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start up times

Re: start up times
August 12, 2022 10:23AM
Doing an energy balance, we find that heat does not make electrolysis any more efficient. I know people who did a lot of electrolysis making oxygen onboard nuclear submarines.

The following numbers are just 'fer examples' and not indicative of real-world results:

Suppose we feed 1 kilowatt-hour into an electrolyzer filled with cold water. We might get hydrogen production with 1/2 kilowatt-hour and we will also heat the water by a factor equal to 1/2 kilowatt-hour.

Electrolyzing the same amount of hot water might provide hydrogen production equal to 8/10 kilowatt-hour and also heat the water by a factor of 2/10 kilowatt-hour. This looks more efficient, but it ignores the amount of energy necessary to heat the water in the first place. When you take that into account, you end up with energy out being equal to energy in. From an economics point of view, hot electrolysis can be attractive if you have a source of heat that doesn't cost you money -- maybe solar energy, or waste heat from an industrial process, or thermodynamic cycle waste heat. That said, even with these free sources of heat, you will still not get more energy out in the way of hydrogen than you put in as electricity.

EVERYTHING comes down to the First Law of Thermodynamics. TANSTAAFL. You can't create or destroy energy, but can only convert it into different forms. (we'll ignore Special Relativity because when that comes up we simply expand the First Law to cover E = mc2) Putting 100 kW-h to a system will not get you 150 kW-h -- there will only be the original amount of energy plus your additional kW-h. From an economic standpoint, it is a huge loser because boiler, engine, generator, and line losses will convert a majority of your 100 kW-h into heat, vibration, and noise. You are probably never going to get better than 20 percent of your input power back out of the system in the form of hydrogen. That BTU did not disappear, but it is no longer in the form we desire.

We run into a similar situation with those enthusiasts who want to use a steam engine to run an electrical generator to power the boiler -- the electrical output is much less than the energy needed to run the engine in the first place. It isn't just that Conservation of Energy is a good idea ... it's the Law.

I don't believe any government will issue patents on ideas meant to yield an energy output greater than the input -- this started back before electricity ... when inventors tried to patent perpetual motion devices. Every time such ideas come out in a form that looks plausible, it invariably turns out that someone is misinterpreting some variable.

If we employ the reasoning theorem 'reduction ad absurdium', we realize that an electrolysis system which produces more energy in the form of hydrogen than we feed into it in the form of electricity produces a car that needs no fuel whatsoever. We only need to put in enough fuel to get it started then if we make the generator and electrolyzer large enough, it would produce 100 percent of the fuel needed to drive the car forever. TANSTAAFL.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2022 10:36AM by frustrated.
Re: start up times
August 13, 2022 08:10AM
I love your rebuttals...

The laws of thermodynamics are thrown out the window with nuclear fusion. Hydrogen combined with Hydrogen produces Helium, more energy out than put in once you get past the excitation energy level.

I challenge you, how do you explain that?

Also, I'm a little disappointed you didn't research the atomic hydrogen furnace idea. According to a scientist at GE Schenectady, he demonstrated more energy out of an atomic hydrogen welder than what it took to split the hydrogen from diatomic to atomic hydrogen. Search atomic hydrogen welder and then look for GE, the maker of the welder. This welder can weld tungsten with it's great output of energy. However, the concept is controversial because the education community would say that the splitting of H2 to atomic H1 is reversible and one gets the same energy out as put in. The scientist at GE proved this incorrect.

Happy hunting,
Re: start up times
August 13, 2022 09:04AM
Rick I don’t believe him for one minuet.
You just can’t get more out of something then you put in; also converting something to something else requires energy. I think he’s having wet dreams at night.
I’ve seen more bad designs and errors in just about everything built by the so-called top engineers and experts and that was approve by other so called experts that approved the founding.
Re: start up times
August 14, 2022 02:14AM
Rick, the laws of thermodynamics are not thrown out the window with either fusion OR fission. As I noted in my last post "we'll ignore Special Relativity because when that comes up we simply expand the First Law to cover E = mc2".

