View Full Version : hydrogen

08-15-2003, 11:36 AM
so i was just reading the post about the power going out(whenever it goes out round here the wife thinks i did it,dont blame the operator blame the machine)and the post started getting into propane powered engines alternate energy ect.

so let me say first of that im not going to build anything crazy or blow myself up,i,ll wait till ive payed the mortgage off in about a 100 years, but wonder would it be feasable in theory to run a small engine say 100 cc on hydrogen

then would it be possible to produce hydrogen in the back yard using solar cells or 12 volt wind generator ,compress it ect .

08-15-2003, 12:17 PM
Possible in theory but highly impractical. First, the only reasonable way you could produce hydrogen at home would be by electrolysis. That requires electricity and is very inefficient (one third of the output is oxygen). Then you would have to store it. That would require a very expensive storage tank and compressor system. H2 is such a small molecule that it will sneak out through the walls of an ordinary tank and will also cause hydrogen embrittlement. Gaseous H2 has a very low power density so that to store a reasonable amount for household use would require a very large tank. H2 is very explosive so leaks in the system would be a serious safety risk. I don't know what mods would have to be made to an IC engine but they probably would be extensive.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-15-2003).]

08-15-2003, 12:26 PM
There's a good discussion on the production, storage, cost, and use of hydrogen here:

Hydrogen isn't very user friendly. It'll escape in a heartbeat, and blow up with the least provocation. The one nice thing about it is that once it escapes, it keeps moving up, instead of collecting near the floor.

It would be more practical to run an engine on propane or natural gas. The technology is already available for handling those fuels and using them in engines.


Al Messer
08-15-2003, 01:40 PM
You would find that producing "Garbage Gas" (Methane) would be more cost effective---if you didn't accidently blow yourself up!

08-15-2003, 09:36 PM
With that said let me tell you why,ic engines of any type will cost you a bare minimum of .28 per wh of electricity,and thats if you generate on a large scale (200kw plus)and sell your excess,industry uses engine driven gensets all the time to avoid peek demand charges especially in small foundrys.

Windmills,I was involved in the mechanical aspects of a five year cost study of two verticle blade units,cost lots of money(100,000 each)they would produce a total output of 5.6kw@190vdc approx.we found that maintaining them was quite expensive,they also had in place data loggers to record peeks and valleys,at the end of the study we found that factoring in all costs it still cost .56 per wh,in other words gold plated electricity.

Solar panels,theres a good one,the greenies love solar panels,why I don't know they are expensive,don't work at night and by and large polute more than the save in the form of heavy metals,Don't have a figure of what the exact cost would be but it ain't cheap.

With all of this being said I just got ast months bill and I paid .12per wh,need I say more?

As far as generating your own power I would not,but I would look for ways to augment and conserve,Dad used to get on us boys royal if we left a light on,most kids now think nothing of it.As for solar energy use it for things like making hot water and not producing power directly,I am right now designing a system to augment my hot water heater with solar,if it works it will be cheap and efficient and will automatically switch back to grid power at night or in cold weather,we'll see.

08-16-2003, 12:15 AM
Standby generators are not used to save money. Weirdscience is correct about it costing more that getting it from the power company. It is really a question of do you want power when the power company can't provide it or use candles and whatever else to get light and cook. I like to stay cool, Air conditioning, and have the conveniences I have grown accustomed to. Having power for days after a hurricane or other power outage problem is worth the extra expence it cost me. Maintenance of the generator set goes on even if you don't use it.


08-16-2003, 12:54 AM
Hydrogen is NOT that dangerous, or at least it does not have to be.

Saw a program years ago on hydrogen powered cars. They debunked the tank problems very well.

Turns out that if you adsorb H2 onto certain materials it will be held at low pressure, and release easily, but again not at high pressure. I forget which material was found best.

"Adsorbing" means essentially that it sticks to the surface area. So a high surface area material, like an open-cell foam, if H2 sticks to it, you can store a lot in a reasonably small volume.

They showed a test, hydrogen vs gasoline. Put a tank out, partly full, and shot a bullet into it.

The gasoline tank essentially exploded and burned, big fire.

The adsorbed gas hydrogen tank had a flame coming out through the hole in the tank. Yes, it was a couple feet long, and yes it was hot. But, it wasn't a 15 foot diameter roaring fire like the gasoline.

08-16-2003, 01:24 AM

I suggest you read the article that Winchman linked to.

08-16-2003, 07:23 AM
im thinking along the lines of what happens if you are washed up on a desert island with a bunch
of eco twits who have banned the emissions of co2 with your lathe milland all your tools and lots of other junk and need to get a smalloutboard engine running in order to escape back to the real world and eat some red meat ect.

what would Macgyver do ?

08-16-2003, 10:47 AM
He would collect all the **** in a pit. Cover it with a layer of wide leaves with sap to join the edges to form a methane proof cover. A hollow bamboo tube would be stuck into the top of the reactor pile. Out of this tube would come combustible fuel gas, kinda like a massive continous biological fart. This would be fed to Gilligan's left over Seagull outboard trolling engine with the prop removed and belt (twisted hemp, a no-no in the US) driven to a 6 watt bicycle generator from the fold up cycle they used for when they were in port using a pulley made of an unused piece of coconut shell turned on a lathe made of a left over pencil and a paper clip that was stuck to the water destroyed map. When the phase of the moon and the impending solar eclipse was just right it would be possible with a spark gap transmitter using the magneto of the Seagull to alert the authorities that an attack on the liberian power grid was pending.

PS: The Liberians haven't had power since 1992.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-16-2003).]

08-16-2003, 11:31 AM
It might be possible to generate your own power for less than what you're paying for it. It all depends if the folks at Idealabs can pull it off. See here: http://discover.com/aug_03/featfire.html

I highly recommend reading Fuel From Water, which is a how-to manual for running things off of hydrogen. http://lindsaybks.com/bks/hydrogen/index.html

Here's a discussion on steam powered cars which got side tracked onto the topic of hydrogen powered cars: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=127604&perpage=50&pagenumber=2

08-16-2003, 11:33 AM
Well as for the island if theres food and water I would kill off the ecotwits and stay,Gilligan was slow,he should have wiped out the hard leg and shacked up with Ginger and Mary Ann http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
Ever wonder why the Liberians don't have power?or why most of Africa doesn't have power?Because they are more interested in killing each other than having a/c http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif
Like the man said its up to us to save Africa from the Africans http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif

08-16-2003, 11:54 AM
Evan, I am well aware of the dangers of H2, and the extreme wide flammability range.

But you yourself drive around with gasoline enough in your car to completely take out a skyscraper if halfway properly carbureted.

Shakin in yer boots yet?

Didn't think so.

The deal is to manage the problems. Gasoline in a mobile, thin, exposed tank at high speed is the stupidest imaginable design. Almost any hydrogen system would be no worse.

Big starter difference is gas vapors go down and collect. H2 goes up and dissipates.......

The adsorbing tank works, no amount of articles can disprove what is a proven fact.

Having H2 floating around loose is a problem in enclosed areas. A taggant odor would be in order.

Did you know though, that if you let it loose, it eventually escapes from the atmosphere? True.

08-16-2003, 01:11 PM

Yes, I know. That is why we don't have loose H2 or HE in our atmosphere. I refer you to the Challenger for an example of the hazards of LH2. Yes, a gallon of gasoline is equal to several sticks of dynamite, properly mixed with oxygen and enclosed. It does happen but is not nearly as convienient as a few barrels of ANFO.

Storing H2 under pressure is a real problem. It will escape unless the tank is made of special materials and lined with special sealants. The hydride methods of adsorbing H2 are inefficient and expensive. This needs a lot of work. I feel that it is a solvable problem, but it ain't ready for prime time yet.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-16-2003).]

08-16-2003, 11:15 PM
For other stupid energy systems, besides the common auto gas tank, I refer you to Mexico City.

They use LNG, as I recall, and as a result have had sewer explosions that take out several blocks. They have had at least two, with major devastation.

Liquids which are not just volatile, but almost explosively volatile are just not smart to use. Liquid hydrogen is no different.

At least gaseous material does not have the energy density of the liquid.

I agree, the problems will be solved, after a few major explosions.

08-17-2003, 01:37 AM
O.K. Why don't we all eat chili from Wild Bill's West Texas Chili and store the gas caused by a natural reaction of a biologic organism. if you drink beer with this, you may increase the yield.

I remember some where about burning coconut husks to create fuel, and turning grandpas special corn distillations into usable car fuel. Didn't he Germans during WW II run their tanks on alcohol?

A few years ago, a liquid hydrogen tanker truck flipped over in downtown. They turned out all of the street lights, stopped traffice for miles, because they said this could have the explosive force of a small nuclear device. Never got to see it go bang, they off loaded the hydrogen and the city changed the Hazmat routing.


08-17-2003, 01:57 AM
People ran cars on producer gas, made in a tank on the car. Used wood I think.

You can get a Lindsey book on how to do it.

The liquid H2 could have created a cloud of gas over town. That would be a lot of hydrogen released, and it would boil off fast if it leaked.
If it went off, and it is flammable from like 4% to 97% mixtures, it would flatten things pretty badly. More so as it would be up above, due to lightness of the gas.

It is called a fuel/air explosive, and the military has that type bomb available.

