Saturday, June 13, 2009

Can a turbine replace an internal combustion engine?

Today the blog is about Gallstones and Capstones. I know keystones are critical to the support of an arch but what is a capstone. Well in the world of thermodynamics, Capstone is the manufacturer of a microturbine that can produce 30 kilowatts or about 40 horsepower of power. A turbine is a jet engine rather than a piston engine and Capstone has miniaturized the jet engine to be small enough to fit in the hood of a car. They have been at this for about twelve years and blown through almost a billion dollars of investors’ money. The inventor is the brother of the founder of Compaq computers and Paul Allen of Microsoft fame has been a backer.

While the technology is elegant and sweet, the cost of fabricating a microturbine is very high. The 40 horsepower engine from Capstone that has one third the power of a Toyota Corolla, costs them more than $20,000 to manufacture. By comparison the 60 horsepower engine in a Smart Car costs Mercedes less than $2,500 to manufacture. Is the microturbine much more efficient than a piston engine? Over the full driving range that a motorist typically runs their vehicle the, microturbine will approach 30% efficiency while the piston engine will be about 15% efficient. However, when one employs a diesel engine to do the same driving, the diesel engine yields approximately the same efficiency as the Capstone turbine. The diesel engine would only cost about $3,000 to manufacture.

For the past couple of weeks I have been blogging about Raser the Eraser and today it is about Capstone the Gallstone. Capstone also wanted to lift their stock price by getting in on the plug in hybrid bandwagon. CPST is Capstone’s stock symbol and it is a small cap stock on the NASDAQ. It was once a large cap stock during the dot com boom years but it saw a low of 39 cents a share a few months back. Last week some thermodynamic wankers in the UK, fitted a plug in van with a Capstone turbine and are claiming 80 mpg for the van. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Photo-Release-Capstone-C30-pz-15498531.html?.v=1 . On this news the CPST stock rose to close at one dollar sixteen cents yesterday.

Again the claim of the first forty miles being energy free due to the plug in lithium ion batteries propelling the vehicle without the need for engaging the engine is being made. If Raser is an Eraser then the Capstone plug in is a Gallstone. In Capstone’s case one has to add the extra cost of the turbine versus the standard piston engine and this is amounts to another $20,000 on top of the lithium ion batteries that already added more than $30,000 to the base cost of the vehicle. Therefore the Capstone Gallstone will cost you $50,000 more than the base diesel van and get no better fuel economy. I hear gallstones are very painful, the extra fifty thousand dollars per vehicle is also painful to your wallet.

Gall is a synonym for nerve or chutzpah. I really get my hairs up on my back when these gangrene gallists who have jumped on the band wagon to save the world by lowering energy consumption make ridiculous claims about their technologies that are Betamaxs and some fool then buys the stock on the hope this is the next Apple Computer. I suggest that folks rather buy shares in my new engine company Gallstone Turbine Corporation that uses rubber bands to propel a lead acid plug in. I will list Gallstone Turbine Corporation on the NYSE with the symbol GTC which also stands for Get Their Cash.

On Wednesday June 17, Lindsay Leveen will be on blog talk radio at noon California time to discuss Eraser and Gallstone. 12pm PT (3pm ET) at http://BlogTalkRadio.com/AlternativeEnergyRadio The call in number for the radio show is (347) 838-8999.

11 comments:

  1. Lindsay -- it seems as if your primary issue with the Gallstoners is the cost of their engine. If these turbines were adopted on a massive scale presumably their manufacturing costs would come down significantly. If that were the case would you be more supportive -- or is there a fundamental thermodynamic principle that galls you?

