Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - justsomeguy

Pages: [1] 2

It might take me a year of work to get it in operation, but overall, it’s probably one of the easiest projects I’ve ever tried to take on.

First job on day one, have that cut into a steel plate with plasma, and set it into the ground before the listeroid plinth.


Good idea!  But it'll take a lot of steel.  Can you think of a way to paraphrase that down a little?  Get it short, and I'll do it.  That'll be the easiest part of the project!  How about "This plate is the easiest part of the project."?     ;)

...Sound like a winning power plan(t)?...

 ...but overall, it’s probably one of the easiest projects I’ve ever tried to take on.

Oh yeah, everything is easy sitting at the keyboard.  It's the doing that ain't so easy.

In your spreadsheet I saw no allowance for the questioable, and most likely piss-poor reliability of  a Listeroid.  Come on, now.  A freakin’ data center relying on an Indian Listeroid?   I’m thinking you might want to leave that little tidbit out of the marketing plan for the facility.

You’re talking through your hat, dude.  THIS is one project that aint’t gonna happen.


Sounds interesting, keep us posted…

I will address your brutal answers one at a time, with brutal honesty.

First off, I don't take kindly to people telling me I can't do things.  When I was 19, I was told I couldn't start an ISP.   I was academically dismissed from college... I wasn't smart or devoted enough.  Besides, I was too young to go in to business.  But I was in business since I was 14 selling popcorn at local fairs, events, etc.  I knew that there was no such thing as being too young for business.  College didn't catch my interest, it was hard to focus on engineering when the internet was evolving around me.  I wanted to be a part of that instead.  Most people that tell me that I can't do so because they're afraid that they can't do so themselves.  When I was 21, I was told I could never ever raise the capital to expand the ISP.  People that tell me I can't try to make themselves feel better about their inability's, or lack of self worth by trying to convince me to think the same way.  It doesn't work. I watched ISPs around me fail and go bankrupt.  When I was 24, I was told that dial up was dead, and that it was dumb to expand my ISP to anywhere else.  But I didn't listen.  When people tell me I can't, it just drives me harder. When I was 25, I was told that I couldn't possibly afford to build out a data center, not on my own, not without merging with some other company, or bring in an investor that would end up owning most of the whole deal.  I didn't listen. Stubborn me!  When I was 26, I was told I couldn't  have it lit with fiber from two diverse directions.  Fiber is too expensive.  When I was 27, I was told that I couldn't keep the ISP going without DSL from the local telcos. Now I have a data center.  It has customers.  At that point, people that knew me have pretty much stopped telling me what I can't do.  I was told that having 3X generation would be too expensive.  3X redundant air conditioners?  Nope, that would never fly.  The funny things is that I managed to do both.  More than 10 miles of fiber was installed and lit.  I've got an ISP that has five nines of reliability.  I've learned a thing or two about reliability over the years.  I've got nearly a thousand square miles covered with fixed wireless broadband.  DSL is overrated.  I'm going to turn 30 soon, and I deserve a birthday present.  A listeroid will do just fine, thank you!  I think I've earned it!

In my spare time over the years, I've supercharged a car that shouldn't have been supercharged, dabbled in the programming of it's PCM,  participated in some open source projects, played around with gas turbines, built pneumatic spud cannons that propel spuds beyond the speed of sound, installed an off grid system in a remote cabin,  written some software, and probably some other stuff that I'm forgetting.  I still like to practice pistol craft, because shooting stuff is fun, participate in hobby racing,  you know, because driving fast on a road course is fun, and just do the normal day to day things that everyone does like have a family, raise my boys, climb towers, and run a business.

After all of that, yes, grid tying a listeroid is going to be a cakewalk.

About the reliability: apparently you weren't paying attention, or didn't actually read my post. Probably both.  Maybe you were just too eager to try and bring me down.  But that didn't work. Go read it again and pay attention this time.  What part of that plan depended on the listeroid to do anything?  It's an extra source of heat, and an extra source of grid tied power.  Nothing more. TIED TO THE GRID!  Nothing will depend on it, ever, and nothing will be made less reliable because of its existence or operation. It's going to sit in a detached concrete building to contain it! I'll say it again: the power house will have room for another engine that I can set in there along side the lister.  I know I didn't forget to mention that.  After I go to all the work to build the powerhouse and infrastructure, I would like the ability to get a small, modern 3 cylinder diesel, or another power source of choice if the roid isn't up to the task of reliability.  And it probably won't be, but that's fine. Either way, I would like to learn exactly what that reliability level is.  If I have to do some mods, that's fine, and that'll be part of the fun.  It'll be part of the hobby!!