08-17-2003, 05:03 AM
last I heard (and saw) was hydrogen powered city busses in vancouver british columbia.

08-17-2003, 08:47 AM
Evan, are you sure your real name isn't Rube Goldgerg? I was wondering some of the same things about hydrogen as discussed on this thread. I recently heard a conversation on NPR about computer models that show the possibility that releasing massive amounts of hydrogen into the atmosphere will cause just as many environmental problems as the current gasses being released. Oh well somethings gotta kill you.

I have the perfect solution to the power outage. A few years ago we had a severe storm that came through our area of NY and I was without power for about four days. After the prices of generators came back down I bought a 5000 watt coleman to run the basics at my house. That was about four years ago and I haven't had to use it since, even with the latest power problem on the east coast, I still had electricity!

08-17-2003, 01:32 PM
Hydrogen shmidrogen,I blame the Germans for this debate,they used it in their derrigibles and now they want to use it in cars,what is this sexual attraction they have with volitale gases? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

I can see right away that we will whind up with about thirty different fuel and electrical systems in this country if we allow the lunatics to run the asylum,"oh gee wiz I can't fuel up here,I don't have the right adapter"

I'm sorry but gasoline is much safer and will be for quite some time yet,also the only effecient way to manufacture hydrogen is from fossil fuel,did you know that all of the lox/hydrogen fuel for the space program is broken down from crude oil? Like Evan says breaking it down from water is grossly ineffecient.

08-17-2003, 08:20 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Samuel:
last I heard (and saw) was hydrogen powered city busses in vancouver british columbia.</font>

...and San Diego, and Tokyo (more to come from Dr. Ballard - nice man, btw).

08-18-2003, 11:34 AM
i have acopy of Weston Farmers "From my old boatshop"- there is a very interesting section on producer gas, good for slow displacement boats as long as you have a supply of coal,use other stuff and you will get there slower much slower.dont try and run a car on one.

what special linings do they use on hydrogen tanks?

saw an article on one of the alphabet news channels about a hydrogen fuel cell car GM was hyping , they were filling it from what looked like regular gas cylinders ,same as oxygen cylinders.

speaking of oxygen ,surly oxegen is pretty dangerous stuff ,but gets used every day?
more dangerous than hydrogen? same as ? less dagerous ?

would rather get a blast of hydrogen in the face while smoking a ciggarrete with grease all over the place , than a good blast of oxygen. not that i smoke,gave that up.

08-18-2003, 12:42 PM
I don't know what they line the H2 tanks with.

Now, for nervous making work try this. I used to work for a scientific glass blowing shop in the distant past. We ocassionaly had to make parts from quartz. Quartz, although it looks like glass is not a glassy material. It is crystalline. It melts like metal, that is, it stays solid until it reaches the melting point and then slumps, all at once. The real problem is the melting point is 1710 Celsius. This is white hot and above the range of oxy/natural gas normally used in glass blowing. For quartz a oxy/hydrogen torch is used. Lighting a hydrogen torch is a scary experience. The flame speed of hydrogen is really high and it can snap back into the torch body and blow it up. You have to get the mixture set before lighting. We would leave the torch valves set to a standard setting and not ever move them. Open all the doors and windows, turn on the fans and move all the glass work away from the glass lathe where the quartz was being worked. Then we would leave the building and let the master glass blower do his art. Always a big sigh of relief when he was done and the building was still standing.

08-18-2003, 05:25 PM
We used to make Hydrogen, at least I think it was Hydrogen when I was a kid by placing Aluminum in a glass soda bottle with water and lye. Gas bubbled off and was captured in a balloon. We tied the end off when full and it would float in the air. Never be enough for power production, but was fun kid stuff, back when safety wasn't so drilled into us.

08-19-2003, 02:20 AM
LOX (Liquid Oxygen) is super dangerous stuff. Spill it on rubber or asphalt and it explodes.

steve schaeffer
08-19-2003, 04:04 AM
make some moonshine with the neighborhood farm's sweetcorn. save a little for yourself and the rest for your alcohol burning top fuel funny,,,,generator? it can be done. but you still need oil to keep the thing working. alcohol is a bastard and very corrosive on the intake ports and valve stems. this is very doable at home though. this talk about hydrogen would be way too involved with the tanks, regulators, combustion controls etc. rube goldberg is rolling in his grave

08-19-2003, 11:10 AM
I couldn't help but chuckle when the folder for "Hydrogen" in the list of forum topics started burning.


08-19-2003, 05:54 PM
i used to put galvanised nails in hydrochloric acid put a jar full of water over the nails let it fill with hydrogen and let some one else light it .
quite a bang , never got caught,that would probably have qualified me for some real stripes on me back side .but i guess i did learn something from chemistry class.

reading more on producer gas the regular old clunker motor of you choice was essentially running on carbon monoxide and hydrogen, and made all kinds of nice other waste products .the old timers shure knew how to make reall dangerous, poisonous ect stuff that went bang occasionaly.

this is quite an informative thread here thanks for all the info.

08-19-2003, 08:57 PM
Okay,if anybody is interested,I ran into my favorite rocket scientist today(he really is)and asked him WTF are hydrogen tanks lined with?He said he didn't know for sure what they use nowadays but back in the Atlas/Vanguar era the storage tanks were lined with baked on enammel,the kind like you see on emammel ware pots and pans and that is what kept the stuff in check.He also said that during filling you had to pay special attention to the temps involved as not to crack the liner,they usually kept a small amount in a tank just to keep it saturated.
The real neat thing is that he also told me where one was if I wanted to look at it,I think I'll just do that(to damn interesting)

08-19-2003, 11:58 PM
Back about 20 or so years ago, Mother Earth News ran an article about a farmer in Iowa that powered his farm and shop with a combination of wind power and hydrogen derived from homemade electrolysis cells. It was a 110-120v. DC system using Edison batteries that were kept charged by several wind generators. Surplus current was used to make hydrogen from water, which he compressed with an ordinary air compressor and stored under pressure in a tank, which could be used in a hydrogen-fueled generator to keep the batteries charged when the wind wasn't blowing. There was a photo of one of the electrolytic cells, it was a fairly large square plexiglas tank that looked like it would hold about 10-20 gallons and contained a special arrangement of corrugated sheet aluminum electrodes bent up from old offset printer's plates. He claimed the only problem he had with storing hydrogen was that occasional flashbacks would blow the regulator off the storage tank until he installed an anti-flashback valve. Maybe someone in Iowa could look into this further.

08-21-2003, 03:32 PM
The Wearyied one (weird science) has summed it up very well. I built this home in the early 1970's-at the peak of the energy crisis. Laid it out for solar heating and rejection, I predicted gas prices would go to maybe at worst 2.00 dollar's per gallon and electricity would be expensive. I put in storage tanks for hot/cold water for use when the nights were cool and days warm. Roof is pitched for max heat collection (future solar heating). Then I figured, when solar heat was cheaper and better designed I would install those money saving things at lower costs. Was just waiting for prices to rise on electricity and gas. Never happened. They are way too cheap to waste time , money and effort trying to cut the power company out. I have motor home with 60 cycle generator that will carry me and the neighbors through power losses due to hurricanes, still rotate the fuel to keep it fresh. But, the market place has kept energy so low priced that un-conventional fuels are not worth the effort. Just my opinion but I can produce figures (they would have to be updated) to show that, unless you evade taxes, the pump is cheapest source of energy despite all the big companies rigging of prices- which they do all over USA.

08-21-2003, 08:52 PM
You know I was reminded the other day of the fact that the furtherest back I can remember the price of gas was 1979 back then I remember $1.19-1.26 as being average,so now 23-1/2 years later it averages(at least around here)$1.39-1.60 so that really ain't that big a deal,its a lot better than the average cost of a new vehicle,in 79'my uncle bought a new Ford F-250,351W,PS/PB/AC/rubber floor mat four-speed and towing package,off the lot $4950.00,today add 20,000,and for not near the truck.

08-21-2003, 11:33 PM
Hmph....cheap gas?

Drove out to CA years ago while in college (between semesters), was mad at the high gas prices out in the boonies of Arizona.....

Gas was way up out there, 43 cents per gallon. Almost double the city price.

08-22-2003, 12:32 AM
Goes to prove,Arizona is still in the middle of nowhere http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Jim Hubbell
08-22-2003, 12:34 AM
The first I remember gasoline prices in CA during the thirties was my dad asking for five gallons, tending a one dollar bill and getting a nikel change.

08-22-2003, 03:50 AM
Energy prices are ripping through the roof here as the Alberta Government has deregulated the Utilities. With our new 97% eff. furnace our gas bills this year were just a few dollars during winter - the connection charges, network update fees, and what not are nearly $40/month for gas, and $70 of electricity. They are about to start charging for water that falls on your property and any standing fresh water on your property. I am sure the oil companies (who use the most water in the province to increase oil production and prevent subsistance of the land) will pay nothing compared to households. Anything to screw us.

Alberta has huge wind turbine farms near Pincher Creek, btw. Windier than piss there... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-22-2003, 11:48 AM
I have saw generators running on Natural gas supplied via pipeline. In times of crisis they turn on. Not sure how long the natural gas would last thou, ain't it pumped? I have helped remodel some pumping stations.

Propane, they drop this 250 gallon tank in your yard. Now I know it will run a generator real good and clean. Spark plugs last forever it seems, no deposits.

