Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-07-2012, 15:39   #61
Registered User
 
Ti' Punch's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Hampton Roads, VA
Boat: Fountaine Pajot, Antigua 37 - Ti' Punch
Posts: 155
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Thanks for the link on the Cyclone Engine. It is definitely cool. I am still a steam geek at heart. While cool, I don't think it is the answer. Their big selling point is that it will run off biofuels. Well, so will just about any diesel engine. They do have a Waste Heat Engine that will run off solid fuels, but they don't provide any information on fuel consumption rates at various loads. Do you really want to sail around with a hull full of wood pellets. I know they say it is a closed system and you will never have to add water, but I would keep some de-ionized water on hand anyway. Truly closed systems are largely theoretical.

This Thorium laser thing though, now we're talking. 300 HP in a 500 pound package that will last for 5000 hours? I'll take two please. : )
__________________

__________________
Ti' Punch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 19:23   #62
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Newport News VA
Boat: Egg Harbor sedan cruiser 1970
Posts: 829
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Steam powered thorium lased engine is definitely a neat idea.
If we can build it would the government let us?
I imagine the disinformation campaign from those vested in conventional oil industries would be intense as the threat to their pocket would be very real.
__________________

__________________
sdowney717 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 19:47   #63
Marine Service Provider
 
Tony B's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Presently in Rogersville, Al
Boat: Mainship 36 Dual Cabin
Posts: 695
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagoon4us View Post
Tony your quote, in a nutshell, sums up a defence for why we don't have these archaic, quaint and very interesting systems anymore. "It's competition that keeps manufacturers from completely raping us.


As another non-forum member once said "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

Cheers
It takes a certain intelligence to know the limits. While the thought of steam power seems romantic, and I'm sure it would be, I would lose the romance when having to carry several thousand pounds of coal in my sailboat. Is that not where this thread started.
__________________
Mainship 36 DC - 1986
Retired and Full Time Cruising the Eastern U.S. inland Waterways
www.FreeBoatProjects.com
Tony B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 19:55   #64
Moderator
 
sailorchic34's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Boat: Islander 34
Posts: 4,812
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

So pondering the use of a small steam system for a sailboat, just for fun. So assuming low tech, steam piston / flywheel. Assuming 5 boiler horsepower would require about 25 SF of surface area for steaming. So the boilers not going to be small.

Then the feed water tank and pump to supply the feed water to the boiler. 5 HP is about 170 #/hr of steam which will take about 165 mbh output. assuming 83 percent boiler efficiency, your looking at about 200 MBH input.

Assuming 12,000 btu per pound of coal, your looking at 16 pounds of coal an hour with a cost of $1.2 per hour. The down side is the bit and pieces will take up most of the interior of the typical 36' sailboat, or power boat, with the rest used for coal storage. Its doable, but why??

Lots of little annoying fiddly bits why a steam engine is not used for most vessels anymore. The equipment space required is not small. Lots of parts that all have to work to obtain motive power. That annoying habit boilers have now and then of blowing up. The Condensate is corrosive and needs water treatment. Pipe insulation, valves, steam traps. Plus the boiler flue...

Nuclear uses steam because that's about the only mostly safe way to harness the heat from fission...

I know TMI.....
__________________
sailorchic34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 20:00   #65
Registered User
 
Nemo55's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Punta Banda, Ensenada. and Canada
Boat: 28Ft Piver Encore, Tri-Maran, Anchored in San Diego.
Posts: 728
Send a message via Skype™ to Nemo55
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Those who think of steam as an inefficient transfer of heat energy have obviously never seen an old steam Locomotive pull a line of loaded ore cars up a steep grade before.
The technology has moved many years ahead since those day's of the old Steam Mule, the closed cycle engines and the engines running off Non Steam Gaseous Liquids will blow your pretty minds with the Torque factors they are putting out.
There are many newer power sources being worked on these days than ever before in our history.
Just look at the advances in electric bikes,,,totally unheard of twenty years ago.....

Addition: steam engines do not have to be big to drive BIG.......some people are still stuck in the past when they think of steam its not their fault, it's just out of the lime light for now.
__________________
"The Truth Shall set you Free....But First it will Piss You Off"

http://nemo1955.blogspot.ca/
Nemo55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 20:58   #66
Moderator
 
sailorchic34's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
Boat: Islander 34
Posts: 4,812
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

I know I've only designed 5000 BHP steam plants (that's not small BTW), but even a small steam system for a sailboat will be large with all the supporting equipment included. Designing steam plants is one of the many things I do with that engineering thing..

