Integration of compressors for air powered bicycles

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2020

9 Pages, Grade: A

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Table of contents

1.1 The History of Compressed Air Vehicles



4.1 Working Principles







Integration Of Compressor To Power Bicycle For Reducing Human Effort

Prof. Piyush Ashokrao Dalke

B.E , M-Tech (Mechanical Engineering)

ABSTRACT: This project is development of a viable experimental ''Integration of compressor to power bicycle for reducing Human effort'' in which we have utilized pressurized air for its working without any need of human energy. This product is useful for handicapped people and for normal persons also. Our design proposes and will successfully implements the use of reciprocating actuator which is actuated by pressurized air that provides reciprocating motion, which is further converted into rotational movement towards rear wheel with the help of sprocket chain assembly. Working of the bicycle is controlled with the help of switches. The concept of ''Integration of compressor to power bicycle for reducing Human effort'' in practice reduces the air pollution to large extent as its exhaust is nothing but air.

KEYWORDS: Air Compressor, Pneumatic System, Pressurized Air Energy, Eco-Friendly & Economical Bicycle.


Fossil fuels which meet most of the world's energy demand today are being depleted rapidly. Combustion products of fossil fuels are causing global problems, such as the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion acid rains and pollution. These factors are leading automobile manufactures to develop cars fuelled by alternatives energies. Hybrid cars, Fuel cell powered cars, Hydrogen fuelled cars will be soon in the market as a result of it One possible alternative is the air powered vehicle. Air, which is abundantly available and is free from pollution, can be compressed to higher pressure at a very low cost, is one of the prime option since atmospheric pollution can be permanently eradicated.

1.1 The History of Compressed Air Vehicles

- The first compressed-air vehicle was devised by Bompas, a patent for a locomotive being taken out in England in 1828. There were two storage tanks between the frames, with conventional cylinders and cranks. It is not clear if it was actually built. (Knight, 1880).
- The first recorded compressed-air vehicle in France was built by the Frenchmen Andraud and Tessie of Motay in 1838. A car ran on a test track at Chaillot on the 9th July 1840, and worked well, but the idea was not pursued further.
- In 1848 Barin von Rathlen constructed a vehicle which was reported to have been driven from Putney to Wands worth (London) at an average speed of 10 to 12 mph.
- At the end of 1855, a constructor called Julienne ran some sort of vehicle at Saint-Denis in France, driven by air at 25 atmospheres (350 psi), for it to be used in coal mines.
- Compressed air locomotives were used for haulage in 1874 while the Simplon tunnel was being dug. An advantage was that the cold exhaust air aided the ventilation of the tunnel.


Recent journals and various publications suggest that many experiments and investigations have been performed on the various methods adopted for achieving less costly and eco-friendly vehicles. These investigations have led to a better understanding towards the automotive sectors.

John Puchera et al. (1999) researched on recent trends and alternative policies to promote bicycling. They gave information about how the number of bicycle trips in the United States has doubled. Since 48% of trips by all modes in American cities are shorter than three miles. They published that how government of North America spends on bicycle facilities. But, as long as car use remains cheap and transportation policy remains dominated by motoring. Bicycles will be used primarily for recreation and not for daily urban travel in North America.1

S. S. Verma (2008) has investigated various advantages & limitations of compressed air vehicle (CAV). He has also given the information about the air powered moped which has been developed by an English inventor, James Stanfield. This has been done by equipping the scooter with a compressed air engine and air tank. He created the bike by strapping two high-pressure tanks onto the side of his Puch moped. He uses the electricity from his house to fill the tanks. The power is then "stored" there, much like a battery, ready for use. The tanks used are carbon-fiber tanks of the sort used by firefighters for oxygen. The top speed is about 18 mph, and a lot more power could probably be pulled by tweaking his configuration. A small gear on the end of the air drill, connected to the chain of the bike would make a much more elegant solution.2

