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    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2011
     
    Posted By: dixiepnumThe question is can I use the temperature differences to somehow get a sterling engine going to generate electricity?

    Eg....summer ground temp 50 degrees, air temp 85 degrees
    ...winter ground temp 50 degrees, air temp minus 10 degrees
    ...i suppose it won't work when the air temp is 50 +\- 10 degrees

    Can a sterling generate electricity on temp diffs that are this small? If so, how would I rig it up?
    You can, but the efficiency will be quite low: Summer 35K / 360K max eff. Winter 60K / 323K max eff.
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    Posted By: dixiepnumThe question is can I use the temperature differences to somehow get a sterling engine going to generate electricity?

    Eg....summer ground temp 50 degrees, air temp 85 degrees
    ...winter ground temp 50 degrees, air temp minus 10 degrees
    ...i suppose it won't work when the air temp is 50 +\- 10 degrees

    Can a sterling generate electricity on temp diffs that are this small? If so, how would I rig it up?

    You can calculate the power available using Stirling cycle calculators available on the web. I doubt that you would be able to find a commercial unit that would be economical, but a linear alternator free-piston Stirling would probably be the way to go if you were building from scratch.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2011
     
    You might be able to run a TV.
    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2011
     
    If you have a big enough engine, and sufficient heat transfer surface, you can get any amount of energy regardless of the efficiency.

    Which makes me wonder. Is it possible that the local earth temperature gradient is a measured resource like water in an aquifer. If you neighbor puts in a big heat dump to the local earth, does it reduce your capacity to dump. Just like for water, maybe you have to go deeper because the local resource of cool dirt has been depleted. Aquifers have "make up" rates based on how the water seeps in.

    Will I someday be able to buy heat-sink rights for various properties?
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2011
     
    Possibly as thermoelectric generators get more efficient.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2011
     
    I read somewhere recently that scientist are developing a 'heat battery' by shining sunlight on a special material it changes shape but when 'triggered' maybe years later it can revert to its old shape emitting heat.
    I know I was thinking whether it would be economical to set up plants in the desert and pipe this 'charged' material over to Europe especially in winter and the discharged material can be piped back for reuse. Or of course shipped.
    Canada could charge this material in the summer and use it in the winter. Of course it all depends on costs.
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    Posted By: TrimI read somewhere recently that scientist are developing a 'heat battery' by shining sunlight on a special material it changes shape but when 'triggered' maybe years later it can revert to its old shape emitting heat.
    I know I was thinking whether it would be economical to set up plants in the desert and pipe this 'charged' material over to Europe especially in winter and the discharged material can be piped back for reuse. Or of course shipped.
    Canada could charge this material in the summer and use it in the winter. Of course it all depends on costs.


    I suspect this tech to be real and it may eventually change things. It changes the chemical structure and if triggered later will release the heat stored. It does not use ruthenium, instead a more common material. It is even more effective than the ruthenium carbon combination..
    • CommentAuthortinker
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2011
     
    To get back from here to where we were, perhaps an expansion engine (as in steam engine) would be useful as a motion source for power generation? I was thinking of something using Butane or Ammonia as a working fluid/gas.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2011
     
    Maybe we should consider bringing back the Newcomen engine.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2011
     
    See my heat battery thread for further details.
    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2011
     
    I had to look it up, but I find that the Newcomen engine is an early piston driven steam engine.

    Is the reference to a Newcomen engine supposed to be a hint that old unused technologies are old and unused because we now have better choices (because that was what I was going to suggest, only without poetic inference required).
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2011
     
    Posted By: TrimI read somewhere recently that scientist are developing a 'heat battery' by shining sunlight on a special material it changes shape but when 'triggered' maybe years later it can revert to its old shape emitting heat.
    I know I was thinking whether it would be economical to set up plants in the desert and pipe this 'charged' material over to Europe especially in winter and the discharged material can be piped back for reuse. Or of course shipped.
    Canada could charge this material in the summer and use it in the winter. Of course it all depends on costs.
    Shipping electrons through wires is a lot cheaper than shipping any fuel by carrier or pipeline. The closest approximation to the cost of shipping electrons is pumping water.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2011 edited
     
    Well that is true especially now that they believed they have devised a way to make 'wire' out of carbon nanotubes cheaply. So the long distances involved are not such a problem.
    However heat by itself is useful especially in northern Europe in winter.
    Like I said it all depends on costs.
    • CommentAuthorenginerd
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2011
     
    I suppose it depends on how you define the costs per delivered.

    I bet that a train car of weapons grade plutonium gives a transportation cost per joule that is much lower than can be achieved with electric lines. It may not be fair to leave out the conversion cost for the plutonium since it arrives pretty much useless and the electricity arrives ready to go.

    A nuclear missile probably has a pretty low transportation per joule cost and the energy arrives ready to go, but only for very limited applications of the energy.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeMar 24th 2019
     
    Any plans to build geothermal plants near Vancouver?
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    No, I don't have the cash
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeMar 24th 2019
     
    Yeah sure. We plan to drill down to the Cascadia fault and install a nuke there to run the pumps.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeMar 24th 2019
     
    Great idea.
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      CommentAuthorTrim
    • CommentTimeJul 18th 2019
     
    Could the heat of the Earth’s crust become the ultimate energy source?

    https://revolution-green.com/heat-earths-crust-become-ultimate-energy-source/