So if you do want to put a steam plant in your boat, I can design it for you ;-)
__________________
sailorchic34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 21:30   #67
Registered User
 
Nemo55's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Punta Banda, Ensenada. and Canada
Boat: 28Ft Piver Encore, Tri-Maran, Anchored in San Diego.
Posts: 728
Send a message via Skype™ to Nemo55
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Total respect for your engineering thing,,and doubly so, since you are a female who isn't afraid to get her pinkies dirty.

I do not Jest!!!

I would only require two hundred foot pounds of torque, and with that i could pull down a mountain.
Or gear it and push a boat to her max hull speed easy.

I once hooked up a small pressure cooker (which i used to use as a still) to a small five horse Briggs & Stratton lawnmower engine and it ran beautiful albeit it was a difficult arrangement of propane torch,,Pressure cooker,and copper piping...but it worked,,,especially when all of the local high priests said it couldn't be done.
I was 21 years old then,,,,i am over fifty now....
My point being is:I did not believe the Nay Sayers, and went ahead and did it anyway.
__________________
"The Truth Shall set you Free....But First it will Piss You Off"

http://nemo1955.blogspot.ca/
Nemo55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 22:31   #68
Registered User
 
Astrid's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Northern British Columbia, part of the time in Prince Rupert and part of the time on Moresby Island.
Boat: 50-ft steel Ketch
Posts: 1,885
Send a message via MSN to Astrid Send a message via Yahoo to Astrid
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

The discussion brings to mind a conversation I had with a local resident when I was going to college in Arizona. He was from a mountain town called Showlow and when he was a kid, back in the early days of motoring, none of the cars could get up a hill leading into town with out turning around and going up hill in reverse, except for that of the town's mail man, and his car was a Stanley Steamer.

As I said earlier, I love steam engines, but I probably haven't the room on my boat for one--even a small one. One really needs to have a useful steam plant designed and then build the boat around it.
__________________
'Tis evening on the moorland free,The starlit wave is still: Home is the sailor from the sea, The hunter from the hill.
Astrid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2012, 22:45   #69
Senior Cruiser
 
IslandHopper's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Bundaberg Queensland/Lake Bolac Victoria, Australia
Boat: 45ft Ketch
Posts: 1,197
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Cute....

__________________
IslandHopper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2012, 00:11   #70
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,441
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Cyclone engine is presumably a Stirling Cycle engine which is an alternative form of heat engine (similar to a steam engine running closed-cycle with a condensor, but safer>
Invented IIRC in the C19th

Doesn't use gas/liquid phase change like steam: the expanding substance is gaseous at all times. In the simplest case, the gas can be air.
The cycle is inherently more efficient than the steam cycle.

Has been (and probably still is) used on quite a large scale as a prime mover (for stealth reasons) in submarines, from one of the Nordic countries - I forget which but Google would no doubt inform.

A product currently on the market using Stirling cycle is the Whispergen, although sadly they have discontinued the marine (12V) product. It was quite popular on large charter boats as a virtually silent genset. The main benefit is that the efficiency 'gap' appears as heat which can be captured easily because the unit can be sited near to accomodation facilities where that low grade heat is required.

(there's a marine Whispergen currently for sale on this forum, AFAIK)

This engine uses a very ingenious wobble-yoke mechanism for varying the displacement in real time, but sealing is tricky, and last I heard it was proving difficult to solve durability issues with the wobble-yoke bearings without costs out of proportion to the overall benefits. Partly, perhaps largely, because of low production volumes, unit costs are very high in comparison to a diesel genset. (eg $15k for 1kW)

I personally would love a fully worked out solution for a low powered but silent prime mover, say for keeping a yacht moving in a calm, or getting it from a sheltered anchorage out into the prevailing airstream. Multifuel (this is an external combustion engine and hence more tolerant of different fuels) would be another benefit, especially off the beaten track.
__________________
Andrew Troup is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2012, 00:29   #71
nes
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: San Diego, Ca
Boat: Hunter 326
Posts: 151
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Having read through this entire thread, I see that there are a couple of questions that have not been answered about the nuclear power source for the steam engine. I would like to add my two cents on that.
First, my background, 6 year Navy Nuc Electrician Qualified Submarines, and 30 years in the Nuclear Electrical Generation business as an operator. Currently a Licensed Senior Reactor Operator.