When I said that it would take a year, I meant that it would take a year in my "spare" time, if I was really ambitious about it.  Heck, maybe it'll take two or three, but that's not the point.  The point is that I could do this project in less than a month if I devoted myself to it.  I know I can do it, that's not in question.  The biggest question is how many years worth of spare time will it take?

Hi justsomeguy
Sounds interesting. Keep us posted.
On keeping the fuel fresh, you might consider using some power from the Lister-oid to pump fuel from the main tank through filters and back to the main tank. This is known as "Polishing" the fuel. Recently there was a post about self cleaning filters from Purolater filters. Interesting. or maybe Gulf coast paper towel filters.
PS How about PMing me I would like discuss some thing with you.

I polish, I rotate, I treat with biocide.  Yet the fuel still polymerizes, oxidizes, and generally degrades.  Time is not on my side. There are multiple isolated fuel tanks, and they each get polished with a portable pump/filter set I built.  In diesel fuel tanks, water happens.  I'm considering trying some desiccant breathers for the vent pipes though. Seems like a good idea in theory, but they're expensive.  Of course, as diesel prices increase, it gets more and more appealing.  Still though, it's probably better to polish, and burn up the fuel though.

Something's that always bugged me about keeping diesel tanks bug free is that they put fuel pickups off the bottom as a "feature" to keep gunk and water from being sucked up.  Picking the fuel up directly off the bottom would get any water droplets directly in to the water separator of the generator, where it belongs, so it can be removed during regular maintenance.  Otherwise, it just builds up on the bottom of the tank, and promotes microbe growth.    Another topic for another forum I suppose.

Why I hope to have a  6/1 listeroid in the next 30 days:

Because I am still searching for the hobby that remains a hobby.

Sadly, the Listeroid project won't do that, but it's a step in the right direction, especially if it gets much more expensive than it should, doesn't work as well as it should, or takes 10X more time than it should.  If the hobby pays, then it's a job.  I'm shooting for this one to break even.  If it starts chewing up too much money, then I just won't operate it, and keep it around for a secondary use.  In the mean time, it will be a really nice low tech distraction away from the high tech world of internetworking, being a router-rat, ISP duties, and keeping a building full of servers running.

Primary use:

I have a data center that has a large, fast start high speed diesel generator, some gas turbines, and 2 weeks of fuel stored on site.  (3N generation capabilities, 2N fuel stores, 3N day tanks...  Overkill?  Yes.)  I have a need for medium temp heat, a need for multiple system isolation (eg, can't use HVAC waste heat) and I also have a need to burn through fuel stored on site every couple of years to keep the fuel fresh, regardless of how much biocide I use, and how often I pull fuel samples from the storage tanks.   So with a source of fuel that needs to be disposed of, and a demand for power that needs to be met, and a need for heat, this is kind of a no brainer.

First, the need for heat:  Since the big generator is fast start, it has a 6KW block heater that turns on at 100 degrees, and turns off at 120 degrees.  Keeping a 600HP monster sized engine block warm is not easy when it's in an uninsulated, and very ventilated outdoor enclosure.  Insulating would lower reliability due to possibility of fire, increased chances to provide habitat to rodents, etc.  The only way to have a reliable fast start diesel genet is to have it outdoors, and that takes lots of electric heat.  That's where the roid comes in.  It's a glorified fuel oil burning boiler!  The plan is to pour in place a cement powerhouse to mount a 6/1, with enough room for a future engine as well.  It will be built semi bunker style, about a foot below finished grade,  with tall walls for spill containment since it will also house some fuel handling/filtration/and storage.  It will also have a prefab concrete roof overhead to contain a fuel fire.  Exhaust heat exchanger will recover exhaust heat, to help heat lister engine coolant.  A coolant loop (pumped with a fract hp circ pump for efficiency and reliability) will push heat around to a fuel/engine oil heat exchanger to heat both, flow through insulated underground pipes to the a heat exchanger on the large genet to keep the coolants isolated.  I hope to seriously offset the block heater usage by dumping all of the roid's waste heat to the genet.  I'm going to go with 50% of a gallon of input fuel's BTUs as my recovered engine+ exhaust  heat goal.  The roid will have no backup radiator.  On a hot summer day, worst case, the big genset’s thermostats will open and thermosyphon enough heat away through the massive radiator.  I doubt that will ever happen, even on the hottest of summer days.

