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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 9:46 am 
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The voice of reason
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Steam engines are external combustion instead of internal combustion. Since they don't burn fuel under pressure they don't burn any of the nitrogen in the air. I'm not sure of the effect on other things in the fuel like sulfur.

Natural gas is a relatively clean fuel but it does contain carbon and produce CO2, less than gasoline though. Our Republican Congress thinks that's zero emissions, but no one else really.

Hydrogen is zero emissions because you get water when you burn it. Where do you get the hydrogen though? There could well be a big smoke stack at the hydrogen factory.

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 10:31 am 
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Hydrogen is made by the electrolysis of water. So, input water and electricity get hydrogen and oxygen out. The question then is where does the electricity come from. Solar, Hydro, Wind.... zero emissions (ignoring the building the plant of course). Coal, oil, nuclear? not exactly zero emissions.


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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 10:38 am 
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solars about the only thing that would make sense.. but you wouldn't be able to get very far from home with a system like that.. the capacity of the batteries needed to generate hydrogren on board would be a massive space undertaking.. the whole system would be.

a thorium generator would be cool. But where the hell anyone would get thorium from is in the air to me.

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 11:09 am 
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Hydrogen is made by the electrolysis of water.


In theory, but not these days. That would be the case if we switch to hydrogen for the nation's cars. At the moment hydrogen is produced in various chemical ways from hydrocarbons.

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 1:00 pm 
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1055 wrote:
Are radioactive isotopes considered zero emissions?

Probably. Coal fired powerplants have zero emissions when celebrity enviromentalists are recharging their electric cars to get to the airport and their private jets, so why not nuclear too?
Kristian

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 1:11 pm 
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I mean the word emissions literally means discharge or production. Theoretically any chemical or physical reaction of any kind produces emissions. I guess it's just what kind you are more willing to stomach that really makes the difference.

still, the whole point behind a steam engine or generator is you need a heat source. heat is just released energy from a reaction - so as mentioned above - there is technically no zero emission 'fuel' in the world with the exception of wind, solar and water.

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 1:14 pm 
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I guess you could retrofit a natural gas hot water heater with propane components. even get a 40 or 50 gallon one and have sufficient fuel while remaining relatively low emissions. Though I have no idea how that would work in an automotive application. I doubt most residential hot water heaters are designed to travel any mph - let alone shoot for the world speed record.

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 3:01 pm 
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You get about half the specific power output from a steam engine compared to an internal combustion engine. That's if you do a good job.

So you have burn fuel at twice the rate per horsepower. Good auto engines can do better than 0.5 lb. per horsepower for an hour, but we'll use 0.5 for a round number. That means a steam engine will burn 1 lb per hour for every horsepower.

I think these numbers mean you can drive around town and on highways at reasonable speeds if you do a good job. Jack is able to run his car on a 35 HP diesel so you need to be able to burn as much as 70 lbs. of fuel per hour or about 10 gallons per hour max for normal use. Half that much for cruising.

You need to burn about 200-300 lbs. per hour to make a speed run though.

A water heater will run a steam engine, but I don't think you'd get more than a few HP out of it. An HP is about 750 watts, so you can imagine an electric water heater and know how much power it has, and imagine a propane one would be more betterer, but not more than probably twice as good...

I love the big steam locomotive in the Smithsonian in DC., they used to run the New York to Chicago run at 100 MPH. I figured the fireman had to shovel 50 lbs. per minute into the thing to do that. People more or less can't do this level of labor anymore. Imagine standing there on the deck plate, shoveling that much coal in a locomotive going 100 MPH down the track, sometimes in the dark!

The firebed on those units was about the size of 2 sheets of plywood, every shovel full had to land on a different place on the coal bed. The fire doors are steam operated by foot pedal and every once of extra air getting in there sucks power out of the engine and makes you shovel harder. When the door slams open you are looking at and feeling a good chunk of 100 square feet of coal bed burning at over 2000 degrees, it's not red or orange but a brilliant white. If you fail to hurl that shovel full on the right place and a hole blows thru the flame bed, big power loss and lots more shoveling to fix it up. The steam exhaust is being blasted into the fire stack to draw air thru that bed, it's a fierce fire and most of the heat is radiant.

The engineer controls this with variable valve timing actuated thru a steam servo cylinder the size of a 5 gallon water jug 30 feet from the control handle. Imagine a couple thousand horsepower of steam hitting those pistons on alternating sides of the engine for each stroke, connecting rods and drive wheel counter weights so heavy that a 400 ton locomotive pounding up and down vertically is setting your speed limit. These were truly magnificent machines and it must have felt like riding a wild animal up in the locomotive.

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 4:26 pm 
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I filmed this when one such steam trains came through town, it was awesome:

http://www.kimini.com/Video/Steam%20train%20movie.wmv

There's a Top Gear episode where Jeremy is shoveling coal on such a train and he quickly realized it's very hard work.

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 7:09 pm 
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Nuclear reactors and isotopes? My man trying to kill somebody. Good news, I have officially entered the build off, and I went to look at rear axles today. The challenge I am faced with now is trying to find a rear diff. I will not grenade under torque. Both gasoline, diesel, electric, and steam have instantaneous torque, but the difference is that gasoline and diesel need to be within in a specific rpm range to get full torque. Electric and steam have full torque at zero rpm. And, with me using a double acting triple expansion engine, torque could be in the thousands with fair ease. So, I had to down size the engine and steam generator, again, for the fourth time.


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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 7:21 pm 
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Ok everyone, as promised, here is my final design I'm entering the build off with. Its a modified Mcsorley chassis (its the only one big enough for my height) and side mounted water tanks. And yes, I know it looks insane.
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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 7:23 pm 
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This design came a really far way, now, Its time to have fun. Steam power rules!


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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 7:45 pm 
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Looks cool. I hope it works for you. What are you proposing to use for fuel in producing your steam? Are you thinking piston or turbine for the steam engine type? Have you ever seen the flywheel systems that they were proposing to use on buses in Europe? It's an interesting concept and you don't need to drive the wheels directly from the engine. I guess you could use steam/generator(s)/motor(s) too. I had my first ride is a Tesla recently. The acceleration is unreal. It was a 4-motor type with one driving each wheel, I believe. Bitchin' anyway.

Cheers,

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 8:46 pm 
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torque could be in the thousands with fair ease. So, I had to down size the engine and steam generator, again, for the fourth time.


Instead calculate how much torque the wheels can apply to the motor - a very different number. The only way you can generate thousands of pounds of torque with your rear wheels is if you park a large car on top of yours...

Your tires will generate torque according to the weight on them times somewhere between 1 to 1.25 or maybe 1.5 depending on how soft and sticky the rubber is...

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PostPosted: April 15, 2016, 8:49 pm 
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Triple expansion double acting steam engine driving the rear wheels, tesla turbine powering the electric generator, and eventually, through some dyno testing, the front wheels. Now, the zero emissions part comes in with the electric generator powering a electric heater in the back of the car( cant tell what type of electric heater yet, surprises man.)


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