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Hydrogen-based Rotary Engine?

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the partially-hydrogenated dept.

Technology 349

Seabird99 writes: "I came across this article at one of my car related forums and thought that I'd pass it on here. I have always been intrigued by "alternative" technologies where they relate to artificial locomotion." For some reason Slashdot gets a lot of submissions of wacko energy concepts - power from nothing, power from sand, power from a black box, engines that get 500 miles to the gallon... Perhaps this is more of the same, but at least it's an interesting write-up.

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OMG! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419273)

Secundo posta?!?

I claim another groin pull! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419274)

Give me some sugar, baby!

slashdotted already, yahoo has a mirror of story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419277)

Yahoo! [yahoo.com] [yahoo.com] had it long ago!!

Presented to save time.

Next Problem (3, Interesting)

JJ (29711) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419278)

And now . . . someone has to come up with a way to generate hydrogen en masse and deliver it to your nearest filling station. Not to mention store it and dispense it there.

Re:Next Problem (1)

raz16 (527561) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419291)

Well, just imagine an engine that produces its own hydrogen from water, so you just have to take some bottles with you and your car runs forever. Or just driving aroung a lake ;)

Re:Next Problem (1, Informative)

gazbo (517111) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419343)

I know you were mainly just joking, but I should point out anyway that you can't get something for nothing.

You split water into H2 and O2, ignite them, and get water again. Hoorah! But as I said, energy can't be created, so the energy taken to split up the water would never be less than the energy given out by combustion.

As an aside, several prototype cars have been manufactured that do exactly this: they electrolyse the water, and then burn the H2. Presumably they found it gave greater power than electric motors (just my guess) but at the end of the day, the battery still had to be recharged every so often, just like lame electric cars.

Now a nuclear car, *that* would be fun

'Oh yeah, she does 7500 Miles to the plutonium rod...'

Re:Next Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419414)

Then again, some kind of regenerative hydrogen-burning car might be feasible, expecially if all you needed to do to refuel was plug it into the wall for a few hours.

Admittedly, long-haul driving could be interesting, but having a fuel cell that you just recharge by plugging in would save on trips to the gas station...

Read the article plz. (1)

HarrisonSilp (527951) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419658)

It would be unfeasible to make a self-contained system and put it in the car, why don't people read the article then you will see how simple his idea is, you don't need a self-contained sytem, it's a good enough plan without complicating it. Besides, he said it would take a washing machine size machine to do that, where do you plan on putting that machine? In the back seat? And why now? Is it that hard to hook up your car when you're parked in your garage?

Re:Next Problem (1)

martyn s (444964) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419668)

But that's called a battery, or at least it does the same thing a battery does. So what's the benefit of using water?

Re:Next Problem (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419589)

Now a nuclear car, *that* would be fun

'Oh yeah, she does 7500 Miles to the plutonium rod...'

Haven't you seen Back to the Future [imdb.com] ? It's not plutonium rods, it's Mr. Fusion!

Re:Next Problem (2)

Spankophile (78098) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419665)

You can't get something for nothing - true.

How about this.

The water tank resides on the _top_ of the car. And you use the potential energy of the stored water to drive the electrolysis.

Heck, you then use the buoyant hydrogen bubbles to turn another turbine to power even more electrolysis!

Patent Pending.
(pending the invention of really tall cars)

Re:Next Problem (2, Insightful)

tomknight (190939) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419295)

Now, I could be talking bollocks here, as I'm no physicist, but would it be harder to distibute and store hydrogen than LPG?


Re:Next Problem (1)

saider (177166) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419442)

From what I understand, the pressures needed to maintain propane in a liquid state are much lower than hydrogen at room temperature. Hydrogen requires such high pressures to maintain a liquid state at room temperature, that a practical container has yet to be developed. That is why liquid hydrogen is cooled to a temperture where the pressures are manageable. But then you have to keep it cool.

This is what I have heard and it seems to jive with the PV=nRT formula learned in high school chemistry.

Re:Next Problem (1)

tomknight (190939) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419449)

Of course, I forgot what having liquid hydrogen entails. Thanks for the info!


Re:Next Problem (2, Informative)

mrimpossible (456387) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419513)

http://www.mcmastermotor.com/fuel.htm says that it operates on a mixture of nitrous oxide and ammonia. There's your storage/safety problem solved. They intend to generate these chemicals from air, water, solar energy and some unspecified catalyst.

I'm not a chemist, so I don't know how this compares to generating hydrogen and oxygen in terms of efficiency and environmental damage.

Hard to compress hydrogen (4, Informative)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419576)

LPG stands for Liquified Petroleum Gas. It's a mixture of propane and butane. The advantage of these gases is that it takes only a moderate pressure at ambient temperatures to convert them to liquids. Liquid fuel is great because it's compact and easy to transport.

Hydrogen, on the other hand, has a boiling point of 20 K at atmospheric pressure (a bone chilling -423 degrees F)! So tanks would need some serious insulation in addition to handling high pressure. Due to its smaller molecules, it also leaks easier than LNG.

The best way to store hydrogen is probably in a hydrogen-rich compound like methanol, which is liquid at ambient conditions. My research group, among many others, is studying ways to efficiently convert methanol to hydrogen + carbon dioxide + water at the point of use. This would allow us to fuel our cars, RV's, or cell phones with convenient methanol and then run hydrogen fuel cells.

Don't worry about the carbon dioxide from that reaction. The methanol would presumably come from biomass or nuclear/solar-powered synthesis that consumes carbon dioxide. The carbon is just a carrier for the hydrogen, and there is no net CO2 pollution.


Re:Next Problem (2, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419311)

Yeah, that's the problem with hydrogen: You can't just dig a hydrogen well, you've got to make it.

We need hydrogen (or fuel cells, or whatever) and a good primary source of energy like fusion power (still a sliding 10-20 years away), otherwise we'll still be burning dead dinosaurs to make the hydrogen.

The technical problems of storage and dispensing will be solved when we're willing to spend as much on it as we do on the petrolium industry.

Re:Next Problem (4, Insightful)

kramer (19951) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419367)

Yeah, that's the problem with hydrogen: You can't just dig a hydrogen well, you've got to make it.

