charging. A studio owner in Ujre had hopped onto bus following us and he caught us near Guruvayanakere and we couldn’t say NO for his request for photo. This has happened to me many times, being followed by photographers and common man. I had to oblige them without losing sight of my target which sometimes is very tricky & I do not want to appear rude.

By afternoon, we felt we couldn’t do balance of 200 km as we had done only about 75 km then. Shankaranna managed to set right the battery switch by then that enabled good charging from inverter but having lost precious time we were compelled to be satisfied with less distance.

So took Venur road and had lunch @ Venur. I took a photo of trike in the road adjacent to Gomateshwara statue. Later narrow road towards Manihalla crossed hills and valleys pretty steep both while going up and coming down. It was quite enjoyable.

Shankaranna was holding camera most of the time with Mohan driving and so could capture plenty of memorable videos. This is first time I was able to get hold of so many video clips & five of them are uploaded to youtube which can be accessed by clicking here. I meet people all the time who capture me with camera or mobile but I never have access to those photos. The shots I capture sitting on trike never show trike or myself. So these photos captured today are very valuable to me.

Six hours riding covered one hundred and thirty five km. Once in Belthangady I did forget to switch GPS on for some distance. Maximum speed of the day was 48.5 kmph with moving average of 21 kmph. Battery power consumed was 1500 Wh. Higher moving average and uneven roads resulted in more power consumed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pedalling reduces load on batteries

Months back I was working on e-assist cycling possibilities for my trike & once had a discussion with Shankaranna. He was very much skeptic that human input can displace battery usage and said it will use battery anyway. Later he admitted it is working after my demonstration, but I never got along to explain to curious onlookers who see me on the road.

At a given speed and throttle at particular level, I can see decrease in battery usage as I increase the pedaling effort that reinforces my knowledge but again it is not obvious to the non user. Yesterday the similarities of using biogas on diesel engines flashed in my mind. Having a gasifier developed in IISc, Bangalore, I have some experience in running diesel engines with Biogas and Producer gas.

Producer gas is a mixture of carbon monoxide and Nitrogen produced by burning biomass with restricted supply of Oxygen. So it gets partly burnt and is in gaseous form. Energy equivalent of one liter of diesel requires three kg of wood chips. The same technology was used during WW2 to run civilian transport.

The Carbon monoxide (Producer gas ) or Methane ( Biogas) is fed to the intake manifold of diesel engine and engine progressively reduces the diesel intake to the extent of 75 %. Similarly when I increase my pedaling effort, my Cycle Analyst meter shows the decreasing Wattage being used to propel the trike.

So presently my trike runs on human effort plus battery power. I am working on adding solar energy to the above inventory so that riding range is considerably increased. There are plenty of hurdles to cross and it is expensive too. Plenty of technical problems and right materials not available in India. Will keep looking for a breakthrough.