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I came across this a few weeks ago
www.greensteamengine.com
It's looks amazing, so simple, and they have videos of many different models running.
One problem, they don't offer the engine for sale, only the plans, and some hard to find parts.  The Youtube page hasn't been visited by the owner in 3 months, so I'm worried that I wouldn't actually get anything at all if I tried to buy the plans.

Has anyone talked to this guy, seen one of these engines, bought the plans, or anything like that?

Here in Canada, I run wood heat 6-8 months of the year, so I could just put a boiler on top of the stove, running the engine when I need it the most, winter.

Thoughts?
 
Len Ovens
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Location: Vancouver Island
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adamtheha wrote:
I came across this a few weeks ago
www.greensteamengine.com
It's looks amazing, so simple, and they have videos of many different models running.
One problem, they don't offer the engine for sale, only the plans, and some hard to find parts.  The Youtube page hasn't been visited by the owner in 3 months, so I'm worried that I wouldn't actually get anything at all if I tried to buy the plans.


Have you noticed that the videos seem to show Air power? If you build one to run on steam, make sure the materials can take the heat and corrosion from steam. Also make sure you know what you are doing with a steam pressure systems. They are dangerous in any case, worse with wood firing... not something to leave running for the night.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
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There have been lots of questions about that steam engine from steam builders.  Mostly concerning the claims of the inventor.  Not many of those engines exist, and several folks who have tried to build them claim that they don't work as advertised.

Who knows?!?!

Buy the plans and try it out.  You really have nothing to loose, save a bit of time and money.
 
                                    
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They are air powered, the air just has steam in it.  One of the videos shows steam escaping from vents, but the author says normally you would collect and recycle the steam (makes sense).
I get the feeling that you need to have some tight tolerances with these, particularly with the pistons, but watching the videos I fully understand the principle behind it's operation, and I firmly believe that it is sound and true, not faked.
I think that you would only get about 300-500 watts from the 2 piston engine, but over a 10-12 hour period that would add up.
I'm going to buy the plans, maybe by fall.  I will keep googling to see if there is anyone making or testing them in the meantime, and I will post my findings.

 
Len Ovens
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adamtheha wrote:
They are air powered, the air just has steam in it.  One of the videos shows steam escaping from vents, but the author says normally you would collect and recycle the steam (makes sense).
I get the feeling that you need to have some tight tolerances with these, particularly with the pistons, but watching the videos I fully understand the principle behind it's operation, and I firmly believe that it is sound and true, not faked.


With air pressure temperature those tolerances will be different than at steam temperatures. That is why I pointed out that a lot of his demonstrations were air powered. It is also why I said make sure the materials can stand the hot steam which is very corrosive. I am sure that these things work, but not so sure they are all that efficient. Look at things in the height of the steam era to see what I mean. Not only were the pistons powered in both directions (in this case the exhaust stroke is a loss that takes energy away) but in the days of steam they were using staged engines, where the still hot steam from the first cylinder is used to power a second and sometimes third cylinder (all different sizes). They wrung as much of the available power out of that steam as they could. Building the engine has never been the hard part, making the steam (safely) is. Also, design your generator for low speed. Steam engines do their best at low speed.... under 200rpm.
 
                                    
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I don't think any of his demo's were air powered, at least he claims that they are steam operated.  The steam can't be seen because it's being recondensed and fed back to the boiler.  If he is using an air compressor, it would be a fraud!
 
Len Ovens
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adamtheha wrote:
I don't think any of his demo's were air powered, at least he claims that they are steam operated.  The steam can't be seen because it's being recondensed and fed back to the boiler.  If he is using an air compressor, it would be a fraud!


A steam engine is a pressure engine. Some of the rubber lines are air lines, I don't think they would handle steam. There would be two lines if it was recondensed. Some of the demos may use steam, but at least some of the pics show an air hose hookup. When I first looked at the site (years ago now) I remember he was quite open about showing them running on air as I don't think he had developed the boiler at that time.

Anyway, I am not calling him fraudulent. Nor do I wish to argue, I was just saying what I saw or thought I saw. It still remains a case of buyer beware. The one below looks like air to me...

2_cyl_1a.gif
[Thumbnail for 2_cyl_1a.gif]
 
Joe Baker
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Location: Portland OR
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Hello everyone.

I have been reading around on this page for a few weeks now. And there is lots of good information on this page. While i don't know all that much about homesteading i do have about 12 years of experience with steam engines of all types and sizes from what you guys are talking about all the way up to locomotives pulling 6 or 8 cars full of people.

And to be honest while i do think that a steam engine is a great way to generate off grid power i have to stress that anyone considering doing so should educate them self on how to operate a steam engine. There are quite a few people that are no longer among the living because they didn't know what they were doing. So again i stress education for your sake and the sake of those around you. And the best way to learn how to operate a steam engine is to join a local live steam club and get some real hands on experience and combine that with some good solid book learning. One or the other by its self is not enough, it has to be both.