You can't just dig a gasoline well either, what's your point? Even natural gas requires refining to remove impurities and other trace gases. With very few exceptions, you're going to have to do some work to get the energy in a form that's usable to you.

Re:Next Problem (2, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419638)

Details, details! Cracking oil into gasoline is a trivial chemical engineering problem. :^)

Making hydrogen is a physics problem: Energy out = energy in - losses. (By using fossil fuels, we are cheating the physics problem by using stored solar power, but it'll run out someday.)

Re:Next Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419373)

The nice thing with using hydrogene instead of petrol/ oil as our main medium for energy transportation is that you get a system that is far more flexible regarding alternative energy sources.

Oil has to be pumped out of the ground, but hydrogen can be made either by cracking oil or by use of electricity. So that means that a country like Canada or Norway can use electricity from their waterfalls to run their cars. Or they can use solar cells, fusion power, wave power, osmotic power (freswater-saltwater), mice in a threadmill or whatever.

And then we can start a heavy CO2-tax and everybody will be happy!

Re:Next Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419653)

I can just see hundreds of sweat stained, knackered mice in Norway running around in t(h)readmills now :)

"*whipping noises* run faster you dirty rats!"
One day, the mice will avenge their enslaved brothers!

Re:Next Problem (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419330)

It is truely a shame, that you people don't read the articles BEFORE making "insightful" statements - the old geezer has a good idea:

As radical as the engine's design may be, even more so is the fuel with which McMaster intends to run it. "We begin with sunshine and water," he says, "and we end up with power and water." To be specific, McMaster's vision includes drawing electricity from solar panels installed on the roof of a garage, which -- in his own personal Tomorrowland -- would double as gas station and power plant. The electricity, when combined with water through electrolysis, would yield a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. Ignited under pressure, these gases would deliver not only astounding horsepower, but also a single, pollutant-free emission: good old H2O.

So - please be as kind as to tell me again, what was the problem (other than living in a country with hardly any sunshine)?

The Legal Problems :^) (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419518)

Going solar in a big way will surely be a boon to the legal profession.

I can imagine all the court cases when a neighbor's tree or a new large building blocks someone's access to sunlight.

The power companies will get ansy over free power, and governments will burn the midnight hydrogen trying to figure out how to tax it.

P.S. Electronics surplus stores usually have those "Solar car charger" panels fairly cheap. A few of those, some parts for the charger curcuit and an old but not dead car battery make a dandy emergency power supply.

Addressed in article (3, Informative)

SiliconJesus (1407) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419331)

The solar-voltaic energy stored in the garage would enable a small electrolysis machine to seperate the water into its base components (hydrogen and oxygen) for the car's fuel. Presumably this could be echoed on the commercial side, having large `plants` that would essnetially break water into its base components. Couple this with his other invention (the de-salinizer) could turn the oceans into giant fuel fields, that would be replenishing ((2)H2 + 02 = (2)H20). Infinate energy. Viola!
As envisioned by McMaster, Cicak, Guy, and others working on the MRE, the engine is the centerpiece of a revolution that reaches well beyond automotive technology to challenge basic assumptions about energy and the environment. McMaster calculates that 1,200 square feet of solar panels on the roof of a garage receiving 2,200 hours of sunshine a year could, with the help of an electrolysis device no bigger than a washing machine, produce enough hydrogen and oxygen to drive an MRE-powered car 200 miles a day. The oxygen would be bottled in scuba-like tanks that would snap into place under the hood. The hydrogen, more volatile and more dangerous, would be piped around the car's chassis through 180 feet of tubing, divided into 3-foot sections, each sealed off from the next by a set of valves.

Re:Addressed in article (2, Interesting)

aallan (68633) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419425)

McMaster calculates that 1,200 square feet of solar panels on the roof of a garage receiving 2,200 hours of sunshine a year could, with the help of an electrolysis device no bigger than a washing machine, produce enough hydrogen and oxygen to drive an MRE-powered car 200 miles a day.

Right, 1200 sq. ft. is 34 ft. on side (10.5m for people using sensible units). Thats alot of solar panels, leaving aside how much that many panels would cost, that a very big garage roof you've got there!

2200 hours of sunshine per year is 6 hours per day, unless you're living somewhere (very) sunny its unlikely your going to get this each and every day. So, erm, what happens in winter when you get a long spell of bad weather, you stop driving?

Finally, 200 miles? I drive over a thousand one day last week. Most weekends I do trips that average more than 200 miles one way. This isn't a particulary impressive total unless you use your car to commute 5 miles into work, and then go shopping at the local store.

The oxygen would be bottled in scuba-like tanks that would snap into place under the hood. The hydrogen, more volatile and more dangerous, would be piped around the car's chassis through 180 feet of tubing, divided into 3-foot sections, each sealed off from the next by a set of valves.

The hydrogen would be stored where? Distributed throughout the entire chassis? I really don't like that idea, that just increases the target area for collisions and does very little to increase safety. Most of the designs I've seen for this sort of thing store the H2 in cryogenic form in a (very) well protected tank, safety is usually increased by using some sort of honeycomb structure inside the tank. To be brutally honest, that seems far more sensible.


If you had actually read the article.. (1)

Pescatore (303409) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419366)

You would have found that problem already solved..

Solarpanel on your garage and an electrolysis machine the size of a dishwasher, would be, according to the article, enough to power a car driving 200 miles (320 km) per day.

Start with sun and water, get Hydrogen and Oxygene, end up with power and water..

Re:If you had actually read the article.. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419399)

And if your garage doesn't have a convenient south-facing slope? And Arizona is a good place for solar power, but here in Canada, we have these things called winter and cloudy days.

Also, my apartment, while south-facing, has limited space to solar-panel. (And I suspect the management would object.)

Solar is good, solar is great, we should do a lot more of it. But it's not a complete solution.

Re:If you had actually read the article.. (1)

HarrisonSilp (527951) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419465)

ok, Do the math, he said you could go for 200 miles a day *IF* you had something like 2200 hours of sunlight in a year, divide 365.25 days in a year, thus, running @ full efficiency your little system only needs 6.02 hours of sunlight per day on average to get your car to go 200 miles. I don't think I travel more then 30 miles across town in a day, 60 if I've got some errands to run.