Fart gas? mine is too noxious to use, would immediately rot out stainless steel piping.

I was working on a combined fuel, hydrogen with diesel injection. I ran out of money. No ignition source needed. The heat from the Hydrogen breakdown fires the diesel fuel. It looked clean in the tests. People here on this post told me I was nuts. "The Nazis used to launch-explode rocket planes powered on the stuff", etc. One drop of this, one drop of that. But around the normal home, HTH pool chemicals, chlorine bleach, gasoline, saniflush, motor oil.(all can have delayed and immediate reactions)... All can be deadly. just try mixing a few.. (no don't)

Making a distillery for Hydrogen peroxide is pretty simple lab work. It breaks down over time thou like the modern gasoline without the additives. 3 month shelf life.

Send me some money, we'll start work.

Ohh, in case you don't know.. To convert hydrogen peroxide to steam all you need is a silver screen catalyst and a pressurized source. Rockets work via pressure inert gas feeding a peroxide tank with a throttling valve to the nozzle-catalyst screen. Extreme expansion occurs.

My instrumentation background is needed to control via pressure-injection loop. Normal people trying to contain said in boiler would blow all to hell.

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 08-22-2003).]

08-23-2003, 04:06 AM

The natural gas will be pumped for as long as there is gas in Alberta (300+ years).

Hydrogen Peroxide is extremely dangerous in anything above a 10% concentration. In pure form it is unstable and explosive. Not to be screwed with lightly. When they were running the x-15 rocket plane they had many near fatal explosions with it.

08-23-2003, 08:53 AM
Lost in Space jet pack ran on the stuff. That would be a nice one to keep in your car in case of the next power outage, you could fly to work or home. Haha, just brain storming. Have a good one. Pat

08-23-2003, 01:59 PM
Jim H: I remember gas at 11 cents being high, 8 cents was low. This was in Texas, depression years and the price did include gas tax. Your dad paid 19 cents gallon. but lets think of 10 cents per gallon for us cotton pickers,

Cotton paid 50 cents for 100 pounds picked. a dollar a hundred was good even into the mid forties. A fair man picks 200 pounds of cotton per day. Kid- 100 pounds. Really good man can get 400 pounds in the best of cotton. Cotton in Texas/ new mex was not best cotton and wages were low. Arizona cotton was good but the bolls were small (long staple used for aircraft covering).

So our good man (at a dollar a hundred, from dusk to dawn) made 4.00 dollars or forty gals of gas. average man got 20 gallons, one tank full. So they made (figure 10 hours work)enough to buy two to four gallons of gas per hour.

I figure the worth of work in hours to buy something, blood sweat and tears. This morning regular gas was $1.72. so at four gallons of Gas per hour is 6.88 cents per hour for a high producer and 3.44 per hour earns 2 gallons of gas. Anyway, gas is dirt cheap compared to what it once cost.

Yes i know my thinking is from the stone ages, no one excepting aliens picks cotton by hand. And a cotton picking machine picks so much more (bales per day), but the cotton picking machine has to pay earn nuff for the farmer, operator, bank loan and still pay for the field hands that are now on welfare or (like me) using medicare insurance to pay bills. And cotton picking was not the lowest paid jobs in USA back then- Teachers were being paid in warrants, warrants discounted by 50 percent in places. Until energy and food prices go up , i am holding my opinion that things are less expensive today for most things.

I loved the freedoms we once had, but in general things are better today.
RAnt off.

08-25-2003, 09:18 AM
Cousin Thrud...

Well... the pumping stations for natural gas in Kentucky I worked on operated by electricity.

Positive displacement well? pressurized? Some of the lines ran at higher pressures then others. The expandors in comparision were just large cylinders-orifice that gave it a pressure drop across it.

The fire tapes they made me watch before hand were pretty cool. The 24"-36" trunk line melted aluminum items at 1/2 mile away while it was burning toward the sky. LARGE fire. And the sound rumbled the earth like a earthquake.

Then as Porky was sandblasting the instrument tubing coming off the side, I made sure the blocking valves were off. He didn't understand the danger of the thin tubing. Painters don't live long anyways, right?

I suppose if you had a positive displacement well it would work. But the distribution system probably would not. Most the yards have remote electrical valves. (my forte)

AS for Hydrogen peroxide, It'll burn you in concentrated form. Other then that, I don't think it is much more dangerous then gasoline. I purposely throwed a match into it. Biothermal breakdown produces most the oxygen that gives the danger.
You have to use poly, glass, or a lined tank since the metal tanks speed the breakdown. My Ranger truck has a poly tank, by the way.

Wasn't the X-15 dangerous anyways? that lil thing only had wings about 1/4 on the rear. Trying to fly with the flight simulator it had to land at 200+ and still was not stable then. I crashed more then I flew it. If they had flight simulators then, probably the pilots would not want to fly it for sure.

08-25-2003, 12:13 PM
The X15 was the safest X plane that ever flew. It flew 199 flights and only one pilot was killed.

Incidentally, the X15 used hydrogen peroxide jets for attitude control.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-25-2003).]

08-26-2003, 06:25 AM

The gas compressor stations up here either use gas turbines or Wakesha v-12's to power the turbine compressors. Everything is controlled through MCC's but they are fail safe systems - anything happens and it dumps the high pressure line to the flare stack. I was in a MCC control room when lightning struck a transformer miles away. The resulting electrical arcing (explosion) blew the 1/4" steel floor plates through the roof - they were all bolted down too! The clean up of the MCC took us two weeks - carbon tracking all over the damn thing! Melted glastic, shattered ceramic standoffs. The electrician that was outside by the truck thought the plant exploded and that he was dead for sure - he actually thought he was burning to death - until the flare burned out.

I was also at a site that blew off the face of the planet (this was just before fail safes were mandated) - the engineer told me that the blast was estimated at a kilo-ton. Those big Aluminum balls you guys have down there for LNG make a hell of a bang too when they let loose...

08-26-2003, 03:17 PM
I've been in West Coast Transmission's Compressor Station 5 many times. The compressors are giant 12 cylinder units with pistons the size of garbage cans. 6 of the cylinders are engine, powered by natural gas and the other six on the same crankshaft are the compressor. It is a scary thing to see the outlet pipe of the compressor, about 18" in diameter, glowing hot from the heat of compressing the gas. It then goes to very large radiators to cool it before going back down the pipeline.

08-26-2003, 10:55 PM
My brother worked as a diesil tech for Wauk,for about ten years,they serviced Wauk and Norberg as well as Saccim and Wartsillia.

He had pictures of a Norberg d/c genset that powered a fantail winch,the engine was a big 600rpm two cycle,the crew running the rig started up the engine and the control rod for the intake dampner broke and blanked off the pipe,before they could do anything it sucked flat!Doesn't sound bad right?But considering this intake header was made from 24"od pipe it was quite a problem.
I once saw a pair of five clylinder Norberg radials,they ran on natural gas and drove compressors that where mounted under the floor,the engines ran flat with the cranks verticle,this worked good on solid ground,but in some of that bayou muuk they made the entire building move,they had hell with those for years until the figured out how to route the supply and pressure lines so they wouldn't keep developing cracks.

Rich Carlstedt
08-28-2003, 01:25 AM
You know guys, the problem we face with the News media, is it is all hype !
For example, the GM hydrogen car cost is never stated...notice that ?
Wind farms costs are never stated...only "these windmills will handle 5,000 homes" yeah, right.
Hydrogen costs are never quoted.
Fuel cell costs never quoted.
Photo cell costs never quoted....you get the idea..
Now some facts...
I found out that the GM car costs just under 400,000 EACH..and of course, Uncle Sam helped put up the bread.
The cost of Hydrogen is supposed to be in the area of $30 a gallon (and I don't believe that number at all..too low. These guys have never gone to a welding store and priced gases!)

So as a project a few years ago, i researched photo cells as an alternative power source for homes...this was when California had huge energy cost increases.
This is what I found.
The cost per home to be self reliant for electric power, was $50,000 .
This gave you 24 hour coverage, with some Air Conditioning, and all appliances functional.
It included Batteries and inverters.
Then I looked at the total number of homes in California, and found that it would take the ENTIRE Photovoltaic INDUSTRIES(Foriegn and Domestic)15 years, just to reach all of California.
Now the cells only last 15 to 20 years
The batteries about 5.
50,000 divided by 20= 2,500 a year per home
but interest on the money (called cost of funds)would add another 1,000 ,so you have 3,500 bucks or 300 a month cost for power.
If you consume 800 KWH a month , then you have a cost of 37 1/2 cents per KWH ...but you still have battery replacement at 5,10 and 15 years and maintanance ! At 20, you start all over.

And with all this, photo cells still have an envirionmental impact, not only would ever house have a 600 square foot "reflector", but the heavy metals problems are still there
If you think this is expensive, wait till you see fuel cells !

Why this long dissertation?
Because the News makes it sound so easy
I like invention, but the hype and POOR reporting can stay home..

08-28-2003, 04:58 AM
The world has more than enough that each and everyone of us could have what we need to be happy, healthy, well fed, and busy with our favourite most enjoyable jobs...

...were it not for greed. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif

Don't get me started on uber-rich sphincter boys... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//rolleyes.gif

08-28-2003, 02:51 PM

Numbers are very unrealistic.

