Using CNC to solve global warming?


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    Default Using CNC to solve global warming?

    Howdy y'all. I'm mostly a lurker, but I have some thoughts that may qualify as original and I want to see if I can clearly articulate them here, since this is such a relevant arena with such fertile possibilities of reasonable feedback.

    We all know what the problem is here- too much carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, and also too much of many other greenhouse gases, such as methane and so on. These gases have different effects, some of them increase thermal mass (so, statistically, an atmosphere with more of them retains heat for longer), some of them have the problem of re-bounding light scattering off the earth from the sun- so in effect, the 'greenhouse effect' is 'statistically more photons of light heating up the ground twice because it bounces off CO2 on the way back off earth, and bounces back down again'). Some of this is the effects of natural phenomena like volcanoes, the byproducts of floral and faunal respiration, gastronomy, and flatulence, and the other 99% is basically a combination of what's been burned as coal or various petrol-derivitive fuel oils, and also what has been burned as "sustainable fuels", which- rather than implying actual cleanliness- just means "we can keep making more of it to burn".

    To recap, carbon dioxide and methane (and others) in our atmosphere are the problem, the effects are an accelerated climate that launches projectile storms further inland and raises the sea level. All a mess we can basically do without. So we need a way to get these out of the atmosphere, and a way to put less of them into the atmosphere.

    Fortunately, all of the things we burn this stuff for to put it there is for either steam turbines or internal combustion engines. Both of these are relatively easy to put to this purpose- steam doesn't care if you put carbon dioxide in the air, for example, and isn't the least bit racist either.

    So, I think there are several parts to a real solution here. The interesting part for you guys is: making a small, compact, water-boiler and steam turbine, capable of generating power by virtue of aiming itself at the sun to generate the steam to feed into a turbine capable of making that into electricity. As a secondary step- because, as we all know, there's no sunlight for this at night- my thought is to put this on top of a normal methane collector from a biogas digester system, and to use a small methane boiler as a secondary steam source for high-power-use at night, if you're throwing a party and have all the lights on and the sound system going or whatever it is. This is a reasonable amount of power for a generator to generate, I think it's just as reasonable for a comparably-sized steam turbine.

    Since that can be a bit noisy, I've kind of been figuring that this should be an outdoor thing, but the more I think about it, the more it seems that an old house with a chimney could have that chimney effectively blocked off, and a suspended capsule with the turbine suspended in that, and then the steam in/condensed water out/power lines can be fed in from the top of that suspension so that any vibration is dampened and the noise that does come out is transmitted out top of the chimney, which, if that doesn't also cut down the sign, baffles can be put in to break up the airflow/cause turbulence, which will cut down on the noise transmission. It's also possible to tune the turbine to only spin in a certain range of RPM, and that frequency of rotation can be cancelled out by a bell that's tuned to that frequency and will basically absorb the whole shock wave, and then can just be muffled out- that's how some high-end car mufflers do this. Other options are almost certainly available to address this problem too- it's not a solution if it makes a house unliveable.

    I'm about at the point of prototyping the basic working parts of the sun-tracking part, I have a number of ideas on how to do a turbine for this with extremely low friction and my thoughts are to have a tesla turbine that has the magnets to power the coils as the primary generator, and to have these spinning discs (which can be stamped sheetmetal, and this is actually probably better for electrical properties because it has more controllable eddy currents- that's why you see motors with stamped out sheets all stacked up and bolted together, rather than blocks cast or machined to size, sometimes), this can be mag-leved between an upper and lower plane of magnets, and if this were on a central non-connected spindle to keep it mechanically centered, that would probably be most practical. Around the outside of this, the turbine injector nozzles, my thought is to use a pipe casing, drill in-line with the flat plane of the surface of the circle at the outside, and to thread in nozzles (so that the steam pressure can be tuned from all sides) and to have this in a second pipe chamber to equalize the pressure around all those nozzles.

    Right now, my parts list for the sun tracking portion are a a raspberry pi + tensor flow, as a software component to do object recognition from the picture it is looking at of the sky + a stepper hat to control + 2x nema 19 stepper motors as a rotational x and y axii, and I'm kind of considering adding a z axis just because that is much more stable and intuitive for the people using it, and this would allow for rotational correction of orientation. The heat collector portion, I have some small prototype pieces of copper tubing that I have been bending into coils- it looks i bit like a halogen light filament, but made of 1/4" copper tubing for refrigerators- and my intent is basically to cast this into aluminum or aluminum bronze (aluminum + copper + zinc + nikel), which is a really durable material that has excellent heat conduction properties to make this 1/4" tubing have a larger metal outside body to collect heat with. I also think this is probably a good material for the rest of the turbine assembly, if it needs to be cast, because it's very light and non-reactive, and it has great machining attributes that make it a good choice for something like this, I think. Certainly much more durable than plain 'ol aluminum casting by itself would be.