Not living in Canada I wouldn't know how much sun you get but I'm sure you get enough to get where you need to go, and no one said you couldn't store your hydrogen/oxygen for later use. If you were really interested in making a little cash you could set up solar cells on your entire roof and sell off all of the extra H and O.

Re:Next Problem (2)

Trinition (114758) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419393)

It's a beautiful solution. You start with water and end with water. You use the sun's energy to split the water up, and recpature that energy for movement when you recombine them. That's about a simple of a circle as you can get.

And as for the nay sayers pointing out Hydrogen's explosiveness, wasn't there a story here not too long ago about how Hydrogen ain't that bad and even has had its name cleared in the Hindenberg incident? Spill gasoline on your selve and ignite it and you have a problem. Spill hydrogen on yourself and you... oh, wait, it would float away and disperse.

A gift for the grammar trolls out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419416)

(from http://staff.norman.k12.ok.us/~lkramer/image%20gra mmar/teachers/strats/strats9/strat91.html)

Strategy 1: Administer the Grammar Income Test

The Grammar Income Test is one of those ideas teachers wish scholars had invented. It is a test that measures a student's grammatical knowledge and then uses that measurement to predict the student's potential income. To motivate interest in conventions, give your students this test.

University of Mottsburgh Occupational
Inventory of Grammatical Knowledge
As demonstrated in the research of Dr. Edward McCormick, an individual's habits of grammar correlate with her or his income. Test results indicate that one can predict with 80% accuracy the income of an individual based on his answers to the questions below. Use this quiz to see what income level your grammatical patterns place you.

Instructions: Mark each sentence as "C" if it is grammatically correct, "I" if it is incorrect, or "?" if you are uncertain. Wrong answers count as a minus two. A question mark, indicating you are uncertain, only counts as a minus one. Keep in mind that errors may be of any variety: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, or usage.

1. Her choice will strongly effect the outcome.

2. We have alot of work to do.

3. Mottsburgh is a busy industrial city, thousands of cars and trucks move through it every day.

4. "I suppose", she remarked "that success comes only with time."

5. The company should receive the package tomorrow.

6. Its impressive to hear what she has done.

7. She was late, however, she did make the presentation.

8. Give the book to whom?

9. When the ship arrives we can begin the journey.

10. We rafted down the grand mountain river.

11. The name of the book was "Outbreak."

12. There were four in the group: Ann, Jim, Theo, and Amanda.

13. He sings good.

14. You shouldn't lie on the wet grass.

15. He paid all the interest on the principle.

16. I wish to go irregardless of his decision.

17. He doesn't know history very well. As you can see from his answers in class.

18. He imagined that Hawking would have all the answers but Hawking just posed more questions.

19. Spiraling in the Andromeda Galaxy, Dr. Vilhelm insists that there is alien life on the Andromeda planet called Lanulos.

20. We packed all of our luggage, then we were on our way to the airport.

Scoring Answer Key: 1. I, 2. I, 3. I, 4. I, 5. C, 6. I, 7. I, 8. C, 9. I, 10. I, 11. I, 12. C, 13. I, 14. C, 15. C, 16. I, 17. I, 18. I, 19. I, 20. I. (Click here for corrected sentences.)

Number Wrong Projected Salary .Occupational Level

0 to -4 $150,000 and above top executive

-5 to -6 $90,000 to $150,000 upper management

-7 to -8 $60,000 to $ 90,000 key personnel

-9 to -12 $25,000 to $ 60,000 semi-skilled

-13 to -18 $10,000 to $ 25,000 unskilled

-19 or more $0 to $ 10,000 unemployable

After students have taken and scored this test, explain that over the next few days you are going to increase their incomes by at least $30,000 each. Later, after you have worked with some of the grammatical concepts in this test, reveal that the test was fabricated. However, explain that the concept of the test is very real.

Every day individuals who make grammatical errors are victims of a pervasive but seldom discussed prejudice. People assume that those who make frequent grammatical errors are unintelligent, not very knowledgeable, and incompetent. None of this may be true. Language habits are more indicative of social background than education and ability. However, any business executive will support the notion that grammatical skill directly affects promotion. So, the idea behind the Grammar Income Test is valid, although the scored income level may not be.

Re:Next Problem (1)

squeegee-me (169687) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419604)

Honda has a "gas station" in testing right now in the US for their hydrogen powered cars that would use the same design as the Garage with solar pannels, only this is one on the side of the road. Oxygen is dumped into the air and hydrogen is stored up, and fed by a hose to the car.

Besides, who says you can only have solar pannels on your garage roof. If you have a garage, you probably have a house, condo, or townhouse which also has a roof. Right?

As for the water suppply, look at what is occuring.... Water + sun via solar pannels with electrodes = hydrogen and oxygen. Ignight hydogen in presence of oxygen, heat as fireball causes preasure change, hence BANG, causes force, and redirect to move car. Collect water, and return to "magic dishwasher" to repeat process. Or just feed a hose into the car and refill cup to drink.

Re:Next Problem (1)

Zurk (37028) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419615)

hmm? the article addressed that. he evidently invented solar cless that could be put on your garage roof to do the splitting and you simply have to plug your car in to the storage tanks in your garage at night to replenish the hydrogen used up.

Professor Little Old Man! (-1, Offtopic)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419279)

"Lill-Oman, Lill-Oman! Nobody ever gets that right!"

I would of been first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419287)

When I tried to be first it said "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along"

well that's okay, as long as i can be 5th post.

why don't they let me have my five year old son wear a diaper to disneyland? the rides are scary, and he might wet his pants. they don't understand our logic.

Should of been modded as Offtopic, not as troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419304)

A troll would be saying

I HATE LINUX with a passion

or.. Natalie Portman grits america online penis bird blowjobs tr0llhax0r

Wacky? (5, Informative)

tomknight (190939) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419289)

I guess that'd explain why Mazda [mazda.co.nz] have bothered to push money into researching this....

Here's a little more info [monito.com] if you weant to do some research.


Re:Wacky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419298)

so is bmw. hydrogenus.com [hydrogenus.com] only diference is it's not a rotary engine. they have a fleet running now from what i've heard.