Special Relativity works for both fusion and fission powerplants (whenever we actually get a fusion power plant). In a prospective fusion reactor, two isotopes of hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) are converted into a helium isotope have less total mass than the hydrogen isotopes -- the difference in mass being realized as energy production. (Note that deuterium is relatively rare and requires a lot of effort to isolate -- tritium is so much less common that we need to make it in fission reactors, which suggests that fusion reactors will not eliminate uranium or plutonium power plants).

As I noted, E = mc^2. Since c is the speed of light in a vacuum, it is a universal constant and therefore E (Energy) is equal to m (mass) in a fixed proportion with approximately one milligram being equivalent to 25,000 kilowatt-hours. Note that Mr. Einstein stuck in an equals sign, therefore Mass and Energy are interchangeable -- mass can be converted to energy and vice versa. In other words, mass and energy are one in the same according to Special Relativity -- which is what controls fusion and fission reactions.

So, when calculating energy balances in which Special Relativity is involved, we find that the First Law of Thermodynamics still holds true due to the extension for Special Relativity. We simply convert the mass before reaction into its energy equivalent and we convert the mass after the reaction into a similar energy equivalent. (or whatever bookkeeping entry we wish to make). That equals sign means that the total energy is unchanged because matter and energy are interchangeable.This is basic junior high school algebra, we juggle numbers in order to convert them to identical values on either side of the equals sign. When we account for the equivalence of matter and energy, the books still balance when using nuclear power. This has been recognized for about 100 years, so it's old hat. TANSTAAFL still holds because you are not getting something for nothing, the difference in mass proves that.

As for some scientist in Schenectady -- so what? Just how many peer reviewed experiments have verified his findings and have verified that the First Law of Thermodynamics is repealed? Remember Fleischman and Pons? I first read about them while I was on my first trip to Japan, so that would place their announcement in April of 1989. They allegedly "proved" cold fusion -- though to be fair it was the university in Utah that claimed that conclusion without their authorization. No need to await clear verification when free press and grant money can be had. Some other experimenters claimed that they duplicated their results, which showed how observational bias can mess with things. Then further experiments run with tighter controls, many of them, failed to find a thing other than to once again demonstrate that the sort of electrochemistry with which Fleischman and Pons were engaged is prone to error and a lot of verification is important. Let's face it, if thermodynamics were tossed onto the garbage heap by a welding experiment, there would be a huge rush in that direction and no one would continue putting billions into fusion research. The fact that people are pursuing solar, wind, OTEC, geothermal, fusion, fission, biofuels and the like shows that no one really believes that the First Law of Thermodynamics has been contravened.
Re: start up times
August 15, 2022 08:29AM
Enough of going down this rabbit hole, back to the main topic of this thread. I'll be going to the steam meet in October and willing to discuss some of these ideas over a bourbon (after a day of steaming).

Back to the start up times:

I don't agree that slow start up times was the demise to the steam car. As spoken about in many articles and by Jay Leno, the starter motor on the internal combustion engine was the true game changer. The wrenching effect of the kick-back on the starting crank was a deterrent to the car.

My opinion, the steam car could have been developed into a mainstay competitor to the internal combustion car. I personally have high hopes for a comeback, just in thought. I wouldn't make any bets at this point.

Today, the times have changed. Now we are putting all our eggs into the electric car basket. During the days of the starter crank and early development of the starter motor, the electric car was in the similar challenged state with battery charge life. However, the start up time was nothing. It wasn't until the Tesla company and Elon M. made it happen.

A steam car is a good solution for today's environmental challenges with it's external combustion along with the potential for long trips. Also, the flexibility on burning a variety of fuels some of which can be renewable/sustainable. Also, it has a purpose in aircraft engines. Pics of MTU design attached.

