One kilogram of coal costs 7.4 cents. To convert this 1 kg of coal into electricity at 100% energy conversion rate (which is impossible), we will pay the electricity for AU$4.60. That is potential price markup of 3000%. Any efficiency improvement by the electricity companies will flow into their business profit. Don't expect energy companies to pass that saving to you. It is not that hard to live off grid and save money, if you have the same technologies energy companies have. Unless you take your energy in your hand, you will not have a say on how much you are going to pay for your electricity.
Below is the profit markup data when coal is converted into electricity energy. There are many cost factors involved. For example, power transmission network set up and maintenance, labor cost, whole sale electricity and retail electricity price, supply and demand mismatch etc., are just part of cost to be in business. These middle men might not be needed when you manage your electricity generation at home or in your business, i.e., to live off grid.
What you can see is that at 10% heat engine efficiency, the profit markup is still quite good. At the moment, line 7 is what electricity grid can likely achieve. The higher engine efficiency, the bigger profit margin electricity grid can make.
To live off grid electricity, you need heat engine and generator.
There are many back up power generators in the market. Quite likely it will be a petrol or diesel engine generator. The engine will be less than 20% of energy efficiency. It is noisy. No one will choose such electricity supply for normal condition.
Our engine is much more efficient and quite because it has extraordinary innovation to improve energy efficiency.
The challenges in heat engine design.
GAS EXPANSION FORCE IS NOT A CONSTANT FORCE: When a gaseous body has higher pressure than the ambient environment, it will expand until both the expansion body and the environment come to pressure equilibrium. Gas expansion has many types. For example, when the body expand at constant temperature (isothermal expansion), it will cover more area by the curved P_V diagram than the so called adiabatic expansion, which means there is no transfer of heat or matter between the gas body and the environment. With isothermal expansion, the thumb of rule is: every 100% expansion in volume, the work done is the same. As seen in the chart below, the energy that becomes work under the curved P_V diagram, every colored area will be the same in terms of work being done. But when pressure is high, the displacement of expansion boundary is much shorter than low pressure region. When you use this gas expansion to a loading that is constant, you will waste a lot of energy, which means the energy efficiency is very low. Why so? Well, in the chart below, the grey color will cover nearly 50% of displacement, while the energy level is 7:1. The brown color occupies 25% of the displacement, with 5:1 energy ratio. This is one reason that heat engine is not very efficient when you directly couple expansion force against a loading that is constant.
DO NOT USE TURBINES: This is a hard to explain topic in heat engine. We know the famous ideal gas law equation PV=nRT. When we apply this equation in heat engine design, engineers don't seems to understand that when a heat engine is a turbine, the V factor is almost like INFINITIVE due to the open gap in between the turbine blades. When quantity of gas molecules n and its temperature T is initially constrain by a limited space V, turbine style heat engine would instantly opens so much escape opportunity for air molecules beyond turbine blades, which can't hold them back effectively. It is impossible to make every gas molecules hitting turbine blades before exiting. Can you try to pump a balloon with a fan? I would say no way. You can do this easily with a piston pump. Or you can simply blow it up with your mouth.
DO NOT USE CRANKSHAFT: It was James Watts who incorporated crankshaft into heat engine. It is still used in many (or ALL) reciprocation engines. But there is problem when crankshaft is used to convert reciprocation motion into rotary motion. It will cause massive energy lost.
Here is the proof in math. As you can see, the torque has no linear relation with the angle of crankshaft cycle. When the shaft cycle angle is zero, the efficiency is zero.
The heat engine is about THERMAL EXPANSION.
For over 3 centuries, gas expansion is still the fundamental principle to power human civilization. From steam engines to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), from steam turbines to jet engines, engineers work hard in various applications for the benefit of human civilization. The focus in designing heat engines is energy efficiency. One thing our invention is different from the others is to make the curved expansion and compression force properly modulated. This solution is leverage.
Smooth the curve with dynamic leverage mechanism
Here is the engine animation. We have a clever mechanical solution to balance the curved gas expansion and compression force. The engine will have a constant output force, which makes the energy efficiency much higher.
Because the curved energy distribution in gas expansion and compression, we have invented a heat engine that can dynamically modulate the force, with one simple lever system.
Replace crankshaft with a better solution
In order to replace crankshaft with a better design, this invention has two planetary gears bridged by a lever, which is a metal bar (part 300). This metal bar will have a fulcrum moving freely in between two axis of planetary gears. The leverage ratio is in between the INFINITIVE AND the 1/INFINITIVE. When the force is very high due to high compression, the engine will gear up the leverage to make the other side run a long way. When the expansion force is low, and the other side compression force is very high, the inversely gear ratio will increase the force while making less distance. That is how a leverage works. In this heat engine, the leverage ratio is DYNAMIC.
Free fuel is everywhere!
Here is another interesting fact to understand why heat engine is important. You are given 15 ton of water, 1 cubit meter of normal pressure air, a kilogram of standard coal (dry), two kilogram of dry tree twig, leaves and branches (Bio Fuel). How are you going to access energy out of these material? For 1 kg of coal, it has nearly same amount of chemical energy in 2 kg dry BF. If you elevate 15 tons of water into 200 meter altitude, you can release same amount of gravitational energy equals to the chemical energy inside 1 kg of coal. For 1 m3 of normal air, if you compress it into 200 bars of high pressure air at same temperature, you will store 20% of energy similar to 1 kg of coal. If you want to store 1 kg of coal energy into the battery of a typical Tesla electrical car, you need 56 kg of li-ion battery. 1 kg of coal has 50% fuel energy of the average household electricity energy daily usage in Australia. It is hard for people to access coal, it is impossible to build a water tower 200 meters high in your backyard. It is also not practical to have 56 kg of li-ion battery as way to supply electricity because you need to consider when the temperature drops to freezing, or above 40 degrees Celsius, you will use far more energy than 56 kg of li-ion battery can hold. It make sense that when you have a heat engine in your home, and you have FREE fuel you collect from bush, forest when you drive pass these place, you collect fuel for free.
Below is a picture showing people from "lock the gate alliance" standing in grassland. What is grass? It is renewable fuel that is free for everyone. If you are want to stop our environment being overly exploited by CSG or fossil energy mining, consider our heat engine is one of your weapon to fight back.
Versatile heat engine:
Pure oxygen combustion is another feature that can reduce pollution and help CO2 sequestration. Oxygen reaction with nitrogen in high temperature will create Nitrogen oxide, which is a pollutant. In our heat engine, an expansion unit called cryogenic expander will help the process of oxygen separation from the air, and CO2 sequestration after combustion.
With an efficient engine design, all these functions are now possible.
Take action and make change:
This project is to give people the opportunity to make change. Everything we ask for is well within manufacturing capacity. From cylinder to piston, from planetary gear to differential gear, we have designed this heat engine with all mechanical components that are easy to build. If we can double heat engine efficiency, our world can cut emission more than the target set by UN Paris COP21 by 2020.
This is why we decide to set up this project and MAKE IT HAPPEN.