Death to the coal train?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by COMBAT, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Very neat!
  2. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, as to what I read above on what's being used to get the eletricity to use this invention it could be a new souce of renewable energy because you can burn the water to power turbins to produce the electricity therefore powering itself plus producing power to provide homes. Just a big circle really with an outlet. The only thing I can think of for coal left is for making coke mold's for producing steel items.
  3. scottcn

    scottcn Member

    Nobody has ever produced a perpetual motion machine... and that's the essence of your suggestion. I'm not saying that it is impossible, but it would require a major rewriting of the laws of physics. Perhaps Congress could get started on that :)

    (Edit: None of this is to say that I don't wish that this, or another amazing discovery or invention, would solve our energy problems and get rid of our global warming/climate issues. No, it would be spectacular if that could happen but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for burning sea water to be the solution.)
  4. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    After researching this a little better you find out it takes more energy to make the radio waves than you can get from the salt water. There is a new coal burning process that keeps the emmissions liquid. The coal is burned under 3500 psi keeping the gases liquified and recoverable. This has been proven to work and I believe that they are building a plant in Canada to test it further.
  5. slekjr

    slekjr Member

  6. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    KCS, think of the potential for rock mold masters !!!
  7. Bones

    Bones Member

    I just wanted to add to a few things that have been discussed.

    The dissassociation of elements in a water molecule requires vastly more energy than recombining them. So, even though the byproduct of this new method would be steam and gasses from the salt, the energy required makes it anything but the "death of the coal train."

    Most vehicles running on 'tap water' are hydrogen burning. The problem is, they use electrolosis to split the molecule and extract the hydrogen. (See above, dissassociation of water) The electricity required to do this would likely come from a coal burning power plant, requiring 3 times more coal than the amount of gasoline you claim to be saving. Your vehicle might not be polluting now, but your coal power plant just trippled its emissions.
    As a side note: tap water contains impurities. During electrolosis these impurities get 'plated' onto the electrodes in your machine. Over time this degrades the ability to do its job, thus requiring even more power to get the same amount of hydrogen.

    Many people have claimed to have created such things.... but not a single one has provided it for testing scientifically.

    Engines are innefficient because of heat loss, and the power required to keep themselves running. Fuel delivery systems may seem like the flaw in the system. They do, after all, handle the fuel. That's just not the case. All a fuel delivery system does is provide the engine with what it needs to continue running at the given load/speed/air intake combination. If you choke the fuel, the engine loses power. If you give it too much, the engine loses power. (or blows itself up by hydro-locking)
    Also, if any engine requires, for example, 1 gallon of gas to move the vehicle 30 yards while running under normal conditions; changing the amount of fuel it is getting will have a detrimental impact. If you want it to move the vehicle the same distance with the same load, but limit it's available fuel to 1/2 gallon... you will get one of two things:
    1. the engine overheats and destroys itself.
    2. it doesn't have enough power to do the work, and you get.... you guessed it - 15 yards.

    Gasoline requires a 14.7:1 ratio of air to fuel for optimum combustion, at sea level. If you alter this ratio you get no combustion, incomplete combustion, or unpredictable combustion. None of those are good for an engine, or the earth.

    If you want to use a "100 MPG" carburetor, find a way to prevent heat loss in your engine. The heat being sapped from the combustion chamber by the engine block, and the heat escaping as hot gasses are where you lose 50-60% of the energy in gasoline.

    Back to the main topic....
    I don't see this process ever being productive for anything but research, or maybe the intended purpose of the inventor. It takes far too much energy for this to be used in any other way.

    Just my thoughts. I know I am very blunt, but none of this was hostile.

    COMBAT Member

    All very interesting. I dont know how much energy is take to produce the wave required since I never looked into it but how do we really know what it takes? Does anyone that has posted in this thread really know? Where or how did you find out? :)

    I saw on a T.V. show, yeah I know T.V, that there is another thing that was invented and it creates pure drinking water out of salt water. The structure would have 95% energy efficiency to do so and it creats a park of sorts for people to enjoy.
    Look at this.
    Search Results -- building the future: water theater --
    Click the video results play button and enjoy.
    Large scale Solar Desalination using Multi Effect Humidification
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Very good post. PhD student in engineering dittos to you! I was going to go into this, but your post hits the nail square on the head!