A complte setup with all the power "required" is under $10,000. I know several folks who have done it for $5000. All out in the boonies, with "farmhouse" requirements, not ultra-yuppie lifestyles.

My solar array is already 15+ years old and should last 10 more, as it has not deteriorated particularly.

All of us with battery/inverter setups have batteries that typically last 10 years, and cost $70 per 6V battery.

Anyone who uses PV electric to do A/C is crazy. solar heated absorbtion refrigeration is the way to go. It has been done at large tropical resorts, and works.

Not to say that that PV electric will be the panacea for all....but to lightly dismiss it as an impractical $50,000 to $250,000 per house is simply not doing homework.

Even the power companies are working on self-contained units for rooftaop, so they can sell you the unit and then sell you the power from it too......They obviously think it works, and they are right, so long as you don't live close to the arctic circle and have 6 mos of dark.

I ought to mention that batteries don't usually go "out" at 10 years, but they gradually decrease storage capacity, and increase leakage. They still can be used, but are less efficient.

Better than time is number of discharges past 60% capacity. Good deep cycle batteries will take 1000 such.
battery banks should be sized to minimize the number of deep discharges for maximum life.

But, in 20 years, normally you will WANT newer PV units, as the technology is getting more efficient and cheaper. The area of my old array puts out power that now can be had in half to 2/3 that area, meaning I could get half again the power out of the same array area.

[This message has been edited by Oso (edited 08-28-2003).]

Rich Carlstedt
08-29-2003, 01:22 AM
I am not to trying to be argumentive, but you are doing EXACTLY what the news media does ! low ball the numbers and make it sound great!
Let me explain.. if you want to sell photo cells, you must come to the "real" world.
Your friends are rural farm folk and not yuppies, I believe you said....well that is not the requirement for Photo power.

Rural folk have always been energy restricted and low consumers..
Yuppies want power and AC..so a quote of 10,000 is grossly inadequate, and a 5,000 quote is useless to most all electric consumers, since they can hardly program their own VCR, let alone "build" a self-sufficient power system..
(My comments pertained to the average electric power user and what environmentalists want to "reduce all power plants and highlines")
I totally disagree with your battery premise as well.
Use of a total energy system requires almost "daily" charge and recharge cycles...thats only 3 years time to reach 1000 as you mentioned.(5 years IS a realistic number)
Again, News media is aimed at normal folk and the truth not told.
While I appreciate your comments,mine were not about a suplimentry system, but a full blown self-sufficiency units...as expressed in most public communication.
And yes, watts per square inch/foot have gone up, but the price has also for these high output units
Also I did not say 250,000 dollars a home, but said 50,000 dollars

Here is a challenge..
Look at your electric bills over a course of time .
I have and this is what I get
1960's 550 KW a month
1970 " 600
1980" 800
1990 850
2003 875

If you are like me,and most other folks, your power use is increasing, and we as a nation must plan for this.

Keep this fundamental rule in mind:
"Anything done on a large scale is cheaper than small scale".

Think of "automotive manufacturing","farming", "fishing", "beef ranching", and in this case "power generation"

The argument of small scale power generation is deeply flawed !

08-29-2003, 10:34 AM
Richard: repeat after me:

5 years battery life is unrealistic, 10 is sensible

Don't discharge batteries 60% in 20 hours or you WILL have to replace in 5 years

A/C or electric stoves are not a sensible load for PV power

The battery bank has to be sized for no more than 20% discharge in 24 hours. Otherwise you will wear it out soon.

Of course if you do you will have paid very little as you have only a small battery, so replacement cost is also cheaper. Probably a "operations research" person could optimize that tradeoff.

The $5000 figure included some heavy labor for the array frame installation, but not every part of the installation. But, I doubt that labor will make it 10 times higher.

If solar were more "normal" instead of "special", things would be available and cost much less. This is the history of all sorts of new things that are now pretty normal.

Example 1:
The "computer desk".
When desktop computers first came out, you could buy a table for cheap, but let anyone know you could put a computer on it, and the price tripled. Everyone "knew" you had to have a specialized place for this exotic device, and so they paid for it.
Now, such a thing is laughable. No one stands for that kind of gouging. Plonk it on the kitchen table.

example 2:
When recycling ws first big, collecting trucks were expensive "specialized devices" with little bins and horrible space usage. It was just a "service" not expected to make money.
Now, my community recycles cans and bottles, plastic and newspapers. They use regular garbage trucks, and they make money at it.

example 3:
It took about 1 year for every portable highway sign in the US to be converted to solar electric. They didn't do this because they were more expensive to run than gesets.....nor because they would only run a few hours and then quit....nor because concrete workers are trained solar electric technicians............
Seen a generator anywhere in the interstate? Nope, they are too expensive and unreliable. The solar versions made sense, and have been developed into a trouble-free and universal solution. The first prototype one was probably pretty expensive, but they are much cheaper now.

Do you see a lesson here?

The people I mentioned run lights, well pump, fridge, washer, dryer (propane heater), and the usual incidentals from the solar, and have NO grid connection. They do not use A/C nor a large entertainment system.

They have about 3500 watts of continuous AC power available from the system , but could have doubled that at fairly low cost. Essentially they have the AC power that many houses used around about 1960 or so.

BTW, in response to a statement others have made, PV arrays continue to produce around 20% power on overcast days, so they don't "shut down" as so many claim, if the sun is not bright.

Perfect and all-encompassing? Not yet, but getting there. The more users, the more volume, the more interest, the more research, and the more likely you are to find systems at WalMart.

With all due respect, many of the people who discount solar and "prove" it impractical do so out of a desire for the answer to "come out right", i.e. to show it can't be done. They are not interested in facts, they have another agenda.

They always use the current costs, "to be fair", when many oif those costs are known to be high due to low volume.
They assume many limits simultaneously, which may actually occur separately.

Do not be taken in...people fly places in airplanes now......that was supposed to be an impractical plan too......provably much too expensive for any but the very richest......

And the vacuum tube was the last development needed in electronics, too....... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by Oso (edited 08-29-2003).]

08-29-2003, 12:30 PM
I have a good friend that up untill recently worked for one of the few hydrogen fuel cell producers. He runs test stands to test outputs ect. He is under the impression that the mass produced (and used) hydrogen powered car is a long way off. And no one is going to be making any hydrogen powered funny cars for a while. They just can't compete with good old fashioned IC engines. All the major car producers are working on it though. The really interesting fuel cell is the one developed at Los Alamos a few years back, that will run on about anything (methane, hydrogen, unleaded, ect).

08-29-2003, 01:08 PM
There are now available consumer level fuel cell packs. They run on ethanol. 1 litre of ethanol will produce 2 amps at 14 volts for 3 days.

Rich Carlstedt
08-29-2003, 09:13 PM
Sheer nonsense...Sorry, to break your ballon, but you are repeating what the Media touts !
for example:
Using your numbers
You say: "The battery bank has to be sized for no more than 20% discharge in 24 hours."
Which means
the battery "bank" needs to be 5 times daily load..

You say" They have about 3500 watts of continuous AC"
Which means this is a 84 KW per day (3500 x 24/1000) max

Now a 6 volt 200 amp hour battery needs 20 in series to produce 120 volts (for our scenario), so 20 Batteries produce 24 KWH. (at 120 V)

BUT to produce only a 20 % load, we need 300 batteries
84 KW times 5 days =420 KWH
420 divided by 24 KWH = 17.5 Times 20 Batteries= 300 batteries

And 300 batteries at $70 each is 21,000 dollars..
21,000 and we haven't even bought the solar panels, nor the invertors etc..
I did the math.. You did not !
This is typical of Media Hype!
You have very valuable information and experience, but what we need here is unbiased information not speculation, nor unfounded facts, nor stories of similar(but not the same !) conditions
I am a Manufacturing Engineer by trade, training, and experience.
I deal in facts and fundimental costs and logical applications.

I believe everything you say, and am sure your heart is in the right place, its just that when you ask people to forego AC, and electric stoves and entertainment centers, you are asking for LIFESTYLE changes... and that will not happen to people on a voluntary basis...yes it could be forced, but the last time I looked, we were not living in a Totalitarian society.

As you said
"(about)the AC power that many houses used around about 1960 or so."

You say
"With all due respect, many of the people who discount solar and "prove" it impractical do so out of a desire for the answer to "come out right", i.e. to show it can't be done. They are not interested in facts, they have another agenda.

Not interested in the Facts ?????
You are very wrong !
Thats what I want ("facts")...show me the Money !
No hype, just run the numbers as I have done and show me how the average American can have share in this cost savings !

08-30-2003, 02:07 AM
Rich, the folks who are using the systems obviously don't read your analysis, they are happy as clams...and run whatever stuff they need and want, whenever they want.

Do they want what Brandon amd Muffy want? NO, they do not. I believe I mentioned that they have "farmhouse needs", not yuppie wants.

That is of course part of the issue. There are a lot of folks who want more, and there is a power grid for that. It would be silly to ignore it.

But somehow this discussion became "get entirely off the grid with solar" and not "look how much coal-fired power can be displaced by solar". That first is YOUR "take", and for a little while I got sucked into it.

The fact that some people are happy as clams with ONLY what they get on Solar means that it is "real". It can satisfy some real people, who are NOT suffering in the dark and wearing parkas inside.