Re:Wacky?No but youre a BOZO (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419329)

Mazda uses the Rotary engine desinged by Fellix Wankel, this is a nutation engine , it dosent have on single part in common, the Wankel (the Engine Mazda liscencded from NSU) is based on simple sealing techniques the nutation type engine couldnt be more different , I saw a live demo of a nutation transmission in the early 80's , eccentic shafts, cones, very similar to what they describe here , it was impressive to say the least, weighed about 70 lbs and was variable form something like a ratio of 1 to 100 and 100 to 1 varible under load and would handle supposedly 1000+ horsepower, it was on a diesel at about 200 HP and 400 + ft lbs torque and wasnt even getting warm, so I tend to belive those figures were possible, how you would utilize the same principals in a combustion engine eludes me.

Re:Wacky?No but youre a BOZO (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419549)

You think I give a fuck? I'm karma-whoring!


New "drivetrain" setup (3, Insightful)

Green Aardvark House (523269) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419290)

This would be a boon to consumers, since fewer moving parts (no transmission are driveshaft) would likely mean fewer repairs.

Would automakers be for it? Most likely not. They make a substantial amount of money from repairs and maintenance. And to think of the outrage from auto-repair shops, cutting their business as well.

It's an excellent idea - less weight, much better fuel, fewer moving parts, etc. But there's a lot of opposition ahead.

Re:New "drivetrain" setup (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419327)

Well, that just means that the service departments can charge 2-5x as much, since the parts will no doubt be more expensive initially (R&D). Also, the labor times may be slightly higher to "pad" for the fact that you may not need the car serviced as much...

Of course, I'm one to think that the new designs will need a lot of testing before they earn my trust. I make it a habit not to buy a new model year car (i.e. if the auto manufacturer makes a brand new design, using a new variant of an engine/powertrain etc) because the reliability is untested. Over 2-3 years, you can read up in consumer reports to see how the initial roll-outs did, and usually after 2-3 years, the cars are very reliable (or not being sold anymore)...

Re:New "drivetrain" setup (1, Troll)

redvision4 (105878) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419395)

wait, are you saying that capitalism might not be very efficient when it comes to releasing new, better technology?

Is this true anymore? (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419490)

Most cars have lengthy warranty periods (up to 100,000 miles) for the enginge, so maybe a car with a simpler enginge would actually save auto manufacturers money on covered repairs.

Re:New "drivetrain" setup (1)

bare_naked_linux (306356) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419507)

You forgot to mention that this is not something that the oil industry would be very happy with. They don't have a monopoly on water.

Re:New "drivetrain" setup (1)

version3 (522445) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419590)

Normally I would argue that the auto companies wouldn't want this due to the extensive work that is involved in getting something like this working, but I'm not so sure any more. The overriding thought I have now is that this would be great for them.

1) Less reliance on unstable, oil-producing countries

2) Less interference from the government in terms of regulation

3) Simpler engines = less build time in-plant

As for the money-on-repairs argument, you're sorely mistaken. Under warranty, the car companies *subsidize* your repairs. They'd be glad to not have to do that. Now, the dealerships would be pissed because they make money from you and the car companies when they make repairs (warranty or not). And, AFAIK, they don't hold a monopoly on aftermarket parts, so they make little or no money on those.

yeah (-1, Offtopic)

jsin (141879) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419294)

Dammit, I had this idea four years ago (remember this Mr. White?). yeah

free energy (2)

zephc (225327) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419299)

there was an interesting site [ucsofa.com] with something that truely looked interesting (ffrom the grainy RM streaming video hehe), but apparently he has been arrested (according to some yahoo! news article i cant find right now) for fraud or something like that :P

Who knows.. (4, Interesting)

Sentry23 (447266) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419300)

Storage and transport of hydrogen isn't really the problem anymore. Years ago, there were already test with hydrogen tanks that contained alluminium particles, which bind the hydrogen, making it a lot safer to transport and store hydrogen. Safer actually then a tank of gasoline.
(I wouldn't be surprised if these tanks are already widely in use now)

The problem is ofcourse to generate large amounts of hydrogen.
Given the succes of recent tests with fusion reactors, who knows.. we might be using hydrogen to create hydrogen from water.

quite a big if, but who knows.

Re:Who knows.. (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419614)

Unless you're talking using fusion to power electrolysis, wouldn't the fusion process actually USE hydrogen?

2H --> He + l (that's gamma, it just isn't on my keyboard), IIRC

Read the article before commenting... (1, Troll)

tgd (2822) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419302)

Clearly a number of posters so far didn't.

Sounds like a quack to me. I wouldn't give much credit to the whole concept just because of the stupidity of carrying around bottles of oxygen in the car to burn with the hydrogen. Where is this guy from, outer space?

I did read the article, you dumb motherfucker (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419316)

You dumb motherfucker cunt asshole, I read the article before I posted.

You need to be more careful with what you say.

Re:Read the article before commenting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419322)

...but a vehicle that needs a tank of petrochemical fluid sounds far more sensible, right? :-)

Re:Read the article before commenting... (1)

Kanic (522896) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419344)

I'm totally for the concept. We need to move away from oil based engery sources. But I agree, it would be like driving a bomb around. (Think... rockets exploding, Challenger shuttle, that's what happens when you mix Oxygen and Hydrogen from ruptured holding tanks)

Obviously you didn't... (2, Insightful)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419375)

"After graduating from Ohio State with a combined master's degree in physics, mathematics, astronomy..." "In 1948 he started his own company, Permaglass, and perfected the process of bending and tempering glass." "In 1969, McMaster merged Permaglass with Detroit-based Guardian Industries, forming what is today the third-largest glass company in the world. Two years later he started another company, Glasstech, which in the next 20 years would garner more than 700 glass-bending and -tempering patents. Today 80 percent of the world's automotive glass runs through Glasstech machines. In 1989, McMaster sold the company for $227 million." I think this guy knows a little more about what he is talking about than you give him credit for. Although his ideas may be radical and new on the horizon, he is more than a "quack" as you so eloquently put it. Looks as though he has been around the block just a FEW times, give what he says some more thought kiddo. Many other informed people may not necessarily agree with his ideas, but at least they have some thought to prove their opinion on.

Re:Read the article before commenting... (1)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419387)

I think the point this person is making is that there is no reason to carry around bottles of oxygen when there is a vast supply easily available in the air.

