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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines Antique steam engines, their boilers, pumps, gauges, whistles and other related things that make them run.

Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines

New steam engine and need advice!


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  #1  
Old 08-22-2011, 10:56:08 AM
Ricks1965 Ricks1965 is offline
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Default New steam engine and need advice!

I recently had a steam engine built for me. It is a 15-20 hp. I would like a biomass fired boiler. This I would build if I had a good idea on how to approach such a project. I had a bid from a company back east (everything is back east from me) and they wanted $100,000.00! A company in China quoted about 30 grand. Any Ideas?
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2011, 11:20:18 AM
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Dan Donaldson Dan Donaldson is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

There should be several boiler manufacturer's in North America that can supply you with a 15-20 hp boiler for much less $100,000.00. Have you tried J S Company (Ohio), Jeff Lund (Minn.), Oliver Boiler (Canada)?

Are there any unusual requirements or specification that this boiler must meet that warrants the higher cost?

Dan
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:46:28 PM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

I think I've seen the company advertising these. It would seem that the engine is the cheapest part of the system, with the boiler cost eclipsing the initial investment? Of course anyone who welds a steam boiler must be certified for such because an explosion could be so catastrophic. Water expands to 1700 times its volume when it turns to steam, and I've heard a big Case steam engine exploding releases enough energy to literally put a Volkswagen in orbit, OR lift a million pounds one foot off the ground. Definitely something someone should have a little training in operating. Even a home pressure cooker can be very dangerous. Nothing is fool proof- to a sufficiently talented fool!
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:37:12 PM
loggerhogger loggerhogger is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Try Everett Engineering. I think they build small boilers for the steam boat crowd.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:21:17 PM
Glenn Gieszler Glenn Gieszler is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

There was a Ray wood waste boiler located for sale in either Oregon or up state washington not too long ago, there is another in Penn state for sale, both might be 200hp thou, contact Ray Burner out of California in the morning ask for Russ he has other contacts that my know of them
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:39:50 AM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Man, there's always all kinds of used boilers on e-bay-am sure some of them have GOT to be a solid fuel boiler.....for way less than six figures or even 5 figures....
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:13:14 PM
Ronald E. McClellan Ronald E. McClellan is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Ricks; Just curious , what is the use for this engine? Ron
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:40:17 PM
Steve Harris Steve Harris is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

How big is this engine????? What do you need a 15-20 HP boiler for? That's big enough to run a fairly large traction engine burning any low grade fuel. Seems like you could use a much smaller boiler and save a huge amount of money.
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:31:30 PM
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

I think it must be a 15-20 Brake HP engine. Which does not need a 15 boiler HP boiler to run.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:08:16 PM
Steve Harris Steve Harris is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

My point exactly. He only needs a 5hp boiler which is a big difference in price to a 15 or 20.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:17:00 AM
farmerden farmerden is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

The picture of the engine is a compound.Because the LP piston runs off the exhaust of the HP piston then the boiler would only be required to produce half the indicated horsepower.So I would agree with Steve -5horsepower maybe a little more.If you are going to burn wood try and get a firebox that will burn 16 in logs.My boat takes 12 in and it's a pain to produce wood that small! Den
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:16:45 AM
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Ricks1965, Are you talking about a hand fired boiler or a boiler with an automatic stoker ? If it is the burns-most-anything-you-can-toss-on-the-grates variety, $ 10 K is a fair number.

If it is something like a wood chip gun ( vaporizing burner ) that automatically feeds fuel to maintain a steam pressure or temperature, the $ 30 K is probably more like it for the size you require.

Also, the style and finish you expect have a lot to do with it.
There are shops that won't let anything out the door without a nice cover over everything and a hammer finish enamel paint job. Some other fellows concentrate 99 % on functionality and let " form and finish " to the last, after it is bolted to the shipping skid, it gets a quick spray job.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:50:18 PM
Ricks1965 Ricks1965 is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Thank you for all your responses. What I was told to operate this engine I would need 150 - 200 psi to develop full power with the engine. I was also told that it requires 400lbs of steam per hour to develop full power.
My goal for this engine is to run various pieces of equipment: hammer mill, pellet mill, and a generator. I want the boiler fired by biomass pellets. This way I can collect and make my own fuel, without cutting my trees down.
The boiler would also be used to heat various buildings at low pressure. It sounds like a lot but I am sure it can be done. It will just take some enginuity and effort.
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:30:34 PM
Joe K Joe K is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Google "Roberts Boiler" on the 'net and you'll come to many sites where people have made one of these.