    And, I think it would be really cool to have a more powerful version of the fresnel lens assembly that actually focuses the sunlight on this boiler piece to do the actual metal melting- sunlight is scary powerful, yo, I've seen a fresnel lens from a big screen TV melt rock and glass together in less than half a minute. If something like that could reasonably and safely be aimed and controlled, it would be a very powerful tool in the DIY manufacturing arsenal. But, this is probably a topic best left for another day.

    To recap, I'm suggesting a raspberry pi ("small cheap computer") controlled turret ("thing that looks left and right, and up and down") to aim a fresnel lens (google it!) at the sun, so that the sunlight collects on a piece of metal with water going through it ("the boiler"), from which it is routed through a turbine (which doesn't move with the lens, so that's clear). And, for cloudy days and nights and other sunless/power-needing occasions, the same turbine could be run with steam from other sources, such as the suggested biogas digester/collector.

    What are the obvious bozo-nono's, what should I know about, what should I avoid, what did I get wrong in my statements above? Do you have some criticism to make- and importantly, some fix to suggest so that your criticism can solve the problem? I'd love to see what you guys can come up with on this- the basic goal is to get something approximately consumer-generator-sized that can match a consumer generator's power output, more or less. SWOT?

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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    If your interest is in solving global warming, there are thousands of people in universities, think tanks, etc. working on it. I think a single invention can only play a small role in that.

    Heliostat solar collectors are a thing. At a small scale, you can use concentrated PV. At larger scales, it may become practical to use a turbine.

    My general comment is that you're getting wrapped up in the details before proofing out the concept. You need to do the relevant calculations. How large a collector? How much radiant solar energy is that, on average? What's the conversion efficiency? And the estimated cost? Once you have some (approximate) answers to these questions, many aspects of your design are likely to change.

    Also, that's not called a turret. Perhaps the word you're looking for is gimbal.



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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    So, I think I wrote a massive wall of text and chose slightly too-catchy (or kitschy?) of a topic title- obviously no single invention is a cure all, I don't think mine is that or even that any single inventor or even group could come up with a set of things that cure global warming without creating other problems.

    However, in this case, all of the individual ingredients exist, and the point is to make a new recipe with some of the good ones in interesting combination. I am not intending to re-invent turbines... but I'm totally happy with copying the idea and trying stuff with it.

    Right now, I'm at the point of sourcing and acquiring parts for a full turbine/sun tracker unit- as a base level, I think I can get this self contained around a 50 gallon barrel, or maybe even something smaller, like a 5 gallon bucket- but at this scale of physical mass (maybe 20-30 lbs of metal, most of that being barrel, assuming a steel barrel). Since the whole thing is steam, and that condenses back into water, it can just condense back into the barrel it's stored in, with a relatively little else going on- and a 50 gallon drum, particularly, is enough to house the sort of turbine I'm thinking of, in the scale of being maybe 7-8 inches in diameter and not more than an inch or two thick, at the magnet-holding side of the rotor, maybe on a spindle as long as 6 inches, so there's ~2 inches of play from either surface when it's rotating. In the scale of that, with minimal bearing surface contact, the point is to have a bladeless boundary/layer ("tesla") turbine sort of configuration, but as a way to decouple mechanical interfaces from that entirely, the point is to put the magnets that actually induce a current to move in that blade as well, and if there *still* needs to be mechanical intervention to prevent that spinduction from melting the coils, the easier way to do that is to move the coils further away from the fixed-point-in-space rotating turbine. So this basically obviates the need for speed controls or better tuning- you can just skip all of that and let it turn at whatever speed it wants.

    And, again, this is a wall of text (two of them, now?), sorry about that, but I'm at the point of having the motors working, having contacted google to get into their API on google earth to pre-set the sun tracking stuff (so it has something to check on a cloudy day or when the sun is otherwise obscured from view) and being rejected on that (they wanted money I didin't have), I'm currently looking at getting something like this as part of the continuing experimentation- and I actually have specified a lot of the rest in the original post.

    For further reference, I've got a handful of links/galleries/etc up that might help make this more clear. Here's a sketch where I worked out the pressure equalization chamber around the turbine chamber proper, this is a very simplistic (and not very good, but helpful for illistrating) attempt early on where I wanted to move a small turbine locked in axis with the lens/boiler.

    I'll come back and add more, but I hope this gets the idea across more clearly. I'm not saving the world, this isn't saving the world, but this is the sort of opportunity for power generation that using something like CNC and computer vision in concert lets you do, relatively simply.



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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    You're not the first person to think of this. I'd suggest you do a little research, and find out how others have solved the various problems you've identified, and some you haven't. Putting "solar turbine DIY" into a search box comes up with thousands of results, including scholarly papers, project writeups and You-tube videos. Here's one to get you started: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/4...lar-generator/

    [FONT=Verdana]Andrew Werby[/FONT]
    [URL="http://www.computersculpture.com/"]Website[/URL]


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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    An interesting project, regardless. Wanted to also tell you that if you have that micro with linux in your design, then you can use something like pysolar to get the correct alt and az angles for your location. I've used that library to do solar simulations in my past work. It's good. Going back to the 19th century there were those who made heliostats with mechanical machinery, in a way a kind of early analog computer. I'd quite like to make one, actually! I also think it would be possible to design an electromechanical heliostat -- a light level detector, combined with an iris aperture or similar, that could find the sun automatically.

