A Turbine Powered Future
In the 1962 Chrysler built a turbine car and also in 1977. http://www.allpar.com/mopar/turbine.html . In 2006 as a promotional stunt, GM built an "eco-jet" biodiesel turbine car. They promoted the car with Jay Leno. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/10/gm_and_jay_leno.html
Both of these seem far fetched to most people, however if you look beyond the basics to more advanced concept cars, you see a very interesting possibility of a turbine electric car.
Volvo recently built a environmental concept car that runs on turbine electric combination. Although, it is a gas turbine, there is no reason that a turbine car has to run on gas. Turbines should be able to burn almost any fuel. http://www.lacar.com/lenfrank/volvoecc.htm In the Xprize contest there is a concept car called the Velozzi which is a microturbine electric system. It is supposed to get 200 mpg. http://www.velozzi.org/
What is currently being produced are Designline buses which use a microturbine electric system powered by Capstone Turbine. http://www.capstoneturbine.com/prodsol/solutions/other.asp Designline is the bus company that is using the Capstone hybrid electric turbine.
Sometimes you wonder what would have happened if some more of the kinks were worked out in the early turbine cars. Things could be quite different now. Turbines can run on a variety of fuels.
There are examples of truck turbine engines. http://www.ttengines.com/home2.html
The M1A1 Abrams tank is built on a turbine engine platform. However, it is a fuel hog and probably could use an overhaul with a multi-turbine system or turbine electric sytesm. Tanks are basically tracked vehicles. There is no reason that heavy equipment like tractors, cranes, and other large wheeled or tracked vehicles could not use a turbine engine system .
Also for a while there was an attempt to build an efficient turbine powered train The Jet Train which never caught on in the United States.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JetTrain
On the smaller scale, There is the Marine Turbine superbike which is an incredibly fast high powered motorcycle. http://www.marineturbine.com/motorcycles.asp . Jay Leno has one of these too. It is kind of interesting. I didn't expect this.
A turbine is basically a type of engine and can replace many types of internal combustion engine.
More important than transportation is the use of turbines in windmills and other places. We are supposed to potentially get 10% of the United States energy needs from wind power which is intermittent. Wind power for the most part is generated from turbines.
Another possibility for energy is wave energy turbines.In New York harbor near Roosevelt Island, tidal powers are being tested. This has as much potential for energy production as wind mills. http://www.dec.ny.gov/environmentdec/35380.htmlhttp://www.dec.ny.gov/environmentdec/35380.html
To further make things interesting, there is no reason that turbine technology will remain static. New hydroelectric systems called Run of the River Systems are being developed that are much more environmentally friendly.http://www.dec.ny.gov/environmentdec/35380.html
Because I am invested in Capstone Turbine I have an interest in this kind of thing. Apparently Capstone Turbine with Heliofocus has developed a solar concentrator system which uses heated air to power a turbine instead of liquids.http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2008/08/03/65kw-solar-powered-micro-turbine/
There are other forms of energy which use turbine technology. Geothermal uses a steam driven turbine. There are also small scale high efficiency nuclear turbines. Biomass burning plants can use turbine systems.
I think in the long run, a switch away from internal combustion engines to either a hybrid turbine electric or all electric system would be beneficial. One of the main advantages of turbine engines is that they can burn any fuels. Another application of microturbines is in landfill gasification projects. Microturbines are an ideal platform to burn biogas from landfills as well as gas produced from solid waste like animal wastes to make electricity.
There is no reason that jet engines cannot use biofuels. Just to prove a point Green Flight International did an around the world flight on 100% biofuel. http://www.greenflightinternational.com/goals.htm
I see a greener future. This is a tremendous investment opportunity for those who are not afraid. It also could be hugely beneficial for the world economy not just the United States economy. I believe in a green collar future. Often the best choices in technology are not made, the ones that are expedient are the ones that are taken.