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Topics - SCOTT

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Hi all.  

I have a Powerline 12/1 that I was planning on moving to a new location to free up space in a garage I have behind my house.  I am now leaning towards just selling the engine, frame and generator head.  

The engine is a Powerline 12/1 with probably less than 200 hours on it.  I originally bought this to net meter, but it was at the edge of my property and close to my neighbors house.  Well the neighbors complained about the noise so I bought a 6/1 and this one just sat unused.  This engine has the heavy wheels with boles, not spokes.  It is rated to run at 1000rpm.  It has been stored inside the garage the whole time.  The decompression release is missing; I will either order another or fabricate a new one.  I also replaced the original fuel line and filter with an inline filter from an auto parts store.  

I also have some spare parts that I will list if there is enough interest.

The gen head is 10kw and has had the dog house removed and rectifier added, I have about 10ft of armored 6-3 gauge wire (2 hot 1 common and a ground) that feeds into a breaker box.  It is wired for both 220v and 110v output  

The engine and gen head sit on a heavy I beam frame, the Gen head sits on a heavy-duty sliding steel frame that is adjustable.  I also have 2 pulleys one to run the engine at 1000rpm and the other is for a lower speed.  I will have to measure it to figure out the rpm required for 60hz.

I sold my 6/1 earlier this month, and based on all the PMs I got, it was underpriced.  What I would like to do this time around is gauge interest before I decide on a price.  If there is real interest I will post some pictures.  In the mean time you can view this video I took when I first set up the engine.

Please PM if interested



I have a Powerline 6/1 and a 12/1 sitting idle taking up space that I would like to convert into a brew shed.  Back in 2007-2008 I imported a few containers of these, at the time the Powerline brand was considered one of the better ones available.  I spent time with Atul and his people here in the US to make sure the engines were as good as they could be. 

A few years ago I ran my 6/1 for 4 days without stopping (there was a large spring storm that knocked out power in Ct for a week in some areas.)  Last year after Hurricane Earl, I ran the 6/1 for 3 days straight with no problems.  The 6/1 is a great engine but just does not have enough power to service my whole house.  Since I have a 12/1 It makes sense to swap them out.

What I would like to do is sell the 6/1, keep the 12/1 and move it to a new location to free up a back garage I have.  I do not know the exact hours on the engine, but I would put an estimate at 500hrs or less.

I am asking $1000 for the 6/1 including all the spare parts I have.  I will list everything out if there is any interest.  I prefer local pick up from zip code 06903. 

Frame and gen head are not included or for sale.

PM me if interested

I will email pics upon request.


Other Slow Speed Diesels / Changfa type as used in China
« on: January 22, 2008, 01:09:38 AM »
For the Changfa fans, follow the link to a few pictures and a video clip I took while in China last month.  The last one is of a "truck" with a Changfa, you can make out the flywheel under the seat of the driver.


Waste Vegetable Oil / Water removal in WVO
« on: March 20, 2007, 07:36:49 PM »

As the resident expert on Veg oil use, could you comment on the various ways to dewater WVO?

I am particularly interested in centrifuge and flash evaporation.  I am sure this info is avaliable in other forums, could you just give a bref explanation and some links to the indepth discussions on the other threads


General Discussion / Global Warming, an interestng alternate view
« on: March 17, 2007, 05:56:30 PM »
This is an interesting video that acts as a counterbalance to the popular belief that we humans are causing global warming.


Lister Based Generators / Preparing for extended run times
« on: March 02, 2007, 07:59:48 PM »
I would like to detail my in-process Lister type installation with the purpose of exposing flaws and possible failure points.  I am preparing to run the system for extended periods.  This will also serve as a test for what is possible of an engine run straight from the factory.  Blast away, I have a thick skin.

I live in southern Connecticut and the reason I am involved with these engines is to net meter with the utility.  The utility is onboard and I am in the final approval process.  I did receive resistance when I went to my city for my electrical permit.  After a bit of educating they gave me the go ahead.  The primary concerns the city had were with noise and possible odors.  The regs state that the noise level can not exceed 55db measured one foot beyond my property line during daytime hours (8am-8pm) the allowable noise level is reduced to 45db at night.

I have a 12/1 and  6/1 power line brand.
The generator is installed in a free standing one car garage that is only about 30 feet from the property line.  The 12/1 at 1000rpm was just too loud to run for extended periods, it was so loud that I got a call from a neighbor complaining about the noise.

