21st Century Energy

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
3l
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21st Century Energy

Post by 3l » Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:08 pm

Hi Folks:

The century has just started and trouble is everywhere.
Energy is high and the powers that be are helpless in the supply department.
The Prez sez that in thirty years it will be all right.
Right! Freeze thirty years in the dark. Sure thing Mr President.
What a dumb yuppy !!!!

What to do?

Give up?....Naw!

A Republican friend lamented that he was just nuts to be sucked in by this posser (Bush) ....so he I and brain stormed a fix to the current mess.

Steam power but in a new upgraded form release 2.0.

Use renewables to make steam to power generators ,hybrid cars , heat water and heat the house.

I know what you are thinking isn't steam horrendously expensive? At appropriate scale it is relatively cheap compared to IC engine generator set at today's gas prices.

Don't steam plants have to be huge to get economy of scale?

Only if you are powering New York City does scale matter due to the quantity of electricity required.

21st century steam technology will differ greatly from 20th century steam technology.

A Small List!

#1 21st century Plants will be small 10 horsepower or less vs 20th century 10 MW or more.

#2 Plants will run on small quantities of renewable fuel like cardboard,wood chips ,concentrated sunlight,shelled corn, charcoal bricketts,alcohol,hydrogen,logs,republicans (shrubs and bushes ...Pun inside), fusion when ready, or fusion
hybrids vs coal and standard nuclear.

#3 Plant costs - 21st century under 3 grand vs the 20th century 2-3 billion for a large scale megaplex.

#4 Plant location - 21st century plant could go in a closet or basement vs 100 to 200 square acres fo a twentieth century
Plant site.

#5 21st century plants have no vunerable transmittion lines (in Katrina all main power lines were destroyed in minutes of storm
winds over 120 mph)

#6 No Security problems like a 20th century nuclear plant.

#7 No middlemen to jack up the prices of the electricity.
(Children's Mercedes are so expensive you know)

#8 You control the horizontal, you control the vertical.... energy at your whim.

#9 21st century steam will be drastically more efficient by using the process heat generated by the Rankine Cycle to heat and cool your house and heat water in a water heater vs the 20th century megaplex that simply discards the excess heat out cooling towers.

#10 The cost of a small steam plant 3,000 dollars vs solar electric panels and windpower is no contest. 6 kw of solar panels @ altenergystore.com is $24,000 dollars ,windpower in the 10 hp range is about 20 thousand bucks.

#11 a local plant of 10 hp could charge the battery of your hot wired hybrid with an overnight load of fire wood.

#12 only small releases of greenhouse gases totally offset by growing you own fuel. (I intend to grow privet hedge shrubs.... fast growing.. low to the ground ....easy to harvest....a weed in Mississippi)

#13 To prevent insane costs of feedback control in the steam equipment 60 cycles is out... >= 400 cycles is in.
Smaller turbines run best at higher RPM .
You could run them at higher RPM ...just rectify the output to DC.
The turbine could be run in shorter periods just long enough to charge the car and house batteries.

#14 Small turbines require smaller boilers..hence you can get away using a shell and monotube boiler. A shell can be as simple as
a cooking stew pot and the tube can be schedule K 3/8" copper tubing. You can view this very setup at Dangerous Labs website in Colorado.
http:\\\\ www.dangerouslaboratories.org
(goto power generation then click on homemade boiler)
Brakeline steel tubing runs a dollar a foot in 25 foot rolls at Autozone in 3/8" size. It should handle the 250 Psi steam.

This is equivelent to an "M" boiler that model steam train enthuseists have used them for years. Check them out at
http:\\\\ www.livesteam.com

#15 Steam plants can be fired up and running in minutes and are not subject to night,rain,cloudy or windless days like other alternates.

#16 When the fusor is ready just wrap the copper or steel tube around the reaction vessel and vola a working energy system.

#16 Alergic to turbines but still want to steam without building totally from scratch.....steam piston kits

Exerpted from Marine Steam Engine Section

The single-cylinder "M" requires a boiler of about 30 square feet of heating surface, and should be able to supply about 250 lbs. of steam per hour--that's about 1/2 gallon of water per minute. The engine produces about 4kw of electricity when connected to a generator.

