Last year I ran across this movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVRBKhK-jYU on Utube about a hydrogen generator system that uses the gas pressure to spin a little turbine with an air motor to generate electricity.
I decided I would like to try to do the same thing but make it much more useful by switching it’s hot and cold tanks itself to automatically keep going. Since I can’t really afford the materials the guy in the movie was using (he was in a lab somewhere) and I’m on disability I decided to see if there was another way to do basically the same thing using either propane or freon as the pressurizing gas.
The point of the movie was to show off some type of stuff in the tanks that absorbs and releases hydrogen. My purpose is to easily generate electrcity without a hassle instead.
My design is a little different. It reciprocates back and forth to change the tanks from being immersed in hot to cold water tanks and back all by itself. It’s a combination of the power wheel idea and some of my older “mini-tide” design ideas.
Basically what it consist of is simply a frame with two propane tanks setting in a donut shaped tank with hot and cold water sides seperated by flexible plastic doors in the tank.
The propane or freon in the tank of hot water pressurizes and runs an air motor or hydrualic motor to turn a slow speed axial alternator (wind turbine type).
When the pressure in the supply tank goes below a certain level, say 100 psi or so a valve in the system opens and allows the pressurized gas to supply another smaller air or hydraulic motor that has a chain sprocket attached that turns against a fixed sprocket mounted to the center support shaft. So what happens is the whole thing turns 180 degrees switching the tanks from hot to cold and vice versa to start the entire process again. The thing turns 180 degrees one cycle and then turns in the opposite direction back 180 degrees for the next cycle. It would just continue to cycle back and forth at the end of each cycle as long as the water tanks had different temperatures.
Below are some drawings with the frame and plumbing shown for both the alternator motor and the rotation motor and a simple view of what the control valve would be like. The drawing shows a limit or stop post that prevents the tanks from turning too far each cycle. Actually I doubt if it would ever make it as far as the stop each time before the cycle switched over so they probably are not really needed but I added them ‘just in case’
The amount of output generated would depend on the size of the motor turning the alternator, and the temp differences in the two tanks. In this drawing the tanks would be about 4 1/2 feet in diameter using 20lb propane tanks. It could be a bit smaller if using the freon tanks. This is about as simple a design as I can think of on a self controlled power generating system.
I did not draw and plumbing for exchanging the water in the tanks. If placed a few feet above ground a solar hot water panel could use natural circulation for the hot tank. Some type of small pump would probably have to be hooked up for the cold water side to use a larger cooling tank.