Issue # 1 noise levels:
I have a generic auto muffler and down stream the exhaust flows into a buried 30-35 gallon steel drum.  The noise level using this setup on the 6/1 @ 650rpm is about 60db when loaded to 3500 watts.  If I drop the rpm to about 525 the db with a 2100 watt load the level drops to 55db.  I think with some sound dampening in the garage I could drop the db level further.  I am considering Homosote, but at about $24 per sheet this is not a cheap option.  Based on the research I have done plain sheet rock, even in multiple layers, offers little sound reduction.  If anyone has other suggestions I am all ears.

Issue #2 Safety
Assuming I can reduce db to an acceptable level and I have enough free WVO, I could conceivably run the engine 24/7.  If I do run for long periods I would like to run the engine at a lower rpm, 450-500 is what I am targeting.  I have a pulley on the way for this speed.  I need to feel confident running the generator unattended, for that I need some safety controls built in.
I would like to have automatic shut downs that activate on:
Over temp
Over speed
Low oil
The sensors for these are available in one form or another.  What I have not been able to find is the mechanical actuator that would be used to shut off fuel and or air.  I envision each sensor with its own relay all connected to 2 common shut off devices.  One would be the fuel cut off and the other would be the air cut off, so any of the sensors could cause a shut down.  I would like the actuator to turn off when electricity is cut off, i.e. a spring would be countered with an electromagnet which allows the fuel or air to flow, and when the electromagnet is off the spring would shut off the fuel or air.  Perhaps there is a fuel solenoid available that has a normal position of off that when energized it will open?  All suggestions are welcome.

Issue #3 lube Oil

If I run this engine for long periods I need to make sure it has clean oil. A bypass filter will also allow fol extended oil changes and open up the possibility of using detergent oil.  I am thinking of adding a bypass filter to the system in addition to the standard full flow spin on filter.  I have a good idea of the filter I want to use, but I do not want to use the onboard pump, because I think the pressure is too low and I would rather not have to cut into the existing plumbing.  I envision adding a pipe to the oil drain hole which will lead to a small electric pump.  I would like suggestions on what pump to use and weather I should put the pump before (to push oil through the filter) or after the filter (to pull oil through)  I will have pressure gauges before and after to indicate when to change the filter media.  The filtered oil will be pumped into the hole next to the compression release valve, as others have done.  I may add a thermal sensor that would activate the oil pump when the oil temp is above 80-90f  if I find it can not handle cold oil.  Does anyone have suggestions on pumps that may work?

Hotater I believe you have the most experience with long run times, do have any advise on what to look out for, or any suggested  procedures or systems?

Best regards

Lister Based Generators / Basic 6/1 power curve
« on: February 22, 2007, 12:50:59 AM »
I wanted to know how much power was available in a 6/1 at various speeds, so I ran the following test.

Engine: Powerline 6/1 unmodified
Flywheel diameter actual: 23.24”
Pulley diameter actual: 8.44”
Engine run time prior to test: 28.8hrs
Oil changed after first 5 hrs and at 25 hrs
Oil: Rotella T 30
Muffler: Generic 2” input and 2”output off set
Gen head: 10kw ST
Cooling:  Thermo siphon, radiator from Nissan Pathfinder electric fans on thermal switch
Operating temp: 200-225
Load: 3800w 240v water heater element resistance measured at 15.7ohms
Load measurement point: heating element leads
Duration: 10 min per segment
Order of test: highest RPM to lowest

I allowed the engine to come up to temp with a 900 watt load for 5 min then a 1600watt load for the next 10 min.  I have a t stat which I keep meaning to install, the temp here in CT was about 40 f during the test.

Once up to temp I switched on the breaker for the load and adjusted the governor until it was a steady 60hz on the Kill-O-Watt meter.  I then measured the voltage at the element terminals, recorded it and moved on to the next segment.  I let the engine carry the load for 10 min per segment and the voltage readings remained constant.

I used the hz reading along with my flywheel and pulley diameters to calculate the RPM
I used the constant resistance value of 15.7 to calculate the current according to Ohms law.
V=voltage: a variable
R= resistance: a constant 15.7

Once I had the current I multiplied the result by the voltage to give me wattage

For each segment I plugged the variables into excel and the following link is a table of the results.

Below I will try to post the table but I have not had luck doing this before.