In some of his other references S. S. Verma (2013) has investigated the latest developments of compressed air vehicle along with an introduction to various problems associated with the technology & their solution. He suggested various obstacles for developers & manufactures to design the engine of compressed air vehicle. He also suggested parameters like temperature, energy density, requirement of input power, energy release and emission control have to be considered for the development of a safe, light and cost effective compressed air vehicle in near future.3

Yashwant Sharma et al. (2018) has done research and development on electric bike. In his paper he has investigate reasons behind continuous use of unfriendly transport. He has identified electric bike as an easy travel for short to moderate distances. He also found potential barriers of electric bicycle and overcame it by using redemption Springer fork in front suspension with electric motor for assistance.4

Devashish Tiwari et al. (2018) has developed a hybrid bicycle with option of pedaling as well as pneumatic aid to reduce human power. In this the rear wheel of the bicycle was completely modified and carries all the much needed change. He has used slider crank mechanism to transfer rotational force to the pneumatic piston which works as air compressor for the air reservoir around the direction valve to the piston.5

Krishnamurthy et al. (2017) has found that people ride bikes to avoid walking and for personal used. In this he has turned bicycle into motorcycle by installing crank setup attached to the engine. He produced compressed air with the motion of the piston which is storied in tank which is utilized again to run the cycle.6

Mukeshkumar Prasad, Nilesh Nirwan (2016) has built a bicycle prototype that is capable of driving and balancing without rider. He has employed a control system to keep bicycle from falling over while in motion. For maintaining balancing he has used sensor input to detect tilt angle and correctly reacts to maintain position. The data was fed into a control system which outputs a balancing torque to a motor spinning the reaction wheel.7

Rajendra Beedu1, Ankit et al. built a design which involves the calculation of power required to run a bicycle at a known speed (say 10 km/h) and to develop a solar powered system to produce the required power. This cycle can run at an average speed of 15 kmph (without pedaling) with a maximum of 25 kmph with pedaling. The cycle was placed in sun light and was found that it requires 7.2 hours for fully charging the battery. But with electrical charging it needs 2.4 hours. The discharge time of battery theoretically is 1 hour. But it was observed that the discharge time of battery is 50 minutes and discharge takes place exponentially. The cycle was tested on plain flat road and a maximum speed of 15 Km (figure 5) could be obtained without pedaling.8

Prof. B. S. Patel et al. tried to develop a compressed air engine by modifying an 4-stroke, single cylinder SI engine by replacing the spark plug with a pulsed pressure valve, and using compressed air as the working fluid. The working of the engine is explained theoretically and the cost analysis is made which shows that the compressed air engine is cheap when compared to the conventional SI engine. Dr. Bharat Raj Singh and Dr. Onkar Singh conducted an experiment in which they used a vaned type novel air turbine as a prime mover for a motor bike. In this experiment they tried to gain an output of 6.50 to 7.20 HP for the starting torque requirements of 500 to 750 rpm at 4 to 6 bars air pressure to running speeds of 2000 to 3000 rpm using 2 to 3 bars air pressure. At the end of this review they conclude that the compressed air technology can be tested and developed using the Vaned Type Novel Air Turbine as there are minimal losses and practically their efficiency varies from 72-97% which is very high when compared to a conventional IC engine. Future developments can be made by designing an ideal vehicle for this kind of engine.9


- Limited Running time.
- Weight balancing is most important aspect while making such a bicycle.
- Product should be cost effective.
- As long as car use remains cheap and transportation policy remains dominated by motoring, Bicycles will be used as primary option. Hence, there will be need of promotion of bicycling throughout the world.

3.2 Existing System: Vehicle or bicycle running on Compressed air is already being explored. But, problem with existing developed inventions is that those vehicles are not capable of continuous run. Also, these vehicles or bicycles have some issues either with their weight balancing or their Capital cost of production.10

3.3 Proposed System: However, with the integration of compressor the same problem can be eliminated. Also, the problems like Light in weight, Safe, Cost effective, Etc, can be eliminated at certain level are possible by such bicycle.