Re: start up times
August 19, 2022 07:40AM
An addition to the alternate fuels is to burn alcohol. Ethanol is C2OH and is considered an oxygenated fuel. Part of the oxygen for combustion is contained within the fuel. As a bonus, the stoichiometrics of the burn make it a good fit to use in an infrared burner.

As I recall, Henry Ford wanted to burn alcohol (ethanol) in his cars made by the farmers and Ford Tractors. Perhaps traction engines if things were different.

These could have been some of the developments to compete with the IC engine. As a side note, I'm a member of NY Steam Association. The meet was successful at the Pageant of Steam in Canandaigua, NY last weekend (about an 1-1/2 hour drive from my house).

Next year I promised to display/run my Steam Scooter and display my progress on the Stanley Gentleman's Speedy Roadster.

Re: start up times
August 21, 2022 03:23AM
I don't rate ethanol fuel with its built in oxygen as a good economic deal - why buy oxygen when it is free in the air around us?

Re: start up times
August 22, 2022 05:53AM
As far as actual history goes, the electric self-starting automobile didn't take off until Cadillac introduced the feature in 1912. By this time, there were almost no steam car builders left in the market. White had shifted to gasoline production a couple of years earlier. Grout went out of business in 1912 -- and had already shifted largely to gasoline engine production. For all intents and purposes, the only significant steam car builder in 1912 was Stanley -- and they were hardly a first-tier automotive company.

If you do some research, you find that everyone and his brother was trying to get into building horseless carriages in the 1900 - 1903 time frame, much like there were over 100 snowmobile manufacturers in the US during the 1970s. In both cases, the product was easily built and sold for a premium ... meaning anyone could get into the business and there were profits to be had. Of course, in both cases, there was a shakeout as a few companies proved to have superior competitiveness and were able to build more complex cars (requiring more investment) at cheaper prices, and to higher quality standards. The '03 shakeout really thinned out the ranks of automobile manufacturers, but it hit steam car builders to a much worse degree.

Steamers were already losing favor by this time, for a number of reasons.

1. Harder to operate. Most cars had sketchy controls and the driver needed to keep an eye on things like boiler water level. Unsurprisingly, a lot of boilers burned out. We can see this simply by noting the number of companies supplying replacement boilers.

2. More expensive. Hey, they were more complex. In 1903, the average gasoline engine had two cylinders, gravity fuel feed, splash lubrication -- and, if radiator equipped, often relied on thermosyphon cooling so that it didn't need a pump. By comparison, drilling all those holes in a fire tube boiler was a really time-consuming process.

3. Operating expense. Gasoline engines made big inroads on the West Coast in the 1890s when small boat operators realized how much less fuel they burned. You find articles in numerous automobile magazines in the early 1900s which mention that gasoline engines burn less fuel.