Using the "waste" horsepower,  ::)  the roid will drive an induction motor, and will grid tie on the "load" side of the transfer switch.  That way the big genet's transfer switch will give me all the utility isolation I need.  Undervoltage, overvoltage, underfrequency, overfrequency, it covers it all.  Also, I will place a drop out contactor on the lister powerhouse, with fuel solenoid on the lister, and in the event that the grid drops out for more than a few cycles, the listerplant will self isolate, and coast down.  I will do the same with a couple of heat/smoke detectors, oil level, excessive head temp, and the like.  Anything goes wrong, and the powerhouse isolates itself, the listeroid coasts down, the event is reported to facility SCADA, and someone will know about it before the roid coasts to a stop.  I will never ever back feed, as I use about 20X more power than the roid can produce at any given time.  In the event that strange things happen and we end up on gas turbine internal power and externally, diesel genet power, and lister power too, the roid would end up being connected connected to the big genet during an outage with zero facility power use.  In that case, the big genet will easily absorb the KW of the roid.  (The genet is rated to absorb 40KW of load... 10X more than the roid's output!) If the belt on the roid breaks, then it'll just sit there and put put along until it gets checked on.  No harm, no foul.  The amount of power the roid will produce at a given instant is miniscule compared to the other things going on around it.  But running 24/7/365, it will add up to significant amounts of energy.  In the event the roid breaks, catches on fire, or the like, the block heater on the big genet will operate as normal, no coolant will be lost from the big genet, and the distance will be far enough that a fire will pose no problems to the facility or the big genet.  If the roid breaks and ends up motoring off the grid, no problem.  It’s just some power lost until it gets checked on.  Even the energy to motor a roid for a week is minor compared to everything else being used on site.

Sound like a winning power plan(t)?

The spreadsheet math to back it up:


6/1 listeroid, 1 quart per hour of fuel consumed, 50% heat reclaimed for a gallon of fuel consumed and a gallon of fuel at 120,000 BTU/hr, and an actual roid electrical output of 3KW....  (like my conservative numbers?)

BTU per gallon   120,000      
Gallons/hr     0.25      
BTU/hr   30,000   KW/hr   3kw elec
Heat Efficiency   0.5      
BTU/hr heat   15,000      
Elect heat offset KW    5kw heat      3kw elec.
Power Price   $0.06/kw      
$$ per hr   $0.30heat      $0.18 elec.
$$ Per gallon    $1.2      $0.72
Total Heat & Power $$ offset per gallon of fuel consumed $1.92

At 6 cents per KW hour, the roid will turn a gallon of fuel in to $1.92 worth of heat and power.  At 7 cents per KW hour, the roid will turn a gallon of fuel in to $2.24 of heat and power.  At 8 cents per KW hour (summertime) the roid will turn a gallon of fuel in to $2.56 of heat and power.

Assuming 50% average operating hours over the course of a year, worst case is that I "dispose" of fuel at the rate of:

Avg. Operating Factor   0.5
Avg. Gallons/hr   0.125
Avg. Gallons/day   3
Avg. Gallons/Month   91.3125  <----Incidentally, an old fuel oil tank I'll be using as a day tank is 250 gallons, so one month 100% operation will still not drain a full day tank)
Avg. Gallons Year   1,095.75

At 50% plant operation, 50% heat reclaimed per gallon, and 6 cents per KW/hr, that's $2,103.84 per year.  Assuming my time is free (it’s not!) hopefully over enough years, (10?) that will eventually pay for the listeroid, the accessories, and the powerhouse.  And provide me with some deep levels of satisfaction, and DISTRACTION, in the process.  As an uptime guru, I do enjoy seeing just how long things can remain in constant operation without human intervention. And that’s worth something.

It might take me a year of work to get it in operation, but overall, it’s probably one of the easiest projects I’ve ever tried to take on.