-- Brian

Re:Read the article before commenting... (1)

bpowell423 (208542) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419406)

Maybe, just maybe, he's using bottled oxygen for a couple of reasons. First, if you're getting hydrogen from electrolysis, you've got oxygen, too. You just have to collect it. Now, given the choice of burning your hydrogen in a pure oxygen environment, or an 80% nitrogen environment, which do you think would get more power? Sure, oxygen is freely available in the air, but it's also mostly freely available from the electrolysis, and at considerably better concentration.

Doesn't sound like a quack to me.

Re:Read the article before commenting... (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419408)

Yeah, and we all know what a horrible inconvenience it is to carry around the little bottles of oxygen that each of *us* needs in order to breathe...

Re:Read the article before commenting... (2)

hamjudo (64140) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419463)

The article also says An injection of water into the chamber helps cool the engine, and the steam generates additional pressure to drive the engine. So it also needs a tank of water.

Hydrogen + oxygen burns to make pure water over a wide range of temperature and pressure. Dilute the oxygen and it takes more pressure. At some combinations of temperature and pressure, it'll also combine some oxygen with nitrogen and make stuff that isn't so clean.

At best, it's decades away from something practical for a car.

Re:Read the article before commenting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419479)

"air" is mostly not oxygen, there's lots of nitrogen in it. burn the nitrogen with hydrogen along with the oxygen in the air you'll end up with nitrousOxide, which is a polutant. this is why you'd carry around your own oxygen.

Re:Read the article before commenting... (0)

shine (1502) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419588)

Imagine a wreck Kaboooooooooooom.

Probably no worse than a '65 mustang though.

Really, really feeling old... (4, Funny)

sphealey (2855) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419307)

Mazda and General Motors have been testing rotory engines on pure hydrogen since the late 1960's. I certainly remember reading about this in "Popular Science" in the very early '70's. Real cutting edge, wacko stuff...


Not old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419600)

If you were to read the article you would find that this is a totally different design.

My piston engine Jeep runs on Hydrogen (4, Funny)

GMontag (42283) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419308)

Yes, my stock 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport runs on hydrogen. The special fuel has a little carbon bonded with it and some other stuff.

Been purchasing at Exxon and several other outlets that specialize in this revolutionary fuel. They are trying so hard to get the word out that if you purchase more than $5.00 of the stuff you get a discount on a car wash!

Re:My piston engine Jeep runs on Hydrogen (1)

pokrefke (146856) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419370)

What kind of mileage do you get with it? What about economy for mile?

For reference, my 1995 Nissan Pathfinder (3.0L) runs about 21 mpg. Gas in Chicago is about $1.65 a gallon. My fuel cost is roughly 8 cents per mile.

Re:My piston engine Jeep runs on Hydrogen (1)

GMontag (42283) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419415)

Have not bothered to check in the last 200,000 miles (239,000+ right now) but was around 20 MPG back then, 5.5 yrs ago. Currently paying about $1.45 or so per gallon.

If I could not afford the gas I could not have afforded the payments either, oh well.

Re:My piston engine Jeep runs on Hydrogen (0, Redundant)

StormAngel (325932) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419435)

Wow! I cant wait to get this hydrogen-carbon stuff. I wonder how long it will be before I can go to the gas station and get this hydro-carbon stuff.
It's the wave of the future!

Re:My piston engine Jeep runs on Hydrogen (1)

Mister Black (265849) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419619)

I've heard of this hydrogen/carbon mixture. IIRC it is actually stored sunshine from a really ,really long time ago.

Hydrogen (1)

Delrin (98403) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419310)

I would love to see Hydrogen become the next consumable resource. Though maybe it's the oil corporations, maybe it's the fact that Hydrogen is inherantly dangerous to store. But we've seen so many new vehicules and technologies that use Hydrogen, and none of these have ever made it to the consumer market. It's fun to dream, but I can't help but be sceptical.

If it happens, and at a reasonable cost, I'll be the first to jump on board. But more likely, this and other related technologies will just fall into obsurity.


Micheal is apparently posting half-awake... (1, Interesting)

disc-chord (232893) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419313)

"For some reason Slashdot gets a lot of submissions of wacko energy concepts"

Well maybe if you stopped posting them, these so-called "wacko" concepts wouldn't be submitted. Though I personally disagree, I would call these "desperate attempts at alternative energy"... and while it becomes tiresome to hear we should have 500mpg engines in 5 years, every year, for the last 5 years... as long as this research continues they may just live up to their promise someday.

Ginger (0)

dorker (248189) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419317)

Whatever happened to "Ginger" and "IT"?

Wacko Energy (2, Insightful)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419323)

For some reason Slashdot gets a lot of submissions of wacko energy concepts - power from nothing, power from sand, power from a black box, engines that get 500 miles to the gallon...

I don't think it's so odd the ./ gets these submissions. They fit right in with the 'News for Nerds' theme.

Personally I've always associated the term 'Nerd' with all things mathematical and scientific. I think 'Geek' for all things computer and electrical (You can't even spell 'Geek' without EE.)

Re:Wacko Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419651)

And, of course, all the other Anime and Dungeons and Dragons shit that flows through this place falls under the category of "Loser". Am I right or am I right?

New Category? (4, Interesting)

GeekLife.com (84577) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419325)

For some reason Slashdot gets a lot of submissions of wacko energy concepts

Sounds like there's a need for a specific category/icon.

Well.. if you read the article (4, Insightful)

chuckgrosvenor (473314) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419333)

this guy seems to have made a lot more money patenting strange and unique ways to work with a lot of different materials. (At least, it's a lot more than the people who waste their time posting to SlashDot make)..

Revolutions in design have rarely come out of corporations... considering this site is supposed to be Linux based, I thought I would see more support for anyone trying to solve the energy crisis outside of the regular channels, since it's highly unlikely it will come from the gas companies anytime soon.

Rotary engines (2, Interesting)

DrSpin (524593) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419351)

I have a rotary engine invention too. I have discussed it with people from several likely manufacturers = the verdict is - "We don't want any new technology, even if its better than what we've got - we've spent a lot of money on cenventional engines, and we are happy with them."

