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Sterling engines for supplemental power


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#1 FDK

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 01:39 PM

I've been doing allot of research on the idea of building some sterling engines once I get my workshop back in order after the past two years of drifting around aimlessly as one of my projects is building a really large charcoal kiln for making Terra Preta and other things not so charcoal-ish. So I basically started thinking on what a waste it was to create all these btu's and not have them do some sort of work for me in the process.

My idea so far is to take an old V8 engine block or two and take advantage of the pre-fab cylinders and water and oil jackets which I'd be pumping some sort of hot oil, water or perhaps steam through.

Just figured I'd check and see if anyone's been messing with them on the larger than kit scale as a means to provide surplus electricity or mechanical power.

#2 Beast

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 11:58 PM

http://en.wikipedia....Stirling_engine

#3 FDK

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 02:06 AM

Yep, those. Someday I'll figure out whats behind the mental block I have with "Stirling" :rolleyes:

#4 growurown

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 01:51 PM

thats a great idea. What would you do charge some deep cycle batteries.

If im understanding this right you could hook it up to a house radiator and have a genator. or im i missing something?

Sounds like a great project but to mechanical for me.

#5 FDK

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 06:50 PM

thats a great idea. What would you do charge some deep cycle batteries.

If im understanding this right you could hook it up to a house radiator and have a genator. or im i missing something?

Sounds like a great project but to mechanical for me.


Not missin' a thing. You could probably wrap copper tubing around the feed to the radiator and pump water through it as well to avoid having to hassle the landlord.

It's not "free energy" by any means, to buy a unit is really pricey. Theres also allot of enthusiasts who build kit's o small 1/4 HP models. Just a great way to convert waste heat back into usable energy, being from a stove, a heater or a solar collector array (some company will be setting a bunch up on 80 acres within an hour from here, might have to go apply for a job just to get my hands wet with this Technology (Nothing beats getting paid to learn new stuff :headbang: )

OR say if you were a machinist with too much time on your hands who lived in Alaska in a well heated cabin, you could use them as a form of roofing and generate mechanical energy for whatever just from the temperature differential (Not a whole bunch with a 100 degree differential, but * number of units and it would add up.)

And if I go this route, I probably wont bother storing any, just generate more than I need or tie in to Con Ed and sell them my surplus. Main heat source will be a Charcoal kiln as well as solar. Ideally I'll construct the charcoal kiln complete with the fittings to reclaim the wood spirits and so forth and have even more fuel to burn when not making charcoal,,, we'll see.

It's one of those "Iffy / down the road" plans dependant on a number of things like if I end up being here for more than 3 or so years, or if I move close to a hot spring.

#6 groovy-uv

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 10:10 PM

i have nothing to say about the sterling engines, however i must say: you make your own terra preta? that is some pretty interesting stuff. the whole agrichar/biochar concept for global soil and carbon cycle health is intriguing. there is a cool ten minute video about it here on youtube.

the industrial production of biochar produces a usable fuel as a byproduct, thereby fueling that process itself as well as yielding surplus fuel. this process is not low carbon nor zero carbon, it is actually carbon negative! watch the video you'll understand.

props on making your own terra preta!

[Direct Link]



#7 FDK

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 10:56 PM

Well, not making it as yet but it's the immediate goal. A bit of a chore finding compostables out in the middle of the desert but not impossible. I did make some crude Terra preta in Missouri with just roughly crushed char made in the outdoor grilling firepit and well composted forest litter which did nicely for the Tobacco I grew. Not ideal as I'm pretty sure the pH was a bit high but it worked. ;)

Still need to start the digging for the garden area and dig up the clay for the kiln in the process, ton's and ton's of bentonite-like stuff out here and the raw dig is 70-75% pure clay after a double wash from my tests so far, but this could vary allot.

Going for the Anasaze styled "Waffle garden" to cut back on water usage a bit and also help me set up microclimates for 4'x4'x4' loamy, silty and xeriscape plots intermixed. Well that and to get rid of all the salt laden stuff that's there now. I'm guessing I'll have to replenish the plots every few years as the Salt will likely leach in and get trapped in the carbon in a short while (relatively speaking)

And as the midsummer temps hit upwards of 120 on a regular basis I'm planning on mostly gardening in the fall, winter and spring but was thinking that a misting system might help cut the area temps down at least enough so the plants dont wilt away, but we'll see, and if not theres still 3 other seasons I can grow in. (And if the Stirling thing works out, I'll be setting up an AC cooled greenhouse in short order. :lol: )




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