Listeroid Engines / Re: improving heat recovery of Lister type.
« on: January 28, 2006, 11:54:23 PM »
In a gasoline engine, you've got to keep knock down, so you do everything you can to keep the fuel charge from self igniting, or detonating.  Insulating things with ceramics keeps heat from raisin the charge air temperature.  On a diesel, it's exaclty oposite.  Self ignition *IS* the goal on a diesel.  But ceramics can be used to raise combusition temperature, and keep the heat where it needs to be, so it can do real work.

Reverse cooling, forward cooling, it makes no difference on a Lister, because you don't need to keep the heads cool to keep detonation down like on a gasoline engine.  Quite the oposite:  You want the heads to be warm to promote good combustion.  Thats why diesels don't like to start when they're cold!

Ceramic coating could probably increase the mechanical efficaincy of a Lister, because lost heat equals lost power.  At the very least, it would raise exhaust temp.  And it might even help cold starting.

Ceramic coating:  I'll add it to my list of "Lister things to try."

As for rockwool or fiberglass.... thinking abot it a little more...... they'd both become very flamable once they wicked themselves full of oil.   :o

Lister Based Generators / Re: how exact is exact? exactly
« on: January 28, 2006, 11:41:27 PM »
Ah yes.  Forgot about that.   ;D   On the gensets that I've worked on they use the engine flywheel, and put the pickup on that.  In that case though, the generator rotor is bolted right to the flywheel. Yes, te govoner should definatelyThe only requirement is that the flywheel has enough teeth moving past the pickup each minute.  144 tooth flywheel times 1800 revs/min = 259200 teeth per minute.  Or a signal of 4320 Hz.  There would have to be enough teeth on the flywheel of the Lister to provide a high enough frequency signal.  More teeth = more precise frequency control, and quicker response to load change.

Lister Based Generators / Re: Power Burst = Mini Grid
« on: January 28, 2006, 10:56:45 PM »
Ok, so I've read more than half of the Trace (Xantrex) 2512 and 4024 inverter manuals (big print, nice pictures, better than what was on TV  ::)   ).

There is a "Generator Support" option in those inverters that would do nearly the same thing (maybe even better than?) as the Sunny Boy Island.   It takes power from a gen set, up to a max amount, and charges batteries as power is available.  As loads are turned on, it decreases battery charge to to hold the generator output at a max value.  In the event of a large surge load (or even continuos) it will instantly switch to inverter mode, stop charging the batteries, and DISCHARGE the batteries to help the gen set start a large load.  The overload capability of a 4000 watt inverter is 8000 watts.  Combine it with a  4,000 watt generator head, and there's 8000 watts continuous surge (until the batts go dead) and 12,000 watts 5 second intermittent surge.

So with cool inverters like these, why on earth would anyone want to oversize a generator at all in an off-grid situation?  The only reason that comes to mind is a long term use of higher power for hours on end that a fair sized battery bank couldn't support; Air Conditioning. 

Plus, the Xantrex has relays available that can interface with a lightly modified Lister to activate an add on fuel solenoid valve (for run stop) and a starter motor for cranking, and automatically activate fuel, crank the starter, and disengage starter once the generator volts come up to a set point. It will watch battery voltage, and start and stop the generator, and even has a setting to prevent it from starting up at night.  That's pretty nice!

Other Fuels / Re: Propane Injection
« on: January 28, 2006, 08:02:43 PM »
Propane in Diesel Engines: It's not meant to be the exclusive fuel, but to help the main fuel burn better, cleaner, more complete, more efficient.  Not only do you get the BTUs out of the propane, but the usable BTU content of the liquid fuel goes up also, due to more complete combustion.  It's not meant to be a primary fuel.  As a matter of fact, you can't use more than a certain % propane, as it's octane it's high enough.  The idea is that you get more power/heat out of your diesel fuel than you add in as propane.  Enough so to more than pay for the propane.

"Added horsepower" is what sells the propane kits.  The real reason for propane injection is "increased combustion efficiency."   Try to sell a $300-$900 kit, with the need for a propane tank to be also periodically filled, to a guy pulling a horse trailer with his F-350 only using the marketing term "increased combustion efficiency."

Let me spell it out this way:

Looking at raw economics here.... getting the maximum heat/power output, for the minimum $$$ fuel input, what's cheaper?

