Steam Cars

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marksteamnz
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Steam Cars

Post by marksteamnz » Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:38 am

Hi Muike
Check out the paper on Lamont Boilers on the www.stanleysteamers.com site
Seems to be the agreed best choice for compact size, buildability, some capacity reserve and easier control. Most Steam cars are running 400 to 1200psi to get the component size down. Is your 250psi inlet after the throttle?. Will you use a centrifuge as per Karl Petersen's site http://www.firedragon.com/~kap/SteamTopics/ on your single acting unit?
Could you expand on closed cycle noncondensing?
Sorry really interested in anything Steam Car! You can see my beast in theTours Heallesville section on the Stanley steamers site
Mike Kirney wrote:
marksteamnz wrote:Have you been to www.stanleysteamers.com or www.steamautomobile.com forums?
Haven't visited any forums but I have done a ton of research online. I've covered everything from the Stanley, White, Doble, fireless locomotives, ejectors, etc., etc. My concept is thus:

Inline twin cylinder, single-acting uniflow, closed-cycle, non-condensing, two-stage Cornish/Monotube boiler, variable cut-off, 250 psi inlet pressure, perhaps with a turbo-pump for steam recirculation
Cheers
Mark Stacey
www.cncprototyping.co.nz

Mike Kirney
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Post by Mike Kirney » Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:24 pm

Thanks for taking an interest Mark. I am fascinated by steam power as well, especially in an automotive context. I figure its okay to talk about steam here because this is the OFF-TOPIC forum, and we are not getting political (politics is composed of hot air, not steam, anyway). Before I begin to expound, let me tell you that I have not built anything yet, so this is all just theoretical, and potentially very naive. My idea was to have a tank of water/steam (like a fireless locomotive) heated by a fan-fed fire (ideally white birch as fuel). This water would boil and the steam (unsaturated?) would pass through a coil that would be heated by the flue gases. This would hopefully superheat the steam, or at least gasify the residual moisture in it. There would be no throttle, just a variably-timed cam or solenoid driven inlet valve (so cut-off could be adjusted). Steam would be admitted from the coil to the cylinder at 250 psi (higher pressures seem unecessarily dangerous and hard to build for). I did some calculations and at 17% cut-off, exhaust pressure would be about 40 psi, and at 50% cut-off exhaust pressure would be about 110 psi. In both cases the working fluid would be exhausted as steam, and not liquid water. This 'low-pressure' steam would be routed through a manifold to the bottom of the tank-type boiler, which would hopefully still contain a good deal of liquid water in it. Logically, it seems that when the valve opens to admit steam to the cylinder, there would be a moment of low-pressure and the exhaust steam would be allowed to bubble up through the liquid water and become re-heated. Theoretically, you could save a lot of energy by keeping your working fluid in the gaseous or near-gaseous state. A glance at the steam tables showed me that it takes 5 times as much energy to boil water than it does to simply re-heat steam. What do you think of my scheme, Mark?

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It's All About Lifestyle

Post by Mike Kirney » Tue Feb 10, 2004 7:25 pm

This concept engine of mine is intended to run at 480 rpm, driving a 60 Hz, 120 V, 200 A alternator, which will be used to run four smaller electric DC motors (one at each wheel). I chose this power point because this is what is supplied to my house by those privatized/blackout heroes Hydro One. My ultimate goal is to depart the bank/gov't/petro economy almost entirely by the time I turn 40. I want to plant a bunch of plum trees and make brandy. This I will use in place of currency whenever possible. When the car is in the garage, it will be fed water from my well and act as a combination water pump/purifier/heater and electrical generator. The exhaust steam will be collected in a steam/water tank so that my house can stay warm while I'm out driving around. This works for me because I spend most of my time at home. You poor suckers who have to go out to work will have to invent your own motors. Why wood fuel you ask? I own 110 acres of spruce/pine/maple/birch forest, that's why. Right now it is situated 100 miles from my residence so it costs about 40 bucks (one tank of gas) to drive my Dakota (w/ trailer) there and back, so that's about how much it costs to move 6000 lbs of wood back up here (not including sawing costs). Geez, I better go to an energy balance/cost-efficiency calculation on this.