Second the question about how to drive a submarine, there were a few odd subs that had different designs:
The Sea Wolf SSN 575 originally had superheated steam, thanks to a liquid sodium cooled reactor.USS Seawolf (SSN-575) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This did not work well due to problems with the super heater and the entire Nuclear Steam Supply System was replaced with a conventional PWR reactor and Steam Generators.
The Triton USS Triton (SSRN-586) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which had two reactors and two engine rooms etc. Expense and unneeded complexity ended this boats life early.
The Narwhal had a PWR for steam supply, but used natural circulation instead of noisy Reactor Coolant Pumps, she also had NO reduction gears between the turbine and the prop. USS Narwhal (SSN-671) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There may have been a submarine with turbine to electric generator to electric motor to the shaft to the prop, but I am not aware of any specific boat. In virtually all other cases, the NSSS on a submarine uses two or more turbines to spin a set of reduction gears to spin a shaft (which usually has an electric motor on it as well that is used when the reactor is unavailable) that spins a propellor.
The Swedish submarines are the ones that use the stirling engine. Gotland class submarine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Third there was a question about steam generators and moving parts. A steam generator can be almost anything that makes steam, Steam generator - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia but in the context of this discussion, it was for a nuclear power plant Steam generator (nuclear power) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In this case, there are NO moving parts to the steam generator, there are many moving parts to make it all work, but the steam generator itself is just a very large specialized heat exchanger that takes pressurized hot water and makes SATURATED Steam (not super heated) Superheated steam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Disadvantages to use of Saturated steam include entrained water which impacts the turbine and steam piping. These components must be engineered to withstand this impingement.
Advantage of the saturated steam over the superheated steam is that you don't have to burn something else, or come up with some more complicated method to use the reactor. Babcox and Wilcox commercial power plants use a once through steam generator which gives them a small amount of superheat. Another way to get superheated steam with a reactor plant was used at Indian Point unit 1 (long since removed from service) that used a PWR to make steam in the Steam Generators, then fed that steam to a coal fired super heater.

Back to the original posters suggestion that coal could be used on a small boat to make steam, thereby getting cheaper propulsion than by use of Diesel or Gas. Having worked with steam in both in the Navy and at a commercial nuclear power plant, I can't imagine tolerating that kind of hazard on board a small personal boat. Steam is dangerous, in my opinion when combined with the fuel source it is much more risky than a diesel engine and fuel.
First of all you have the issue of the heat, and the risk of a burn. Either from the hot metal of the steam plant, or a steam leak and a steam burn.
Then you have the risk of a leak in the generator. Where I work we use very clean water for the feed to our steam generators (theoretically pure water has a conductivity of 0.055 micro S/cm Introduction to Conductivity the water we use is ~0.056 micro S/cm. When we cleaned our steam generators, we still wound up removing several hundred pounds of metal. You will not have access to this quality of water for your steam plant, nor will you even get close. In the article I mentioned here they state that power plant boilers use 1.0 micro S/cm water, you will have some difficulty in getting even that quality of water.
Whether you have a nuclear reactor heating your steam generator or you burn coal, you will still have the same issue on the steam side of your generator. The problem with all the metal in the steam generator is that it reduces heat transfer, and more importantly provides a place for chemicals like sodium chloride (salt) to hide out and cause corrosion of your steam generator. When you develop a leak (not if, but when) the steam generator will be out of service until it gets fixed. If the leak is through the heat transfer surface area you will be putting steam/water on your coal. This can result in a Steam Explosion similar to what happened in the Chernobyl nuclear plant, this can be very destructive even if it is only interacting with burning coal. If the steam leak is out of a pipe it will cut through almost anything it is pointed at for example that nice thick fiberglass hull of your boat, and now you have another leak to worry about.
So that is the added risk of steam in your boat, now what about the coal itself, consider the affects of wet coal The Myth Of Storing Wet Charcoal and Spontaneous Combustion note that this page is about how wet CHARcoal will not self ignite, but it is clear that it also points out that it is a problem with COAL getting wet. (How will you avoid that on a boat?)
Now compare the storage area required for the coal compared to the diesel fuel. (I am assuming diesel vs gas due to the risks associated with the use of gas on a boat).
Energy in diesel between 34MJ/litre and 38MJ/litre What is the energy content of diesel
Energy in coal 6.5 kJ per 250 g of coal What is the energy content of coal
This shows that you will need way more space for the coal than the diesel (just in case you had not already figured that out). Then there is the delivery system how are you going to get the coal into the boiler?