Running 100% used motor oil and tearing down the motor regularly to clean out the carbon mess?

Running 90% used oil (free!) and 3-10% propane ($) ?  (possibly without a carbon mess)

Running 90% die$el fuel , and 10% used motor oil?

Running 90% die$el fuel and 10% propane, and getting 110% BTU content out of the die$el fuel, plus the BTU content of the propane.

Running 100% Biodie$el (Opportunity cost... because it can be sold for same value as die$el fuel... therefore it costs the same!)

Running SVO and dealing with collection, chunks of grease, water and other crap, plus the cost of modifications to start/stop run the engine on it.

Running 40% used motor oil, 30% SVO, 15% die$el fuel, 10% Natural gas, 5% propane, (Maybe this is the magic fuel combination with no tear downs for cleaning, ever!)

Running 90% Natural gas, 5% Biodiesel, 5% dino die$el

I'm after the "magic combination" of the cheapest fuel possible that can be used without extra work to be performed on these engines.

So, I toss these questions out there to gather information to see if anyone else has tried any of this. Most on this board seem to be very bright, and very innovative.  There's a *LOT* of information in the collective group of Lister owners.  Those who get a Lister "for fun" and grid connect it, or just use it at a remote cabin so they can have a TV set and not have to use gas lanterns have the luxury of being able to experiment. 

Those off grid would be understandably less prone to do anything that might jeopardize the reliability of their only prime mover.

Waste Motor Oil / Re: Waste moter oil
« on: January 28, 2006, 05:13:51 AM »
Since I bolted up a Caterpillar two micron fuel filter,  I pour a gallon of waste oil in to my Duramax every other tank of fuel or so.  I figure each gallon replaces that much diesel fuel that I don't have to buy.  I paid for it, I figure I might as well get as much use as I can from that oil. Who knew that waste oil was worth 2.49 a gallon?   ::)

So about 1 gallon of oil to a 34 gallon fuel tank.  No ill affects as of yet.  The truck only has 46K miles on it though.  I also run bypass filtration on it, and pull oil samples every 5K miles, just because I'm a maintanance nazi.  I like less than a 5% mix. I wouldn't want to ever run more than 10 or 20% waste oil, and would definately not want to run that much all the time.  Additive packeges in the oil turn to ash during combustion.  As long as those levels are minimal, the ash can disperse, and that's why I don't run a higher concentration of it, or constantly.  Just a single injector on a V8 Duramax is about $500.  I wouldn't want to know what a compleate upper end overhaul would cost.  So I don't exactly want to try too much more experimentation.

The last gallon I poured in was probably 50% waste oil, and 50% old stale gasoline.  Do I Filter it?  That's what the 2 micron fuel filter on the Duramax is for!  Anything it misses gets caught by the stock 10 micron filter ;D  I'm not worried aobut particles, I'm concerned with disolved metals in the additive package that turn to ash during combustion.  They can't be filtered out.

I do pour it though a "filter funnel" that has probably a 40-80 micron screen.  It catches sand, and chunks that would otherwise possibly clog my fuel pickup in the tank.

So, I pour it in to the fuel tank of my Duramax, but dilute it greatly.  Is anyone brave enough to burn it in their Listers with no dilution at all?  A Cat 2 micron filter would get it clean, and one could jerk the head off after a few hours of operation to check things over for deposits. 

Worst case, a new piston, rings, injector, and valves for a lister wouldn't be all the expensive, would they?

Listeroid Engines / Re: improving heat recovery of Lister type.
« on: January 28, 2006, 04:30:23 AM »
Keeping the heat from leaking out would probably add to the heat recovery quite a bit.

Spray foam insulation on the head and water jacket could really cut down on heat loss, but would be quite the fire hazzard.  It pretty much turns to napalm when it burns, and I'm sure the wind from the flywheels would fan the flames nicely.  If it could be fireproofed, it would be wonderfull.

Wraping the head and water jacket with a thin layer of fiberglass insulation would even help quite a bit.  But I don't like dealing with the itchy stuff.  It's an option though.  Any form of insulation on the upper parts of the engine would help.  Wrapping crank case will raise the oil temp, but it will keep heat from bleeding from the water jacket.  The increase in oil temp may or may not be a good thing for the life of the engine.

