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Discussion Paper The reciprocating engine: Clean, 'free' energy – maybe we are just doing things back to front?

Discussion Paper


The reciprocating engine:
Clean, 'free' energy – maybe we are just doing things back to front?


To put forward an idea for anyone and everyone to consider, to see if we can solve the core problem: how do we obtain enough clean, free (cheap) energy to sustain the lifestyle we aspire to – without destroying our planet.


The reciprocating engine is at the core of our modern civilization. In essence, we squash a volatile gas to make it more efficient at ‘burning’ fossil fuels which produces motion of some kind – thrust. We turn this thrust into electricity (by various means), or use it for transport or heating or cooling and many other things. But the by-products of fossil-fuel-burning engines pollute our atmosphere. The waste product of today's reciprocating engine is at best CO2 and at worst a whole lot of other chemicals like sulphur, benzine and many others, which are toxic, as well as CO2. Then we pump this cocktail into our atmosphere – which we need to survive. Sounds suicidal? It is!


But what if the energy we need is already there? We are surrounded by it – invisible, non-polluting and free.
Water is evaporated by the sun all over our planet and contains 540 calories of energy per gram (about a teaspoon) of water (H2O).*
[I have to run on a treadmill at the gym for about seven hours to ‘burn’ that much energy.] This ‘potential’ energy drives our weather and manifests itself in all sorts of ways: all kinds of precipitation - rain; snow; hail, sleet, drizzle - release enormous amounts of energy when water vapour condenses which drives the pressure and hence the wind systems of our world.
An average thunderstorm contains the energy equivalent of about 6 Hiroshima bombs – all derived from condensing water vapour into cloud droplets which has been evaporated by the sun, often thousands of miles away, transported invisibly by the wind and condensed whenever and wherever there is a mechanism to decrease the pressure enough to cool the air holding the water vapour, to a temperature low enough to make it spontaneously condense into liquid water.  That's the moment it releases all that potential energy (heat) at that location.
PV=nRT – the fundamental gas equation. If you pump up a tyre with a hand pump by squashing the gas – the pump gets hot: increase the pressure (P) and the temperature (T) increases. Conversely, reduce the pressure (P): the temperature goes down {the air rushing out of a tyre is cold} – every time. Reduce the pressure enough to reduce the temperature below the condensation temperature for the water vapour already contained in the air and you get spontaneous condensation of the gaseous water vapour to liquid water with a relatively enormous release of energy in the form of heat.
In 1950, scientists estimated that about seven times as much water as flowed in all the rivers in the USA per year, was transported across the USA in any one year by the wind! Invisible water vapour, packed full of energy – and untapped by mankind. Today we have about 30% more CO2 in our atmosphere than in the  pre-industrial era (405ppm CO2 today compared to about 280ppm CO2 in the 17th century).  That means 30% more energy is being retained in the Earth/atmosphere system and that means MORE water vapour is being evaporated - and you already know that's true because the winds are getting stronger, the floods more intense, the tornadoes more powerful and possibly frequent and the hurricanes (typhoons/tropical cyclones) more severe. Scientists can't PROVE that categorically.  Statistically it will be proven after we are extinct. But it is the inevitable consequence of increasing CO2 in our atmosphere and now methane - a far more powerful Greenhouse gas than CO2 - is bubbling out of the melting permafrost.  We are on a runaway train - and we better wake up!
So what’s the trick? How do we tap into this energy source? Exactly the same way nature does: expand the moist gas to make it cool enough to trigger spontaneous condensation – releasing the energy as heat.
What if we reversed what our reciprocating engines do? Instead of squashing air and polluting it by adding flammable fossil fuel products to make it combustible, could we use the expansion cycle to reduce the pressure, condense the water vapour from the air all around us and use that energy to create the thrust we need. Is this possible? Probably. Do I know how to make that happen? No. But I bet there is someone – or a group of people - on this planet who could make that work, given the idea.
Scientist have to prove what makes things happen - that is the scientific method. Engineers however, have the luxury of just making things work.  It doesn't have to be perfect - it just has to be better - so let's use the proven physics to make things better by reducing pollution without necessarily compromising our lifestyle totally - or endangering our planet even more.
What if our cars sucked in the moist air all around them, used the (modified) engine they already have to reduce the pressure to condense the water, producing energy for the downward stroke? Air in and clean water the only by-product: heat energy out being turned into thrust.
If vehicular transport could be driven that way, then small stationary motors could produce electricity cheaply, locally, quietly and without pollution. The energy is right there already in the air and the only by product would be crystal clear water.
What if planes could do similar things? There isn’t much moisture at 40,000 feet, so they would probably have to fly slower and lower and they would probably need something to get them started and up there, but once at speed, planes ingest vast quantities of air – and water vapour. Maybe we can reverse engineer the jet engine somehow to use water condensation to deliver the thrust we need?
If this was possible, suddenly tropical climates become energy rich, drier nations relatively poorer. But it is freely available energy. The sun already put the energy in - we just need to figure out how to tap it, without expending more energy than we collect.


I don’t need more money. I don’t want this idea locked up in some patent, bought up by some powerful vested interest because even the idea will damage their bottom line in burning fossil fuels, or making cars as they are now - whatever.
I want a planet I can live on – for me and my children. I want air I can breathe. And, over time, I want to put back the perfect balance nature created on this planet over the last 404 billion years, where the ozone layer didn’t have a hole in it and life wasn’t threatened with extinction by human activities upsetting the planetary ‘greenhouse’ energy balance (it has never been about temperature by the way - that is a by-product and it can be colder or hotter - and it is!)
I am not a ‘greeny’. I am a realist and I want me and my children to survive and flourish. I want them to see the stars - up close and personal.
I have a small business. If planes don’t fly and couriers can’t pick up and deliver things – my business will die. If we keep polluting the planet the way we have for the last 200 years – I will die. We need a way to make modern life and the things we want to do, NOT mutually exclusive. Maybe this idea can help ?


That we all consider this ‘concept’ and those that can, let the idea fire their imagination and just maybe develop the technology we all need to make the world a better place - without the massive risk of making things worse which geo-engineering does, in my view!




Tony Gu ymer
Director, MotorCycle Cruise Controls
6 Kingston St, Mount Waverley, Victoria, 3149 AUSTRALIA
Ph +613 9808 2804                   Fax +613 9808 2445
Email: sales@mccruise.com Web Site: www.mccruise.com

* Ref Notes on heat and water....

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