Homemade Energy WISE Generator

The Wise Generator

The Wise Generator is a device that can virtually make use of almost anything in order to create energy whenever and wherever. Wise here stands for Whatever Input Steam Engine. This unique system uses a revolutionary mechanism that is known as Radial Pneumatic. It uses both vacuum and pressure to create endless stream of energy. It is equipped with specially designed pistons that also double up as valves. The result is that this machine weights lot less than a typical generator. Additionally, it can also be run on solar power, wood, simple air compressor, as well as geothermal heat. The W.I.S.E. Generator can not just make use of heat making it more reliable it also can run on vacuum to generate much more power this is in addition to its ability to utilize lots of types of potentially complimentary energy such as solar, water heat and Biomass you will likewise have to access to energy and electrical energy when electrical power heads out you are safe, when the gas pumps closes you are safe. More here...

The Wise Generator Summary


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Other Barriers And Breakthroughs

The internal combustion engine (ICE) had been sought since the first steam engines, mainly to avoid the need for bulky and dangerous boilers and condenser systems. But such an engine required (among other things) a gaseous or liquid fuel. Experiments began when synthetic 'town gas' became available at the beginning of the 19th century. The French engineer, Philippe Lebon, was among the first to consider the possibility circa 1801. Potential advantages of a stationary gas engine were obvious no boiler or condenser, the ability to stop and start at will, and no need for on-site fuel storage, assuming a gas pipe was available. By 1860 a hundred versions of ICEs had been proposed and a dozen had been built (Bryant 1967). In 1860 Etienne Lenoir and Pierre Hugon, in France, (independently) built the first semi-practical ICEs, utilizing coal gas from coke ovens as a fuel. But the early prototypes could not really compete with well-developed steam engines at that point in time. They still...

Innovation Revolutionaries

Some analysts believe the innovations fueling sustainable economies are spawning the sixth major wave of industrial innovation since the start of the Industrial Revolution. (See Chapter 3.) From the steam engine in the first wave to biotechnology and information networks in the fifth, surges of innovation have accelerated the rates at which natural capital could be converted to human-made capital, thereby ushering in new eras of material prosperity throughout the industrial era. The sixth wave, which taps green chemistry, bio-

The fundamental role of energy in the economy

The development of coal accompanied the discovery of the steam engine, leading to the first industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. The use of coal, followed by other fossil energies (oil, natural gas) to drive machines, allowed the incredible development of industry, up to the present time. The industrial revolution was also marked by the spectacular development of transport. The use of the steam engine to drive trains and ships resulted, from the start of the industrial era, in the creation of rail and sea networks across the globe. At the start of the twentieth century, plentiful supplies of oil, easy to store in liquid form and relatively cheap, sparked the rapid growth of road and air transport.

Direct Conversion of Concentrated Sunlight to Electricity

Concentrating sunlight through the use of mirrors or lenses is historically associated with the generation of heat. Legend has it that Archimedes used mirrors and the sun's energy to set attacking Roman ships on fire.1 Children often discover that magnifying lenses can burn paper or tree leaves, sometimes after first burning their fingers. At the turn of the 19th century, several inventors and engineers used heat from solar concentrators to operate steam engines to pump water and later to generate electricity by means of rotating machinery.2 Several solar concentrator technologies being developed today use heat and rotating machinery. Large systems based on this technology have been generating electricity successfully in California since the 1980s.

Tracking the Real Cost of Power

Until the steam engine came on the scene, most energy was expended on growing crops and feeding animals. And up until 100 years ago, most energy was harvested at the surface of the earth, at great hardship and labor. The costs of obtaining raw fuel were much greater than the costs of the equipment used to burn that fuel. There were no sophisticated machines that performed magical feats by consuming ordered energy. People's energy needs were much simpler obtain heat and cook food. But that's changed drastically.

Issues Not Addressed In This Book

The applicability of thermodynamic efficiency concepts to activities involving secondary (and tertiary) work. This issue seems straightforward at first glance, but we must acknowledge some room for argument. The primary difficulty concerns the definition of boundaries. In the case of an electric power plant, the boundary definitions are clear enough, but how should we define the efficiency of a heating system Gas companies and furnace manufacturers define it in terms of the fraction of heat produced by the fuel that is radiated into the room (that is, not lost up the flue). This definition (known as 'first law') does not reflect the inefficiency resulting from the fact that the heat is produced by combustion at a very high temperature but only used at a much lower temperature. The high temperature heat is simply diluted in the air, which is wasteful. So why not use the high temperature heat to drive a steam engine producing electricity and heat the room with the waste heat from the...

The overfishing problem

Overfishing Problems

Shortly afterwards the landings of fish from the seas around north-west Europe increased to an extent that Huxley could not have envisaged. Sailing vessels were superseded by ships with powerful steam engines, enabling the use of much larger nets and the replacement of the old beam trawl by the far more effective otter trawl, and giving fishermen a new independence of wind and tide so that they could fish longer and more often. Within 30 years of Huxley's pronouncement there was already evidence of reduction of stocks of certain favourite demersal species such as cod, haddock and plaice on the more intensively fished areas of the north-east Atlantic. Between the two World Wars the decline became more apparent, and in 1942 E.S. Russell wrote

Coal in the Industrial Revolution and Beyond

Industrial Revolution Locomotive

What really brought about the power of coal as an energy source came along in the early 18th century with the invention of the steam engine. The steam engine was at the heart of the resulting industrial revolution, and it was fueled by coal. At the time, one of the main problems facing coal mining was water seepage and flooding from various sources. Rainwater seeping down from the surface accumulated in the tunnels, and once the mines reached below the water table the surrounding groundwater also contributed to the problem. Consequently, the At about this time, James Watt, a carpenters son from Scotland, improved New-comen's steam engine dramatically. Watt realized that as steam was injected and then cooled with water, heat was wasted in the constant reheating and cooling of the cylinder. The installation of a separate condenser immersed in cold water connected to the cylinder kept it hot and avoided unnecessary heat losses (Fig. 2.2). This improved the efficiency of the steam engine...

Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pollution became a major problem with the introduction of the steam engine and a series of technological advances that led to the production of goods shifting from homes and small factories to large industrial factories. The invention of more productive processes to manufacture cotton textiles contributed greatly to the number of mills located in England, and later in the northeastern United States. The steam engine allowed capitalists to transfer their manufacturing plants away from naturally flowing waters (outside the city) to areas inside and around cities where more abundant labor was available. Pollution increased because of the more concentrated conditions within the industrializing cities and because of the use of artificially produced power (such as coal) that replaced the natural power of fast-running rivers.

Historical Perspective Concerning Entropy And Caratheodorys Statement Of The Second

As a former student of Maxwell, the influence of Shaw's mentor concerning cyclic processes is evident in Figs. 80 and 81 of The Air and Its Ways (Shaw, 1923). Shaw acknowledges Maxwell's development of the indicator diagram in which area denotes work in the course of a cycle. It is from his analysis of cyclic processes involving entropy that Shaw (1923) concludes the atmosphere's efficiency as a heat engine is 25 . See his Fig. 81 (also Fig. 96 in Shaw, 1930) showing the cycle displayed in his temperature-entropy diagram with temperature as an abscissa and entropy as an ordinate. He attributes the basis for the temperature-entropy diagram to Sir Alfred Ewin and his work on the steam engine brake-horsepower efficiency. Shaw (1930) also acknowledges his mentor Maxwell for placing scientific reason in a form which could be comprehended and notes that for those who wish to explore the real sources of the ideas of

China 9th Century Points South Wooden Statue Two Red Horses

James Watt, who is credited with inventing the steam engine, did not. Working steam engines had been on the job for decades before Watt ever saw one. As a young engineer, Watt was once asked to repair a small-scale model of an early working, though inefficient, Newcomen steam engine. Watt contrived a radical improvement. He borrowed Mead's regulator from the mill and revisioned it into a pure control circuit. By means of his new regulator the steam machine gripped the throat of its own power. His completely modern regula automatically stabilized his now ferocious motor at a constant speed of the operator's choice. By adjusting the governor, Watt could vary the steam engine to run at any rate. This was revolutionary. The steam engine is an unthinkable contraption without the domesticating loop of the revolving governor. It would explode in the face of its inventors without that tiny heart of a self. The immense surrogate slave power released by the steam engine ushered in the...

Cogeneration trigeneration and beyond

Power Chp Buffer

Using one combustion process to generate both hot water and electricity is known as either combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration . Cogeneration is perhaps the most appropriate appellation, as it fits neatly with the use of the term trigeneration for installations where the heat generated also powers an absorption cooler (see Chapter 13). Some medium-sized trigeneration installations also produce steam, and the term quadgen-eration is coming into use for these. Any form of hydrocarbon fuel could in theory be used, but for the small- to medium-sized installation the most common are biomass, natural gas, syngas, biogas and producer gas (see Chapters 7 and 11) although biofuels such as rape-seed oil are an alternative. Basic biomass is burnt in a furnace, and the heat produced is used to generate electricity either by raising steam to power either a reciprocating steam engine or steam turbines or perhaps to directly heat a Stirling engine (see below). Modern versions of the...

Exergytowork Efficiency Improvements Since

Brake Thermal Efficiency Over The Years

Figure 4.9 Performance of steam engines fuel consumption and thermal efficiency Figure 4.9 Performance of steam engines fuel consumption and thermal efficiency horsepower hour or kilowatt hour) from steam has decreased dramatically since 1800, and even since 1900, although the decline has been very slow since the 1960s. Steam engines have become more efficient (in both countries) since Watt's time, as shown in Figure 4.9. The largest stationary steam piston engines - cross-compound 'triple expansion' engines - generated up to 5 MW at efficiencies above 20 percent (Smil 1999, p. 145). In the case of large stationary or marine steam engines operating under optimal conditions (at constant loads), the thermal efficiency exceeded 15 percent in the best cases. However, single expansion (non-compound) coal-burning steam locomotives - the product of engine efficiency and boiler efficiency - were not nearly so efficient about 6 percent on average, depending on boiler pressure, temperature,...

An American Energy Policy

In 1713 the coal mines in England were flooding. Finding a pumping solution was a national imperative. So a young Englishman took on the challenge of developing a steam engine that could power the pumps on which England's industrial future depended. His name was Thomas Newcomen, and he could be credited for designing what became the first practical steam engine, a contraption using a boiler piping and a long, fulcrum-mounted beam. By 1725 his engine was in common use throughout the collieries in Cornwall, Black Country, and Dudley. His efforts were difficult at first, because people could not see a reason to build another steam engine. Didn't England already have one With the help of a group of inventors and amateur scientists later called the Lunar Men, including Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of Charles, and Joseph Priestly, the discoverer of oxygen, he eventually was able to build and market his engine. By the 1790s the Watt engine had eclipsed the Newcomen engine, and Watt is now...

