Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WoodPellet Woes try SEI for Help


A Plea for Help with more
Problem Wood Pellet Heating

I received the following comment to my blog in the form of a plea for assistance with yet another problematic wood pellet heating system.

dorothea kildare has left a new comment on your post "Heating System Questions":

Hi, having huge problems with benekov P20 pellet burner. ignition failure and burning 1.25 tonnes of pellets per month prime energy cannot seem to pin point problem can anyone help Dorothea Kildare

A Reply

Dorothea, I sympathise with you on the problems you are experiencing. The research I did for this blog led me to the decision to NOT go with wood pellet heating - despite having received grant approval for a grant of 4,200 Euro from SEI.

Why did I not take the grant?

SEI Sustainable Energy Ireland is a highly funded govermentally appointed organisation that has vigorously promoted wood pellet heating with massive grants, advertising, web sites, and promotions all over the country.

That's the promotion and hype bit which was well done - but on the other hand, what they failed utterly to do with some of the many millions of Euro of our money at their disposal, was to put strategies in motion to protect the consumer. They left the Irish consumer hanging out to dry!

In fact, they effectively unleashed a rash of untrained cowboys and rip-off merchants on the Irish public, who were greedily driven by the huge grants.

1. SEI had a system of registered installers, which many of the unsuspecting public took to be a guaranteed system for their protection. However the list was not worth the paper it was written on because any cowboy or rip-off merchant could register.
2. SEI made very poor attempts to ensure the effectiveness of equipment, the cost or value to the public, or indeed the safety of the very equipment they were actively promoting. Many systems have seriously ineffective fire protection.
3. SEI made no attempt to regulate the quality, or indeed the supply of the fuel, this resulted in many problems with poor quality fuel and with some shortages.
4. SEI to date have made no great shakes in rectifying the mess in pellet heating which was at least partly created by their lack of planning and action.

SEI, IMHO, have failed badly in promoting wood pellet heating by encouraging an unbalanced market driven by greed. However, you may have a chance to plead that they do something to assist you in your situation, given that they failed to properly protect the public in the first place. It could perhaps be argued that people bought into wood pellet and other sustainable energy products on the recommendation of SEI, and that SEI therefore bear some responsibility for ensuing problems. It is worth a try. I suggest that you consider writing to your TD and to SEI and maybe you will get some help. I have found that if you make enough noise, you will eventually get some satisfaction - if for no other reason, they will do it simply to shut you up. So - go for it!



EEstor Missing it's Deadline yet again?


Don't Hold Your Breath

With just a few hours to go, it looks like EEstor is about to miss yet another of it's own deadlines for revealing the much trumpeted super capacitor battery or EESU.

Makes you wonder if they are for real at all, or just stringing us all along? I would not be a happy traveller if I had any money riding on this project!


Spirit of Ireland Energy Proposal


A Small Scale Sea Water pumped hydro storage in Okinawa Japan

"Spirit of Ireland" Energy Proposal
Where is it at?

As the year draws to a close, I have been pondering the prospects for future energy generally, and specifically for two Irish projects. One is Steorn’s “Orbo”, which I must say I cannot put much, if any, faith in at all, and the second is the “Spirit of Ireland” wind-hydro-storage proposal.

While initially greatly enthused by the Spirit of Ireland proposal, I have, over the year, expressed some reservations regarding both the structure of the proposed SOI organisation, and also regarding the proposed procedural strategy.

I have not been in a position to make any judgements on a technical level, as I lack the specialised knowledge, maths and science to do so.

There have been various loosely stated suggestions and plans forthcoming in dribs and drabs on the SOI discussion forum. These plans and strategies have worringly changed quite a bit over the year.

I recently became aware of a technical critique published by Andy Wilson, Director of Sustainability Institute. I wrote to Andy and requested permission to quote from an article he published pertaining to the Spirit of Ireland proposal. Andy has kindly allowed my to quote from his article. I have interjected with some remarks, these are in italics. The full article can be read at:

First though, here is Andy’s reply to my request for permission to quote. His contact details and that of Sustainability Ireland are at the foot of the letter:

Hi Tony,
Thanks very much for the email. It’s good of you to ask permission to quote.

