Seems people were even trying to use the expansion of "liquefied air", sort of like a steam engine.In the 70 and 80's there was much activity around air, hydrogen, CH4(natural gas/methane), propane, steam, wood, even batteries and solar.
It was the OPEC crisis, and solutions were in demand. When OPEC realized that the world may well discover a way to make them irrelevant, they relented.
Really, that's the only reason why. Their market manipulation was triggering much development. Whole countries were on track to switch to other fuels.
And also it made it worth the investment to develop technology for off shore and other sources of fossil fuels. A lot of methane sources were found too. They didn't seem to anticipate those two issues.
I myself was tasked with running a series of engine power dynamic tests using a propane/methane mix. The carburetor was modified so that it could use gas, propane or methane. Methane was cheap but a huge tank had no range. So it was filled 50% with methane and the rest with propane, which was at an OK price, but lots better range, but still not as good a range as regular fuels. When CH4 and propane went low the driver could manually switch to regular fuel.
The switch between the two gasses was automatic. The methane in liquid form, would boil off until it ran out, then only propane was left to boil off.
So, having some electronics background, I used a zirconium oxide sensor to feedback to a restrictor valve which would follow the changing fuel mix.
We produced a SAE paper on the subject, which I still have a copy of.
Range is still one of the biggest issues with these alternatives. In the case of compressed air, efficiency can also be a problem. But that depends to some extent on where and how you are compressing the air. This is also the determining factor in how green it is.