RPM   HZ loaded          volts   R (Ohms)   Current   Watts   Db measurement   Exhaust characteristics
654   60.00              243   15.7   15.48   3,761.08   60dbc <50dba   slight black smoke
632   58.00              232   15.7   14.78   3,428.28   57dbc <50dba   grey
610   56.00              222   15.7   14.14   3,139.11   58dbc <50dba   slight grey
588   54.00              211   15.7   13.44   2,835.73   58dbc <50dba   none
566   52.00              200   15.7   12.74   2,547.77   57dbc <50dba   none
545   50.00              191   15.7   12.17   2,323.63   56dbc <50dba   none
523   48.00              183   15.7   11.66   2,133.06   55dbc <50dba   none
501   46.00              171   15.7   10.89   1,862.48   not measured   none

I think the results are pretty good considering the low hours on the engine, I expect them to get better over time as the engine continues to break in.

Best regards

Engines / Safety Modifications
« on: December 29, 2006, 04:03:22 AM »
Sensible Safety

I would like to solicit ideas/ procedures for everyday safety when using a Lister.  There is currently an ongoing discussion that deals with the real yet very remote possibility of a catastrophic failure of a flywheel.  I suggest spending the bulk of the energy focused on the more immediate risk.

Any reasonable person would agree that the Lister and Lister type engines are far more likely to cause injury to the operator because of  “operator error.”  And this would most likely involve entanglement of an operators limb(s) or clothing in a flywheel or serp belt.  With this in mind, why don’t we focus the discussion on the most likely cause of injury and ways to mitigate the risk?

There are many many pictures of proud Lister and Lister type engine owners showing their work.  I cannot recall even one that had a guard over the flywheel(s) and or gen head belt.  I am no exception; I am in the process of building a guard for the hand crank and belt side of my engine, but I have run it plenty of times with no guard.  I like everyone else (hopefully) have a healthy respect for the bodily damage one mistake can cause.  I have first hand experience albeit a very minor scrape with the potential of these engines.

While setting up my gen head I got a finger caught between the belt and the gen head pulley.  I was advancing the flywheel by hand, yet the momentum was enough to carry my finger onto the pulley and cause a lot of pain, some blood and a mangled fingernail.  If the engine were running I would have one less finger at best.

So let's work on something we can actually effect change upon, to protect against the most likely cause of injury, moving parts that can entangle the operator. 

Best regards

Listeroid Engines / Ideal running temp
« on: December 21, 2006, 02:55:02 AM »
I would like to gather info on the IDEALrunning temp for a lister type engine. 

It seems that the most common operating temp is somewhere between 190-200f  I wonder if that is because the parts (t-stats) are readily available in this range or this is actually the ideal temp range.

I would expect the engine to run more efficiently at a higher temp. 

How much efficiency is gained, is there a linear relationship between operating temp and efficiency?
 At what point do we reach the point of diminishing returns?
At what temp do we begin to worry about damaging the engine?
If the operating temp is increased to a certain temperature, will the timing need to be changed due to higher temp promoting combustion earlier in the cycle?

All opinions are welcomed and opinions backed up by experience, anecdotal evidence and or hard numbers are greatly appreciated.  I am most interested in the why part of this question.

Best regards

Lister Based Generators / Net metering: Real world numbers
« on: December 19, 2006, 06:21:59 PM »
This thread should discuss the economics, leave the technical discussion in the "selling listeroid power back to the grid" thread.

The following is based on my situation in Connecticut, each state has different rates and rules. 

In Connecticut my electric rate is currently .18/kwh inclusive of commodity charge and delivery. As of 1/1/06 the rate will increase to .192/kwh.  My state allows me to net meter up to 100kw/hour various incentives are available including grants. 

 My project is in progress and the intention is to burn veg oil in my 12/1 turning a 10hp induction motor above sync speed pushing back about 7kw/hour back to the grid at full output.  Many months ago I started this process, and it is quite a process, the most challenging part is dealing with the hoops the utility makes you jump through.  But before you lay out any cash it makes sense to run the numbers, below is a review of some of the numbers I considered prior to embarking on this process

The costs add up quickly
Electrical Engineer                    $2000 Strongly suggested by the utility
Protective equipment                $1200 required by the utility
Install                                       $1200 suggested by the utility
Misc materials                          $800
Engine                                      $0*
Gen head/ Motor                      $0*
Total                                        $5200

*I brought a load of gen heads and engines in to the NY area last summer; I resold those with enough margin to pay for my gen head and engine. 