Ideas like twice the power to weight ratio and 10% of the moving parts are not of any interest to the likes of Ford, even if (as with my engine) you could stick with the existing fuels, and servicing skills.

Re:Rotary engines (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419649)

If your engine really has a much better power to weight ratio and better fuel economy (eg more fuel burned per fuel weight input), consider talking to racers. Most import racers love trying out new things. If you can get someone like Tom Payne to run one of your engines, even for show, you'd get some serious publicity. You wouldn't think it, but power-to-weight (well maybe that one is obvious) and cleaner burning are pretty big concerns to serious racers, as they breed speed like rabbits on viagra.

Transmission (2, Informative)

twinpot (40956) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419356)

A concept similar to this was shown as an infinitely variable "automatic" transmission - the amount of "wobble" affected the ratio between input and output, and did away for the need to incorporate any type of wet or dry clutch.

Another interesting transmission system, loosely based on similar principles can be found here [torotrack.co.uk]

500 mpg cars, revolutionary engine designs, etc. (4, Interesting)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419377)

Years ago, there was all this hoopla about the "Gill Carb." and the supposed conspiricy to keep it out of production. This was supposed to give a normal car over 400 mpg. Eventually, it was finally shut down when it was demonstrated that there simply is not that much thermal energy in a gallon of gas. I've been fortunate enough to see a lot of these alternative engine designs. Many of them are pretty innovative and downright ingenious. So far, though, you always seem to run into something that doesn't work as planned. Bottom line is that the 4-cycle piston engine is hard to beat in terms of practicality and Carnot efficiency. So, this guy is telling me that his motor will not require a drive train. That tells me the engine is high torque with a really flat curve, already I'm skeptical. Add in no lubrication and I must assume his rpm's are low. I won't dismiss his engine out of hand, but I'd need to see the design.

It's not the H2, it's the *simplicity*! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419381)

It seems that everyone is completely missing the point of this new (and unproven as of yet) engine. The thing that makes it unique is NOT that the guy can theoretically run it on hydrogen and oxygen produced by electrolysing water. What makes it unique is the sheer simplicity of the engine.

As geeks and programmers, we all love to see someone come up with a truly elegant solution to a programming problem. When someone takes years of kludges and condenses them down into a few lines of clear, concise code, it is not only a thing of beauty and mastery, it is something to be desired.

What should strike people about this engine is that this somewhat eccentric but proven inventor has come up with a replacement module for that hideously kludgey block of code called the internal combustion engine. If pistons and rods and camshafts and all can be replaced with such a simple construct, isn't that a good idea? Now, of course, I'll stay in the "show me the code" mode until I actually see a working prototype, but if these guys think they can hash it out, I say more power to them.

Re:It's not the H2, it's the *simplicity*! (1)

NewWazoo (2508) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419621)

Dude, are you on crack?

I own three cars. Two are Mazda RX-7s (of the 86 and 87 vintage, specifically). They BOTH have rotary engines. Mazda has sucessfully been employing rotaries since the early 60's, with the R-100 and Eunos Cosmo. I've torn down and rebuilt rotaries. The rotary is the heart and soul of one of the best sports cars in the world: the (you guessed it) Mazda RX-7. This car (with the aid of two turbochargers) gets 276 hp from 1.3 litres and still gets >25 mpg on the highway.

Mazda has been building H2-based rotaries for *years*. They put them in Miatas. IIRC, you can buy one in Japan. The problem is that their power is proportional to how much H2 they have "in the tank", which makes them annoying (to say the least) to drive around town when you're low. The neato thing about rotaries is that the combustion area is seperate from the injection/intake area, which helps to prevent "intake precombustion" since the H2 is kept away from the engine's "hot spot" until you want it to combust, anyway.

All of this is *really* old-hat, but it's so esoteric that I guess I can't fault the editors and slashdotters tooooo badly. But *geez*...

98 Camry V6
86 RX-7 GXL
87 RX-7 base parts car

power from muslims (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419388)

how about we just hook up the muslims, lulac, naacp and other hate mongering murderers to some machine that feeds off hate. Then the world would have limitless supplies. If they ever start to wear down, then just have Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farakhan, any muslim, most democrats, any liberal to make a speech to them about 'the people' and the importance of hypocricy and hurting others while saying you are fighting for freedom for all.

Attention Muslims. I am feeling concern for my life. I suggest you start policing yourselves. You might consider picking up the phone and calling your foreign contacts and 'family' and tell them to stop this murderous crap in the name of Allah. Muslims are going to learn that their actions have real consequences, and no rhetoric will stop those consequences. Police yourselves, and be proactive, not reactive. Put a stop to this, don't support those who hate, and send yourselves and others to other countries to put some sense into your 'bretheren' across the sea

We need more like him. (3, Interesting)

zeus_tfc (222250) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419394)

This guy seems to be just what we need, someone who is willing to concider strange and unusual ideas no matter how far out they might seem.

He seems to have a good grasp of the issues, and makes a lot of sense. He also has quite a few things going for him, such as:

  1. Money This guy is worth a lot
  2. Reputation He as patents to his name, and has made millions with them.
  3. Infrastructure He has come up with an easy way to create and distribute the H2 and O2.
  4. Intellectual backing He has the praise of a growing number of specialists and intellectuals

I think this needs watching.

Would be useful... (1)

DocSnyder (10755) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419402)

...in a tiny rotary engine. AFAIR there was a story about an engine with a few mm in diameter. Power it with hydrogen and drive e. g. a harddisk or a CPU cooling system with it. Even a bit larget it could act as a pocket-size mini-powerplant.

I'd like to see a Beowulf cluster of these puppies (0)

ButtChicken (66695) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419418)

Like the idea on paper; sounds a little far fetched. Ford and those guys have lots of smart people thinking about this for the last 100 years...

Really really cool, but... (1, Interesting)

forgoil (104808) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419426)

I didn't see any diagrams or anything. I would have loved to see some pictures and such. I dislike the fact that non of our goverments are pushing research into working solutions that doesn't pollute, and doesn't give money to the big oil companies (then the US can stop care about the middle east as well;)). Let those giants die, as there surely will step up new giants to take their place.

But I am rambling... I am just interested if there is anything you can read that would be more scientific and had more proofs. If the design is so simple, I can't see how it couldn't be hard to explain. Take an electrical engine for instance, that is a way easy aparatus to explain.

