S. Edell <email@example.com> to Marcin Jakubowski <firstname.lastname@example.org> date Mon, Sep 8, 2008 at 7:58 AM subject RE: Interested in low-cost solar energy
hide details Sep 8 (1 day ago)
Although I do work at an engineering firm, I myself am not an engineer, but am head of finances. That's why I mentioned that I have the ear of the CEO and might be able to interest him. I also have contacts with a few young engineers, so anything is possible.
So: I myself cannot contribute real development, but I am knowledgeable to understand the needs if brought up to speed, and perhaps then could get others involved. In what areas do you need the most?
My most general double-barreled question has to do with predicted cost and efficiency: 1) what are your most up-to-date estimates of the percentage of the available power from sunlight that will remain at the end? i.e. if you assume that insolation levels are 1 kw/h/meter, what remains after all the inefficiencies? Second, what do you now see as the cost for the total system?
Do I understand correctly that you are moving away from a boundary layer turbine towards a high-recirculation ratio uniflow steam engine? I glanced at Wikipedia, where it mentions the following disadvantages:
" In practice the uniflow engine has a number of operational shortcomings. The large expansion ratio requires a large cylinder volume. To gain the maximum potential work from this a high reciprocation rate was required, typically 80% faster than a double-acting engine. This caused the opening times of the inlet valves to be very short, putting great strain on a delicate mechanical part. In order to withstand the huge mechanical forces encountered, engines had to be heavily built and a large flywheel was required to smooth out the variations in torque as the steam pressure rapidly rose and fell in the cylinder. Additionally, as there was a thermal gradient across the cylinder, the metal of the wall expanded to different extents. This required precise boring of the cylinder barrel to be wider in the cool centre than at the hot ends. If the cylinder was not heated correctly, or if water entered, the delicate balance could be upset causing seizure mid-stroke or, potentially, destruction."