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Old 11-07-2012, 09:07   #76
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

The why only would make sense if the costs were less and could be done with a reasonable amount of safe.
I emailed to the cyclone engine people to ask various questions on comparing with gas or diesel marine motors. Will see what they say.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:40   #77
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Steam power would be many times more expensive then the typical marine diesel. Probably $15000 for a small boiler and feed water system and an additional $5000-$8000 for the motive piston and reduction gear. Throw in $3000 for pipe, valves, insulation and flue. Then double it for labor and add 20% for profit and your looking at ~$55000 to power a 40 foot.

So on the OP question of why not steam. Well you have to look at the total cost of ownership. Yes Coal is cheap when delivered at ton rates via railcar. But getting even 1000 pounds of coal stored on a boat would take time and is just a tiny bit messy.

If Steam and coal were really cheaper to install and operate we would all be driving coal fired Stanley steamers.

I did see a steam powered 40 foot launch at the maker fair in SF a few months back. They were using a commercial steam boiler, of about 10 hp powered with diesel with a piston drive unit connected to a paddlewheel. The boiler alone was more then 20 times the size of my yanmar 3gm30f. It was neat to see, but I'll think I'll keep the yanmar...
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:20   #78
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
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.
The description of the thorium laser in the article simply doesn't make sense if you know even a little bit about lasers or Thorium nuclear physics. One can make all kids of substances into lasers if one pumps enough energy into them, but all of them are terribly inefficient, most being well under 10%. Lasers are not an energy source. Many substances "lase "in the infrared spectrum and thus give off heat rather than visible light but none gives off more energy than it consumes.

Thorium is not by nature fissile. By bombarding it with neutrons one converts it to Uranium 233 which is fissile and when it splits provides the neutrons for converting another thorium atom to U233 and so on. The initial reaction though requires an outside neutron source. Lasers do not provide neutrons, so there is no way lasing Thorium can provide a net energy increase to be used to boil water. I also noted that they said only a thin layer of shielding was required. This is true only of thorium that is in it's natural state and not undergoing transformation into U233 and undergoing fission. This process releases lots of neutrons and they are not going to be stopped by a layer of aluminum foil.

Don't get me wrong and think that I'm putting down Thorium as a fuel source in a general sense. The thorium fuel cycle is much superior to the Uranium fuel cycle for civilian power generation. The waste products are much less dangerous and the fuel cannot be weaponized. As has been said the reason we don't have these reactors now is because they don't produce plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. To actually commercialize a thorium reactor would require a fairly substantial investment by someone in the industry, but everyone in this industry already has a huge investment in the uranium cycle, most of which was paid for by various governments. In this era of tight government budgets it is unlikely that one would be able to get a subsidy for commercializing a thorium reactor, especially when it would be heavily opposed by lobbyists from existing nuclear companies.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:28   #79
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
Steam power would be many times more expensive then the typical marine diesel. Probably $15000 for a small boiler and feed water system and an additional $5000-$8000 for the motive piston and reduction gear. Throw in $3000 for pipe, valves, insulation and flue. Then double it for labor and add 20% for profit and your looking at ~$55000 to power a 40 foot.

So on the OP question of why not steam. Well you have to look at the total cost of ownership. Yes Coal is cheap when delivered at ton rates via railcar. But getting even 1000 pounds of coal stored on a boat would take time and is just a tiny bit messy.

If Steam and coal were really cheaper to install and operate we would all be driving coal fired Stanley steamers.

I did see a steam powered 40 foot launch at the maker fair in SF a few months back. They were using a commercial steam boiler, of about 10 hp powered with diesel with a piston drive unit connected to a paddlewheel. The boiler alone was more then 20 times the size of my yanmar 3gm30f. It was neat to see, but I'll think I'll keep the yanmar...
As I said earlier, I have been involved in some steam powered builds. Neither took anything like 50k to build the engine for. One was a small open launch, the other a substantial heavy 36' pilothouse cruiser. In both cases the engines were designed and built with the boat. In the case of the larger boat the engine was designed and built by the owner, a Boeing engineer. It wasn't easy, and there was lot's of trial and error, but expenses were nothing like that high. Both were quite functional on completion.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:41   #80
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Yes...the thorium laser sounded great to me until I left the Green ballyhoo articles and started looking at the physics. It would seem that it is, unfortunately, a crackpot scheme somewhat akin to those who put forward complicated descriptions of perpetual motion machines.

But...anyone for radioisotope thermoelectric generation? Look ma...no moving parts (except the electric motors that use the generated power.)
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Old 11-07-2012, 14:36   #81
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Here ya go...
2007 Elliot Bay Steam Launch For Tender Power Boat For Sale -
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Old 16-07-2012, 13:23   #82
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Got my response today from Cyclone Steam engines

Quote:
Dear SD:

You are correct in that the Cyclone Engine is a great engine for the Marine Industry.