Several interrelated issues. (5, Interesting)

nanojath (265940) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419429)

There are two distinct technologies here and their feasibility needs to be discussed separately. The first is a novel engine design for converting power into locomotion. I don't have the engineering knowledge to judge this, but there do seem to be some people who ought to know saying the concept is solid.

But it should be noted this isn't anything new. The internal combustion engine is innefficient by nature. It takes a spherical force (an explosion), redirects that into a vector force (up and down in a straight line), redirects that into a circular force, which is redirected into another circular force, finally driving the car. Each of those redirections wastes energy. Moreover, the fact that you have carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbon emissions is a sign of innefficient combustion: complete combustion of a carbon molecule goes all the way to carbon dioxide. There are plenty of legitimate projects to find a better way. Ben Rosen, chairman of Compaq, has envisioned the automotive powertrain market becoming like microprocessors, with independent companies competing to supply the most efficient engine. His Rosen Motors produced a working prototype of a hybrid-electric motor; they've since been taken over but I forget by whom.

Of course, a serious problem is the huge combustion engine and gasoline infrastructure. Even a much better product is not going to take over overnight. The internal combustion infrastructure would keep the economics of conventional motors attractive for decades, barring a serious kink in the gasoline supply.

It is a myth, though, that the automotive manufacturers are blocking this kind of thing. They're all doing research of their own. There is nothing a manufacturer wants more than to obsolete their own product and give everyone a reason to buy the next big thing.

The other technology discussed here is photovoltaic (solar-electric) conversion of water to hydrogen for combustion. I think this is far more theoretical. Not that you can't very simply and reliably bang an electric current through water and get combustible hydrogen and oxygen. But from what I know (and I do have some knowledge on this subject) I seriously doubt whether existing photovoltaic cells are efficient enough to supply the power for even a very efficient automotive engine by splitting water. It should be noted that like anything else, this conversion of electrical power into chemical power represents a loss of efficiency, so the purpose for doing this is to get the benefit of a combustible fuel.

Direct solar cleavage of water to H and O is one of the holy grails of both hydrogen power and solar research; this photochemical process is at the heart of how plants utilize the energy of the sun and hence the source of most energy on earth including all fossil fuels. We aren't there yet. It can be done but it isn't sufficiently efficient to be practical. There are tons of novel catalytic techniques being experimented with, where rather than go through a photovoltaic cell (the conversion of sunlight to electricity of course represents another inefficiency), sunlight is used as the power source to directly, catalytically cleave water. I think within a few decades this kind of thing will start to make significant inroads, provided countries like Iceland and companies like Daimler Chrysler continue to pursue hydrogen research and a hydrogen energy economy.

I don't see anything in the article, however, that suggest this motor could only run on hydrogen. So it may be a valid concept that it much closer to commercial reality.

McMaster Motor site (5, Informative)

kryzx (178628) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419430)

Here's the McMaster Motor site [mcmastermotor.com] complete with a little animation [mcmastermotor.com] of the engine.

Looking at it helps me understand the way it works. I don't know if this will ever come to fruition, but I sure hope it does. Even if it doesn't, he's a revolutionary thinker with a significant record of success, and deserves our praise and respect for that.

Further Information (3, Interesting)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419432)

Okay, so nobody's bothered to check up on google, yet. His web site [mcmastermotor.com] includes a lot of more detailed information. Check it out, then let's discuss what's there, not just what's in the article.

Yes, the guy's a little, er, fringey -- one of his other projects is an antigravity machine. I'm not saying such a machine is impossible, just that I'd not expect anyone who's not, say, Stephen Hawking, to come up with one.

That bit of weirdness aside, what do people think about the engine itself?

First, the fuel. The article implies that it uses Hydrogen. We've discussed to death the problems with using straight hydrogen as a fuel, which ultimately (putting aside safety and infrastructure issues) comes down to energy density -- pound for pound (or liter for liter), Hydrogen gas just doesn't pack as much punch, specatcular disasters caught on tape notwithstanding, as gasoline. However, the page talks about using a mixture of Nitrous Oxide and Ammonia, ignited with a glowplug, not straight hydrogen. It does speak of a catalyzed reaction being researched to derive the fuels from solar power, air, and water.

Questions: Is it likely that such a catalytic reaction exists? If not, will it take more fossil- or nuclear-fuel energy to create, using other reactons, the needed amounts of nitrous and ammonia? Would that added cost be worth it to reduce fossil-fuel emissions from cars? (let's ignore issues of infrastructure for now...)

Next, there's the design of the engine itself. Basically, it appears that it's an angled plate in a cylinder, with the reactive explosion happening first on one side (causing the plate to rotate around the axis it's mounted on), then on the other. Nifty idea, simpler looking than the Wankel rotary engine, and MUCH simpler than the internal combustion engine.

Questions: Can such an engine really operate, with any fuel? Could you really run it at many different speeds, and if so, how would you manage that? (I'm not personally convinced that you could do without a transmission). Would the "chambers" formed by the rotating plate provide any compression for the fuel (a major requirement for traditional engines)?

Let's not dismiss this entirely, out of hand, as a wacko idea. Look at the web pages in detail, ignore his strong claims and "past performance", and just focus on the ideas presented. I'm intrigued, but don't know enough about chemistry or mechanical engineering to pass any kind of judgement (and I suspect most of the people here don't qualify, either.) Those who do qualify...what do you think?


Cold-Fusion based Rotary Engine? (1)

johnwbyrd (251699) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419461)

I came across this web site [vwc.edu] from randomly searching on Google. I have always been intrigued by "alternative" technologies where they relate to artificial locomotion, especially when they're developed by 85-year-old insane geriatric patients in Ohio. For some reason Slashdot gets a lot of submissions of wacko energy concepts - Perhaps this is more of the same, but rather than try to get independent confirmation of it before putting it front and center on Slashdot, I thought I'd moderate it up. After all, it's not my responsibility to fact-check this stuff. I'm just a moderator here.

