Blood-fuelled engines. The concept behind vampire cars.


Blood-fuelled cars

Currently, there are several well-known blood-fed cars like the sports car in Blood Drive [1] or the blood car, invented by Archie Andrews [2]. They are more or less invented in response to the rising prices of gasoline. The earliest example, however, is probably the most sophisticated of them – the modified Skoda 110 Super Sport, also known as the Ferat rally car [3]. It is also considered the only true “vampire car” and the following discussion is dedicated mostly to it.

Blood as an energy source

Is blood a good source of energy to power a car? In fact, it is not. While blood is rich in numerous compounds including proteins, it is also the main transport system for molecules, needed to fuel the body. These are mainly fats, ketone bodies, and glucose. As a car engine is highly unlikely to take advantage of all of them (including proteins) because this will require a complicated simulation of multiple metabolic processes, the most probable source of energy would be glucose.

Approximating from a typical donation, a healthy donor (driver) could lose about 500 ml of blood and will fully recover for one to two months. We should assume that this quantity should be enough for at least a 100 km drive. The upper limit of glucose levels is about 7.8 mmol L-1, equivalent to 140 mg dL-1. Therefore, 500 ml of blood will contain up to 700 mg of glucose. Assuming that a gram of glucose will supply 3.75 kilocalories, the energy from 700 mg will be 2.6 kilocalories.

On the other hand, the lower limit of fuel consumption of a car would be around 8 liters per 100 km. A gallon (3.9 liters) of gasoline would give 31.5 kilocalories or approximately 63 kilocalories for 100 km. This means that a blood-fueled car engine must be roughly 25 times more economical than an ordinary gasoline-powered one. Apparently, the glucose content in the blood is not sufficient to power a car engine, unless fundamentally different mechanics allow for a much more economical functioning.

In addition, a glucose-powered engine would require complicated processes to filter the blood and get rid of the rest of its components.

What else can blood offer?

Among many other functions, one of the primary purposes of blood is to transport oxygen, bound to hemoglobin. Oxygen is needed by most of the cells as a terminal acceptor of electrons in the energy-deriving processes, or in other words, it is needed to burn nutrients as a source of energy. Very similarly, an internal combustion engine also requires oxygen to burn gasoline or any other kind of fuel.

A very tempting alternative to fossil fuels is hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines, in which hydrogen is burned with oxygen and produces water vapors. Although it sounds like a zero-emission engine, because it uses air instead of pure oxygen, it also produces large amounts of nitrogen oxides, which is a substantial pollution problem.

Here comes the blood solution. By passing the blood flow near a membrane, hemoglobin releases the bound oxygen in a highly controlled manner, ensuring a safe combustion process and lack of any additional harmful compounds.

The basic design of a blood-powered engine

As we already discussed, the blood-powered engine is actually a modification of the hydrogen internal combustion engine. A special device in the driver seat punctures the femoral artery of the driver and draws out blood in a comparatively low flow. This blood circulates through pipes around the combustion chambers where liquid hydrogen is pumped. Under the low oxygen partial pressure, the oxygen from hemoglobin is released in portions and diffuses through a membrane, non-permeable for other blood components. Then, the blood is returned to the donor (the driver) through several of the hand veins, ensuring circling and continuous oxygen supplies with little harm to the driver.

  1. James Roland (2017) Blood Drive. Syfy
  2. Alex Orr (2007) Blood Car.  TLA Releasing
  3. Juraj Herz (1982) Upír z Feratu. Cinefear

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