    One of the funniest things I've read in a while was how gasified coal prevented global warming by removing the carbon from the coal before it was burned :confused: I don't quite understand where the journalist thought the energy was coming from...since most of our economy is based on C+O2=>CO2 + energy...but oh well! It's magic!

    To quote my professor from Thermodynamics several years ago...a hydrogen economy sounds very nice, but he was one Berkley liberal who was not looking forward to it. The high energy costs of producing the hydrogen, either through electrolysis is methane cracking, greatly exceeded the benefits of the cleaner cars.

    Generally, if I hear a scientist saying "crisis" or telling about a too-good-too-be-true technology, I know they're merely trying to convince public opinion to get government funding thrown their way. A researcher has to obtain funding in order to keep their job. If your work isn't very promising to scientific authorities, you can always appeal to the political realm in order to gain funding. Venture capitalists will throw money at anything with any promise...government will throw money at anything a senator wants to see funded.

    So what do alternative fuels mean? More coal trains! (and potentially another round of modern coal technology work like the C&O 614 was previously involved with. I can recall Gary Bensman speculating that certain locomotives horsepower could be doubled with modern technology!)

    Another interesting aspect of oil prices going up is that the benefits of electrified railroads increase. Electrified railroads get their power from stationary power plants. Essentially, a diesel locomotive is a petroleum powered generator connected to traction motors in a shell while an electric locomotive is just the traction motors. Unfortunately, the labor costs make it unsightly expensive to build electrified railroads.

    I recently went to a lecture with a solar panel researcher, and while I doubt some of her claims, it could be conceivable (to the scientist in me) that eventually there could be some use for solar powered locomotives...although the engineer in me says that she'll never quite get the efficiency out of the third generation panels that she's working on currently. Still, a solar powered doodlebug would be a rather interesting commuter rail vehicle.

    It'd be pretty awesome to built a solar powered railcar for a garden railway! I remember seeing LGB's Frank S when it first came out, and I think a solar railcar would be at least half as cool! It could also be very light weight if constructed of styrene.
  10. COMBAT

    COMBAT Member

    I feel the bottom line is its too late now. We are so dependent on oil and so resistant to change that we are doomed in ruining the planet. We don’t need to worry about killer asteroids, nuclear weapons, aliens, killer plagues or anything else. We will do it to ourselves. Coal train or not there will always be something to haul around and that’s why railroads are gaining more and more use once again. :wave:
  11. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    The problem is, if we had to today stop every oil/ coal burning plant in the world right now there would be global cooling and we'd enter a new Ice-Age.

    One thing I was thinking of is that when the Moon is closer to Earth we have "High Tide" and when further away "Low Tide", I've heard somewhere that each day the Moon moves a little further from Earth, so, maybe the melting of the ice caps won't be that bad since the moon is moving further thus keeping water levels down- just a thought!
  12. scottcn

    scottcn Member

    The last ice age ended ~10-20,000 years ago. The Industrial Revolution (first widespread use of machinery powered by refined coal) started in the late 1700s. Since the timing isn't even close, it is clear that the combustion of fossil fuels cannot be the reason the last ice age ended ... or the only reason why we are not in an ice age right now.

    It is true that the average distance between the Earth and Moon is increasing, at about 3.8 cm per year and that distance will result in a weaker tidal force. However, the effect is insignificant. Consider: today, the average Earth-Moon distance is ~384,403 km. If that distance is increasing at a rate of 3.8 cm per year, in 1000 years the distance will be a whopping 38 m larger (slightly shorter than the 40.47 m length of a 1:1 scale Big Boy locomotive - see, this post is about trains!). So, not a huge change in the distance, even over 1000 years. We could then calculate the gravitational force (which drives our tides) between the Earth and Moon as F = (G * Me * Mm)/(R^2), where F is the gravitational force, G is the universal gravitational constant, Me and Mm are the masses of the Earth and Moon, and R is the distance between their centers. Plugging in some numbers, we find that in 1000 years, the gravitational force between the Earth and Moon will be 99.99998% of what it is today. In other words, practically unchanged.
  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Let's all perform an experiment! Take a cup of water and drop an ice cube in. Mark the water level. Come back an hour level and you'll notice that it hasn't changed. Now ask yourself, why am I worried about ice caps melting?

    The problem environmentalism (and I'm an environmental engineer!) is that it wants to take the world back to an idealized past to which they believe things to have been. Problem is, there is no such past. The environment has always been changing...hence ice ages and eroded well the world having once been covered in water. Our government has spent over $4bil to fund global warming research, and no one is going to find anything to the contrary as it would cutoff the funding.