#1. An old time steam engine would be dangerous and you would need a license to operate it. Cyclone is not an old time steam engine. It does not have a boiler therefore, does not adhere to boiler codes.

#2. Cyclone burns ALL Fuel (diesel does not) and does not require a transmission or catalytic converters.

#3. Cyclone does not require a turbo to get to the torque it has full torque at 1 rpm.

#4. When Cyclone goes to production we believe that the reliability will be greater as it has water as the lubricant therefore you do not get the scoring of the metal that you get with oil.

#5. There is less to repair, less to build etc.

#6. Cyclone does not idle and requires 8500 BTU per used hp per hour.

I will be running a boat later this year to brake the steam boat record so look out for the press releases.


Kindest regards,

Frankie Fruge
COO/Director
Cyclone Power Technologies Inc.
954-943-8721 -phone
954-788-6565 -fax





From: xxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 10:08 AM
To: info@cyclonepower.com
Subject: cyclone steam power in a boat

Hi.
I had started a forum discussion on cruiserforums about steam power in a boat and was basically shot down saying it is impractical and dangerous today.
Is the cyclone engine usable for marine power in a small to mid sized boat and what would be the practicality of this over a marine diesel engine.
Would it be cheaper to buy?
Would it be cheaper to run?
Would it be more reliable?
Would repairs be cheaper to perform?

In effect would the benefits of a cyclone steam engine in a boat be worthwhile for a boat that it would be a top consideration over a gas or diesel engine?
I currently have an older eggharbor 37 1970 that I have restored which has original Palmer 392 gasoline engines. they work fine although they do burn a lot of gas.

Any thoughts?
thanks
On number 4, there is something called 'steam oil', which lubricates steam engines.
Likely the difference is no combustion products to create carbon-acids-gums-varnishes which destroy the metal surfaces.
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Old 16-07-2012, 14:59   #83
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

The guy from Cyclone claimed:

"#4. When Cyclone goes to production we believe that the reliability will be greater as it has water as the lubricant therefore you do not get the scoring of the metal that you get with oil."

When you read something like this, run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.
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Old 16-07-2012, 15:36   #84
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

"#4. When Cyclone goes to production we believe that the reliability will be greater as it has water as the lubricant therefore you do not get the scoring of the metal that you get with oil."


Wow the new two stroke additive...WATER!!! who woulda' thunked it?????
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Old 16-07-2012, 16:33   #85
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Water was found not to work well by itself:

Steam Cylinder Oil
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Old 16-07-2012, 18:22   #86
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

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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.


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My dad told me that story too. It is because the cars engine was gravity fed and backwards was the only way to keep the tank above the engine.
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Old 16-07-2012, 18:33   #87
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

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As I said earlier, I have been involved in some steam powered builds. Neither took anything like 50k to build the engine for. One was a small open launch, the other a substantial heavy 36' pilothouse cruiser. In both cases the engines were designed and built with the boat. In the case of the larger boat the engine was designed and built by the owner, a Boeing engineer. It wasn't easy, and there was lot's of trial and error, but expenses were nothing like that high. Both were quite functional on completion.
That pic looks like about as much fun as taking the mother-in-law along for the weekend.

And I love my mother-in-law a lot.
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Old 16-07-2012, 18:47   #88
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

I hope we are taking about charcoal. That is the only type of 'coal' one could easily find while cruising.

You could barbeque at the same time. :lol

Anyways, solar thermal with big curved mirrors focused on a black pipe would be the best way to generate steam, except in the wind.
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Old 16-07-2012, 19:09   #89
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

Please get a copy of Marine Engines by A. Ritchie Leask. It is available from Amazon in on-demand reprint. The original was published in 1922 and deals with reciprocating steam engines and steam turbines. Give the volume a brief perusal then come and tell us about the usefulness of steam in small vessels.
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Old 16-07-2012, 20:31   #90
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Re: Steam powered boat why not do it again?

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My dad told me that story too. It is because the cars engine was gravity fed and backwards was the only way to keep the tank above the engine.
I didn't have to have the story told to me, I was actually in a vehicle when we turned around and went up the hill in reverse. This was out west in the mountains of southern Utah at about 10,000 feet of altitude. The problem was that the hill was quite steep and at that altitude the engine did not develop too much power. This was in the era of carbureted engines with fixed jets and they did not do well at high altitudes. You could get high latitude jets to lean the mixture but they were generally optimized for about 5-6000 feet. In any case, the reverse gear had the lowest gear ratio in the transmission and while you could not go fast it allowed you to multiply the small amount of torque available at those altitudes enough to go up the hill. None of the other gears were low enough. It didn't really have anything to do with fuel flow though I suppose since the fuel pickups tended to be at the bottom front of the tanks that you could have had a problem with that if you were low on gas. The fact that the original story was from a mountain town in Arizona
makes it likely they had the same issue I did. If I remember correctly a Stanley steamer was a piston steam engine and piston steam engines develop their maximum torque at near stall. It doesn't surprise me that the Stanley steamer could go up the hill.
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