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Author Topic: Any steam engines left?  (Read 171 times)

MachineNLectricMan

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Any steam engines left?
« on: September 07, 2021, 09:25:04 AM »
More nostalgic than anything else but would also be good for emergency emergency power. I.E. You can't get any fuel for your normal emergency Lister power. We had an ice storm once that was so bad you couldn't buy any fuel anywhere as there was no electricity anywhere to power the station pumps. Outages lasted a couple of weeks. Doesn't take but a few days to use up your reserves. If anything really bad happens there won't be any natural gas either to power those inefficient gas generators everyone is being conned into buying. Thanks to the tree huggers (whose tree's are now all burning down), the natural gas distributors are no longer allowed to burn natural gas to power the compressors that send the gas to you the customer. It's all electric now. Texas is a prime example of what can happen, seems the tree huggers got control of things there somehow before last winter. Next thing they'll have to use mule powered compressors with EPA emissions controls on the mules.

While extremely inefficient, steam could get you by until you could get other means back running. After all, you could burn just about anything to "raise steam". Our pioneers had been known to burn dried cow and buffalo chips, and even cook doing that. Not sure I would like my dinner meat smoked like that though.

Six to eight horsepower would be good. Steam engines are a bit "cool" anyway. Steam still remains a good way of heating too, and in that use is just as efficient as some modern means. This gives a double use for the boiler.

cobbadog

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Re: Any steam engines left?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2021, 12:43:57 PM »
Love seeing steam but out here in Oz you have to have the boilers certified along with a certificate to operate a steam powered anything. We sometimes go to places just to watch these silent monsters tick over.
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mikenash

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Re: Any steam engines left?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2021, 07:47:04 PM »
More nostalgic than anything else but would also be good for emergency emergency power. I.E. You can't get any fuel for your normal emergency Lister power. We had an ice storm once that was so bad you couldn't buy any fuel anywhere as there was no electricity anywhere to power the station pumps. Outages lasted a couple of weeks. Doesn't take but a few days to use up your reserves. If anything really bad happens there won't be any natural gas either to power those inefficient gas generators everyone is being conned into buying. Thanks to the tree huggers (whose tree's are now all burning down), the natural gas distributors are no longer allowed to burn natural gas to power the compressors that send the gas to you the customer. It's all electric now. Texas is a prime example of what can happen, seems the tree huggers got control of things there somehow before last winter. Next thing they'll have to use mule powered compressors with EPA emissions controls on the mules.

While extremely inefficient, steam could get you by until you could get other means back running. After all, you could burn just about anything to "raise steam". Our pioneers had been known to burn dried cow and buffalo chips, and even cook doing that. Not sure I would like my dinner meat smoked like that though.

While you COULD go out there and build a steam engine, imho you'd be better off just filling a couple of 200 litre drums brim-full with diesel and leaving them in the back of the shed

I'm inclined to add that trying to build a complex, high-maintenance bit of kit as s solution to a relatively simple problem is probably - and I do stress this is just a personal opinion - about as effective as blaming the greenies for everything from herpes to yellow snow around the Husky encampment

Six to eight horsepower would be good. Steam engines are a bit "cool" anyway. Steam still remains a good way of heating too, and in that use is just as efficient as some modern means. This gives a double use for the boiler.

cujet

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Re: Any steam engines left?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2021, 06:29:24 PM »
From a thermodynamic point of view, both the output and the efficiency of a heat engine is directly related to the hot and cold temperatures achievable in the system. The post above is correct when stating the lack of efficiency and output. But what's not clear to most is just how poor those real world numbers are.

In real world terms, for this discussion, 5% efficiency is achievable with great effort. Without that effort, expect 3%. Very little of the heat of combustion is used to drive the piston down. There are many reasons for this, but consider the lack of significant steam heat as one of the thermodynamic reasons.

Combustion can be 2500-3500 degrees F. Steam at a difficult to manage 800PSI is 500 deg F. Remember, the amount of heat is directly related to output and efficiency. So, instead of working with 2000+ degrees, we are working with less than 500F.

Maybe a good comparison is an air compressor. A 2hp garage air compressor can't even sustain a 1/4HP die grinder.

To make matters worse, burning hardwood with a normal moisture content, it takes about 5 times more wood in weight than it does #2 heating oil or gasoline. 30 pounds of wood produces the same heat as a gallon. Add in heat transfer inefficiency and steam inefficiency and the best we can hope for is 200 pounds of wood might match a gallon in work produced.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2021, 06:40:20 PM by cujet »
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