Solar power and heat

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Lumenos has been in correspondence with a gentleman by the name of Andy, who is testing parts of a new system for generating electricity and hot water, from sunlight. Andy claims this will be less expensive than photovoltaic solar power (for grid-tied electricity generation). Andy's site is http://slamvalvemotor.com/ .

Contents

[edit] Lumenos questions, Andy replies

Throughout these articles there may appear Lumenos' email questions with these arrows ">" (or a "Q:"), followed by Andy's replies (without arrows or with a "A:"). Note Lumenos sometimes puts questions that were not actually read by Andy, before answers. This is probably what happened if you see two questions before an answer or two answers after a question. Not all of these unanswered questions have been sent to Andy at this time. Lumenos puts them here so he (or anyone else) can find them later.

[edit] Summary

Andy writes, "I am hoping to create a market for small solar thermal power. You see big solar thermal has been around a long time, its cheap but comes in megawatt sizes. Small solar customers use photovoltaics which are expensive. So this is a new market for reflectors, boilers, engines, generators, etc. I just gave out all the instructions on how to put it all together, hopefully some business types or even a few individuals who want to get into the solar business might try the material I listed. The more the merrier."

Andy's system uses a number of innovations that may be new to small solar systems:

  • Boiler: Fresnel reflector compounds sunlight onto a boiler tube. (This reflector must move with the sun. A controller for this is yet to be built.)
  • Slam valve heads: Andy claimed, "...This is the missing piece of the puzzle, the reason solar power never took off. Lack of an economical steam engine... there are no manufacturers of steam piston engines in the 1-20 horsepower market right now, right now being about 50 years now... Now we have a unit for $650 + $89 for the compressor and it will last a long time if you change the compressor every few years at a cost of an additional $89 + some effort." "Lumenos 03:40, July 3, 2009 (UTC) The unit you have has been tested for a short while using air, not steam."
  • Grid-tied generator: Andy claimed the (converted) steam engine attached to an induction motor which may plug into a wall outlet. That this motor was used to start the system. That when you push these induction motors faster than they go on their own, they generate electricity right back into the power grid. That this will slow or reverse your home electricity meter and lower your electric bill.
  • For pools:
    • There is extra hot water generated by the system. Lumenos thinks this can be used to heat a pool.
    • Andy writes, "On the pool pump, the best you can get with an electric motor turning a pump is 50% efficiency on the motor. That however goes with 0% efficiency on the pump, it really has a best operating point maybe 30% efficient between pump and electric motor. If the steam engine turns the pump directly you can do away with the electric motor losses since you wont have one. It turns out this steam engine keeps constant efficiency over a range of load, which means you get constant efficiency if your filter is dirty or clean. So you save over a factor of 2 in energy by not running an electric motor, and another 80% efficiency which is the efficiency of the generator."

Here you can see photos of some of the parts. Here is a diagram of the steam system plan. Boiler tube is on the left.

On Jun 25, 2009, Andy says he will produce a YouTube video demonstration some time.

[edit] Safety

Andy has the page on safety up on his website now. More info can be found in steam power generation system.

[edit] Electric bill reduction strategies

Andy writes, "[The electric company in California] are required to buy your excess [electricity] but they will pay the lowest tier which is way too cheap. Your best bang for the buck is to first offload any electric motors you normally use a lot (pool pump, refrigeration pump), then knock your bill down to about $40/month. At that point the slope (delta money divided by delta power) becomes very low so there is not much benefit to making excess and having them send you a very small check. Unless you are using lots of heat that is, but there are cheaper ways to get it."

[edit] Steam power generation system

See steam power generation system

[edit] Grid-tied generator (induction motor)

There is more information on Andy's site.

[edit] Permits for connection to power grid

>Do you need any permit or anything to hook it up to the electrical grid?

You don't need a permit to buy or connect an induction motor, you do need UL listing to sell something that plugs in across state lines but not that wires in directly. Direct wiring is usually a job for an electrician but lots of people do it themselves.

[edit] Higher efficiency if develop brushless universal motor

<Andy writes> Here is the [website] on stand alone generators[[1]]. I have to find the grid tied generator one but its basically the same concept only you use the grid instead of capacitors. The other paper talks about using induction motors for wind generation[[2]].

One thing they don't tell you. Induction motors need a certain amount of power, about 250 watts per horsepower of motor, to get the field going. Beyond that its reasonably efficient, but you have to pay that 250 watt penalty whenever you run it, as a generator or as a motor. Thats one of the reasons I have a vendetta against the induction motor. I want someone to develop a brushless universal motor, much more efficient construct and when mass produced only slightly more expensive. These lousy induction motors eat half of all the power we generate, and they waste half of that on this base power demand. Still, its available so we use it just like everyone else.

[edit] Direct mechanical power

[edit] Pool pump

<Andy writes> "On the pool pump, the best you can get with an electric motor turning a pump is 50% efficiency on the motor. That however goes with 0% efficiency on the pump, it really has a best operating point maybe 30% efficient between pump and electric motor. If the steam engine turns the pump directly you can do away with the electric motor losses since you wont have one. It turns out this steam engine keeps constant efficiency over a range of load, which means you get constant efficiency if your filter is dirty or clean. So you save over a factor of 2 in energy by not running an electric motor, and another 80% efficiency which is the efficiency of the generator."

Unanswered question: "Lumenos 00:38, July 3, 2009 (UTC) Could you run this pump without the solar generator?"

[edit] Industrial refrigerator

>Do you think it would be worth it to try to run any motors such as a >refrigeration pump (for a standard fridge/freezer) or swamp cooler, >directly off the induction motor/generator?

Your swamp cooler is too small to be worth while. Your refrigerator is not compatible. The refrigerator uses a sealed compressor unit with induction motor inside. It has all welded connections and does not leak, the only connections are wires. Larger refrigeration units use a belt drive configuration. These leak slowly as the rotating shaft of the compressor does not seal perfectly. Still it gives better performance so you see these in larger industrial refrigeration systems like your grocery store refrigerators.

[edit] Slamvalvemotor.com trade offerings

Slamvalvemotor.com is offering the following for trade (you might want to see how testing is going):

[edit] Lumenos half-baked ideas

See Solar power and heat (Lumenos).


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