My conspiracy theory... (2, Interesting)

cao37 (201415) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419467)

If/when this idea pans out and a working prototype is produced, all the companies that profit from the "noisy, dirty, inefficient contraption" that the internal combustion engine is will buy up all the rights to it and shelve the idea for all eternity. It seems utterly absurd that no truly novel engine advancements have reached us in the recent past. Many of them certainly are impractical. But with all the people doing research all over the world, some must have come up with something. And then enter in the companies who make the poor grad student inventor rich as long as (s)he keeps it quiet. Voila! No innovation.

Quite a Range! (2, Insightful)

Bilbo (7015) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419468)

Well, this guy goes all the way from real machines making real products (tempered, formed glass), making real money (ie., successful in the real world), to "antigravity machines" which he says will "prove some of Newtons laws to be wrong."

So, is the guy a real inventor, or a hopeless crackpot dreamer, or somewhere inbetween?

Quasi-Turbine (2, Informative)

Swego (527958) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419568)

Have a look at this engine called Quasi-Turbine. www.quasiturbine.com, site's in french but has few pics and flics of the engine.

You can't store enough H2 That way (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419595)

One poster mentioned aluminum particles..wrong, it is stored ny binding it to hydrides.Problem is simply this;a car would use such large amounts of H2 that it would be difficult to store that quantity in a car and still have reasonable power to weight ratios. In the case of hydrides I worked at Texas Instruments on Project Illinois which was a HBr-H2 fuel cell stack, which used photelectric polysilicon to drive the reaction. We used H2 bound to hydrides; but then it was a fixed installation. I'm not really sure I'd be keen on having to have a 1000lbs of h2-hydride under my feet,and if I ddid that the it would get me any substantial distance, as I beleive the efficency is lower than that for gas. Nice try,but it won't work. BTW Project Illinois was killed by some oil companies, (Gulf was one) which didn't like the idea of a HBR fuel cell. The idea there was to have a large stack shared between 4 houses,and the consumers would sell electricity back tothe power companies. Sadly, the photoelectric section never exceeded 12-14%, effectively relegating the project to the bone heap of great ideas that were not efficient enough to be realized. We were able to get to the 10KW stack size however.

I wonder why... (1)

MindTree (95218) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419602)

For some reason Slashdot gets a lot of submissions of wacko energy concepts

Let's think about this:
I have atleast 6 computers with 300 watt power supplies running continuously in my appartment.

Why would I be interested in new forms of power? Well, energy from nothing sounds like it should be cheap.... Not to mention that a few bucks saved on gas is a few bucks for more hardware, which takes more power.... I sense a race condition coming on. If only I could stop spending money on hardware.

Sometimes I think life would be better if I weren't such a geek. Then I try and sleep at someone elses house, and I can't because there is no comforting hum of all the hardware singing me to sleep.

It's a good life, and I'd go down fighting if it meant that a few more people could live with this kind of freedom. Damn terrorists make me so ANGRY. Every time I try and do anything these days, WHAM, those mfer's pop into my head. Screw basic training, get me a gun tell me who to shoot. Wow, this got off topic fast. Sorry....

a lot of submissions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419605)

Hey, if you guys get so many submissions on "crackpot energy technologies" (like that "crackpot scheme about a free unix operating system for the desktop", hey?), maybe creating a category for crackpot energy stuff might be a good idea? That article on fusion last week was pretty crackpot; these guys have been dumping around 40 billion per year for over 30 years into fusion, and the best they can say is "maybe in another 10 years". If that's not crackpot, hell. Give this McMaster guy 40 bill and see what he gives you in 10 years. Or 10 months.

Re:a lot of submissions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2419623)

gee that would certainly pay for his crack habit

Another Non-Wankel Rotary Engine (w/o vibrations) (2, Interesting)

Torawk (321146) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419627)

For those interested here [quasiturbine.com] (english ver [quasiturbine.com] ) is an interesting engine I saw on tv a year or two ago. Unlike the story above they have working protypes, most that I've seen (on the site and tv) are just the engine but they also have tried using it in things (chainsaw for one).


Torque (1)

adipocere (201135) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419629)

The design seems interesting, I wouldn't mind looking at the equations, but ...

My main fear with such a design is that the very high rotation speed of the engine (I should look that up) would create a substantial angular momentum. Anyone who has tried to turn a gyro will tell you how strongly the gyro resists.

This has been a problem with "flywheel energy storage" vehicles as well. Even if you make the flywheel's angular momentum vector straight up and down, it's a problem when you try to go up and down hills, as changing the inclination of the car would also count as trying to change the angular momentum.

The solution is make two engines, smaller, each wobble plate rotating in the opposite direction, so that the angular momentums cancel and you can move the whole thing easily. Of course, you would need very high-stress reinforcements around the engines, otherwise they would twist themselves right out of your as you tried to turn.

Rotary combustion engines (2, Interesting)

thejake316 (308289) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419637)

They can be more efficient than piston engines, and unfortunately research on rotary diesels seems to have stalled years ago, but there's many advantages over pistons for engines that aren't required to change RPM often, such as generators.

I used to have an Arctic Cat snowmobile with a Wankel engine when I was much younger. We couldn't find anybody to service it when it started to die, but it was fun to take it apart, it's extremely different from the tiny chainsaw two-strokes and four-stroke lawnmower engines I had torn down before.

solar panels (1)

martyn s (444964) | more than 13 years ago | (#2419639)

So basically, all the energy which is powering the engine is solar energy. Since the end product is the same as the starting material, he is not getting energy from anywhere else but the sun. Which is a fine idea, but we already have solar cells. You may as well use a battery.

Okay, at some time in the past, someone said to himself, "hey, if we can electrolize water to get hydrogen and oxygen, we can then take the hydrogen and use it as a fuel! infinite energy from water." The problem is that when you burn (combustion) hydrogen, you end up with water, which is what you started with. So to say you had a net positive gain, that you got more energy back then you put into it, violates the laws of thermodynamics. It's like claiming you have a perpetual motion machine, because all you need is a cup of water to power it, a cup of water which will never run out since it's also the byproduct. It's like trying to build a water pump that is operated by a water mill. Have it pump water up ten feet, let it fall and spin the mill, which will then operate the pump to pump it back up.

But he's not claiming that. He seems to admit and understand that the energy is coming from the sun. However, under perfect efficiency you will still only get the enerdy that the panels were exposed to. And like I said, you may as well use a battery.
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