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Post by marksteamnz » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:54 pm

Hi Mike (Sorry about the typo last time cringe/blush) Good concept of going off grid and it can be done. Check out http://users.olis.net.au/strathsteam/ Note about 10 - 15% of the fuel energy is extracted as usable power the rest is heat
Your idea of injecting the exhaust steam / water mix into the boiler isn't going to work unfortunately. The boiler will always have a pressure much higher than the exhaust steam so the return check valve will stay closed.
While you are right about the steam expanding in the cylinder and dropping in pressure it also has to drop in temperature so unless your exhaust can lower the steam temperature ie remove vast amounts of heat thus condensing the water so the exhaust pressure drops constipation will ensue.
From memory the temperature of the inlet steam minus the temperature of the exhuast steam all divided by the temperature of the inlet steam gives you the maximum theoretical efficency. (Temperatures in degress Kelvin) The beauty of superheating and higher pressures is it raises your inlet temperature.
If you are using monotube or lamont style boiler the burst strength of the tubing and the small quantities of water circulating give you huge safety margins. I had a 1/4 " steam line on a small monotube let go at 400psi (write out 100 times "I will not silver solder steam lines when I have no control of steam temperature") Mometary hiss sudden, loss of presure with minimal drama.
I recomend you take an old flat head Briggs and Stratton put a flat plate as a cylinder head, bore a couple of pockets over the valves, rig tubing to take the steam to the top of the inlet valve and then from the under side to the cylinder. Weld another lobe on each cam or put a 1 to 1 sprocket set on the cam and bingo a test engine.
Wind up 20 ft of steel tube light a fire under it . Put the garden hase with a needle valve to one end the other end to the engine inlet. Now you can have a real play with minimal $ invested.
Check the oil in the Briggs sump after 5 minutes or so. :-)
Cheers
Mark Stacey
www.cncprototyping.co.nz

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Post by Mike Kirney » Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:53 am

Mark, I would like to send you some drawings. Do you have an e-mail address? You can send a message to ame2000@lycos.com if you like.

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Post by pablo » Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:13 am

marksteamnz wrote:Note about 10 - 15% of the fuel energy is extracted as usable power the rest is heat
I read somewhere that good steam turbines (big ones) were around 70% efficient, maybe theyre just too big.
Pablo

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Post by Viv » Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:48 am

Thinking about Mikes idea for a power gen fed from wood and also hijacking the thread a bit (repost if needed?)

I was wondering has anybody ever run a wood firebox at very high pressure? basically a sealed pressure vessell?

It just seemed to me that wet wood (green wood)(fresh cut) is about 30% mouster content so it has to be dryed (seasoned) before burning.

Why not just burn it in a pressure vesell and feed the combustion products straight in to a piston engine or turbine.

And yes I know you have to pump in air but the energy ballance works? doesn't it?

Maybe even compound the engine with some extra air to burn off any left over wood gas

Viv
"Sometimes the lies you tell are less frightening than the loneliness you might feel if you stopped telling them" Brock Clarke

Viv's blog

Monsieur le commentaire

Mike Kirney
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Post by Mike Kirney » Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:27 am

There is such a thing, Viv, and its pretty low-tech. There is a guy in Australia who has a wood gasification website. He runs a carbruetted Chevy V-8 off wood gas he makes in a dustbin-like contraption that he carries around on the back bumper of his van. Sadly, I cannot remember the URL. I'm not sure if he uses green wood or seasoned. Green wood is much harder, but not impossible, to burn. Your fuel gas would be full of steam for the first part of your 'burn' if you used green wood. I burn green firewood in my woodstove because it is like 1/10th the cost of kiln dried stuff. I make a smaller fire out of this extremely dry cedar I have then when that is crackling along I will place the bigger chunks of fresh-cut birch such that they get good heat and air and have a chance to dry. You can see and hear the steam bubbling from within the wood as it dries. It can take 15 mins to over half an hour for it to dry out enough that it catches fire itself. A 12" diameter log or chunk of firewood takes about 2 years to season to about 12% humidity left outside but if you saw that same chunk into 2" thick boards they will only take a few weeks to reach the same dryness.

