Subject: New Type of Renewable Energy
Message: Hello, my name is Brian F. Though I’m an English teacher, I have always had a passion for chemistry. In the last year, I have begun to develop a new type of renewable energy. I’d like to ask you if you’ve heard of this idea or if you know much about it.
My project focuses on the phenomenon of water expanding when it freezes. My project uses a machine which converts the force of freezing water into electrical energy. At night, the water in the machine freezes (as in Nebraska we are blessed with many a freezing night) the expansion of ice forces a separate liquid with a lower freezing point into a thin cylinder which pushes out a rack (straight gear) which rotates a gear attached to a generator. When the water thaws during the day, the system returns to it start point to repeat the process the next night.
What do you think? Is this an idea worth pursuing?
Thank you for your help,
First off, we need recognize that Brian represents about 80% of those who are excited about Alternative Energy, and those who believe that Government should fund all research possible with ideas like this one and more. (not that he does!)
A simple google search will allow even an English Teacher to find the basic formulas for computing horsepower, we learn that forces in the billions of pounds may not constitute a source of energy, there is another factor we need consider, and that is to measure velocity or speed. When we make an appraisal of the energy potential, there is little need to inventory all the losses as a first estimate.
The simple formula for calculating linear horsepower is FxV over 33000, F is force in pounds, V is velocity in Feet per minute.
Considering that there’s about 9% expansion rate when water turns to ice, we might easily recognize that not only do we have a single event per day, but the velocity is going to be mighty slow, fact is the Turtle is going to look like he’s on fire in comparison.
Maybe there’s another way to study the energy potential by doing a comparison. Maybe we calculate the number of revolutions a small generator must make to produce one KW of electrial energy. If we measure the diameter of the piston, and the number RPMs, perhaps we can multiply that piston diameter by the number of RPMs to give us an idea of how big our piston would need be to deliver an equivalent amount of energy in one cycle.. sure we can argue that ice is different, but we need build the machine that can handle the forces, and one that is economical to build, what would that look like?
So here’s where readers chime in, perhaps you’ll explain the gear box? no need to correct my English here, I know it sucks :-) Scroll down to comments…. no doubt this is an idea most Washington State voters would fund!
Imagine recharging your EV just by leaving it outside to freeze at night.. I bet someone is writing a grant proposal to study it!
OK right here is an addition to this post.. If you go down and read the comments, I think they are thought provoking.. ONLY after I read them did I think of the following!
If we take Brian’s idea, visualize a water heater tank with one end cut off, and a piston of sorts shoved up against 40 gallons of water.
With this said, let’s look at a change in temperature from let’s say 40F to 10F, we will make ice with that swing, and there will be a force applied to the piston.
If we use the volume of water, and calculate the energy necessary to raise that volume of water 30F, won’t we have the equivalent of the energy into our system, and if we expect to get more than that out, won’t we have a so called over unity device?
From this calculation, we might add losses, and expect less out if we make use of any energy produced.