4. Startup time. By the time you got the pilot lit on the average steamer, the typical gasoline horseless carriage was already moving down the road. If your trip was just a few miles, the gas car owner was already at his destination while the steamer was still raising pressure. The electric self starter certainly made motoring easier, especially as cars were getting larger and harder to crank. But, most vehicles were still pretty tiny when the steamer market imploded, so that was less of a problem. If you look at advertising from the period, you find that one of the bigger attractions of electric starters was that they permitted women to operate cars more freely. This is about when electric vehicle sales dropped off, though they hadn't been that big for some time. Women were the biggest operators of electric vehicles and the self-starter put the gasoline engine on an equal basis. It also bought more people into the market since the country was a long ways from having electricity in each home ... with the attendant problem of installing a charger for the car -- and let's not forget the poor range.
Re: start up times
August 22, 2022 10:58AM
I am pleased this has gotten so much response. Creative thinking, regardless of how foolish it may seem, gets the wheels turning. You don't have to be an Einstein either. The"Father of Electricity ", Michael Faraday, never made it to trigonometry but Maxwell formed the equations that proved Sir Faraday's 'hands on' experiments. And it is said Einstein kept a picture of Faraday in his study.
Let's move on.
A recent discovery follows along Faraday's thinking, of which too few will realize trying to apply knowledge gleaned from others and established theory. Steam may or may not have anything to do with this unless an electric boiler might be considered.
Gadolinium is used as a "shield" between two like poles magnets. With a curie point of only 68°F it is ferromagnetic below that temperature and paramagnetic above. That's not a lot of heat to add or remove. Ice or compressed gas, (Co2, Nitrogen, etc), or even an electrically driven chiller could remove heat if parasitic depletion weren't too great. At any rate this motor/ generator could charge batteries and provide on board power for series hybrids.
Electric power is considered the most efficient heat transfer for boilers if, that is, it's connected to the grid. It'll delete batteries rapidly, however. But this power source promises some outstanding efficiency for whatever, even steam.
A YouTube video has been uploaded. It's crude but gets the idea across.
Gadolinium magnet shield
Re: start up times
August 23, 2022 08:08AM
I own two hybrid cars that I love to eco-drive (try not to upset to many people). One car I did not replace the brakes until 120,000 miles. That is a lot of braking energy recovered. As an addition to the series hybrid car, steam could be generated/stored as emanating from the braking effort. Again, I go back to high temperature electrolysis (HTE). The concept is that the boiler (steam generator) would act as battery.

I'm sort of curious that the Porsche electric front brakes did not take off. Here is a link to the history: Electric Porsche

Another adaptation would be to have the front wheel or back wheel hub generator similar to a magneto type generator to get high voltages. Again, better for HTE.

To your point of electric power to a boiler, this could be converted to infrared and applied directly to the water. Another example: Infrared Tankless Water Heater I'm seriously considering using this heater to supplement heat to my pole barn, workshop. It will use direct geothermal on cold winter days, primary.

Porsche definitely had some good ideas to make the car more efficient and environmentally friendly. I really like the hub motor/generator/magneto concept.

Mike, I have to say, "you're a trouble maker" smiling smiley I'm sure you know the benefits of burning an oxygenated fuel over strictly hydrocarbon. Bless your heart buddy.
Re: start up times
August 24, 2022 09:23AM
There's a hydrogen generator out there that used capillary feed that does away with bubbles that don't do squat for conductivity. It's sketchy information at best but if hydrogen is what you're after this seems a direction to go. 90%+ efficiency hydrogen from water. 27%wt KOH to water. Could it be paper? Cotton balls stuffed in a tube? Some exotic sponge of unobtainable alloy? Who knows. Could be just more hot air.

Thanks for your post.

Re: start up times
August 26, 2022 07:58AM
Thank you for your information. I would love to talk more about HTE in an environment where I could express all the assets and nuisances. If you can make it...come to the SACA Fall Meet in Berrien Springs MI in October 7, 8 & 9th.

On a more practical note:
I plan to give a presentation about Steam Engine design and the engineering behind setting up the valve. It includes the philosophies behind lead and lap including steam lap and exhaust lap. A lot of the information came from discussing this with Billy Barnes, the motorcycle land speed record holder for steam powered bike. And also from analysis of my 10 HP Stanley Engine. A preview should be coming out in an article I wrote in the The Steam Automobile Bulletin, shortly.

I was able to measure the angles on the crank. I plan to answer the question as to the purpose of this design, the Engineering behind it...revealed at the Meet.

Evan, thank you for inspiring this post. I look forward to meeting you in person at the Meet. Hope this inspires other readers to come to the Meet also. If you are interested in coming to the Meet and don't mind sharing your ideas, experiments and build progress; please message me or email me at rheinig@stny.rr.com for incorporation into the presentation schedule. Please, this is a no critic request and sincerely interested in what can be learned by someone(s) progress. I will need pictures at a minimum or pics of design or intent.

Trying to make this a stellar Steam advancement and history club...

Very best,

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