Roberts design have a lot to recommend them. Fairly compact, adaptable to solid fuels, constructable using common (well sort of) butt weld pipe fittings, constructable by home methods if you have a sufficiently sized MIG (and are sufficiently out in the woods to not hazard your property should your welding ability be somewhat less that optimal.)

By the time you're done you'll have a fair amount of investment in welded fittings. A typical 2" 90 degree butt weld ell in schedule 40 size is now $5 or more, and I would imagine you to require several dozen or equivalent. Not to mention the piping and tubing necessary to fill out the heat exchanger area within. As I said before, you'll have a pretty substantial investment in this when you're done, and that even if you do it yourself. Hire a weldor and you'll have more investment. Hire a qualified pressure weldor and you'll have more. But each of these steps gives more assurance of success in your endeavor.

Whatever. On the 'net, look particularly for the Roberts made of stainless steel. The weldor even went to the trouble to "blanket" the inside of the partially completed boiler assembly with argon to allow better root penetration of the welds. This is a nice touch and does help weld quality.

Joe
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:43:55 PM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

400#/hr of steam doesn't sound like a tremendous lot, however if you're going to constantly run the engine, and use the steam to heat different buildings, then your size in steam consumption must go up accordingly. It shouldn't be that big of a deal to get whatever steam regulators you need to drop the pressure down to whatever you want for heating. (Am guessing 15 psi or less?)

I'm going to say about any sufficiently sized used, solid-fuel boiler should do what you want, if you wanted to try to get one second hand. I'm guessing fire grates to burn wood ought to be able to burn your biomass fuel...would love to hear how you're going to gather it and make it...or would I rather not?

Good luck!

Mike M
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:34:41 PM
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

400 lbs. of steam per hour / 15 h.p. = 26.6 lbs./hp/hr. (water rates).
400 lbs. of steam per hour / 20 h.p. = 20 lbs./hp/hr. (water rates).

Both are very good water rates for a common steam engine!

At the 1913 Winnipeg Contests, a 110 h.p. Case steam traction engine got 26.23 lbs./hp/hr. water rates, calculated at B.H.P.

A 9 1/4" x 10" Baker Uniflow engine operating with a superheater at the Ohio State University at 245 rpm, 178.3 lbs. steam pressure got 19.0 lbs./hp/hr., calculated at I.H.P. (I.H.P. 71.8 and B.H.P. 65.9)


Gary K
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:44:40 AM
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McKnight View Post
...would love to hear how you're going to gather it and make it...or would I rather not?
Not to hijack the thread, but there have been three or four individuals in the last few years who've sought advice with similar plans to use steam for heat, power, and electric generation.

Has anyone heard of any of these folks getting their system up and running?

Just curious.

David

---------- Post added at 01:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:58 AM ----------

Here are three links to the company in India that is building this and other steam engines.

The first one has a link to YouTube of the engines running:

http://www.claverton-energy.com/tiny...-to-power.html

The second has some information and specifications of the engines being offered:

http://www.tinytechindia.com/steamengine.htm

The third link, to the Steamboating Forum, has a price listing for some of the engines, and more information about the manufacturer:

http://www.thesteamboatingforum.net/....php?f=5&t=442

David
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Old 08-28-2011, 08:19:56 AM
Joe K Joe K is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

David, you're close to my thought on a steam based "independent" system.

It's a big PITA and you'll never make it economically work. Unfortunately for us, the power companies have just gotten TOO GOOD at making power economically and reliably.

Back with the approach of Y2K, a lot of people got this bug about setting up an independent light plant based on steam (the thinking being that fossil fuels would be difficult if not impossible to source post 2000) fueled by wood, or woodwaste sourced on one's own property. A lot of people wrote into Harry's old steam board inquiring to this. And I myself as a power engineer and one interested in historic steam responded to their inquiries.

Of course the difficulties to surmount were/are considerable.

There is the issue of the 24/7/365 nature of power that most people are used to today. To have a home power steam plant run 24/7/365 is just about impossible since most of us want to have a life outside of the powerhouse.

You can store power in batteries. But expensive batteries have a "cycle life" which can be as long as 20 years, or as short as a year depending on drawdown, quality of battery, maintenance aspects. Add this to your hassle factor and capitalization.

And there is the issue of water quality. You move water into a boiler and boil it and what you're doing is "filtering out" the impurities and leaving them in your boiler. You can demineralize the water before use in a steam cycle, but this adds to the cost, and the trouble for the operator. And there is the issue of emissions for your demineralizer waste. (most major power plants have an entire water treatment area to include settling ponds and a separate emissions/discharge point.)