Taking cool water, and passing it in to an exhaust heat exchanger before piping it to the water jacket would probably get the most heat out of the exhaust.  Figure that 30% of the fuel combustion heats the water jacket, 30% of the fuel combustion is turned to mechanical energy,and 30% goes out the exhaust.  So claiming as much exhaust heat as possible is important if maximizing heat output is a goal. 

Lister Based Generators / Re: Power Burst = Mini Grid
« on: January 28, 2006, 12:27:40 AM »
Cost?  Don't know.  I'd assume it to be close to other "smart grid tie" inverters, but I have no real idea.  Just thought I'd toss it out there for others to explore.  It might be wonderfull. It might suck.  I don't know, because I've never dealt with one. But I have read quite a bit about them.

An inverter that keeps a mini-grid supplied with power, and can instantly inject or absorb KW from mini-grid to a battery bank to maintain frequency stability, while providing voltage support... welll.... It seems like it would solve a few problems all at once!

Rather than trying to deal with generating AC power with a Lister and having tight frequency and voltage control, plus surge ratings to handle large loads, and dealing with battery charging, then switching to inverter power when the Lister is turned off, and having surge capacity in the inverter, this kind of is the best of all worlds, is it not?

I do know that they're used in remote off grid places though.  I've read many such articles in various renewable energy trade magazines where they've been used as the corner stone of "the grid" to provide stable 24/7/365 power to/from battery banks, and various 'grid tie' solar inverters and 'grid tie' engine generators and 'grid tie' wind generators, and/or micro hydro supply the energy. 

All of the loads were typical grid loads, and all of the generation was grid tie.  But instead of the grid being "everything on the utility side of the meter" the grid was actually a pile of inverters and a large battery bank.


Other Fuels / Re: CH4
« on: January 28, 2006, 12:11:23 AM »

That's what I'm wondering about.  If anyone's actually done it, and put theory in to practice, and found out some results!

When someone's actually got a Lister running on, or being supplemented by gaseous fuels, then the other discussions have some relevancy.  Until then, it’s just chatter.

If a Lister won’t work on wood gas, why waste any time discussing how wood gas can be produced for use in a Lister?    ::)


Other Fuels / Re: CH4
« on: January 27, 2006, 09:15:28 PM »
For the sake of this discussion, I don't care if it comes from the earth, dead dinos, a digester, someone's butt, or factory that produces it out of ground up puppy dogs that were kidnapped from neighborhood kids............. :o

I just want to know if anyone's actually TRIED using natural gas as supplemental fuel for their Lister, since it can be used sucessfully with other high speed diesel engines, with little effort.  (Just add to intake air, and let the diesel fuel ignite it)  Or if anyone's considered trying it.

In a cogeneration setup, even with high natural gas prices, it's price per BTU is still substantailly less than that of diesel fuel, on the order of about 40-70% depending upon rates.

Other Fuels / Re: Propane Injection
« on: January 27, 2006, 09:00:44 PM »
I'll ask again.  So, Is anyone using Propane injection with a Listeroid or other small diesel?

Lister Based Generators / Power Burst = Mini Grid
« on: January 27, 2006, 08:36:11 PM »
This subject quickly came out of a "Anyone tried propane"? question I posted in the Alternative Fuels area, that, by the way, no one answered.  It did evolve in to all sorts of other discussion though. So I'm moving it over here in an attempt to stay on topic.

I'll be brief:

Have a 6/1 Lister?  Off grid?  Wish you were on grid every time you plug in the air compressor so that 4HP motor would start a little easier, and not blink out the lights?  Wouldn't it be great if your inverter and Lister could "gang up" and give a burst of energy to start large loads?  Wish you didn't have to have a precisely controlled governor?  Wish you could use an induction motor as your generator head, and not worry about RPM, or voltage?

Have your cake and eat it to.  All the benefits of being grid tied, combined with all the benefits of being out in the middle of nowhere, miles from the grid.  Use a Sunny Island to build your own little mini grid.  With a little creativity, (means: Hacking)  an auto-start Lister could be built and hooked up to the Sunny boy controller, and start/stop as the batteries/inverter command without human intervention.


There's a picture, (worth a few thousand words) at the bottom of the page.

Discuss!     :)

Pages: [1] 2