The fact that it will not totally satisfy YOUR needs or the needs of "Brandon and Muffy" is really rather irrelevant. It could easily satisfy a sizeable percentage of your needs.

As far as the "analysis"... If you are using 84 kwh per day, your bill must be about $200 or more per month, depending on your location....

Mine is typically $20-$30, so I use around 8-10KWh per day.

One ampere hour at 24V is 24 watt-hours, or 0.024 kwh (24V is really more like 26 at full charge, BTW). A typical small battery bank is 660 AH / 24V, composed of 12 220 AH batteries, and costing about $1000. That is $100 per year (10 year life) plain replacement cost of batteries, far less than many low-income people choose to spend killing themselves with cigarets.

The capacity of that bank is about 14.4 kwh, (6 x 2.4 kwh) and it can thus theoretically displace about 30% of MY grid usage without excess discharge over 20%, assuming decent weather. Halve it for bad weather and efficiency limitations and say 15%.

You will say "so what, you still have grid power".

But that is equal over a large population to a lot of power displaced from coal fired plants, and not needing transmission from far away over old, failing power lines.

I don't see your argument as conclusive to forget any alternative power, solar or whatever. Rather, it seems that despite gloomy nay-sayers, there is actual potential.

With PV or other solar, we are not talking about hydrogen, cold fusion, or tesla turbines or other discredited or pie in the sky stuff. It is proven, and industrially produced now. The fact that it isn't a complete replacement for everyone on earth right this second is not evidence that it is worthless.

Some of the trillions quoted to beef up the grid might profitably be diverted to alternate more local generation means, not sensitive to regional power failures.

BTW, wind, coal-fired and oil fired etc power plants are really solar....coal, oil, etc is stored solar energy, and wind is due to solar heating.

Those coal and oil "batteries" are not being re-filled very fast.......and the material is valuable for defense usages, industrial feedstocks, etc. As other 3rd world countries get better economies, oil may get kinda expensive to just burn.

Burn the other guy's oil first......?

I happen to like nuclear power also. Others, like the French make it work well. Probably here it is not possible any more due to a different flavor of "nay-sayer". Also due to stupid government policies and stupider corporations in the past, and those newspapares you hate, too.

A parting shot....the most solar power (not even using batteries) is available at the same time and place that the air-conditioning load is the highest....which is when the power typically fails, and when the oldest least efficient peak-power plants come on-line.....see a pattern there?

08-30-2003, 02:30 AM
PV is a good alternative to high energy cost - it can't solve the energy crisis just with the few homes that have it, but if every building had it on the contenent we would have far less of an energy crisis.

The company I mentioned in Canada is soon to start full production of the flexible high output panels - one form with be fibreglas roofing shingles.

I think it has become far more practical than in the past when Pioneers like yourself jumped right in. You are to be commended for your enviromental concern.

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 08-30-2003).]

08-30-2003, 03:12 AM
My father has had three Grumman solar hot water panels on the top of his house in Berkeley for 30 years. He has a 200 gallon hot water tank in his basement. He does not use the grid to heat his water except for about two months in the winter. It has paid for itself many years ago. It has also paid for the hidden cost of manufacturing. The system has produced a signifigant net saving over other ways to heat water. When practical this is what we all must do.

I know what it is like to conserve. We are in a drought here in British Columbia. Fires all around as the forests burn. We used to live in a house with a well that only produced .3 gallons of water a minute. The "yuppies" in Vancouver consume an average of 75 gallons of water per person per day! For Christ sake, we don't use that much in a week. We still have a week well.


I understand completely what you are saying. Funny thing is, you can reduce your consumption and actually improve your standard of living. Not the least is the fact that it makes you feel good. That is very important. I think I will have to get going on the hot water booster panels that I have all the materials for.

Did I mention sewage treatment? (no, yes) All our sewage is treated here on our property. We have a sewage lagoon. It doesn't smell and it works well as long as we don't put bio-poisons such as bleach down the drain, which we never do. I don't understand why bleach is sold. Just what is it for? I never have worn white shirts and see no reason to use such a bio-toxin. If bleach could be removed from the waste stream sewage plants would work ten times better and cheaper.

I have to build a brush hog or something, the plants are overgrowing the fence around the lagoon. Got frogs in there too.

Rich Carlstedt
08-30-2003, 01:55 PM
Don't be shocked...I agree completely with your last post !
It is a viable source!...just not a "complete" source IMHO.
Thermo heating (hot water) is a fantastic energy saver and needs to become more common.
Thrud's comment shows what needs to be done to lower costs, ie combining functions.
When i lived in good old California in the 80's, I had $200 electric bills and thats one reason I got out.
Retired now, and still use just short of 900 KWH a month...but half of that is my shop..2 lathes, 2 mills, welder ,A/C etc love to eat power, but I only pay 6 cents a KWH, so it doesn't hurt the pension

Sorry if I /we got taken off the track.

The real hope for America is Nuclear Power .
The local plant makes it for 2 cents a KWH.
Why is Japan , the only country to have Nuclear devistation, use it to supply over 95% of their massive power grid.....sorry to say they are smarter than us !
We continue to derate it's value and instead make the Arabs rich beyound imagination.
Thanks Oso for the communication !

08-30-2003, 03:24 PM
Nuclear power is the way to go. But we have to convince the buttheads that placing the waste 3000 feet under the ground is actually safe.

The only problem is what do you mark the site with? How do you convince anyone in the future not to f**k with this place?

08-30-2003, 06:33 PM

There are options that are vialble in all the economic senses. I visited my cousin in Denmark. In the city of Kolding they burn garbage from 250km around. It powers the city and is piped as live steam under the sidewalks, which are of course, ice free. The steam is used to heat the homes in Kolding, de-ice the sidewalks in winter.

We have a lot to learn here. In Hattersheim, where I have lived in Germany, they have recylcling bins about every three blocks in the town. You take your brown, green and white glass and deposit it in the correct orfice. Behind every apartment building is a trash bin. It is seperated in to at least three different bins. Plastic, Metal, and bio-degradeable. Most often there is a paper bin as well.

Now, figure this one out. I was in Germany about seven years ago. We were visiting friends in a suburb of Frankfurt. We left rather late. I had noticed that on the posts holding the traffic signals were signs indicating either Yield or Stop. I couldn't figure out why they were there. After TEN in the evening they turn off the traffic signals. You follow the signs. This saves megawatts every night. The signs are paid for in a couple of years.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-30-2003).]

Rich Carlstedt
08-30-2003, 09:46 PM
you are right on the recycling of glass.
When I lived in Canada years ago, we also sorted brown,clear, and other color glass.

I spoke with a paper industry exec a few months ago and found out that paper recycling is a loss, for all around.
Man, I remember my Boy Scout drives when I was a kid...
Seems that the cost of getting the ink out makes it a looser, even though everyone does it, including my present town.

On Lights...good comment...how about if Americans learned to drive "Roundabouts",
instead of all the stop lights and signs!
We could easily add More MPG to autos, without cost ! Thats why Europe does it !

When we drive on the open road, we get 29 miles to the gallon. when driving around Chicago (Toll Road- Bypass) our milage drops to 22/24, just because of the toll booths.
city driving is always lower, but these people screaming for more economy should stop throwing up all those stop lights

08-30-2003, 10:23 PM
Chicago? The last time I was there I rode the loop. They were sending out the garbage by airmail.

The Museum of Science and Industry is the BEST. I have been to the Smithsonian 6 times but the Chicago museum is better.

08-31-2003, 12:52 AM
Love that museum in Chicago.

Oso: If I had my way I would make a building (kind of a shed) where the Motorhome (RV) could be parked. with secure entry to the "shed". THe shed would have rooms for hobby stuff, a few comfortable places to sit with friends and thats about it. We have traveled and lived in the RV for months on end. One cheap solar panel kept batteries charged when dry camping. 60 gallons of water lasted a week, with showers every night. Dumped the toilet every ten days or so.

Many claim motor homes are gas hogs (bad on environment), but we averaged 100 miles per day (most every own is worth a few hours), no motel rooms with A/C and wasted water. And I wish it did more than sit when we are home. Comfortable beds, well appointed kitchen.

BTW, lead acid cells, properly maintained will go over ten years- I think more like twenty. I have hauled them out of telephone exchanges where they were well over twenty years old. And the maintenance was not onerous. Keep the water up, measure specific gravity of the cells and keep charged.

08-31-2003, 01:08 AM
I hate to inform all, but the nimbys have put a stop to burning garbage for electricity,now their after not burying it either,so I say make them eat it,recycling has begun all over and so far has knocked the legs out from under the more traditional forms of recycling(cars and metals)the scrap users figure why pay for it if we get it for free.

Oh and I also liked the report on tv awhile back about the garbage compnay who was charging extra for recycling and dumping everything in the landfill anyway except for the aluminum of course.

08-31-2003, 01:49 AM
If we put effecient solar cells on the roofs of very building in North America, I don't think we would even need Nuclear power generation.

Hell, we could go to DC powered Halogen lighting and save even more money/power. I believe that in the next ten years OLED and High intesity LED lighting will surpass flourescent and filiment lighting effeciencies (very close now) with significant power usage reductions and more intense lighting (better for us old farts).


Bleach is one of the most used industrial chemicals and the bane of firefighters. Here in Edmonton there is way more clorinated oxidants than the fire department would like - but it is not regulated enough. Best way to break down bleach is to place it in open sunlight - it breaks down into salt and water (at least Javex does).