Prime Movers And Heat

Economy 1900 1920

Figures 4.1a and 4.1b show the fraction of coal consumption allocated to mechanical work since 1900. During the first half of the century steam locomotives for railroads were the major users, with stationary steam engines in mines and factories also significant contributors. These uses are not distinguished in published US statistics prior to 1917. Industrial uses for heat and work were estimated by assuming that fuel consumption for each category is proportional to total horsepower in that category of prime movers, for which data have been estimated separately.6

The clockmaker who astonished the astronomers

Manual arts was one of the factors crucially responsible for the birth of modern science (Rossi, 1988b). Not only have some of the most important innovations in the history of technology, like the spinning jenny or the steam engine, resulted from the application of scientific discoveries, but in some cases it has been technological innovations that have had a significant impact on science. The problems encountered and the solutions adopted by technicians to develop motors prompted the reflections which led Carnot to formulate his general principles of thermodynamics (Barnes and Shapin, 1979 Layton, 1988).

The Industrial Revolution the Automobile and Fossil Fuels

For most of the time humans have been on the Earth, our energy consumption was modest. Our ancestors burned readily available materials, like wood and animal dung, to provide heat and light. However, energy-usage patterns changed dramatically beginning with the Industrial Revolution, which began in the late eighteenth century. A Scottish engineer named James Watt improved the design of the steam engine, making it efficient enough to power machinery. The steam engine was followed by the locomotive and steamship, which made it easier to transport coal to factories. Coal powered a variety of new machines that could do much more work than humans or animals. Watt's steam engine triggered far-reaching economic and social changes, and it had a dramatic impact on the planet itself.

Technological Trajectories

The gradual evolution of a constrained upward-tending knowledge search and acquisition process over decades has been described as a technological trajectory (Perez-Perez 1983 Freeman 1989). We would modify the definition slightly. For us, a technological trajectory is a sequence of developments starting from a distinct functional configuration utilizing a basic principle. For instance, the 'atmospheric' reciprocating steam engine beginning with Newcomen can be regarded as the starting point of a trajectory. The trajectory changed direction and was accelerated by James Watt's condensing engine. This was followed by his double-acting valve system, the 'sun and planet' gearing, and the crank and flywheel scheme for converting reciprocating motion into rotary motion. Trevithick's and Evans' high pressure engines (circa 1800), the double and triple compound engines and other later innovations, such as the monotube boiler, continued the same basic trajectory by making reciprocating steam...

Nuclear Facts And Fables

There are at least five practical propulsion systems that could replace present automobile engines when oil is depleted. These are (a) Combustion engines burning synthetically made fuels (synfuels) instead of petrol (b) Hydrogen-consuming fuel-cell engines (c) High-energy flywheels (d) Electric battery packs, (e) Steam engines. Solar- and wind-driven cars are fun but cannot transport large numbers of people and goods. Future cars, trucks, ships, trains, and airplanes will most likely be propelled by synfuel-burning internal combustion engines (ICEs) or hydrogen-consuming fuel-cell engines (FCEs).

The climatechange motivation

I think something new may have happened between 1800 AD and 2000 AD. I've marked the year 1769, in which James Watt patented his steam engine. (The first practical steam engine was invented 70 years earlier in 1698, but Watt's was much more efficient.) I think something new may have happened between 1800 AD and 2000 AD. I've marked the year 1769, in which James Watt patented his steam engine. (The first practical steam engine was invented 70 years earlier in 1698, but Watt's was much more efficient.) Something did happen, and it was called the Industrial Revolution. I've marked on the graph the year 1769, in which James Watt patented his steam engine. While the first practical steam engine was invented in 1698, Watt's more efficient steam engine really got the Industrial Revolution going. One of the steam engine's main applications was the pumping of water out of coal mines. Figure 1.5 shows what happened to British coal production from 1769 onwards. The figure displays coal...

The scientific revolution as a cultural process

Out of the new social movements of egalitarianism and political democracy, in association with regional, or local industrial development, emerged new scientific institutions and disciplines, new forms of knowledge-making. Adam Smith's science of political economy developed in the Scottish hinterland, and many of the first industrial applications of experimentation and mechanical philosophy took place in the provinces rather than in the capital cities, where the scientific academies were located (Musson and Robinson 1969). James Watt, the innovating improver of the steam engine, was a typical example of the new forms of knowledge-making. He worked as a technician at the university in Glasgow, making scientific instruments for use in academic research as well as taking part in a wide range of infrastructural projects. He brought into the world of scientific experimentation both artisanal knowledge and an entrepreneurial mentality that proved particularly valuable for the industrial...

Extrapolating Technological Progress

The feedback began operating in the 18th century when coal began replacing charcoal for a number of industrial applications, canals carried the coal and other goods, and steam engines began substituting for horses or watermills to operate machinery (Singer et al. 1958). One of the first significant applications of steam engines was to pump water out of coal mines, replacing horses. Coal-fired Newcomen 'atmospheric' engines, even very crude ones, could do this more cheaply than horses on a treadmill. The steam engines could use the coal from the mine to make steam, whereas the hardworking horses, unable to graze, had to be fed oats. The result of using coal to drive the pumps at the mine was cheaper coal. Coal (and later, coke) then began to replace charcoal in iron-smelting and brought about the widespread availability of cast iron, then wrought iron and finally steel (Landes 1969).