I ran an unscientific test a few months ago to get an idea of how long my 12/1 would run on a gallons of wvo.  The gen was loaded at abput 6800 watts, as this was the max load I could create with the materials/ appliances I had on hand. 

I measured the wattage draw of various heaters and other appliances using a Kill a Watt meter.  The sum of these items came to 6800, I understand there may be some variance after they heat up, it still gives me a good idea of load vs. consumption.  The exhaust was clear to slight white/grey and the engine was loud but seemed to run fine.  I believe I could coax a little more power out of it, so I am using 7kw as an output number.

 I have a 1 gallon auxiliary tank that I filled with 1 gallon of  vo.  The engine was run on diesel and warmed up to 220 deg f as measured at the upper coolant outlet.  I then switched over to the Vo, the engine ran for 88 minuets before I saw air in the clear plastic fuel line from the small 1 gallon tank just prior to the exhaust heat exchanger.  At the point of injection the fuel is at least 230 def f, per the fuel temp sensor just before the injector.  The engine consumed more fuel than I had expected.  It works out to .68 gal/hour consumption, I was expecting under .5/hour.  Perhaps this number will improve as the engine breaks in.  The engine has < 100hrs on it 

The engine runs for 88 min and I produce 10.22kw 
28 min = .46hr     28min/60=.467 
7kw *1.467hrs=10.269kw per hour on WVO
.192(retail rate)*10.269kw= $1.97 worth of avoided retail electricity

So each gallon of free WVO can be converted into $1.97 using the 12/1 Lister type engine
Now I need to make a lot of electricity to cover those costs.  At .192/kw I need to make 27083 kw to break even.  This equates to about 3870 running hours for my 12/1
That equates to about 11hrs a day 30 days per month.
27090*.192=$5201…. payback in one year.

The above is not reality though, as this assumes I receive the full retail rate for all of my production, sadly this is not the case.  Once I produce in excess of my consumption I am compensated at the avoided or spot rate as determined by ISO New England auction. Over the last 3 years the monthly rate averages .07/kw  This is a far cry from the .192 retail rate I pay as of 1.1.07   

My annual consumption for the last 3 years has been pretty steady, averaging just under 16500kw at the old rate it is about $3000/year.  The rate will be a little higher starting 1/1/07. 
 Any production above 16500kw will be paid out at about .07/kw  (This is not really the case, in high demand months the rate is higher, in June, July, August and Sept the rate is .089.  So if I really want to optimize my electric production I would skew production to the months where the payout is highest.  It may even possible to sign up for “by the hour pricing” where I would be paid based on the actual rate during the actual hours I produce excess electricity.)  I expect that there is a pretty strong correlation between air temp and the spot price during these months, with this in mind it should be relatively simple to “predict” when the rates are highest and adjust gen run time accordingly.
……..But for the sake of simplicity I have assumed a flat .07 spot rate.

16500(annual consumption)*.192(retail rate)=   $3168 avoided usage charges
$5200cap cost - $3168=   $2032 this amount needs to be recouped.
$2032/.07=29028kw at a rate of .07 I would need to produce 29028kw which means running the engine another 4146 hours.  This rate schedule makes it impractical to run the engine due to the low amount paid for the incremental output above my domestic usage.  It makes more sense to run it only enough to cover my actual kw consumption.   

If you really want to look at the true value of these numbers you must acknowledge that this production is worth more than production in excess of usage, because the savings flows directly to my household bottom line.  Any production over my domestic usage is paid to me by the utility and as such is taxed at my income tax rate.  A dollar saved is worth more than a dollar earned!

It makes more sense to just run the engine just enough to cover my domestic usage.
16500kw domestic usage /7kw (1hr output) = 2357 hours *7kw * .192 = $3134   
Cap cost                      $5200
Production yr 1    $3134
Shortfall                        $20366

So in year 2 I run the engine  2357 hours and I am at the break even point
2357  hrs *7kw = 16500kw* .192= $3134

Total run time year one: 10 hrs a day 20 days a month =16794 kw
Total run time year two:  6.5 hrs a day 20 days a month =  10916 kw
Run time is variable, run it longer per day for less days per month.