CI engine is commonly used in vehicles are generally powered by gasoline, diesel or other that produces significant emission due to the combustion of fuel. Also in traditional bicycle lot of man power is required to pedal the bicycle. With the help of our project this problems are eliminated. In our project weight balancing and cost are two important factors.11

Figure shows the steps involved in building an air compressed bicycle. It begins with the problem definition. Each and every component is designed and optimum material selection is carried out. Compressor is assembled to the cylinder which supplies the air inside to run the bicycle.

Weight Balancing is the most important point that the cycle should be light in weight as well as must balanced thoroughly. The average weight of bicycle is up to 15Kg whereas two wheeler bikes have average weight of up to 130kg. Hence, project bicycle should be in between weight range by which a normal person can handle it easily. Also, Pneumatic cylinders or air cylinders are mechanical devices which use the power of compressed air to produce a force in a reciprocating linear motion or cylinders which converts pneumatic power into mechanical power. Compressed air forces the piston to move in the desired direction. Because air is expandable substance, it is dangerous to use pneumatic cylinder at high pressure so they are limited to 8 bar (gauge) pressure. Consequently they are constructed from lighter material. Because gas is compressible substance, the motion of pneumatic cylinder is hard to control precisely.

Cost effectiveness as the modern two wheeler like Scotty are easily available in market with very effective price range of 30-40,000 Rs. Hence, cost is another main point while Model design to make the bicycle cost effective.12

4.1 Working Principles

Today, internal combustion engines in cars, trucks, motorcycles, aircraft, construction machinery and many theirs, most commonly use a four-stroke cycle. The four strokes refer to intake, compression, combustion (power), and exhaust strokes that occur during two crankshaft rotations per working cycle of the gasoline engine and diesel engine.13

In our project, the compressed air tank of the bike stores the compressed air .The high pressure air is given into the air cylinder or actuator at required pressure with the help of valves which is connected to the sprocket. Compressed air has stored energy in it .Once compressed air enters into the actuator and it expands inside the space inside the actuator. This expansion of high pressure air causes piston to move in downward direction, due to this motion pedal sprocket start rotating. Thus linear motion of piston rod is converted into rotational motion through connecting rod and crank mechanism. In this way the pneumatic energy is converted into useful shaft work. Expanded air is then released into the atmosphere through an exit port as exhaust. The exhaust is usually just air and cool exhaust is generated. There is only one gear, which is just a sprocket bolted directly to the axis of the main sprocket and chained to the rear wheel.


Two pneumatic actuators of size 300x20 mm are fitted to the pedal of the bicycle. To support pneumatic actuators a frame is mounted on the bicycle. A compressor of capacity 300 psi,12 V , battery of capacity 12 V, storage tank and the solar panel is mounted on the carriage of the bicycle. Hose pipes are used for the connection between the parts. Pneumatic direction control valve is used to connect between the actuator and the storage tank. On/Off switch is mounted on the handle of the bicycle to operate the compressor.


First of all we took the measurement to locate the actuator position for movement of the bicycle pedal. To support the actuators we made a frame of metal strip. Initial for testing of actuators we arranged the compressor and storage on the carriage of the bicycle. We know that, to get output we have to match the stroke of the double acting pneumatic actuators. 5/2 pneumatic valves are used for controlling double acting pneumatic cylinders. They have 2 output ports, commonly designated A & B or 2 & 4. They have one inlet port, designated P or 1, and two exhaust ports, designated R & S or 3 & 5. In one position, inlet port P or 1 is connected to output port A or 2, while the port B or 4 is exhausted through exhaust port S or 4. This means the pneumatic cylinder is extended. In the other position of the valve, P or 1 is connected to port B or 4, and port A or 2 is connected to the exhaust port R or 3. This means the cylinder is retracted. The valve is shifted from one position to the other by various means; for example, a couple of solenoids or pilot connections. Many a time, one default position is achieved by means of a spring and the other through a solenoids or a pilot connection.