Brief History Of Energy Consumption

Emergence Agriculture Circa 5000

The steam engine ushered in the Industrial period. It provided a means of transforming heat energy to mechanical energy. Wood was the first source of energy for generating steam in steam engines. Coal, a fossil fuel, eventually replaced wood and hay as the primary energy source in industrialized nations. Coal was easier to store and transport than wood and hay, which are bulky and awkward. Coal was useful as a fuel source for large vehicles, such as trains and ships, but of limited use for personal transportation. Oil, Coal was the fuel of choice during the Industrial Revolution. It was used to boil steam for steam turbines and steam engines. Coal was used in transportation to provide a combustible fuel for steam engines on trains and ships. The introduction of the internal combustion engine made it possible for oil to replace coal as a fuel for transportation. Coal is used today to provide fuel for many coal-fired power plants.

Brief History Of Energy

In the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century, several discoveries and inventions were made that profoundly changed the world's energy picture. First came the steam engine, originally demonstrated by James Watt of Scotland in 1770. It burned coal that heated water in a boiler, converting it into steam which in turn pushed pistons that turned wheels. It was actually preceded by an 'atmospheric pump' that used condensing steam to pull a vacuum for suction, invented in 1712 by Englishman Thomas Newcomen, to pump water out of flooded mines. However it was not until 1807, after engineer Robert Fulton (USA) made improvements in the mechanical linkages and conversion cycle of heat to mechanical motion, that steamships and steam-locomotives were developed worldwide. Starting in the 1820's, steamships plowed the oceans and big rivers of the world, while trains pulled by steam-locomotives traveled over railroad networks all over the globe, connecting widely separated land-locked territories. Coal...

Brief Fuelcellpowered Hybrid

4.2.3 Steam Engine For completeness, we mention one of the oldest automotive devices, namely the steam engine powered by portable coal as fuel. A return to using coal-burning steam-powered locomotives and automobiles of the 1800's has been proposed to counter the no-oil peril we face. Several experimental steam automobiles using modern components were built and tested in the 1970's, but further development was abandoned. Instead of burning dusty air-polluting coal, one could burn a liquid carbon-carrying synfuel (e.g. alcohol) to generate steam and propulsion. However in that case it is more efficient to burn the synfuel in an internal combustion engine than to use steam as an intermediary.

Summary Of Primary Energy Sources

Of energy sources (1) through (6), only item (1), oil, natural gas, or coal, are portable and can be taken along in an automobile, truck, or airplane to power it. Refined oil yields portable petrol (hydrocarbon mixtures rich in octane (C8H18)), and portable diesel (crude oil distillates with higher boiling point) which are liquid at room temperature. Natural gas (natgas) contains mostly methane (CH4) but also fractions of ethane, propane, butane (C2H6, C3H8, C4H10). As mentioned, compressed at 120 atm in portable high-pressure tanks, natgas has fueled car engines. Coal can of course be carried along and burnt to make steam that powers a steam engine as was done in the 1800's. Today most coal and natgas resources are burned in power plants to provide steam heat that generates electricity via a turbine.

Fossil Fuel Resources and Uses

Make Methanol From Corn

Many countries are heavily dependent on coal for electricity production, including Poland (95 ), South Africa (93 ), Australia (77 ), India (78 ), and China (76 ) 15 . In the coal-rich United States, 92 of the domestic coal production is used to generate 51 of the country's electricity needs in giant coal-burning power-plants 16 . The heat created by coal combustion is used to vaporize water which, under high pressure and temperature, drives turbines connected to generators, the modern steam engines. Beside steam generation for electricity, coal is used mainly for industrial applications especially in steel and cement manufacturing.

Perturbing the natural cycle

When the Industrial Revolution began, water was the principal source of power. Factories had to be sited close to a place where there was a sufficient fall of water to drive a water mill. When steam engines were introduced factories could be sited anywhere because they used coal as a fuel.

Alcohol as a Transportation Fuel in the Past

The concept of using an alcohol (methanol or ethanol) as a fuel is as old as the ICE itself. Some of the early ICE models, developed at the end of the 19th century by Nicholas Otto and others, were actually designed to run on alcohol. By that time already, alcohol-powered engines had started to replace steam engines for farm machinery and train locomotives. Also used in automobiles, alcohol engines were advertised as less polluting than their gasoline counterparts. Most European countries with few or no oil resources were especially eager to develop ethanol as a fuel because it could be readily distilled from various domestic agricultural products. Germany for example, went from a production of almost 40 million liters of alcohol in 1887 to about 110 million liters in 1902 117 . During the first decade of the 20th century, many races were held between alcohol- and gasoline-powered automobiles, and there were lively debates as to determine which fuel gave the best performances. On an...