    A commercial heliostat: https://lm.solar/order/heliostats/h1-heliostat-qty-1-3/ You can use the specs there to give you an idea of feasible energy levels. It's proportional to the surface area.



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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    I am well aware I'm not the first person to think of this, but I'm trying to put it together in a way that is 1) small enough and cheap enough to reasonably have at home at mass scale, which means, I'm not looking at power plants- I'm looking more to compete with home generators as a functional output, and 2) in a way that is open source enough for people to generally copy and improve, so that it's not just me that's benefitting and also not just me that's finding problems with these things in order to fix them and make them work better, although 3) I do fully intend to build a business around producing and supplying and offering maintenance on the ones I can quality control. So you can make your own or get it somewhere else, or get a really nice one from me.

    So again, within these parameters, what is going to go wrong, what should I watch out for, what motors/controllers might you try for moving a gimballed lens around a soda-can-size block of black-carbonized aluminum bronze, cast around a copper coil that is the pipe the clean/distilled water goes through to become heated by the sun. This soda-can-sized block of metal can have a few holes drilled in it so temperature sensors and mounting hardware can be inserted, so the thing can be aimed away from the sun if it is hotter than it should be- but it's also shielded from touch, with air circulating in the system to keep it cool when it is running. And remember, this is supposed to be something small- the target size is 5 gallon bucket, everything inside to ship, and you pull it out/put the sun tracker on top and the bucket is a reservoir and just needs a water inlet and drainage source- and also, since this is steam, that can be salt water that is heated by the non-salt water run through the boiler, in order to condense out fresh water from it. Right now, because I can cheaply get parts that are bigger than specification and I have the space, I'm planning to get a 50 gallon drum as a reservoir, and then drill/dap plumbing fixtures from the top and have everything mounted on top in roughly a consumer satellite dish sized heat collector array, with that described turbine from above.

    None of this is rocket science, I'm basically trying to see where I'll **** up in the process of trying this, I'm well acquainted with the research on this. don't think molten salt is practical at consumer scale unless that desalination thing, above, *really* takes off, I like PV but I want something that could mechanically be manufactured in dire circumstances- like, north korea, burmese jungle, somalia, syria, type bad places to be with no real prospects of ordering from amazon, just because I think that stack of technology needs to exist and I know approximately how to make it- think of this as a combination of 3d printed guns and gingery lathe manufacturing. Nothing new, just a fun recipe from the ingredients that are out there- magnets, wire, copper tubes, raspberry pis, and off the shelf ubiquitous stuff like stepper motors (models may vary, but it's not hard to find these everywhere) to do the moving about, via belt drives or gear drives, depending on what's available.



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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    Jo_ky, thanks for that tip! I'll look into pysolar. Looking at that heliostat gimbal, I think I can make a smaller one like that with stuff I have on hand, actually... I may have to stop making excuses and start building another prototype like this. I should really look at setting up a patreon or something, a bit of extra funds to make this stuff happen would free up a lot of time to do the work on it.

    If you're interested, I have a github account under this same username, the stuff I've put up thus far is under industry/solar in the humanitystodolist project. It's a bit rambly and there's not much to see yet, but there will be when I have time to add more.



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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    The best contribution anyone could make to the global warming question would be to make a CNC machine that can cut bull****.

    Until we have invented one of those we are going nowhere and have no idea what the problem is.

    Having said that, making a solar panel follow the sun if fun. I've done it. Making a self-built solar water heater is well worth the effort. Not having to pay to heat your water is great. I've done it.

    Sun-tracking water heater is more effort than it's worth. Just make a bigger static one. Sun-tracking PV OK but being hard-nosed about it, with current silicon prices, you may find it costs more to make it turn that it costs to buy more silicon, so same applies. I did it 10y back when PV was a lot dearer. It's still great fun to do.

    http://piments.com/solar/heliostat.avi

    Here is a cheap and simple circuit to control a one motor, equatorial mounted PV panel. Uses LED as photosensitive device ( yes check it out ) and solar night-light to detect end of day are return before dark.
    http://piments.com/solar/tracker_MkII.svg

    Hope that is of use to anyone interested.



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    Default Re: Using CNC to solve global warming?

    , and off the shelf ubiquitous stuff like stepper motors
    If you use optical detection to follow the sun you can use relays and dc motors like windscreen wiper motors. Much more low tech and ubiquitous. Steppers need fancy drivers and consume more power and need micro computers with silly names.

    I found that 24V DC motors run on 12V was a great way to slow them down enough. You will need some mechanical step down too, like belt/pulley or wheels. The main prob is to slow the movement down so that it does not jerk wildly and only moves a few degrees ( <= 5 deg ) each time.

    For small scale I found moped or small m/cycle wheels make a good base for a turn table. Inflate the tyre with PU foam ( inject some water first, it is needed to cure the PU ) then use a steel gear of a bike chain or similar.



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Using CNC to solve global warming?

Using CNC to solve global warming?