More expensive but more realistic

A 3" x 5" x 4" compound steam engine conservatively rated at 10 h.p. A very robust engine capable of many hours of hard work.

The 3454 is a compound version of the "M" engine. This engine should do a good job in boats from 20' to 30' and would require a boiler of about 30 square feet or one capable of producing 250 lbs. of steam per hour (that's about 1/2 gallon of water per minute).


http://www.tinypower.com

More to come!

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

3l
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Re: 21st Century Energy Part #2

Post by 3l » Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:07 pm

Hi Folks:

Originally I used 10 hp as my design goal but even as low as one
HP could greatly supplement a house. The one horse setup used by Dangerous Labs uses easy to get industrial components with no developement headaches. A one Hp setup to be replaced by solar would require 745 watts of panels about 800 dollars of panels and about 600 dollars in lead acid batteries.

Exerpted from Tinypower under Model Steam Engines

A two-cylinder version of the 109, the 110 will produce 50 amps using a 12-volt automotive alternator, making it a good choice for keeping batteries charged for the homesteader.

The base is a heavy aluminum casting, and the main bearings and eccentric straps are cast in bronze. The crosshead guide, cylinder, cylinderheads, piston, steam chest and cover, valve crankdisc and the 8" flywheel are all of cast iron.

The connecting rods are fabricated from steel barstock, while the crankshaft is made of steel and is 5/8" in diameter.

The cranks can be set at 180 degrees, giving good balance and therefore higher RPMs and more power. Several of these engines have been built for charging batteries in remote locations and a least one was used in a small stern-wheel boat, using a chain to drive the paddle.

The #110 will easily produce approximately 1 h.p. It requires 3/8" pipe for steam admission and 1/2" for exhaust. Casting kit comes in two versions, either with plain bearings or with ball bearings (ball bearings not included). Photos above shown with ball bearings. $480.00 for the kit.

I tend to want a cheaper although more involved 10 hp turbine system. I like turbines ability to make more power with less.
Piston style steam engines require loads of oiling (dayly),and periodic maintenence to replace the steam rings (every 2 years) ,bearings (every 5 years or so).

A standard turbine uses high tech super alloy blades,Pressurized bearings, stator windings in the armature with hairy slip rings....for a half million GE will drop it at your doorstep.

A small turbine would use a single turbine set with a rare earth magnetic armature with field coils around but not touching the armature. Magnetic suspension using ring rare earth magnets
would levitate the turbine,axel,and armature (ala Medocino Motor). With this set up only errosion on the turbine blade set would be a cause for maintenance (with proper material selection 20 years or longer).

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

ebeuerle
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Re: 21st Century Energy Part #2

Post by ebeuerle » Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:22 pm

Definitely a neat idea!!! Except I heard that steam was dangerous due to potential explosions but I guess at this small scale it wouldn't be too bad. Now all you need is a good supply of burnable fuel. I doubt you could grow hedges quick enough to generate enough fuel to keep a boiler going. Let me know if you end up building/buying a complete system using steam. I would love to see it in operation.
-Eddie B.

AnGuy
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Re: 21st Century Energy

Post by AnGuy » Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:07 am

>The Prez sez that in thirty years it will be all right.
Right! Freeze thirty years in the dark. Sure thing Mr President.
What a dumb yuppy !!!!

My understanding is the Bush and Cheney are very aware of Peak Oil and that they are concerned about triggling a pre-mature panic. As soon as the US acknowleges PO, there will likely be a global panic to deal with it. Some will go to war to secure, people will hord it, and the Middle East will likely be taken over by Islamic fanatics. What would you have them say: "Dear Americans, The planet is about to run out of energy. Five out of six people will die and suffer starvation and there is nothing we can do about this. The planet is only capable of supporting about a billion people without fossil fuels."