None of these points make it an unworkable solution, just point out why it is not a common practice anymore. There are better, safer and more efficient methods of moving your boat, and yes they may cost a bit more in the long run. (Just how much do you really think it will cost to build a one of a kind coal fired steam piston engine driven boat?)

Sorry for the very long post, I have never been accused of being short or concise. However, I believe I have given some accurate complete answers to the questions that were asked.

If I have made a mistake here somewhere, please let me know, as I love to learn, and I am always studying.
__________________
nes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2012, 01:52   #72
Registered User
 
Nemo55's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Punta Banda, Ensenada. and Canada
Boat: 28Ft Piver Encore, Tri-Maran, Anchored in San Diego.
Posts: 728
Send a message via Skype™ to Nemo55
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

yes,yes,,fleets of coal fired steam boats pulling their own coal barges going to and fro.....what a glorious site!!!
__________________
"The Truth Shall set you Free....But First it will Piss You Off"

http://nemo1955.blogspot.ca/
Nemo55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2012, 07:49   #73
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Newport News VA
Boat: Egg Harbor sedan cruiser 1970
Posts: 829
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

yes steam only works on cars not boats. When steam engine gets into boat then suddenly the red warning lights and bells are flashing and the boat is about to sink or explode. Engines become monstrously complicated feats of engineering which take years of study to operate or repair.

Steam-driven cars by John Silveira Issue #36
__________________
sdowney717 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2012, 08:34   #74
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Boat: WTB Lagoon or Leopard 38'-40'
Posts: 1,273
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
yes steam only works on cars not boats. When steam engine gets into boat then suddenly the red warning lights and bells are flashing and the boat is about to sink or explode. Engines become monstrously complicated feats of engineering which take years of study to operate or repair.

Steam-driven cars by John Silveira Issue #36
It works anywhere you want it to work, it's just not economically feasible, and it's technologically inefficient.

With lower energy densities come higher transportation and storage costs. Where are you going to get 1000lbs of coal at a marina? Who is going to deliver it to you? How would you accept delivery of it, if it came? Who sells ground up corncobs? In Key Largo??

Liquid fuels can be injected, atomized, pumped, or gasified for use in a system - all automatable operations. Solid fuels must be bulk handled and manually loaded into an open furnace at regular intervals. This is dangerous, difficult, and leads to heat loss.

Now this is actually not quite fair, since we're ignoring the possibility of driving a steam engine with liquid fuels - this new article you posted discusses the benefits of a steam driven engines, independent of the fuel choice. However, I think Nes's excellent article highlights the difficulties of managing a privately owned steam engine. Also, I suspect that the drivetrain inefficiencies quoted in that article are overstated, particularly for a manual transmission.

Today's gas and diesel engines will operate for years and miles with little or no maintenance. A good car engine will operate more than 50,000 miles with no repairs or cleaning other than regular oil changes. I doubt that a steam engine will be that reliable.
__________________
ArtM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-07-2012, 08:39   #75
nes
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: San Diego, Ca
Boat: Hunter 326
Posts: 151
Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
yes steam only works on cars not boats. When steam engine gets into boat then suddenly the red warning lights and bells are flashing and the boat is about to sink or explode. Engines become monstrously complicated feats of engineering which take years of study to operate or repair.

Steam-driven cars by John Silveira Issue #36
This is a great idea! care to build one?

It sounds great in fact, however the original poster also suggested the use of coal as a cheaper fuel source. You will need to address that as well.

The red warning lights do not come on and the bells do not flash on the boat just because of the steam plant. However, as with all forms of energy conversion there are compromises that must be made. Also, acceptance of risks depending on the fuel source and how it is used. My point was that it was not all easy, and that yes it could be done, but why?
__________________

__________________
nes is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:11.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.