It can't simply be forgotten that Clorine bleach is one of the most effective disinfectants - hospitals use it against severe infections like necrotizing subfacitis (flesh eating desease) and to sterilize bedding & towels used in the hospital. It is one of the few compounds that will kill black mold dead in its tracks. It has its place - resposible, thoughtful application is essential with any dangerous chemical.

In your pond you have frogs - leave them alone! The presence of frogs indicates a viable habitat that you should stay away from - forget mowing it, leave it be. As for flushing bleach ito the sewer system - if you do not have a personal septic system as you do it is perfectly acceptable as it only kills germs and mold growing in the sewer lines and is long used up before reaching the water treatment plants.

08-31-2003, 02:00 AM

Yes, bleach has it's place. It is much overused. Sodium Hypochlorite.

Bedding and towels are sterilized by steam under pressure, not bleach.

My water treatment plant is 200ft from the house. Bleach kills it. NO bleach is used here.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-31-2003).]

09-01-2003, 12:39 AM
I love this thread! Energy, communications, and pharmaceuticals are now all being manipulated by some very powerful corporate entities in my opinion. Our own government under George Bush and Dick Cheney is complicit with them and I fear for the poor and the fixed income people. One good thing is that the pendulum often swings the other way. Once a large enough segment of the population is offended by the price of gas and the other utilities, alternatives will be found. As sales of petroleum falls, so will the price. This will be their only way to counter their fall in income. It is the balance of economics at work. But right now they have us by the balls. And they will try to thwart all competing technologies, if they can. In power generation, fuel cell technology is supposed to be ripe RIGHT NOW! What is the hold up? What are the costs of the components? Is it that they are being taken off the plate by the powers that be?

Would it be possible to create mirror arrays for rooftops that would focus sunlight into light pipes for generating power with Sterling engines and indoor lighting? This could be done with clock motors because the sun is almost always where it should be at a certain time of day. I’ve heard today that the inventor of the Segway personal transport has some new invention related to the Sterling engine.

Energy is everywhere.


09-01-2003, 11:11 AM
Fuel cells are quite efficient, and of course the stories about the oil companies suppressing them are around.

Truth of the matter is there are some inherent problems with present fuel cells.

They tend to need pure fuels. Sulphurey, unknown composition "gasoline" will poison most varieties.
Many folks think "gasoline" is a substance. It isn't. It is just whatever combo of stuff that has certain specific properties and is cheapest to make when you want a certain mix of output products from the refinery. It is a kind of leftover, although it is an intended product, and composition controlled. But there are a lot of mixes that will satisfy the requirements. The mix will differ in winter and summer, polluted areas and outside cities, etc, etc..

The present EPA mandated additives may be damaging. We are still required to use the illegal MTBA around here, for instance. There is a special waiver for it.

Fuel cells need to be made for a certain type and range of fuel. So far a "generic fuel" type has not really been demonstrated. Some can use part of their energy output to purify fuel, but then there is a disposal issue and cost for the left-over "fuel cell crap".

Fuel cells need to be hot to work. This means a warm-up time. But most brainless yuppies just want to get in their "Ford Expander" and drive right away.
"Waiting" is not in their vocabulary.

Fiel cells are still quite expensive, because "1" and "2" above (among other things) have reduced the potential market drastically.

Fuel cells mean an electric car, and not everyone is ready for that. Most mechanics can't troubleshoot the electrics that are in present cars, they just shotgun it at your expense.

I could probably go on and on about it...........

09-01-2003, 12:15 PM
Dean Kamen,the segway guy,I do admire his getting kids to think,but he lacks logic when it comes to providing water to the thrid world,he intends to use a stirling engine,which is okay,it just won't be effecient,he wants to provide a pump to help poor people around the world get clean drinking water,only one problem,we already have to many people living in areas that can't support the population,i.e.artificial inflated numbers of individuals living on land that can not support a large number of inhabitants,Saudi Arabia is one example,if it were not for oil and the money made from it their population would dry up and blow away, literaly, since nearly all of their drinking water comes through distilling sea water.

This pie in the sky thinking is a danger because it provides the mechanisim to make the problem even worse,better water leads to longer life, more agriculture,more children,larger population,demand for more water,even deeper wells.more energy expended to obtain water,discovery that water is a finite resource,much more so than oil,and a eventual downward spiral where water becomes a weapon even more than food already is,this is the case in 135 countries around the world.

Electric cars,theres a good one,I saw one the other day,actually it is a hybrid,gas and electric,the current only effecient means of doing so,guy tells me it gets 55 mpg highway and 45 mpg city(backwards because electric is used most around town,gas on the highway).I asked him why he didn't just buy a Volkswagon diesil that gets 55 all the time,he said because the hybrid was more eco-friendly,brain wash in action!

People are constatnly ignoring some simple rules,it requires x anount of energy to move x amount of mass at x velocity period.It does not matter how it is done,gas,diesil,electric or hydrogen,no difference unity will never be achieved.Internal combustion is here to stay,so long as we are not "talked"(brain washed" out of it.

09-01-2003, 04:26 PM
See this


09-01-2003, 09:42 PM
Hello everyone
They are using metal hydride vessals
to store the hydrogen safely.
iron titanium hydride is being used.
Instead of running a internal combustion
engine they are installing fuel cells that
convert hydrogen to electricity catalytically by reacting hydrogen and oxygen to form water.
This way they are able to have a cell weight
of about 480 pounds, otherwise it would be too heavy to produce enough hydrogen to run
a conventional engine.
See "http://www.geocities.com/jlighter777
This web-site contains indepth information
by Dr. Roger E.Billings. He has been connected with hydrogen fuel cells for a long time.
Regards yankee1

09-01-2003, 10:57 PM
Back to the original topic, I see.

BUT, getting the free hydrogen is the issue. It don't come out of wells, it don't grow. You have to expend significant energy to get it. It is WAY behind oil shale in practicality, due to the immense energy input needed to get it into common use.

You can crack water (needs big energy), split hydrogen off petroleum (stupid), crack natural gas (even stupider) or the like. All of these need energy input, and you put in more than you get out, it is probly only 60% efficient in its theoretically best form.

You have to want portable energy pretty bad to go that way.

And then, you still go about 100 miles and need a fillup.......... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-01-2003, 11:22 PM
"100 miles on a fill up"thats the very problem the Rosen brothers talked about with the electric car,you get 100 miles on a charge-until you turn the a/c on!

The little hybrid car I looked at was a step in the right direction,but still not very practicle.

09-02-2003, 12:09 AM
I had an interesting and intense discussion of the subject of electric cars last year out at the EAA Airventure.

I was at a booth that featured electric aircraft motors and Burt and his wife stopped by. Burt expressed his interest in electric power and stated that he drove an electric car every day and thought it was the only way to go. His wife was standing next to me and I struck up a conversation with her. She said that Burt didn't think much of the hybrids, that if it wasn't full electric then he didn't have any interest in it.

I voiced my opinion that for people like myself, the average guy, electric cars would have to become like "normal" cars for them to be accepted. He took exception to my opinion and said that electric cars were normal cars, you just don't need to stop at a gas station. He also stated that he had to stop every 100 miles to plug it in to recharge, however he stated that the average commute is less than 100 miles. He also stated that there are provisions in California where he lives to plug in and recharge.

Now let me see, I live in Wisconsin, my wife and I drove to O'Hare, 175 miles, parked in long term parking for eight days, drove back home, 175 miles and never stopped to gas or charge a battery. How would this have worked with an electric car? Maybe a lithium battery pack in the trunk would have given us a reserve. What trunk? The GM car that Burt owns doesn't have a trunk, it's all batteries. Oh, where would we haul the luggage that we took? Normal car?

Thank God for the Ford F-150, even with it's gas drinking 302.

I rest my case.


[This message has been edited by BC21OSH (edited 09-01-2003).]

09-02-2003, 12:34 AM
Oso I pretty much agree with what you are saying about solar power. If we could get some competitive manufacturing of solar cells, in other words if the oil cartel didn't pretty much have control of the manufacturing, keeping the prices artificially high, then we may be able to get the prices down on the purchase of photo cells. I don't know since I haven't been following that field lately maybe some others are into manufacturing them and maybe they are now cheaper to buy.

But I do have to say that I think nuclear power, breeder reators, are the way of the future, which we would have and should have been doing years ago, except for the "environmental whackos."

Why should what we call nuclear waste be wasted when it is the perfect fuel??? Not only that we as ratepayers are paying to have it stored (buried) and one day we will pay when it is used as fuel. Truly one of the biggest scams of our lifetime.

[This message has been edited by JimSr (edited 09-02-2003).]

Rich Carlstedt
09-02-2003, 01:13 AM
I love the "conspiracey' advocates, it is always big oil stopping our developement .
Years ago it was a pill that dropped into a tank of water and you drove 400 miles, but the "Oil ' companies bought it out...yeah !
Same for the 200 MPG carburator..yept oil bought it out...Not that there isn't enough energy to even allow 200 EVEN if 100 percent efficient..conspiracey thats it !
Physics be Dammed..Laws of nature don't mean anything

If you have a 200 MPG caburator or whatever? You would be the richest man in the world..believe me..
Even IBM couldn't keep Bill Gates from becoming the richest American..in what?? 20 years.