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Post by Bruno Ogorelec » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:23 am

Wood gas generators to power cars in lieu of gasoline were all the rage in the German-occipied Europe during WW II. here's a more modern version -- will fit your Dakota -- and a diagram of what the generator consists of.
Attachments
Wood_gas_generator.jpg
Wood_gas_generator.jpg (69.98 KiB) Viewed 6222 times
Mel_Strand_Truck.jpg
Mel_Strand_Truck.jpg (132.09 KiB) Viewed 6222 times

Hank
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Comtemporary Sentiments

Post by Hank » Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:20 pm

Hello- This post fits in with the mornings cogitations, influenced by Cnn while draining the mornings Coffee.
The drain on the Petroleum Reserve of this planet is projected, this year, to grow at a far greater rate than previously projected. The US is the greatest user, China a not too far distant second.
What are we to do? We live in a world of increasing population and finite (dwindling) resources.
I do not have the resource myself to follow up on what I consider a partial solution to the coming crunch. Perhaps someone out there can.
I proposed the use of Sodium as a fuel source in the 70's, when the depletion of Petroleum became known to me.
The engine would be a closed-cycle catalytic reaction. I never worked out any details beyond the fact that a fifty pound engine could generate 450 horse-power. Throttle of the reaction appeared to be the major engineering problem, at the time.
Hank

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Problem with biomass as fuel

Post by Andrew Parker » Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:38 pm

I find the discussion of gasification fascinating, however, while researching the subject a few years ago I was suddenly struck with a horrific possibility. I have included below my thoughts at the time, which I sent to the moderator of the Biomass Gasification list at CREST.org, John Holme.

Andrew Parker

> I found myself browsing through your biomass gasification list archives
> and I was hit with the realization that one very possible result of the
> successful commercialization of this technology would be a radical
> acceleration in deforestation. How much forest do we now sacrifice for
> paper pulp? What happens when we increase the demand in order to feed
> biomass gasification and cogeneration plants? True, they will settle
> down to farming for biomass, but not until they have exhausted the
> existing supply of wild forest. By the way, there isn't a more
> depressing site than to see a pulp tree farm where beautiful,
> sustainable, old growth forest used to be, clear cut and chipped, rather
> than selectively harvested, in the interest of economics.
>
> Whether at the household or industrial level, owners of these plants will
> look for the least expensive means for obtaining fuel. Is there such a
> thing as a "Green" charcoal burner?
>
> I do agree that this technology makes complete sense in the context of
> utilizing what is currently waste, but if you turn biomass into a
> commodity, the only distinction the market will make between waste,
> farmed fuel, and virgin forest is which one is cheapest to obtain.
>
> Anyway, keep up the good work. There is good and bad in everything.

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Post by Mike Kirney » Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:04 pm

My brother sent me some articles concerning 'peak oil' and the earth's dwindling reserves. Different scientists have different estimates of the date at which oil will become so scarce its value will skyrocket overnight and never come back down. Some say this is fifty years off, some say a decade, and a few others are convinced it will happen in the next five years. One guy is sure that the price spike is coming next year (2005).