    THIS MATTERS TO OUR HOBBY! If we are required to cut CO2 emissions, don't you think that excursions and tourist railroads might be in jeopardy? Imagine having to pay a heavy carbon tax on operating a steam locomotive...not because its producing CO2, but because most communities don't like the smoke. Many a tourist lines have fought bitter battles with their neighboring towns (the Georgetown Loop doesn't enter Georgetown or Silver Plume...the Ohio Central cut their Sugarcreek tourist trains)

    A while ago, I performed a CO2 emission calculation for a restored steam locomotive in order to provide the operators with a defense against the global warming political movement. I demonstrated that it was 100x less CO2 per passenger per mile than the typical private jet...specifically Al Gore's. I was approached about doing this due to previous political issues they've had to deal with.
  14. scottcn

    scottcn Member

    Since you asked ... your ice cubes in a glass experiment are analagous to icebergs in the ocean. Melting an iceberg is not going to raise sea level (as the experiment above will demonstrate) so you should not be worried about melting icebergs.

    An ice cap, however, is "An extensive dome-shaped or platelike perennial cover of ice and snow that spreads out from a center and covers a large area, especially of land" (Source: As a revised experiment, fill your glass partway and mark the water level, as above. Balance your ice cube on two drink straws laid across the top of the glass. Come back an hour later and you'll notice that the ice cube has melted, the water level in your glass has risen, and then you'll know why you should be worried about the melting of ice caps and glaciers.

    After these experiments, please drink the water or give it to a plant. We don't want to be wasteful now, do we ? :)
  15. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I don't disagree with that Scott, as Greenland is merely land coated in Ice, but the point is that the Arctic Polar Ice cap is just a giant ice cube while the Antarctic is actually on land. All the data behind the scare has been about the Arctic hence the experiment is valid...The Polar Ice cap melting is the same as an ice cube in a cub of water.

    In the definition, it is important to remember that the ice caps on land are on tectonic plates...and they are floating on the lithosphere...which means that they can sink and rise...just like a ship that's empty or some of the glacial retreat would cause that specific piece of land to raise slightly.

    Last of all, historically the planet has averaged a change of 1 degree. The 20th century was less than a degree. That is statistically insignificant.

    Btw, since part of my research gets funded by using water...please don't give it to a plant or drink it...please pour it down the train! I might get a research contract to devise new methods of procuring drinking water if the consumption goes up ;-)
  16. scottcn

    scottcn Member

    This thread started out talking about coal trains and burning sea water. Now we're talking about tectonic rebound. What a fun journey it's been! :mrgreen:
  17. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    This is too cool- pun intended, by the way, got my first lot of info from a documentary about global cooling, second thing I got quoted on was a personal thought.

    But thanks anyway Scott for the info about the Moon and tides, who says that we can't enjoy other info besides trains on a train forum. I sometimes lose myself in my thoughts- like Luitenant Columbo.

    Why haven't they made a Nuclear Locomotive yet?? Didn't they make a Nuclear Submarine?
  18. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Sounds like a cool model locomotive! We do have nuclear subs, aircraft carriers, and even some support ships (USS long beach) and commercial ships.

    I suppose the model nuclear locomotive wouldn't be actually nuclear driven...but interestingly...nuclear power is actually just a steam engine (usually a turbine) that uses nuclear energy instead of combustion to heat the water.

    I'd love to build a solar cell powered locomotive someday for a backyard railway. It would be way cool!
  19. scottcn

    scottcn Member

    I know that land-based nuclear power plants require a lot of water to help keep the reactors from overheating - that's why those power plants are always located along rivers. I would imagine that nuclear used for transportation would have the same requirement (although obviously wouldn't need as much water as a plant designed to power an entire city). For ships/submarines, there's obviously plenty of water around to cool the reactors. For nuclear trains, the need for lots of water could be a limiting problem (not to mention security concerns). Say, are any of those old water towers from the steam era still functioning?
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    That's ice capS... there's one at each pole. And if the Antarctic one melts...

    In addition to the water level issue, there is also the associated problems of changing weather patterns by changing the temperature of the oceans. With that in mind, it does matter if the Arctic "ice cube in a glass" cap melts.

    And as the moon moves farther away (although not noticeably farther for possibly millions of years) the tides will become less pronounced - but the average water level will not get lowerr, as there will not be any less water (assuming all else stays the same).


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