Alternative Car

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by enloopious, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yes, bearing in mind that using electricity to make heat is a pretty inefficient way compared to others. Also, running the engine to drive a generator would not produce enough power to make up for that used to heat the engine. It would make more sense to heat the engine with mirror focused light and eliminate the solar collectors.
  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    "It would make more sense to heat the engine with mirror focused light and eliminate the solar collectors." True, but hard to do with a moving vehicle. Fernell lenses and concave mirrors do work (proven) but would be problematic while driving.
    Overseas, trucks are being retro-fitted with air conditioners, powered by solar panels installed on the top of the trailer. And they didn't use even %25 of the space available, perhaps we need to drive stretch limos?
  3. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    With regard to Steam Engines, I was concerned that someone would ask for links ..... lol ..... I will see what I can do. I did not save my prior search results because of the obvious costs involved to go down that road, and lack of facilities and equipment to complete the task. It was only a whim and an idea. A what if to be toyed with, if you will. links provided.
    one source ...
    Home Page of Reliable Steam Engine Co. Maker of Steam Engines, Boilers, and Accessories.
    others. Alternative Energy for the 21st Century
    Steam engine - New World Encyclopedia
    Steam and Traction Engines For Sale
    STEAM ENGINE MANUFACTURERS many other links can be found, and some of these have excellent links to other info sources. plans and more are available from what is supplied above.
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Relax, I have way too many projects going right now. Just interested.
  5. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    I suppose that could be done but only a small portion of the solar energy would make it to the engine. PV cells currently are in the 10-15% efficiency range though research PV cells can exceed double that. Some energy loss in the wiring etc and you might be doing well to get 10-12% efficiency. There are ways to focus the sun directly on the engine or use concentrating solar collectors to heat a liquid and circulate the heated liquid to the engine. Those would probably be much more efficient. Just 25-30% is double vs using electricty to transfer the energy.

    Ponder this - get the giant Fresnel lens out of a big rear projection TV that has crapped out. You can braze weld with those puppies and a clear sky.

  6. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Steam engines - I used to subscribe to a rag called the Home Shop Machinist. I recall they had a sister publication called Live Steam or something akin to that. There were ample ads for plans, castings, parts, etc. in these. Most of these folks machining little steam engines are going for functional appearance and not raw applicability. These things are often absolutely gorgeous and I just love them. However I don't have the time to machine a whole engine and if I'm going to machine just for the heck of it I'll probably start a helicopter project for the retired years.

    Anyway, in the spirit of the smart poor lazy dude, for a steam engine I probably might look for a small aluminum head and block gas engine with cast aluminum pistons. Then weld up and remachine the valve lobes on the cam shaft, possibly change the cam drive to run at crank speed (not half the crank speed) and possibly an intake manifold and with that convert this to be my steam engine. A whole lot less work!

  7. enloopious

    enloopious Rocket Surgeon

    While we are speaking of hybrid engines I found this.

    This rod will pull with 100lbs of force when heat is added. 5mm thickness. Maybe ten of these in a row attached to springs with the hot water from the steam engine could produce a couple thousand lbs of horse power.
    5mm Nitinol Rod Shape Memory Research Grade Mentalism Magic Wand ASTM | eBay

    I have been diagramming blue prints for an engine that anyone could build using these rods with springs and steam power. It will be fun to build but I'm sure someone with specialization in this kind of engineering would be able to make it much more effectively.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

  9. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    This whole discussion has been lived out many years ago. The solution then was to run vehicles and tractors on wood gasifiers. Lots of documentation including publications by FEMA. With modern electric vehicle technology and electronic controls now plentiful and practical, there might be an argument to use the gasifier to power a hybrid vehicle. (yeah we would need spare electronics stored in Faraday boxes etc.) Anyway, in the sprit of a smart poor lazy man who pursues R&D in the rip off and duplicate sense, take a look at this.
    Build It « Gasifier Experimenters Kit

  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    My question is, "Why do folks insist on keeping a fuel guzzling vehicle going on alternative fuels, when a small, light, Side by Side ATV will both transport, tow, and consume only 20% of the BTUs of that Fuel Hog."
  11. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Well just sayin for myself, my Polaris Ranger 4x4 ATV can haul the three of us side by side, gets about 24 mpg when we drive it on the road or our farm lanes and can get up to about 50 mph top end. It's cold, hot, wet or dusty but is reliable and fun. Our SUV gets 23.4 mpg, can haul 5 people can go 80+ mph, is legal on the interstate and do it much more comfortably. Not much advantage based upon these two data points. I almost bought a diesel Ranger that allegedly got about 40 mpg but the extra 4 grand was hard to swallow.

    I have a junky old pickup with carburetor engine that might enjoy a gasifier occupying a third of the bed space. I could probably gasify the Ranger easily but it would probably consume most of my cargo space. An electric vehicle, even a golf cart, might be a viable local transportation option with a woodpowered generator to recharge it.

  12. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    Some years ago I tried to get a mini-truck titled and registered here in Texas. It was a Chinese fire drill and all I got was a dozen different reasons it couldn't be done. Golf carts can be registered for street use here in my little town but you can't get on or even cross state highways.4-wheelers or side by sides you are going to be ticketed by any leo that catches you. Texas ain't as free as some think.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Up here in Alaska, ATVs are the same as Snowmobiles... They are NOT Titled, but can be Registered, as such... My Rhino cost $30US for 6 years, and is legal, to drive around in the bush, except Limited Access Highways.
  14. alaskachick

    alaskachick A normally quiet snow monkey

    My question is......where are you all going? [gone]
    hank2222 likes this.
  15. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Easy. My brother in law's farm is a mile and a quarter away from ours. He raises hogs and makes beer. Got to protect that.

  16. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    "Here is the million dollar idea, you put the heating filament in the pistons!"

    How do you power the filaments? That energy has to come from somewhere.
  17. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Supposedly there is a way to collect methane from decaying pig$hit and or chicken$hit. If that could be collected and compressed to make it practical to carry in a vehicle and feed an engine of some sort...
  18. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Another possibility is to break up water into hydrogen and oxygen to use as a fuel. It takes electricity to do that, and you don't get the power back out that you put in. But if that power is supplied from solar panels...there's plenty of solar energy here in the SW. This is in a post SHTF world. It would be impractical on a commercial scale.
  19. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Not really. You could split water all day and all night by solar and battery, and yet you drive only an hour or two per day. That is feasible, in a fixed position, just plug your car in to the power station, and let it do it's thing.
  20. enloopious

    enloopious Rocket Surgeon

    Yeah who cares about commercialism. This is so that we as Americans can exercise our common law rights to travel. Those still exist right?

    Speaking of, I saw a show where these guys build motorcycles and they are testing them out and a cop pulls them over. He asks where their license plates are and they say they just built the bikes. The cop says he's going to let them go with a warning but he could write them tickets, bla bla bla. The truth of the matter is, he couldn't write them a ticket because without registering, they aren't in his jurisdiction. I liked the way he made everyone think HIS truth instead of the actual truth.
    Altoidfishfins likes this.
survivalmonkey SSL seal warrant canary