Oso and Weirdscience have it right..many problems to overcome, but lets focus on the real world not dark shadows .
Relize this, back at the turn of the 1900's you had Oil barons (Rockafeller), Railroad barons, Auto barrons(henry Ford)and they did manipulate the industry, BECAUSE THEY CONTROLLED IT 100 %.
That is past with stock ownership by common man, bloody union battles,and the Securities Exchange laws. Plus the competion today is Fierce !
Don't believe me...look at Big Tobacco
Did they stop nicotine patches...No..the law got them
Did you know that some Canadian and Australian companies are working on Fuel Cells..thats not like being under GM's thumb you know !
Lastly, I seem to remember gas at $1.75 /GAL back in 1973 *......We did nothing since then for SUPPLY..consumption limits raised the manditory mileage for cars. But we stopped all drilling and no more refineries...now tell me thats logical ?
I think the "do Gooders" are nuts !
They have you thinking it's someone elses fault..wrong,its ours Baby...and our LAWS

The future lays with Hybrid cars/trucks.
High speed light weight Diesels/alternator driving variable frequency motors built right into the wheels.
Light weight and easy to control with chips.
small battery for accel only.
This combo offers the highest efficiency!

*Those who forget the past are destined to relive it !

Rich Carlstedt
09-02-2003, 01:19 AM
By the way, the TV news tonight mentioned that there are now more motor vehicles in the US than people..hows that? I can only drive one car at a time !

Guess Our problem is growing ??

09-02-2003, 01:57 AM
My wife does not drive, but I have a truck and a s/w. So I am one of "them".

But, as you point out, I can only drive whichever one I find appropriate for the task, so only one is burning fuel & polluting at a time.

Here is one for you.....If the epa had had to regulate CO2 as a pollutant (they were just let off of that), would they have had top regulate large gatherings of people? How about dairy farms? Critters like us produce quite a bit over time...........

Unintended consequences.........(imagine dancing music note symbols here)

Weston Bye
09-02-2003, 06:39 PM
I saw or heard a figure somewhere - something like the average human expells 2 and a half pounds of carbon dioxide per day. (from where? - depending on diet?) http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

Sounds like a case for regulation.

09-02-2003, 09:32 PM
Rich,you hit a home run,I can't stand the old conspiracy nuts,They always bring up Rockefeller,only they don't know the facts,after he began "manipulating" the oil market the price of fuel oil fell from .53 a gallon to .17 a gallon,then the do gooders said he had contol of the industry and broke up Standard oil,what was the result?Rockefeller got richer and the oil prices went up.

Henry Ford went in business at a time when others were already building cars,ones that only the rich could afford,he made the first car that the average man could own,so how is that a conspiracy?

When you get down to it,what we have is class warfare and jealousy,if you got one dollar more than me you stole it and thats the attiude.I love the people that complain about the suv's, well I hate to break it to them,but you can't get three kids and a weeks worth of groceries in an electric car.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 09-02-2003).]

09-03-2003, 01:32 AM
That is the problem with "ecologically sound" stuff in general. Most of it does not work. Not that it could not, it just does not.

The people who design the first ones always seem to be folks who should be running a church social....the disorganization and constant state of "almost but not quite" wouldn't matter so much.

The first electric cars were a joke, those ones shaped like a wedge....if you slammed on the brakes, the calipers tore loose..!

I mentioned the first recycling trucks. The Segway....design a town around it? People said that..... It is a laugh at present, maybe forever. There are more examples.

The problem is that the people involved generally either have:

1) a great execution of a thing that few want

2) a potentially useful device, unfortunately done in a horribly amateur and barely functional fashion. Something that only the most dedicated would ever even try.

When the first products out the chute fail, others give up before pouring good money after bad.

The exception to the rule is in chemical products. They universally do not work.

"ecological pesticides" (a real oxymoron) are less useful than a shoe to hit the bugs.

Safe paint strippers don't even damage the gloss on paint (3M safest stripper is #1 for this). You are better off scraping.

Stuff that really works will be accepted, even if it is "ecologically sound".

The problem comes when the product costs a lot more, but fails to work. Nobody buys it twice.

That really makes the rest of us turn our backs to the whole thing. That ticks me off bigtime.

Next thing you know we will have to boil all water, because the purification chemicals are illegal..............Back to sand filters? They actually worked very well, btw.

Preceding a chlorine treatment with a sand filter would allow using less chlorine, and produce far less chloramines in the water.

Or maybe we will have to accept more deaths from diseases, as the price of ecological soundness???????????

We all know what the problem is.

09-03-2003, 01:56 AM
Oso,quite a few townships including mine,and the City of New Orleans have and still use sand filters,one of our biggest customers refines the sand,and yes they do work,we also in my little towm pioneered the use of duckweed and water hyacinths to treat sewage,and yes it does work,but it may not be practicle in all situations.

The reason I am most sceptical of electric cars,windmills,fuel cells and the like is because I am 33 years old and as far back as I remember I have heard talk of how they were going to take over the landscape and change the way we live our daily lives and they will be so great and wonderful and we will all live in giant air conditioned clean plastic dome-and all this by 73',75',80',86',90',95'2000',and now 2010,ya right,then take into consideration that my father heard all this since 1957 ge's future city,or some other nonsense,and to make things worse,his father before him heard it all in the late 30's,we went from canvas and wood to the moon luanch in what 50,60 years?Davinci proposed that one day man would fly and that did happen,but it took a long time to get there.

My biggest objection to green cars is the total lack of safty,also look under the hood of a electric or hybrid car,where do they place the battery pack or the lith cell?Right behind the grill or in the trunck,the two most vunerable areas in a wreck,what happens to this inviroment that everyone is trying to save when we have battery guts splattered all over the road?Who gets to pay to clean that up?

09-03-2003, 02:37 AM
Hi Weird,
Even paranoid people have enemies, and some of the claims of conspiracy might be proven true in the fullness of time. Who would have believed that Nixon would condone breaking in to a psychiatrist’s office to find some dirt on someone? When the stakes are that high, men can be found to do extreme things. Powerful organizations, secret societies, naturally protect their interests. In the case of government they have access to lots of personal information due to technology and the erosion of our privacy rights. Some of these people may not be using this access in honorable ways. People come in all flavors everywhere you find them. I don’t accept at face value that all those in government, and all those with police powers are honest and honorable. I have personal experience that tells me this isn’t true.

Do you not accept that the power shortages a couple of years ago in California were purposefully done? People died because of that, and Enron was directly involved. Cheney has met with these same Enron "friends" to discuss the energy plan for our nation! Is there a part here that you don't understand? Are you liking this?

The day that Bush took office (after the disputed vote in the state his brother controls) I predicted that we would soon suffer the highest fuel prices that we have ever seen. I didn't predict that more people would become unemployed than ever since the Herbert Hoover administration, but here it is. There might be a little class jealousy involved, I agree with you. As I watched my 401K disappear and then I heard that the compensation of the CEO's in our country was the highest in our nations history, and in the same period I hear of Martha Stewart and her friend's, and their insider trading deals, I get a little jealous, if not a little angry, but no amount of jealousy would ever make me steal the retirement money of tens of thousands of retiring people like Charles Keating did. He went to prison, but there are serious implications in that case toward the Bushes. Over the years I've picked up on several issues that are hard to dispute in regard to the Bushes. Here is one of those web sites that compile some of those issues. I'd like to know if some of the allegations are not true. They can’t all be true, but are they all false? I believe in the presumption of innocence and all of our Constitutional rights. And on this issue I cannot abide holding prisoners in limbo without even the basic Habeas Corpus rights. This is another serious violation of the Constitution that the Bush administration is guilty of. There are plenty of references given to every assertion on these sites so anyone can look into each matter further. On several issues I’ve had contact with some of the affected people, and that may have colored my feelings on the matter.



[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 09-03-2003).]

09-03-2003, 10:10 AM
Spence,I don't take politicians at face value,I also know that Bush was and still is the lesser of two evils.If you don't believe me consider this,the Enron scandal began long before he took office,about 8 years before,the SEC turned a blind eye to doctored audits,they were told to do this,by who?The whitehouse,Like I said before if you think for one minute that Ken Lay paid the DNC $1 million dollars to sleep in Lincolns bedroom because the motel 6 was full,then get your head out of the sand.And as far as thievery,remember the UPS strike?Remember Ron Carey?he was the head of the teamsters union at the time,he and the teamsters held the country hostage and Clinton did nothing to stop it,wonder why?Because Ron illegaly diverted union pention funds to the DNC(democratic nation convention)seems like $28 millon worth,even though it was illegal,and even though 55%of union members voted republican,now is that rigth?

As for irrosion of rights,I remember watching the students protest in China,it was violent,it was bloody,but I also remember a Red Chinese tank stop when a civilian stood in front of it.Fast foward a few years to Waco,I then see An American tank,drive through a building with American women and children inside,nearly all of which died,then there was ruby ridge,then the Oklahoma cover up,then the real topper was Burn'm out Janet sent in the storm troops to take a (what was he 8 years old)boy at gun point away from his family here and send him back to Cuba.Gee I wonder if Al Gore has figured out why little Havanna didn't vote for him?Oh and yes I do believe that Pan AM flight 800 was infact a cover up and it was terrorist related,so who do you think is trust worthy?