Two Centuries of Growth

The invention ofthe coal-powered steam engine at the end ofthe eighteenth century was a landmark for the industrial revolution. A few decades later, high-pressure mobile steam engines were introduced on a broad scale and rapidly changed transportation habits. The next energy transition took place in the middle of the nineteenth century and was of no less significance. Its beginning was marked by the emergence of the oil industry in Pennsylvania on the east coast of the United States. In 1859, oil was first drilled by self-proclaimed Colonel Edwin Drake near the small town of Titusville. This event is generally regarded as the start of the modern petroleum industry. In the 1860s, a young bookkeeper named John D. Rockefeller bought control of a refinery business in Cleveland. Twenty years later, he was one of the most powerful men in the United States. His Standard Oil Trust controlled almost the entire American oil industry. Rockefeller's corporate monopoly was not broken until 30...

Conversion of Hydrogen to Energy

By direct combustion with air in conventional engines, that is internal combustion, gas turbine or steam engines. Fuel Cells The development of fuel cells as sources of electrical power may represent the biggest change in power source technology since the invention of the steam engine in the late eighteenth century. Despite the principles of fuel cells being demonstrated as early as 1839 by Grove, its development as a power source, for transport and small- to medium-scale electricity generation, occurred only in the last decade of the twentieth century.

History Of The Greenhouse Effect As An Idea

The fossil-fueled Industrial Revolution was born in England. As coal-fired industry (as well as home heating and cooking) filled English skies with acrid smoke, some English homeowners protested coal's use as a fuel. The coal-burning steam engine was invented by Thomas New-comen in 1712 and refined into a form that was widely adaptable for industrial processes by James Watt, beginning in 1769.

The evolution of electricity generation technologies

The earliest power stations used reciprocating steam engines to generate power. These engines were not ideal for the purpose because they could not easily develop the high rotational speeds needed to drive a generator effectively. This difficulty was eventually overcome with the invention of the steam turbine by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884. Fuel for these plants was usually coal, used to raise steam in a boiler.

Short History Of Solar Technologies

Modern attempts to harvest the sun's energy directly date back to the 1870s, and the first solar motor company was founded in 1900. The first documented design was a concentrating solar power (CSP) device, which focuses the heat of the sun using lenses or mirrors to drive thermal engines or generators. In the 1870s, CSP systems were used to drive steam engines, which in turn were used to do something else, usually to pump water (although they were also used to make ice, in order to impress investors and astonish the public).

Fluctuations and storage

The wind, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear. Before the era of steam-engines, windmills were tried for draining mines but though they were powerful machines, they were very irregular, so that in a long tract of calm weather the mines were drowned, and all the workmen thrown idle.

The Atmosphere as a Heat Engine

Substituting the approximate mean observed values of Ti 300 K and T3 230K in the earth's atmosphere, we obtain n to be about 23 , which turns out to be much less than that, for example, of a steam engine or an Otto engine which has an efficiency of about 30-40 or even higher (Saha and Srivastava, i93i). It is even doubtful whether the atmospheric heat engine attains the level of efficiency suggested by the above computation. We show later in Chap. i8 that of the total potential energy of the atmosphere, only a very small fraction is available for conversion to other forms and that out of the available potential energy, only a tiny fraction is used to generate useful kinetic energy.

Military Needs As Drivers Of Innovation

Sailors, and the British need to maintain naval superiority over its continental neighbors. New weapons, from the musket to the machine gun, the bomber, and the atomic bomb, obviously had military origins. Wilkinson's boring machine for cannon served a double purpose by boring the cylinders for Watt's steam engines. The use of metal cans for food preservation arose at first from the needs of Napoleon's armies, and later the US Civil War. Breakthroughs in nursing and sterilization, antiseptics, anesthetics, antibiotics and surgical techniques came about in response to wartime casualties.

The Impact Of Society On The Environment

Environmental Issues The World

Coal steam engine fossil fuels to be used in any quantity. As late as the mid-eighteenth century, however, the environmental impact of human activities seldom extended beyond the local or regional level. A global impact only became possible with the major developments in technology and the population increase which accompanied the so-called Industrial Revolution. Since then with the introduction of such devices as the steam engine, the electric generator and the internal combustion engine energy consumption has increased sixfold, and world population is now five times greater than it was in 1800. The exact relationship between population growth and technology remains a matter of controversy, but there can be no denying that in combination these two elements were responsible for the increasingly rapid environmental change which began in the mid-eighteenth century. At present, change is often equated with deterioration, but then technological advancement promised such a degree of...

Steam Generated Power

Heat and water were combined to generate steam and steam engines were developed to convert thermal energy to mechanical energy. Early steam engines drove a piston that was placed between condensing steam and air, as illustrated in Figure 8-1. When steam condenses, it occupies less volume and creates a partial vacuum. The air on the other side of the piston expands and can push the piston. By alternately injecting steam and letting it condense, Figure 8-1. Schematic of a Simple Steam Engine Figure 8-1. Schematic of a Simple Steam Engine English inventor Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine in 1705 and built the first practical steam engine in 1712. Newcomen's steam engine was used to pump water from flooded coal mines. Steam condensation was induced in Newcomen's steam engine by spraying cold water into the chamber containing steam. The resulting condensation creates the partial vacuum that allows air to push the piston. A weight attached to the rod used gravity to pull the piston...

Decreasing demand for mechanical controls

Internal-combustion logic is still the same as it was back in the days of the steam engine Valves click and snap against each other. Friction consumes a large portion of an engine's overhead (that is, it takes a lot of power simply to run an engine, which is inefficient), and the peripheral control mechanisms surrounding an engine consume around the same weight as the engine itself. Radiators full of coolant, for example, are required to maintain an engine at very specific operating temperatures. Generators provide the car's electrical systems with power and these take even more weight. Elaborate timing mechanisms operate belts and pulleys and valves, all of which rub against each other and wear out.

