Aubrey, just wondering if there is an update on your engine or circumstance with water? Have you been able to prove your engine concept?
Thanks for the comments and suggestions.
Unfortunately I have to report that the project has been shelved.
The guy I was doing it for was Mike, my partner in a small (one vehicle) transport busness.
A short time ago, the vehicle was involved in a very serious accident in Zimbabwe. Mike seriously injured, vehicle was a write-off. Anything of value was stripped off and stolen.
Nett result: Mike is busy recuperating in Malawi, vehicle was retrieved but the insurance policy had so many loop holes that.... (need I go on?)
Needless to say, I'm left with 3 more years of payments on a vehicle that in reality no longer exists. (And that is after the insurance payout - less all the deductions as per the terms and conditions of the policy - it makes me sick!)
The "proof of concept" (much hacked Clinton 4hp lawn mower motor) did run under its own power for about 20 revolutions (The "boiler" was less than 1 liter total volume with about 100 ml of h20 and the fire also small - didnt want to have an explosion.)
So it did work - no info about power or anything - and its been moved under the workbench untill Mike has recovered from his injuries and I have recovered from my debt.
Once again to all who contributed, a big thanks.
AHHHHHH Geeeeeee, Awb, just when we were waiting for the bells and whistles of latter day technology to blow.
Does that mean that the people are going to string you up or use you as a dart board for arrow practice because the crops are going to fail?
Whatever happened to Plan B?
You must have a plan B, every good plot has one, so what are you gonna do now mate?
I would like to venture a last morsel to tempt the alternative thinking of the "mob".
Bearing in mind that we are now faced with a manual approach to fetching water, would it be feasible to construct a tread mill type of drum out of wood, that allowed 3 or 4 people abreast to just slowly walk the water up hill, using a chain bucket system or archimedian screw, to fill a tank once a week, and then just draw the water as needed for a day to day basis.
Even in the heat of the day, walking in the shade of a large open ended drum for a few hours would be like walking in the shadow of the forest trees on a foraging expedition, and at night the wild animals would be held at bay by enclosing the end.
So we're down but not out, what next sport?
Very down but maybe not quite out
This has been a rather serious blow.
One Mike has recovered, he will be coming back to SA and we will look at taking this project on again.
At the moment, I am financially screwed (again).
As I said in my post, the unit "been moved under the workbench" and not to the rubish bin so there is hope that something will rise out of the ashes.
In the meantime, I have to do everything to knock the debt out and this unfortunately includes doing "private work" (mainly website programming and troubleshooting) untill all hours of the night. As you will appreciate, this cuts into my "personal workshop time" 100% but thats the way it goes.
Anyway, thanks for the interest and go well down the line.
Hi Aub, hang in there bebby, life is a bummer from time to time.
We'll be waiting to see how you make out.
All the best.
PS, I still think the treadmill would work, it would aso serve as a community service deterent for the young tearaways who need a bit of discipline but not prison time for minor misdemenours. LOL.
During my last two tours in Iraq, I noticed something fascinating. There are Bedouin tribes living in tents, with home-made everything, and usually, a generator. They have swamp-coolers (fans that blow through a water saturated medium), lights, etc., and were probably wondering why US helicopters were flying around.
Yes, in the deserts of Iraq, even the gypsies living in tents have diesel generators and diesel pumps. Although they rely heavily on these newfangled inventions, they are still able to live as primitively as they so desire. I would like to say that for solid reliability, and lowest operating cost, diesel is the answer. Maybe something could be "thrown" together for $100, but the idea of it lasting more than a year seems like the makings of a fairy-tale. However, a $400 generator, a mechanical pump, and $300 worth of fuel could easily last a year with minimal maintenance.
Last edited by spoiledbrat; 08-05-2007 at 10:36 PM.
Have you thought instead about abandoning the steam idea and trying gasification instead? If you have wood available, then a gasifier wood be able to provide a flammable gas that a gasoline/natural gas/even diesel generator can be run off of. I read (somewhere) that during WWII 80%+ of Denmark ran off of gasifiers. And a great deal is already known about the technology, since it has been around since the 1700s.
Good luck to you Aubrey
I applaud your work on this issue. I know something of what you are up against, and whatever happens in your life, I hope the prototype stays under your bench and is not discarded. You never know when you will get a chance to get back to it.
human powered irrigation is VERY well researched. It would be reinventing the wheel to work out another alternative to what is out there. If that is the way you are going to go, I would look at the two cylinder treadle pump. It was developed in Bangladesh, and there are now variations at least in Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Senegal that I know of.
A lot of people have worked on the monotube boiler. It is attractive both for its inherent safety and its speed of firing. The key to getting it to work is control. There is a huge stretch of tube in the middle which may contain steam (an therefore be a superheater) or may contain water (in which case it is like a boiler watertube). heat transfer to water is much better than to steam so the tube is hotter when it is in contact with steam. When you start consuming steam, water enters the superheater section and there is immediate heat transfer as the water cools down the tube. Water flashes to steam, you get a pressure spike and often priming (where water comes out the steam pipe). All of that is going to be a lot harder to control with wood fuel than with liquid fuel. I think that usually monotube boilers are fired with liquid fuel so that the control system can change the heat input in a matter of seconds with a valve.
If you get back to this project and if you make progress on the problem of a wood fired monotube, PLEASE POST. A lot of people would be interested.
Hi all, one of the problems with the monotube boiler is that it likes to work under constant conditions, I.E. fixed water/fuel supply.
The moment you start to vary the supply rate you get all sorts of imbalances, such as hot water at the outlet, pretty lethal if you're running a steam turbine.
The best solution is to have a monotube boiler, which is the simplest steam producer known, (comments invited), of a capacity that produces the maximum wattage reqd etc, and have a secondary adjuster, that is a steam producer tied to a generator that feeds a battery bank that supplies the load, and can be varied as the load fluctuates, no load, no power drawn, peak load, generator and battery bank fulfilling the need.
It doesn't really matter what fuel is used to heat the boiler, as long as it is relatively free from contaminants that would clinker up the heating space.
One chap in the USA produces his own electricity with the excess going to the grid, and has access to sawdust and this is blown into a boiler firebox like liquid fuel, and as it's a waste product it was at the time just being got rid of.
BTW, anyone who has friends in South Africa will know of the power "outages" that are now a daily occurrence since Eskom went a bit peculiar.
I reckon if Aubry reinvented his idea with the aim of having a small generator, 12 volts?, driven by steam fired by wood, he would find a big market down south, as that is where the money lies to fund the project.
He might even be able to export them to Zimbabwe for the small sum of about 100,000,000 Zim dollars, about 10 dollars anywhere else since Bob went haywire with the economy.