As for the 401k thing,that is intirely up to your control,its your responsibility to make sure that it is invested properly(not in the dot com company you work for).A lot of people that bitch and moan about losing money in the stock market had no business being there,but like many they take the impression that the government will make everything better.

09-03-2003, 02:11 PM
Hey Weird......

Dude, much truth in relatively few words.....

09-03-2003, 08:08 PM
BY all thats sacred, Weird one, I enjoy how you think!!!!!

On electric and hyrid cars: First, By the basic laws of physics you must have a certain amount of energy to move something. Sure, make them lighter and you can IMPROVE the usage but you still gotta have a basic supply of engergy. Electric will not work well so long as the energy must be carried around in batteries. The power weight ratio is just wrong. The most concentrated energy is in liquids (propane/LPG are liquids). That looks to be true for a while. Until compact energy is available, liquid fuel in some form will rule.

Hybred cars- you have a small liquid fuel engine as prime mover, but the "storage" unit is morethan a battery- it all the ancillary stuff you must also haul around. if you assume your motors to be 90 percent efficient, the generator also ninty per cent efficient, your overall effienciey is now about eighty per cent of the engine effiecny- which is way below 50 percent. Unless the little fuel engine effientcy is way higher than a conventional variable speed engine such as could be used today the numbers do not add up. THen will the peak power from the battery is to make you perform as the public demands? Nope- it will allow you to get from "A" to "B" but not with "performance". There will be many who embrace the hybred, there will be more who use it becasue of tax breaks etc, but most will use it becasue they have no other choice- The gov't, plus PC will force the use. And say thing about "oil supply " is decreasing or running out. THe HYbred does not address that argument at all- except by forcing an unacceptable car on the public.

How about putting in a small engine, just the same size as would be acceptable for the hybred, put a jato bottle, or pogo stick, or (more practical) a Nitrous Oxide kit for that surge of power that is needed? Sudden boost of power on demand, but mainly run on the fuel in the tank.

09-03-2003, 09:56 PM
Thanks for the compliment,its a good day when people can read my typing! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

My thoughts lately have been driven(pardon the punn)to using a turbine with a hollow output shaft through which would pass a drive shaft connected to a convetional piston engine situated in front of the intake casing of the turbine,the idea would be to use the piston engine for the high torque low speed take off and the turbine for interstate travel.

Power coupling is the real trick,I think this would require a torque converter with two stages,one to handle the piston engine at low speed with the traditional high bypass at idle and lock up should complete around 5100 rpm,then the second stage would ingage at the same time,spool up the turbine and a short time later lock up at around 15,000 rpm,only don't transmit this into a mechanical drive train,use either a hydraulic or electric drive train,hydraulic has one advantage over electric,an accumilator can be used not only for braking but also acceleration,I read recently about an Aussie company thats thrown in with Dana corp.,they have a similar regenerative drive system they are developing for trucks,think about it,you expend a great deal of energy during acceleration,much more than during travel at a given speed,then when you brake and slow to a stop you bleed off stored energy usually in the form of heat in the brake shoes,well in a hydraulic system instead of bleeding off energy as heat you would be pressurizing an accumilator,when you accelerate again that stored energy would be used to pull off from a stop,you would not regain 100% of the energy you expended during accel.but depending on the effc.of the pump/motor used you could see as much as 80%

One other advantage is to the design of the body of the vehicle,you can have the power plant either in front or behind and have the drive train on the other end,no floor hump,no tranny tunnel,and room for a better safty cage for the passengers.I think that money should be spent to find ways of recovering lost energy,removing the mass of rotating componets and recovering energy lost as heat.

09-04-2003, 12:23 AM
Doc....the hybrid works, as noted by the mileage, about as well as the best regular vehicles in general driving. Some tiny regular diesels do better.

The real advantage lies in another area altogether, one where hybrids and hybrid SUVs make a lot of sense.

First, if you live in or near a big city, you may have seen the carefully garaged SUVs that never see mud. You know, the smaller the woman, the bigger the SUV, etc, etc, etc. And they don't get very good mileage (understatement http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif).

OK, those SUVs, and regular cars, sit in a lot of bumper-to bumper traffic during their commute into the city. The engines run the whole time, even though they crawl ahead 20 feet every half minute or so. The mileage is REALLY bad on that operational scheme.

A hybrid in the same situation has the engine off. The engine is automatically shut off, and the E-motor does the crawling work. Only if the E-motor works for more than a certain time does the engine come on, again automatically.

The amount of foul-smelling exhaust and fuel-wasting that would be avoided by use of hybrids in that scenario more than makes up for the slight inefficiency of the engine/motor combo.

The best hybrid would have the E-motor as the prime traction motor, and the engine only to charge. Then the engine would run at its most efficient speed whenever it ran, and the E-motor/battery combo would act as a "peak-smoother" to avoid the need for a big engine merely for acceleration. The E-motor can be made to provide huge intermittent power, which is precisely the usual auto requirement.
The engine would charge at a bit more than the "cruise rate", which is actually quite small, power-wise.

The battery is much smaller, since it only smooths, it need not supply a day's worth of juice. Probably 1/6 or 1/8 of the regular pack would be way ample and even too big.

For trailer towing, you might prefer another device, or a more powerful hybrid. No reason there can't be a 6 cyl or even an 8 cyl hybrid someday.......

09-05-2003, 05:59 PM

This was an interesting approach

09-05-2003, 07:45 PM
OSO: you are in Montana? I want my vehicle to be able to drive at least the US major highways. Will a hybrid pull the Lolo on US12? from Lewiston (elevation 738 feet) Id to top of Lolo (Montana)(elevation 5235 feet) is 77 miles of steady up grade from the west? Homestake on I90, with 6 miles of 6 per cent grade, Then if you want to visit Calif (assuming they improve their attitude) there is the Grapevine and Tehachapi, maybe 25 miles of mostly 6 percent grades. It gonna take some big batteries and cool running motors in your area. Better add some pedals to that small engine and batteries. Just kidding, but you guys in Montana are not going to be big customers except for city driving.

Again, I do think Hybrid is a good idea for some uses. Here in Florida they would do well every day.
The basic problems to be over come are that:
1.Every energy conversion loses energy.
2&gt; (in favor of the hybrid) a gasoline engine is a constant speed device, to make it variable speed involves compromise.
3. Steam, electric (DC), are inherently variable speed (again favoring Hybrid once the batteries are charged by that constant speed fueled engine).

The big fuel saver in small cars (gas and electric) is that they operate more nearly at full load (where efficiency goes up) than the old high cube V-8. But I do love that 455 when I pull the passes I mentioned above with a "Toad" car (2,000 pounds) behind me and 14,000 pounds under me. I can do 35 MPH while passing trucks moving so slow that I can count the lug nuts on their wheels. And I get 11 plus miles per gallon on flat land at 60 plus MPH (so long as manifold reads over 7.5 inches).

So long as gas stays cheap, we americans will want gas guzzlers. The "Toad" Japanese Mazda GLC gets (got) over 30 MPG and went 250,000 miles and was abandoned because clutch failed and EVERY thing else was worn out too. But it started, stopped and got me there every time. I only hope the first hybrid are not wired by Lucas! Wouldn't that be a kick in the rear?

09-05-2003, 08:20 PM
A good friend of mine has a hybrid, I think the Toyota. It runs great, is almost silent. He frequently takes it on drives from here to Yellowknife. That is about 2000 kilometers and he has to drive through the Rockies. No problems. Starts really well in the winter. Just think, a 44 hp starter motor.

09-05-2003, 10:18 PM
OSO: I stand corrected by evan. I really figured the Hybrids would not handle long pulls. But wait till the environmentalist discover that they could have put in a smaller engine and still met 90 per cent of the needs

09-06-2003, 12:32 AM
I'm not in Montana, but its a good idea.......

The hybrid will pull anything that the engine can keep up with. The present ones run on engine only at speed, and e-motor at start and slow speeds.
So a big hybrid SUV could still have a V6/V8 and pull boats etc.

Future ones may be "gas-electric" but that is not done yet as far as I know.

BTW, a guy that calls on us at work has a Prius. It looks very small.
But, he is 6'4", and his wife is 6', and they fit in with room behind them. Must be bigger inside than out http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-06-2003, 02:38 AM

The Prius is what my friend has. He is no small man. He has had it for a little over a year. So far, so good. I think the technology has promise. An IC engine running at variable speeds as the prime mover has only about 25-30 percent effeciency. As a fixed speed engine it can be pumped up to about 50 or 60 percent. You can tune the intakes, the exaust, the mixtures can always be optimum and you can shut it off when you come to a stop or a traffic jam. I believe he gets about the equivalent of 60 mpg in town driving. It doesn't have a giant battery pack and the 44 HP electric has real punch. Seems to me that you can about double the 44 HP if comparing to an IC engine since an electric has max torque at zero rpm.

Downside? Way more complicated. Also, you can't get it fixed by any old mechanic, no matter how good he is. That will change with time. Emissions are so good that if you drive it in LA it actually cleans the air.

I believe the Prius has the gas engine and the electric motor close coupled with an electric clutch so when the gas engine needs to be started the clutch is energized and on goes the gas engine with no noticable change.

Another thing, since the batteries are never run down they will last much longer than a pure electric.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 09-06-2003).]