Animal And Human Muscle Work

There are no reliable estimates of aggregate animal or human muscle work as such, although the horsepower unit (of work per hour) was originally defined by James Watt to measure the output of steam engines, based on a comparison with the work done by a horse pumping water via a treadmill. It is possible, however, to estimate human and animal outputs of mechanical work crudely on the basis of food or feed intake, multiplied by a biological conversion efficiency. Human muscle work was already negligible by comparison at the beginning of the 20th century. The US population in 1900 was 76 million, of which perhaps 50 million were of 'working age'. Of these, only 25 million were men. Women worked too, perhaps even longer hours than men, but, except for some shopkeepers, teachers and nurses, their labor was not monetized and hence did not contribute to GDP at the time. Despite the impression created by 'working class' songs of the time, such as 'John Henry' and 'Sixteen Tons', at least half...

Turning the Pages of Alternative Vehicle History

At the turn of the last century, steam power, fueled by coal or wood, was all the rage. It powered factories and locomotives, all the while belching thick, black smoke clouds (borne of a basically inefficient technology). Because steam engines were a mature technology at the time, it only made sense that they be used for cars. Internal-combustion engines, still in their infancy, required a lot more complexity and support equipment than a simple steam engine. But steam had its own disadvantages, which fueled the search for alternatives. The following sections explore the scope of alternative vehicles throughout history from steam-powered to electric to hybrids.

Electricity Engines Lights and Energy Services

1690 Denis Papin builds the first small coal-powered steam engine. Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen later modify the design. By 1750, water-pumping steam engines are installed in English mines. 1765 James Watt expands the steam engine design by adding a separate condenser, thereby increasing efficiency and power output. Watt's innovations mark the rise in size and use of the modern steam engine (see Watt's biography in chapter 5). 1802 The Charlotte Dundras, built by Patrick Miller in England, is the first commercially successful ship to be powered by a steam engine. 1830 Steam engines become the primary energy sources used for land and water transport. Steam-powered locomotives and ships create the possibility for global transportation and shipping networks. 1884 Charles Parsons introduces the first steam turbine in England. His invention is a smaller, more efficient, more powerful alternative to Watt's steam engines. This invention revolutionizes land and water transport, replacing...

Technological Change In The Future

Prime movers (engines) differ in terms of power output and on whether the fuel combustion is external (that is, steam engines) or internal, whether ignition is by spark (Otto cycle) or by compression (diesel), whether the working fluid is steam, some other working fluid (like helium) or exhaust gases, or whether they utilize pistons and cranks or turbines. But most prime movers convert heat from combustion (or nuclear reactors) into rotary mechanical work. Electric motors differ in detail depending on the configuration of windings, load patterns and whether the electric power supply is AC or DC, but they all convert electric power into mechanical work, usually in the form of rotary motion.

Vehicle Propulsion Engines

Dessin Colorier Pour Les Cours

Steam Engines The internal combustion engine (ICE) is the oldest device for propelling automobiles with portable petrol as energy source. It made its debut at the turn of the 20th century. Coal-burning steam engines had preceded the ICE during the 1800's, so the concept of moving a piston back and forth guided by a cylinder using heated vapor or steam was not new. However coal was burnt separately to evaporate water in a boiler while in ICEs, burning fuel transfers heat directly to expanding gas and is incorporated in it. Although others had suggested it earlier, N.A. Otto is credited with building the first succesful petrol-burning ICE in 1876, while G. Daimler first installed an ICE in an automobile in 1889 to succesfully drive it, using suitable transmission gears.

Energy intensity trends

Given that declines in energy intensity are non-linear and respond to price changes and structural shifts in the economy, what evidence is there for individual energy efficiency improvements to take advantage of new opportunities Ausubel and Marchetti (1996) discuss ongoing historical trends in energy efficiency improvements from an engineering perspective. They point to the 300-year quest to develop more efficient engines, from 1 -efficient steam engines in 1700 to today's best gas turbines which approach 50 of their theoretical efficiency limit (Figure 4.3). Fuel cells, which Ausubel (1998) says may power our cars in 20 to 30 years, will increase that efficiency to about 70 , as fuel cells do not incur the inevitable efficiency limits of combustion systems imposed by the laws of thermodynamics. Similarly, Ausubel and Marchetti (1996) point to the dramatically increasing efficiency of lighting technology over the past 150 years (Figure 4.3, analyzed as a sigmoid (logistic) growth...

Political And Socioeconomic Effects Of The New Energy Future

Most power plants were fueled by coal or hydropower. The demand for petroleum was largely driven by the emergence of the automobile and the introduction of internal combustion engines in agriculture and transport. In fact over 70 of all ships in 1935 were driven by steam engines or turbines with steam generated by coal. During World War II conversion from coal to oil-fired boilers took place and only after World War II did oil fuel in internal combustion engines become a major factor in ship propulsion. The reason was largely that oil-fired steam ships and internal combustion engine-propelled vessels requires less labor and could be more quickly refueled. Furthermore petroleum was actually cheaper, both to purchase and transport. As a result, it rapidly replaced other fuels in rail and water transportation as well as in many power plants while dominating road transport.