And there is the general issue of life of equipment. Machinery generally doesn't last too well when used 24/7/365 and replacement cost for an independent steam plant can be quite staggering considering the specialized nature of use. And there are no "economies of scale" to draw on such as the big boys have at the central grid power plants.

And there is the issue of emissions. We've talked on this board about the upcoming EPA rules and regulations. If an independent steam plant is in your plan, then a lawyer/engineer with some knowledge of Federal emissions law better be in your plans too. Add professional expertise to your cost overheads.

And there is the front end issue of sourcing your own fuel. Just another hassle factor and the couple of cords of fuel necessary per week (or per day) might get to be a real drag to pull in after the first month or two.

Pelletize your own woodwaste? More capital investment. Not to mention the work. But you can buy pellets. But now you have more overheads cutting into any profit or savings as a result of your grand adventure.

(An entire pellet mill located in southwestern Cow Hampshire is trying to position themselves as an independent generator. At 2 MW they have the economy of scale, but are still challenged to keep their financial head above water.)

And there is the matter of insurance. Of course you have a boiler which may or may not be built to current code. No insurer in the world will insure a building with a non-coded boiler, much less the capital investment in boiler or boiler equipment. Add overheads for insurance and the "code surcharge" for the quality necessary to build a code compliant boiler.

On the 'net a couple of people have done an independent steam plant. Notably Fink and Bartmann at www.otherpower.com. Mostly F&B are independent because of solar with wind thrown in. This is where they started. Not to mention a large share of energy conservation with LEDs and frugal use. I.e. they've constrained their lifestyle to meet their energy goals.

Messrs. F&B have set up a steam powered generator based loosely on the Hugh Piggott design using a 19th century steam engine and a VFT boiler. But I get the thought that this is a nice "plaything" to add to a pre-existing independent system, and a way for F&B to get their technical rocks off, and create an interesting web page. See http://www.otherpower.com/steamengine.shtml

Meanwhile, most people have grown up in a world where the choices are not so narrowly constrained and an "instant on HD wide screen TV (with remote control) is more the expected norm than the exception. We Americans are the beneficiaries of our technical expertise - and also the worlds largest energy consumers by a factor of at least 2x, and probably more like 10x beyond Messrs. F&B.

I will conclude by saying "dunno." It all sounds a very grand adventure and you're wise to investigate beforehand the implications of what you're getting into. But I wouldn't exactly drop that main service from the power grid anytime soon.

Besides, if your state is like Cow Hampshire, you can use an asynchronous (induction) generator and drive your electric meter backwards in effect "banking" power on the grid. But Cow Hampshire limits this "net metering" to 15KWHR (the last time I checked) and that roughly $2 an hour won't exactly make you rich (Figure about $16K per year, IF you man the boiler and cut the wood and purify the water, and fix the worn out parts, and pay for lube oil and boiler chemicals and stay up all night to do it.)

Thus you see dramatically displayed the financial challenge of an independent plant.

Hey, far be it from me to try to dissuade you in something you obviously have a heartfelt appreciation for. Methinks you will soon discover all of the challenge above as you expand either your investigations, or your practical application.

Good luck!

Joe
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:03:40 PM
Gil Garceau Gil Garceau is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

Someone mentioned that in the run up to Y2K some believed that there would no longer be any fossil fuel such as diesel and gasoline. I never understood this for even a second. How did folks think that a fuel that was widely used for more than 100 years suddenly become unavailable?

As for your project Ricks, I wish you success. If you have a ready source of power from the grid, I hope this is a back up and hobby type of a deal. Hope to see a video of it all running one day. I always liked steam power and have collected steam engines for a number of years.

Gil
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:09:40 AM
partsproduction partsproduction is offline
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Default Re: New steam engine and need advice!

I also want to use one of my steam engines for power, but basically only under dire circumstances. Those of you who don't believe in a SHTF scenario will have a hard time following, but in that scenario most of the systems we have come to depend on are gone, or operating intermittently. As long as I can power any of my manual machine tools 5 HP and under I can earn a living, but not if the grid goes down.

If it gets bad enough for the electricity grid to go down on a regular basis I assume high purity liquid fuels like diesel and gasoline will be hard to come by, so IC generators will also go down. Some folks believe in slow speed diesels with veggie oil but MacDooggles will be closed down too, no veggie oil.

But a steam system can be made omnivorous, anything that burns can turn a generator. We aren't talking here about efficiency or even pure 60 cycle power, just clean enough juice to run lights and 3 phase motors. Anyway, if it's never needed it's been fun trying to get it working. (P.S., the EPA will be a distant fading memory in that scenario, not a factor)
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