Below is theory not many hard numbers used:

Now I have not mentioned using the coolant or exhaust heat.  Someone  made mention of high and low value heat.  High value heat I define as useable heat that had a much higher temp than the ambient temp where it is to be applied.  This can be from the exhaust and or the coolant.  The low value heat would be the heat radiating from the mass of the engine.  This heat is hard to recover. 
Capture the heat which is easiest to work with first then move on to more difficult sources.  Take the “low hanging fruit”  this would be from the coolant loop, run it through copper finned baseboard heating sections.  Add a circulating pump and the baseboard heat becomes your radiator.  I am sure the HVAC guys in the group could do a heat loss analysis to best size the baseboard sections.  With the right data you would also be able to fine tune the flow to optimize heat gain to the room while leaving enough heat for the return line to keep the coolant in the block hot enough for efficient combustion.  (As for the consumption of electricity of the circulation pump, the Taco model 005-f2 draws .53 amps at 115v so about 61 watts are consumed by the pump. Even at 24hrs run time it only costs 28 cents a day to run.)
This is a balancing act, and with creative use of valves and or variable flow rate pumps it could be done.

Harvesting the exhaust heat will require fabrication or purchase of a gas to liquid heat exchanger.  The principals are pretty straight forward, increase surface area and increase heat transfer.  I am sure there are other factors at play such as dwell time and materials used, but sometimes common sense is enough to get a simple project done.  Have a downward slope to the heat exchanger and put it after your muffler if one is used, this will reduce the acids from a cool exhaust from eating everything.  Plumb it to your house, pool , hot tub or greenhouse. 

Calculate how many BTUs you can take out of the exhaust.  Take that btu content and add it to the BTUs you captured from the coolant loop. The dollar value of those BTUs are determined by the price paid currently for your home heating fuel, as they will displace BTUs you would have purchased normally for your domestic heating requirements.

 I have done the real world math for the electric generation, the numbers work.  Part of the reasons my numbers work is because CT has the 2nd highest electric rates in the country, second only to NY.  I have not done the math for the cogen, but any heat I can use is a bonus.  For my project to make economic sense I don’t need to do cogen.  I can further accelerate the payback time if I use cogen. 

Interesting info I found along the way:

 Each gallon of  free vo is converted to $1.97 in electricity up to my domestic usage. 
Each KW of electricity is equivalent to 3412 BTUs
A BTU of electricity at my retail rate costs me just  $0.0000562    .192/3412btus= .0000562
A cubic foot of nat gas has 1031BTUs
Using last months nat gas bill, my cost per BTU of nat gas is .00158    when converted to BTUs, the cost of nat gas is much higher than electricity.

There are also losses involved with burning nat gas, using a resistance heater there are negligible losses converting each kw to 3412 BTUs.   I would have expected the reverse, It seems it would be cheaper to heat my house with electric vs. nat gas.   The cost per BTU of nat gas vs electricity is so far apart I fear there is a calculation error somewhere.

A gallon of soy oil (my WVO is soy) has about 118000btu per gallon.
1kw = 3412 BTUs
10.269kw*3412=35037 BTUs extracted from a gallon of soy based WVO
35037/118000=29% efficiency which is higher than I expected, and causes me to question the real output I was seeing out of the generator.  I will run the test again once additional ammeter and volt meters are hard wired into the gen panel.

So the economics for my particular situation are:
Cap cost of about $5200
Payback period <2yrs with no cogen

The state offers grants for this type of project, I was awarded a grant of $3300.  I will receive the money when it is operational and deemed in compliance by the utility.  This makes my project pay back in less than one year.  They also offer a separate grant of $250 per kw for backup generators.  If you are called upon by the utility you must take your self off the grid, this can happen if there is a power emergency where rolling brownouts may be required.  I have a ST head, so I also have a backup generator.  Because I am using an induction setup if the grid fails I have a source of power. This grant or grants will make for a very quick payback period of far less than one year.

I have also been looking into using a UL listed off the shelf grid tied inverter, these are common for solar and wind applications.  If this works out, utility approval will be easier and less expensive.   There is still a lot of research to do into this option, I have contacted several manufacturers with limited success so far.  I have 3 years from the date of the grant award to get something installed, so I am in no great hurry.

Bottom line, under the right circumstances and with enough research and hard work it can work, but it is by no means anything close to easy.

Best regards

Listeroid Engines / Engine Size Poll
« on: March 22, 2006, 01:05:32 PM »
I thought it would be interesting to find out the most popular engine size.  I have enabled up to 3 votes for people who have more than one engine.

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