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I don't see anything about a sterling engine, only a boy with glasses. Is something missing?

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When I was at university, there was a sterling engine the size of a washing machine. I fired it up one day when nobody was looking. It was truly pathetic. I could grab the flywheel, that probably weighed 20 kg, and stop it with my bare hands. Next to this curiosity sat a single piston steam engine. Both machines were about the same size and each weighed about 100 kg. An elephant couldn't stop the flywheel on the steam engine. The efficiency of the Sterling engine is high (at least theoretically), while the efficiency of the steam engine was more like 5% or 10%. The problem is power output. You can't get any power out of the Sterling engine, but you can get lots of power out of a steam engine. Two cylinders (combined smaller than a man) can drive a locomotive and pull 100 train cars loaded with freight up a hill. The Sterling engine is an interesting curiosity, but utterly useless.

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After studying both Stirling and steam engines over the past decade I came to the same conclusion.

My thought was to build a more efficient steam engine. One thought to improve efficiency was to combine the expander and boiler so only one surface dissipated heat. Another direction I've been pursuing is a linear, in-line shunt valve, dual-piston, "crosshead" fluid engine configuration to remove flywheel, eccentric, valve rods, etc.. The mechanics received a patent a few years ago.

Not being an engineer, I'm looking for engineering assistance in developing a steam-based residential MCHP solar thermal system to replace heating furnaces in the Southwestern U.S. and similar environments.

vinceatsteamdynamicsdotcom

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You are following the right track. Old locomotives were very inefficient compared to diesel engines because the boiler leaked an enormous amount of heat to the great outdoors (all wasted), the steam was only partially expanded (the loud huffing sound at the end of the stroke), and the latent heat of the steam was lost to the environment rather than condensed and fed back to the boiler. Steam as a working fluid has several advantages: cheap, completely non-toxic, readily available, very high specific heat, and fairly high thermal conductivity. Nobody's going to steal your steam. I have a friend who has done a lot of work for the US Department of Energy on Rubidium fuel cells to convert hydrogen. Besides turning your car into a rolling bomb, you'd have to post an armed guard whenever you parked it. Thieves would figure out how to steal your fuel cell while you're sitting at a red light. Thief one: I stole a Ferrari! Thief two: That's nothing! I stole a Rubidium fuel cell. I pawned it for enough cash to buy Italy! It reminded me of when the Manhattan Project (here where I live) "borrowed" the silver in Fort Knox to make wire because copper was scarce. Only the government can afford to do such ridiculously impractical things.

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Even though 80%+ of U.S. and world electricity is steam generated, and sensors and micro controllers can manage operations, the D.O.E. may think steam projects aren't sophisticated enough to fund.

Two years ago, with backing from a couple University of Houston engineering faculty and the Houston Advanced Research Center, I applied for a government grant to develop an efficient expander  ...  with barely a response from the D.O.E..

If I had only known, they couldn't have passed up a steam-Rubidium combination in a super-cell-expander!

vinceatsteamdynamicsdotcom

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