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  2. Yeah all these guys claim "let me make ten million engines and the cost will come down to the cost of the piston engine". Capstone has spent twelve years and a billion dollars and has yet to lower their manufacturing costs. Turbine blades are made of exotic metals and are are not inexpensive to fabricate. The Capstone has an air bearing so the machine has to have very precise dimensions and this also makes it expensive to fabricate. I do believe that in ten years time if Capstone was given another billion dollars they could reduce their production cost by one third at the most. Devices like turbines could have a learning curve with a rate of improvement of a couple percent a year. Their technology is elegant and sweet but not cost effective against piston engines. The efficiency solution is to increase the compression ratio of a piston engine and to not have the engine throttled. Diesel does this very well. My dual fuel idea for hydrogen and carbon monoxide assisted combustion of gasoline also would let an engine operate at very high compression with little or no throttling. Great Question Thanks Lindsay

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  3. I wonder what the cost for a Mercedes of any variety was, back when they were only making a couple of hundred per year?

    Oh, by the way, that would be in early 20th century inflation adjusted numbers.

    If my automotive history is accurate, I'm thinking only the very rich were buying Mecedes back in the day.

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  4. Yeah a mercedes cost a lot back then and costs quite a bit now. Mercedes was smart enough to charge more for their cars than it cost them to build and they learned that in 1906. That is how they stayed in business Capstone Gallstone Kidneystone sells the turbine for about wht its cost of goods is and that is why they have lost almost a billion. I will bet you the value of CPST stock or $1 that they are out of business in five years or have to raise a bunch more money as their cost to produce the turbine will still be high and piston engines will clean their clock Lindsay

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  5. Technology Submission - State of the Art - Novel InFlow Tech - Featured Project Development; / ·1; Rotary-Turbo-InFlow Tech / - GEARTURBINE PROJECT Have the similar basic system of the Aeolipilie Heron Steam Turbine device from Alexandria 10-70 AD * With Retrodynamic = DextroRPM VS LevoInFlow + Ying Yang Way Power Type - Non Waste Looses *8X/Y Thermodynamic CYCLE Way Steps. Higher efficient percent. No blade erosion by sand & very low heat target signature Pat:197187IMPI MX Dic1991 Atypical Motor Engine Type /·2; Imploturbocompressor; One Moving Part System Excellence Design - The InFlow Interaction comes from Macro-Flow and goes to Micro-Flow by Implossion - Only One Compression Step; Inflow, Compression and outflow at one simple circular dynamic motion / New Concept. To see a Imploturbocompressor animation, is possible on a simple way, just to check an Hurricane Satellite view, and is the same implo inflow way nature.

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  6. Thanks for sharing the great information, Can you tell me that which is the best engine in Turbine engine or a diesel engine .

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  7. *State of the Art Novel Tech Featured Project Development;
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    *State of the Art, Novel Technology, Featured Project Development / Space, Satellite and Habitat, Power-Plant, Generator, Self-Feed Unit; H2O=>HHO=>H2O=>HHO=>Etc... *4 Systems All in One Unit, One By One, Plus Four-4 Projects added One to Other; *·1-Gearturbine, ·2-Imploturbocompressor, ·3-Dynamic Generator, ·4-Electrolysis System:

    ·1-GEARTURBINE; Rotary-Turbo-InFlow Tech,Have the similar basic system of the Aeolipilie Heron Steam Turbine device from Alexandria 10-70 AD * With Retrodynamic = DextroRPM VS LevoInFlow + Ying Yang Way Power Type - Non Waste Looses *8X/Y Thermodynamic CYCLE Way Steps. 4 Turbos, Higher efficient percent. No blade erosion by sand & very low heat target signature Pat:197187IMPI MX Dic1991 Atypical Motor Engine Type.

    ·2-IMPLOTURBOCOMPRESSOR; One Moving Part System Excellence Design - The InFlow Interaction comes from Macro-Flow and goes to Micro-Flow by Implossion - Only One Compression Step; Inflow, Compression and outflow at one simple circular dynamic motion / New Concept. To see a Imploturbocompressor animation, is possible on a simple way, just to check an Hurricane Satellite view, and is the same implo inflow way nature.

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    http://stateoftheartnovelinflowtech.blogspot.mx/

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