Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making steam and tracking questions

Tom wrote:

I just bought your doc and have skimmed over it quickly tonight. Very impressed. The ‘errata’ and the QandA links at the end don’t work however and I am interested in them…?

I am interested in using such an array (small initially, but scalable upwards) to generate steam, then a steam engine, then a generator etc. First of all, have you done any research on this? Secondly, what is your opinion of using oil and a closed loop system instead of water etc? And a heat exchanger etc.?

I was curious about trying to manipulate 2 axis instead of just one. Do you remember the game where you have a steel ball and 2 knobs that basically balance the entire wooden box on a point and slightly manipulate the balance to make the ball go around the maze? Do you see this concept as having any value in implementing it in this design compared to the gain you get in heat generated?

Hello Tom and thank you for your interest in my plans.

I have sold several hundred so far and you are the FIRST to point out that these links on the last page do not work! Thank you! Both pages are on the web and the text of the links is correct if you type them into your browser. Here are working ones for your convenience:


About making electricity from steam, this is indeed the "holy grail" project. I am working on this as are hundreds of other people. There is much on the web but after five years working on this and searching, I don't think that I have found a practical system detailed in such a way that it could be replicated easily by others. People talk about all sorts of things but as far as a robust, working, practical approach that can be built at an affordable cost and with simple tools, I have not seen it. It would have to be closed loop to be practical. Would it need a heat exchanger? Possibly not. Is high pressure steam dangerous? Certainly, especially if there is steam storage of any size included in the system.

About two axis tracking, one of the big advantages of a trough is that, if it is long enough, the effect of the other axis can be ignored. You can see that the larger commercial systems in the Mojave Desert make use of this principle.  A dish is another matter and all of those require two axis tracking.

Good luck with your project and let me know how you are doing with it.

Best regards,
George Plhak

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