Now with that said i don't think i would go this this guys engine. I'm sure it works but he doesn't post any good performance data to make any kind of clam how well it works at all. One piece of data i went over his sight looking for was how much steam one of his engines needs per horsepower hour. Every small steam engine builder out there that i would do biznes with will post among maximum horsepower the maximum engine RPM and torque. They will also post how much steam the engine is using to generate that horsepower is Lbs of steam consumed per hour.

to give a explanation of Lbs steam used its the amount of steam the engine will take in to do a given amount of work. For example a 4 horsepower engine working hard may consume 150lbs of steam an hour running flat out. But if your comparing engines to do useful work you may notice another engine that is rated at the same horsepower but may only use 130lbs an hour. the engines that takes less steam is the more efferent of the two. because the boiler to run it will burn less wood or what ever other biomass you run the boiler on. This is exactly the same as the amount of gas or diesel a generator may burn to generate a given amount of power or a even more simple explanation is its like comparing the gas mileage of 2 cars.

And i guess to answer in advance what Lbs of steam per hour is since there are those that may not know. Its the amount of steam the engine will use by weight per hour. So.... anyone know what a gallon of water weighs? Anyone know how much heat energy it takes to evaporate 150lbs of water in an hour at a given pressure? trust me even at this small size of engine we are not talking about the kind of energy your average wood stove gives off. And even then please don't. Adding a hot water coil to your wood stove is a very different thing then trying to generate steam with a wood stove. Remember people have bit the dust and took loved ones with them trying just that.

So anyway this that out of the way i have to say i would not go with that guys engine plans just because he doesn't say how much steam his engine uses. How can he say it uses less energy if he doesn't say how much energy it uses in the first place? I would go with a more proven engine myself.

The other thing is steam engines don't run them self. They need to be babysat. If you have all day to watch over one then one that only makes 1 or 2KW may be fine. But as i see it the best way to use the technology is to size the engine for bulk charging and equalizing your battery system. That way you make your power over 2 or 3 hours and then move on to more important things. I would shoot for at least a 5KW dedicated battery charging system my self. But that depends on your battery.

Hear is a good example of a steam engine being used for just that.
http://www.otherpower.com/steamengine.shtml

And a YouTube clip of the engine running.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xksDjfLbcQ0

While i have to say that's not exactly how i would set up a steam engine to generate power, its obvious to me that they are educated on the subject and have set up a system that meets there needs.

And again i stress you learn as much as you can about steam power before you toy with it. Once you have a realistic idea what it can and can't do for you you will be in a far better position to build a system that will meet your needs and you will be able to operate it in a safe manner.

And just for fun....

1 Can you identify the injector in the video?
2 Do you know how the injector works?
3 How do you blow down the sight glass?
4 Why is it important that you know how to blow down the sight glass?
5 What valve type does there engine use?
6 How are they running the exhaust on there steam engine?
7 Where would the fuse plug be located in there boiler?

All those are the most basic of questions. Be honest... if you don't know what i was asking then you should hit the books hard. I'm not trying to discourage anyone. I'm just pressing the point that steam can be dangerous if you don't know what your doing.

If you don't have the time or the will to learn then there are other technologies out there. like the Stirling engine, or wood gas, or even thermoelectric.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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The green steam engine hasn't got a lot of knowledgeable supporters, indeed it's seen as more of a hobby engine!  I'd be leery of designing a power system with it without one heck of a guarantee.  It's been kicking around the web for a lot of years now.
 
Joe Baker
Posts: 25
Location: Portland OR
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Chloe Taylor wrote:
Thanks a lot for describing as to how an actual steam engine should go on and preform its work....


Well the reason i didn't go on to describe how a steam engine does its work is because there are quite a few good books written on the subject that can be found in your local steam clubs library, or even your public library. Google is also a good source of information. I also stressed how important hands on education is with this subject.

Also another reason why i don't what to start writing things down for people hear to read is what if i miss a important need to know fact that may lead to your death? And what if i didn't know to say something about what ever fact or suggestion because i don't know what equipment you are using or planing to use?

Every book i have had my hands on is often over 100 double sided pages. Even if i wanted to type something like that up how do you expect me to recall all that information from memory? The printed materiel for my local clubs steam school in printed form would fill a 3 ring binder that's 1" thick. And that's more or less just steam engines 101. And then there is the hands on part of the class.

In any case steam engines are not at all simple. There systems of systems each relying on the other to do one thing. and that's to make a drive shaft go round and round. In that way there not at all unlike the engine in your car.

Now if anyone is interested I'm still willing to fire up the word processor and write up a primer on steam engine systems that would be ideal for off grid power generation. And the various side benefits that can come along with using one. Like for example they make massive amounts of waist heat that could be used to warm a solar tank up to boiling point in the time it takes to charge your house battery. And of coarse there one big advantage is that they will run on any good heat source.

Anyway i want to help. I just don't want to read in the news about someone having gotten them self hurt because they didn't know what they were doing.
 
Camp Ricco
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I have recently been researching comercially available steam engines.
The wood gassifier / boiler / engine combo at site below is what i am considering for my upcoming build.

http://www.biosteamengine.com/article_list_112.html

attached image illustrates how system works.

system.jpg
[Thumbnail for system.jpg]
 
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