The bottom line is that its way too late to make adjustments. Its just not possible to support 6 billion with out fossil fuels. If the administration tried to start up big program to fix the infrastructure, it wouldn't be too long before the world recognizes PO. "Dear congress, we need to implement a massive national construction project to replace our highways with rail, build fifty new nuclear plants, 100 Coal-to-Liquid plants, and stop all wasteful using of energy. Oh, and we can't tell you why."

>I know what you are thinking isn't steam horrendously expensive? At appropriate scale it is relatively cheap compared to IC engine generator set at today's gas prices.

Actually I also was looking into Steam. The issue is that it would never work on a national scale. Only for those that have the mechanical sense to operate them. The majority of the population has trouble operating a car. IMHO, hybrids are stupid. they depend of battery technology that sucks. In a couple of more years when all the owners of new hybrids have to replace the battery will also soon understand why they suck.

> Plant location - 21st century plant could go in a closet or basement vs 100 to 200 square acres fo a twentieth century

How about an Apartment and Carbon monoxide?Then there is the issue with transporting all the fuel to operate these everywhere? The average american home has less than a acre and don't forget about land need to grow a garden for food. The reason why centralize coal fired plants may sense is because you can use rail to transport the coal, skilled people operate and servicing the plants 7 by 24 and the exhaust can be scrubbed to remove nasty pollutants. Coal is dirty, Wood doesn't grow fast enought, and Steam is much too dangerous for the average american to use.

>http://www.tinypower.com

Also see Reliable Stream at:
http://www.pioneer.net/~carlich/RSE/RSEhome.html


>The turbine could be run in shorter periods just long enough to charge the car and house batteries.

It takes time for the temperature to get up high enough to run a turbine or piston driven engine. This is why steam was replaced by IC for transportation. Steam works best if you can run for long periods. Batteries are also a weak point in the system. they wear out, and contain toxic stuff. I just think batteries and other replacebles will become non-existant after the petro-collapse. I wouldn't consider any personaly energy system that requires brand new replacements for twenty years. With your steam engine you could stock spare parts and bearings. All you need is the know-how to replace them.


>The cost of a small steam plant 3,000 dollars vs solar electric panels and windpower is no contest. 6 kw of solar panels @ altenergystore.com is $24,000 dollars ,windpower in the 10 hp range is about 20 thousand bucks.

Steam is probably the best option, however it does require access to fuel source and lubercants. Wind will be close second if you include the costs assocated with fuel and maintance for steam.

Another option you might want to consider is using Gasifers which use any carbon based fuel (coal, wood, straw) as a source to generate producer gas to run a IC engine. I still think FT is a way to go. You can use FT fuels to to power any vehicle on the road today. Its unlikely that you will find businesses selling replace parts for hybrids, or for any vehicles in a post-petro civilization. However there will be a virtually unlimited source of abandoned cars to be taken or used for spare parts. All you will need is fuel and charged battery. Got FT?



>Brakeline steel tubing runs a dollar a foot in 25 foot rolls at Autozone in 3/8" size. It should handle the 250 Psi steam.

Probably, But I would consider using High temperature stainless, since its likely to last longer in post petro-collapsed civilization. If nobody's driving cars, there isn't likely going to be auto-zones either. I suppose you could salvage breaklines from abandon cars. Just make sure you have a plan to do that or stock up with replacement tubing.

MARK-HARRISS
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Re: 21st Century Energy

Post by MARK-HARRISS » Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:09 pm

Anyone have information on that stirling cycle motor that had no moving
parts and was 30% efficient?. It apparently used shockwaves in a gas
across a heat exchanger that looked like steel wool or something. The
plan was to use it on oil wells to compress natural gas into liquid form.

If I recall correctly it looked like a tuned 2 stroke exhaust pipe bent into
an oval ring.

I'd be more inclined to experiment with Stirling motors for power and
cooling food.

MARK-HARRISS
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Re: 21st Century Energy

Post by MARK-HARRISS » Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:11 pm


DaveC
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Re: 21st Century Energy

Post by DaveC » Sat Oct 15, 2005 12:29 am

Interesting link Mark , thanks.