Andrew, I have thought about just the same phenomenon that you have mentioned, that deforestation (which is already steaming along) will increase if solid-fuel engines and gasifiers become popular, but I think that coal will become the number one fuel again, although areas which have plentiful wood resources will naturally turn to charcoal. The boards you see in lumber stores represent about half of what is actually felled in the bush. The rest is mill waste or deemed unsuitable for sale. Of the entire mass of the tree (branches, trunk, roots, leaves, etc.), only about 20-30% actually gets turned into lumber and the rest is left to rot in the forest or the millyard, so there is a huge waste stream ready to be mined too.

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Post by tufty » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:22 pm

Viv wrote:Why not just burn it in a pressure vesell and feed the combustion products straight in to a piston engine or turbine.
Something like these, maybe?

http://www.gas-turbines.com/nt6/nt6.htm

http://www.smechgm.com.au/newtech/woodfired.htm

A google search on 'biomass gas turbine' turns up some interesting looking papers, too. Yeah, this stuff interests me, too. I can buy high humidity woodchips for next to nothing round here. Maybe a Tesla compressor and turbine fed on woodchips and hooked to a homebrew generator... Hmmmm. I don't seem to have enough hours in the day, let alone days in the week.

Simon[/url]

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Post by marksteamnz » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:04 pm

Hi Mike I emailed you direct but just in case here it is again mark@cncprototyping.co.nz or pav@xtra.co.nz
Comments in no particular order (hey it was my thread so I'm allowed)
Telsa gas turbines. Seen one miserable flop in Auckland as the efficency of a Tesla turbine isn't as good as an ordinary turbo wheel. Tesla's devotees standard response is you just have to follow Teslas dimensions accurately. Yeah yeah so do it and prove it, I'm still waiting. Phoenix navigation have been promising Tesla miracles for years. Note I agree they have there place ie discflo etc but their place is not gas turbines.
Gasifiers for petrol engines. My be useful in EXTREME fuel shortages but they are filthy bad tempered beasts producing a fuel with a very low calorific energy. Yep I built one based on the Mother Earth New's plans which would run only with air blown thru what was suposed to be the exhaust. The back fire when the thing lit back blew the clamp of the top of the fuel hopper and had neighbours stepping and fetching.
A company here built a run of gassifiers to use on vehicles but gave up and went to big stationary applications as no one would put up with the hassle of truck units
Now Steam powetred trucks and cars ahh that's the thing http://www.sentinel-waggons.co.uk/index2a.htm
Mike Kirney wrote:Mark, I would like to send you some drawings. Do you have an e-mail address? You can send a message to ame2000@lycos.com if you like.
Cheers
Mark Stacey
www.cncprototyping.co.nz

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Post by Bruno Ogorelec » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:31 pm

marksteamnz wrote:Telsa gas turbines. Seen one miserable flop in Auckland as the efficency of a Tesla turbine isn't as good as an ordinary turbo wheel. Tesla's devotees standard response is you just have to follow Teslas dimensions accurately.
Agreed! I think most enthusiasts of offbeat technology are doing their subject and themselves a disservice by putting it on a pedestal. One can see that with pulsejets on occasion. All those things have a place and in many cases (e.g. pulsejets) it remains to be defined, but trying to pretend they are wonders of teh universe is counter-productive.

Looking at the Tesla turbine (or pump, or compressor) I am struck by the simplicity, low technological requirements and resistance to abuse. They make it very attractive for some uses. There's clearly a place for such things -- primarily in applications for which a conventional turbine is unsuitable -- but let's not pretend that Tesla turbines are going to create a revolution. As a motive power they can probably win themselves a place equivalent to the place windmills have won in the field of power generation. They will be around but certainly not predominant or crucial.
marksteamnz wrote:Gasifiers for petrol engines. My be useful in EXTREME fuel shortages but they are filthy bad tempered beasts producing a fuel with a very low calorific energy.
Again, as with the Tesla turbine -- there is certainly a low-key place for such things. Someone like our Tundra Man can probably enjoy its benefits and needn't mind the disadvantages. But, you won't see them in the mainstream unless the entire world faces a big crunch.

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