6.1 Equipments Used:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 1: Equipment Used


- Environmental friendly design as it works on air which will may be reduce air pollution to large extent.
- It can be designed as a pneumatic powered three wheeler bicycle in the sense that will be useful for handicapped people also.
- One time investment as it does not require any medium to run, it can be usable anywhere as works only on atmospheric air.
- Compressed air technology reduces the cost of vehicle production by about 20%, because there is no need to build a cooling system, fuel tank, Ignition Systems or silencers.
- Air, on its own, is non-flammable.
- Low manufacture and maintenance costs as well as easy maintenance.


- The maximum supplied air pressure during the experiments was limited to 4 bar, which is the highest pressure that small size air compressors can provide. The approximate distance covered by a bicycle for 4 bar pressure is about 1 km.
- As, from theoretical calculations with basic assumption of 8 bar pressure we have calculated distance covered of about 25 km but, In actual practice when we fabricated our project then we found that, the current compressor's output, i.e., Tyre inflator which we have used in our project is not much enough to operate the bicycle, as it can built pressure maximum up to 4 bar.
- Also, due to Budget point of view, the storage tank we have used has minimum capacity for storing compressed air.
- So, from our project we found that, the bicycle operates smoothly under high compressed air pressure output over long distance.


The model designed by us is a small scale working model of the compressed air bicycle. When scaled to higher level it can be used for driving automobiles independently or combined (hybrid) with other engines like I.C. engines. Efforts should be to make them light, safe, cost effective and economical for driving. Overall weight of product should be balanced. Efforts should be to make cost effective air powered bicycle design. Unfortunately there are still serious problems to be sorted out before air powered vehicles become a reality for common use. With the development in science & technology well supported by the environmental conscious attitude it will be possible to use such product for daily domestic use.



1 John Pucher, Charles Komanoff, Paul Schimek , November-1999 , Bicycling renaissance in North America? Recent trends and alternative policies to promote bicycling, IRJET.

2 S.S. Verma, Year-2008 , Air Powered Vehicles, The Open Fuels & Energy Science Journal

3 S. S. Verma, Year -2013, Latest Developments of a Compressed Air Vehicle: A Status Report, Global Journal of Researches in Engineering Automotive Engineering.

4 Yashwant Sharma , Praveen Banker, Yogesh Raikwar , Yogita Chauhan , Madhvi Sharma 02 Feb, 2018 , R&D ON ELECTRIC BIKE, IRJET.

5 Devashish Tiwari , Shubhagy Sahu , Rahul Verma , Priyanshu Sharma , Suraj Yadav, 21 June, 2018 , Design And Fabrication Of A Bicycle That Runs On Compressed Air, AJER (American Journal of Engineering Research).

6 Krishnamurthy M, Lohar Prakash , Sohan S Hegde , Obinna R Adiele , 05 May, 2017, Crank Operated Motor Bicycle , IJLERA (International Journal of Latest Engineering Research and Applications ).

7 Mukeshkumar Prasad, Nilesh W. Nirwan , 2 February, 2016 , Design and Fabrication of Automatic Balancing Bicycle, IJSETR (International Journal of Science, Engineering and Technology Research ).

8 Sawan Shetty1, Sampath S S2, Mohamed Mohtasim Sharafat3, Chithirai Pon Selvan M4, 2015, Estimation of Power and Mechanical Efficiency of Compressed Air Powered Quad Bike, AJER (American Journal of Engineering Research).

9 Patel Vivek B1, Raj Kumar2, Badgujar Nikhil A3, Vekariya Kinjal G4, Mr. Govind N. Patel5, 1, May-2017, Design Methodology For Compressed Air Engine,





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Integration of compressors for air powered bicycles
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PIYUSH DALKE (Author), 2020, Integration of compressors for air powered bicycles, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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