It's two years later. Has anything commercial happened? Seems so simple... not really an issue of exotic fab or mysterious econ, if the principle is valid.

Like a lot of rrrillly, rrrrillly exciting co-generation projects of the 80's and early 90's, that didn't find the pitfalls for a few months/years of operation, I wonder what else we need to know about this?

Regarding low power steam engines, I am sure that for some residential and small commercial applications, in the right climates, (like enough sun, or some other thermal source, etc) there is a case to made for these. As llittle as a kW of electrical output, for some hours a day will make a measurable dent in your electric bill. But.... you have to give your economics a bias, by taking the R&R credit, in order to get a positive result on your project's balance sheet.

Using scrap parts and lots of free labor to get a system assembled, does not constitute a way out of the energy dilemma we are entering. But it could well solve individual problems and that is a good start.

What the nations of the world need is energy in the QUADs to QUINTS (1E15 ,1E18 BTUs or whatever is your fav unit.)., This is a serious issue, and if one starts too late in addressing it, we will not have the capacity to build energy converters fast enough to avoid shortages. But these could be a good wake up call.

Still, it is one thing to have lots of nuke powered electricty around, and another thing to have something to drive on the highway. The electric vehicle as currently conceived ( batteries and chargers) is as dead as the Dodo. A fuel celled vehicle with only an electric energy supply, is just a battery in disguise... You still need the electricity. One needs to do simple math here and estimate the ratio of total energy consumption to current levels of electricity consumption. That will give an idea of how much the system has to be upgraded.... that is a rather awe inspiring, if not frightening number. I estimate in excess of a 20 fold increase over present all forms of electricity generation. In terms of nuke to total it is over 100 to 1. In other words, nuclear electric generation is now only about 1% of total energy conversion capacity.. all industries, forms and etc.. Converting all of the 99% to modern nuke.. is a formidable task.

Food for thought..

Dave Cooper

Dave Cooper

3l
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Re: 21st Century Energy

Post by 3l » Sat Oct 15, 2005 4:48 pm

Hi Ag:

Nice to hear I'm not paranoid here.
I'm moving to a 10 acre plot to grow fuel.
Yes it takes time to steam but with no oil what else will there be to do?
Your point on batteries is well taken ,I will nurse them along till they drop dead then melt them into shielding.
Yes most folks can't run steam that is pretty much a given.
Model steamers have been running out of their closets and basements for years with proper ventalation... if oil fails apartments will be dark caves
barely more than a cave in a hill.
My experience comes from model railroad steam engines.
BTW we used charcoal to run our trains... less black smoke that way.
I have about 10 years of active steaming behind me in the range of steam power I have talked about.
SS tube of course will be better,I'm trying to widen the apeal of low power steaming. It seems like a natural fit with what we are doing here.
Batteries make for shorter steam runs but when they are gone continious steaming comes next.
The 5 hp Roberts turbine looks like a way to go.
ditch the gear box and tie on a an alternator and you have about the device I'm pursuing.

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

3l
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Re: 21st Century Energy

Post by 3l » Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:11 pm

Hi Dave:

All valid points .... I posted this low power steam idea because of the current lack of leadership. By Golly ,they had 30 years of warning but the goverment only acts when it's house is on fire!
I'm afraid like Richard Hull it is a lost cause, the ship is sinking...
who gets space on the life boats?
I want to get my stuff together before UPS folds,Walmart closes shop ect. I'm selling the intown house finally and moving out of the city. Mean times are coming. Mad Max may not be just a movie anymore. The big solutions take years and years to develope...I think this president is gonna circle in his jet until chaos breaks out. Convience of living may be gone with the wind. My uncle once told me " Be a pessimist on life that way you won't be dissapointed" . The old coot always had food and creature comforts but little else. Wow I'm headed that way .

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

3l
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Re: 21st Century Energy

Post by 3l » Sat Oct 15, 2005 6:10 pm

Hi Folks:

Some steam but an interesting website...something completely different.
http://geetel.net/~turbojer/index.htm#where%20to%20go

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

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