From simple to complex The evolution of energy

But also figuring out how to insulate and keep that heat around longer. Then humans figured out how to build steam engines, with their logical valves and timing mechanisms, and this launched the industrial age and made life more pleasant and healthy. Then along came the internal-combustion engine, then electrical generation, then radio, radar, television, lasers, and so on.

Petroleumdependent agriculture and food systems

In the 20th century, oil and gas took over from the waning extraction of cheap coal reserves, as the drivers of growth of industry, trade, transport and agriculture in industrialized countries. Coal had already had a major impact on the agricultural sector in the 19th century, enabling a shift from hand and animal-drawn power to stronger equipment made of iron and steel, to steam-engine powered field machinery, and to more suitable means of transport (railways and steamships). This transport provided access to more distant markets and sources of soil fertility inputs, including mineral fertilizers (Mazoyer and Roudart, 2006). The takeover by oil heralded more efficient and large-scale industrial, mechanized processes - including the powering of irrigation pumps, production of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, mechanization for crop production, storage, drying and processing, production of animal feeds and maintenance of animal operations, and the transportation of farm inputs...

History of the electricity generation industry

The widening understanding of electricity coincided with the development of the steam engine, and the widespread use of gas for fuel and lighting. In the USA, Thomas Edison developed the carbon filament that produced light from electricity. Similar work was carried out in the UK by Sir Joseph Swan.

Out of Control

The root of bioengineering is the desire to control the organic long enough to improve it. Domesticated plants and animals are examples of technos-logic applied to life. The wild aromatic root of the Queen Anne's lace weed has been fine-tuned over generations by selective herb gatherers until it has evolved into a sweet carrot of the garden the udders of wild bovines have been selectively enlarged in a unnatural way to satisfy humans rather than calves. Milk cows and carrots, therefore, are human inventions as much as steam engines and gunpowder are. But milk cows and carrots are more indicative of the kind of inventions humans will make in the future products that are grown rather than manufactured.



The production of energy from a fuel source can be direct, such as the burning of wood in a fireplace to create heat, or by the conversion of heat energy into mechanical energy by the use of a heat engine. Examples of heat engines include steam engines, turbines, and internal combustion engines. Heat engines work on the principal of heating and pressuring a fluid, the performance of mechanical work, and the rejection of unused or waste heat to a sink. Heat engines can only convert 30 to 40 percent of the available input energy in the fuel source into mechanical energy, and the highest efficiencies are obtained when the input temperature is as high as possible and the sink temperature is as low as possible. Water is a very efficient and economical sink for heat engines and it is commonly used in electrical generating stations.

Carbon Reservoirs

Carbon Reservoirs Earth

With the discovery of the steam engine in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen 1 humanity had for the first time a nonliving machine available, consuming carbon or hydrocarbons and delivering mechanical power on demand. This initialized the industrialization process and thereby changed society completely, in particular the demand for more and more energy. The energy for the steam engine was found in the form of mineral coal, solar energy stored in the Earth's crust over millions of years.

Steam Cars

It is not difficult to see why late nineteenth century inventors gravitated to steam power when they began to play with the idea of replacing the horse as the motive power for the carriage. By that time steam engines were powering factories that heralded prosperity by belching out thick clouds of black smoke. And steam engines were also propelling the railroad trains that put newly manufactured goods from those factories into willing consumers' hands. Fast (if you will pardon the expression) forward another 75 years, and you'll find that steam had become a reasonably reliable method of employing power. By that time James Watt and Richard Trevithick had developed high-pressure steam engines installed in locomotives that could pull strings of cars along railways, and Robert Fulton had installed a steam engine in a riverboat. What remained was to use a steam engine in a vehicle that was compact and maneuverable enough to travel the rudimentary roads of the day. That occurred in Britain...


Street cleaning was initiated in major urban areas. Blacks and immigrants were employed to push refuse carts on wheels and clean up streets, but early attempts were sporadic. Some parts of the city remained laden with trash, owing to lack of coordination. Another method was to institute traveling garbage burners, a type of a steam engine on wheels with a long smokestack. Workers moved through the streets, shoveling garbage into the furnaces, burning it as they went. Horse-drawn water carts went through city streets flushing them of refuse even as the horses themselves added to the problem. Such systems were employed in New York, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles, among others.

Storage Principle

The flywheel employs what is termed an inertial energy storage method where the energy is stored in the mass of material rotating about its axis. There are plenty of historical examples. In ancient potteries, the potter's rotating heavy table (essentially a flywheel) was kept turning at fairly constant speed by an occasional and judicious kick from the operator, at a protruding floor level rim to the table. The energy of the kick was sufficient to maintain rotation. The rotating mass of the table stores the short energy impulse and if the mass is heavy enough, and if the friction is low, the table will spin at a steady and reasonably constant speed. During the steam age, of course, flywheels were very common, being widely applied to reciprocating steam engines in order to smooth the uneven power delivery from the piston. Steam traction engines with external brass and steel flywheels were once a quite familiar site, during the last century, on the roadways and byways of the...

Down Tornado Alley

While settlement might slightly modify local climatic conditions, Maury wrote, man is as powerless to work any change which will augment or diminish the number of tornadoes, or to disturb the ponderous atmospheric machinery which produces them, as the puny fly is to retard or accelerate the motion of a powerful steam-engine. And while the nation's weather service was in a position to warn inhabitants of conditions that were ripe for severe local storms, the successful prediction of a full-fledged tornado is a triumph yet to be won by meteorology. Moreover, this was not a direction the nation's weather service was really planning to go. It is probable that, for local warnings of this kind, each community will always have to rely mainly on itself, or upon its own state weather service.

