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Old 03-03-2016, 18:42   #1
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Could this be a game-changer?

...for the electric yacht? Electric motors as an auxilliary notoriously demand more stored juice than most are prepared to load, but perhaps this little jewel might be the next big (little) thing?

a free piston generator seems like it may be pretty efficient at converting fuel to electrons...
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Old 03-03-2016, 19:49   #2
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

Not sure what is so special about this.. It looks, sounds, and behaves like a giant RC airplane engine (and I'm %90 sure he is running it on RC fuel).

I must be missing something cause I don't see where its converting fuel to electrons. Is there an article or something missing?
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Old 03-03-2016, 21:00   #3
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

Sorry, yes, you are right, I should add some background; here are some sites

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-p...near_generator

DLR’s free-piston linear generator redesigns the range extender

No crankshaft, no problem: Toyota's free piston engine is brilliant

http://www.digitaltrends.com/feature...t-plug-hybrid/

Of course these are very expensive prototypes for now, but that little one in the first post looked like it MIGHT not be too expensive to make. I am just intrigued and I defer to the electrical engineers, or enthusiasts, here for the viability analysis!
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Old 03-03-2016, 21:15   #4
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

I thought these quotes stood out:

"Additionally, this variability should allow free piston engines to run on anything from hydrogen to natural gas. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these engines would run on single malt scotch."

"Toyota’s engine would be capable of generating 15 horsepower from a package eight inches around and two feet long."

"Prototype free piston engines are already 50 to 60 percent more efficient than any engine currently in production – and there is the potential for much more."

"The Toyota version uses a single cylinder rather than an opposed pair, and is capable of 42 percent thermal efficiency under constant operating conditions. That’s better than any production engine is capable of achieving – even momentarily, under optimal conditions."

Maybe we should be buying some stock?
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Old 03-03-2016, 22:25   #5
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Not sure what is so special about this.. It looks, sounds, and behaves like a giant RC airplane engine (and I'm %90 sure he is running it on RC fuel).

I must be missing something cause I don't see where its converting fuel to electrons. Is there an article or something missing?
I've been flying RC airplanes for almost 50 years
(First tx had tubes) and have never seen anything like this engine.
Definitely not an RC engine. By the way RC Glow fuel,
Containing Nitromethane costs 15 to 20 dollars a gallon
RC is going to electric with LiPo batteries
And these you for sure don't want on a boat. If they
Catch fire they will burn right thru the boat to China
Cheers
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Old 03-03-2016, 22:44   #6
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

Pretty sure it is plain old gasoline... and I am wondering if an engine like this could be made that runs diesel.
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Old 03-03-2016, 23:26   #7
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

from the Toyota article above:
Quote:
It can also be run like a diesel, using compression rather than a spark plug to ignite its fuel mixture.
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Old 04-03-2016, 00:21   #8
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

Free piston engines have been around for a long time and there were even some that were used to pump water that used the water being pumped as the free piston.


The really interesting stuff is what they are developing with free piston/diaphragm Stirling cycle engines. NASA is into it for use in space and the Kiwi's and a number of European firms for central heating with cogeneration back to the grid.


Being external rather than internal combustion Stirling cycle can be fuelled by anything that burns however practical considerations tend to limit the fuels to flammable vapours and liquids however it would be nice for cash strapped cruisers to collect a little driftwood and fire up the genny or connect a fuel line to the holding tank and run her on a little methane?
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Old 04-03-2016, 00:50   #9
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post

I must be missing something cause I don't see where its converting fuel to electrons. Is there an article or something missing?
Looks like there could be coils around the outside of the cylinder so it could work like a shaky-shaky torch (sorry for the technical jargon) if the pistons were also magnets.

Am I right? What did I win?
Ooh, inventing is exciting!!
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:53   #10
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

May be CF members with engineering background can fill me in on that but I could never figure out why with thousands of lbs of lead already on a boat her ballast cannot be made into a huge array of battery cells and her sails, deck and topsides cannot act as huge solar panel.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:35   #11
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

It is sort of like going to a facial surgeon then pretending we are still 18.

The future is the power created in nuclear and fusion plants then stored onboard in 99% efficient cells.

Unless we get onboard fusion generators at a point.

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Old 04-03-2016, 07:48   #12
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

IMHO spending much time and energy developing more products the run on fossil fuels is a short term strategy. I do not see it as the future.
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:06   #13
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

Actually Beetron makes the same point that this is best thought of as a transitional power source, but it is so much more efficient, and able to run on different fuels, and small, I thought it had "sailboat auxiliary" in its future.
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:47   #14
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

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May be CF members with engineering background can fill me in on that but I could never figure out why with thousands of lbs of lead already on a boat her ballast cannot be made into a huge array of battery cells and her sails, deck and topsides cannot act as huge solar panel.
They have. The result was a $500k boat that cost $3million. Actually it was a catamaran so no balast per say but same difference.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:04   #15
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Re: Could this be a game-changer?

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They have. The result was a $500k boat that cost $3million. Actually it was a catamaran so no balast per say but same difference.
I'm sure that every 1st of anything cost 10X (or even 1000X) of the cost of the final mass produced product - 1st TV, automobile, computer, etc. But that did not prevent us from developing those ideas. If they truly can make a huge battery cell from a lead keel/ballast I would think the retail cost would eventually come down to a few thousands of $$ over the non battery ballast. The reduced cost of pollution from diesel smoke, spills, etc should pay for this transition in no time, especially considering the cost of a new boat anyway - what's another $30-50K when you are already paying $300-500K? And may be with some hefty tax breaks for this "green" technology the cost could be brought down to zero.

PS I wish FL legislators were contemplating how to help such technology take hold rather than hassling anchoring cruisers.
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