Limits of Economics

This may seem like a fatal flaw of economics, but as we observed in chapter 1, difficult choices are difficult choices, and this dilemma is a fundamental one facing society, not primarily a defect of economics. Society's choices, and the preferences that inform them, are path dependent, meaning that choices we have made in the past affect current preferences and options, and the choices we will make now and in the future. As a result, we may become locked in in the sense that certain options that might have been possible or even likely, if we had made different choices in the past, may no longer be feasible or desirable. This idea of path dependence or lock-in has been applied most frequently to technology (steam engine versus internal combustion gas engine, etc.), but these same ideas apply to preferences and choices when changes are interdependent and self-reinforcing.

Concluding remarks

The first century ad, however these were 'toys' rather than devices of practical use. Feedback starts to become technologically important in eighteenth-century England first for devices for regulating windmills and later for regulating steam engines for example the famous Boulton-Watt centrifugal governor of 1788 (Mayr, 1986). These ideas of feedback and checks and balances moved from economics and technology to medicine during the nineteenth century, most importantly in the work of Claude Bernard in France on the idea which would later become known as homeostasis (Porter, 1997). Almost 100 years later, during the Second World War, physiologists studying the aiming of anti-aircraft guns came to appreciate the crucial importance of feedback processes in the interaction of muscles and brain, an insight they took back to postwar medical research (Miller, 1978). It is possible that our understanding of such complex feedback-rich systems is still in need of new concepts and approaches...

Carnots law

At the turn of the century, steam engines were the predominant form of energy generation in our economy. The fact that steam engines required a lot of wood and water necessitated an efficiency analysis to find ways to lower costs while producing the same power levels. As a consequence, a French engineer named Henri Carnot came up with a very important law which governs all combustion machines. In a nutshell, Carnot's law states that the A steam engine working in a cold climate is more efficient than in a hot climate because the exhaust ambient is cooler. This is true even if the combustion temperature is the same in both climates. A steam engine with a hotter burning fire is more efficient for that reason, well insulated combustion chambers work more efficiently.

Using Freuds Ideas

To approach our difficulty from an analytic framework, we have to talk about the psychotherapy Freud developed, called psychoanalysis. From this perspective, because behavior is controlled by deeply unconscious forces and maintained by an active defense structure, we must learn to experience unconscious feelings in order for anything to heal. Consequently, Freud believed that emotional material must be allowed to surface and be expressed. This expression he called catharsis, a term he borrowed from Aristotle. Catharsis is a spontaneous and powerful emotional expression that slips past the defenses. Freud viewed psychic energy as analogous to the energy of a steam engine if the energy is not expressed somewhere, then the system will eventually explode. Emotional discharge frees us from this tightly organized system of defenses, releasing the energy that was tied up in keeping the unacceptable feelings unconscious.

Kyoto Treaty

In June of 2001, a gathering called the Millennium Environmental Debate 72 was held in Oxford University Union in England. A motion was made by Dr. Maki Mandela stating, This house condemns America's neglect of climate change (read Kyoto Treaty). The motion was adopted with a vote of 274 to 65. The United States President George Bush was heaped with opprobrium for siding with big business. This thinking is based on the notion that big business forces us to purchase goods, drive cars and warm our houses. This notion is naive. Businesses get big by supplying the products we want. They are at our mercy. The steam engine manufacturers no longer build railroad equipment, not because of a management decision to stop, but because there was no longer a market for steam engines. The Coke-Cola Company spent a lot of money on product and advertising to introduce a new drink. It quickly flopped again, this flop was not the result of a management decision. People simply did not like the taste of...


Between the 1930s and the 1970s, the construction of large dams was, in the eyes of many, synonymous with development and economic progress. These dams not only produced electric power, but also provided water for irrigation and helped in flood control. In the United States, the Hoover dam on the Colorado River (Fig. 8.3), constructed during the height of the great depression and completed in 1936, was the largest dam of its time and viewed as a symbol of modernization and man's ability to harness nature. It opened the way to the development of the western United States by powering cities as far as Los Angeles and nearby Las Vegas, which was at that time hardly more than a water refilling stop on the Union Pacific railroad for the steam engine locomotives. In the former Soviet Union, major hydroelectric projects were essential to the industrialization of selected areas. The construction of dams accelerated dramatically after World War II, to peak during the 1970s when numerous large...

Understanding light

Since time immemorial, humans have been using the sun for warmth, and devising inventive schemes to heat water and make electricity. In 1860, Auguste Mouchout, a French mathematician, invented the first solar-powered steam engine. It didn't offer much power, but it could get the job done, albeit slowly (unfortunately for Mouchout's wallet, humans don't like slow). In 1870, American John Ericsson devised a solar water trough that focused concentrated radiation onto a liquid water or oil and the steam pressure was used to spin turbines. As with Mouchout's invention, the job could be done, but only slowly, and only when the sun was shining. Solar engines inevitably gave way to fossil fuel power plants. which was used in steam engines. Some of the more outrageous inventions included huge mirrors, which focused a lot of energy onto a small spot size. These inventions did not fare well in windy conditions, as one might imagine. And engines like this are fixed into place, so they were never...

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