There is absolutely no problem in that regard, and if you want to give
links to the source that would be appreciated.

People have often asked me why I don't debate the issue on the Spirit of
Ireland forum. I usually reply that to do so would be give weight to
something that has absolutely no credibility - unless one counts short
term storage to smooth out daily peaks and troughs in electricity supply
and demand. Even then, there would be massive environmental concerns about the consequences of the sea water leaking out from the reservoirs.

Please feel free to get back to me if you have further questions.

Best wishes,

Andy Wilson
Sustainability Institute
Co. Mayo

Extracts from Andy Wilsons Comment of the “Spirit of Ireland” Proposal

The (Spirit of Ireland) proposal apparently is to erect enough giant wind turbines to fully meet Ireland's electricity requirements.

(And additionally it was part of the original proposal to export surplus power to other countries, thus helping to pay back the investment –ed.)

Ireland currently uses some 25-30TWh (Terawatt hours, equivalent to one billion kilowatt hours) of electricity per annum.

(That’s approximately 3,400,000 one bar electric fires going 24/7 for the full 365 days - ed.)

The present wind capacity is about 1100MW (Megawatts), delivering some 2.9TWh of electricity per annum or about one tenth of the total demand. The Spirit of Ireland proposal is to massively ramp up wind capacity.

To produce an equivalent amount of electricity from wind as is currently used by Ireland would require an installed capacity of around 10,000MW (10,000MW x 8760 hours per year x 30 percent capacity factor).

14 Billion Euro worth of Turbines needed?

(Assuming an average turbine size of 1.5 megawatts – that would mean a total of some 6,666 – six thousand six hundred and sixty six turbines - (sounds a bit of an evil number doesn’t it!!) - would need to be erected, and that is one hell of a lot of turbines. With an average installed cost of $2m per megawatt – the bill would come out at approximately $20 Billion Dollars or about 14 Billion Euro. Please correct me if I am way off in my calculation. –ed.)

It must be pointed out that the Spirit of Ireland plan does not envisage an installed wind capacity of 10,000 MW, but only a fraction of this. In other words, even if all the surplus energy could be stored until needed, with no conversion losses, it would be nowhere near enough.

Difficulties with storage

The only proven technique for storing electricity on a large scale is pumped storage. Surplus electricity is used to pump water to (relatively) high altitude storage dams. When extra electricity is needed, the water is let out of the dams through turbines. Ireland already has one such pumped storage facility, at Turlough Hill in the Wicklow Mountains. Built between 1968 and 1974 at a cost of around £20 Million, it comprises two reservoirs. The upper reservoir - the one used for electricity generation - contains 2.3 million cubic meters of water.

The total energy storage capacity of Turlough Hill is thus about 1.6GWh (Gigawatt hour: one million kilowatt hours), or roughly one two-hundredth of one percent of Ireland's annual electricity demand.

Ireland would need 500 to 1250 Turlough Hills

Ireland would need 500 to 1250 Turlough Hills in order to balance out seasonal variations in supply from wind farms.

For wind installations to provide Ireland with electricity all year round, a storage capacity of up to ten or fifteen percent of total annual demand would be necessary. For the sake of argument we will assume a storage requirement of 2.7TWh.

Storage Potential

The potential energy (pe) of water in pumped storage is expressed by the formula: pe = MgH
Where M = mass, g = acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m s-2), and H = height (head) Thus 1kg of water raised 1 meter has potential energy of 9.81 joules. 1m³ of water (1000kg) raised 1 meter has potential energy of 9810 joules. m³ raised 100 meters has potential energy of 981,000 joules

Converting to kWh: 1m³ raised 100 meters has potential energy of 0.27 kWh. 10,000,000,000m³ raised 100 meters has potential energy of 2.7 TWh. This is equivalent to a lake of 1000km² in area and 10 meters deep. To allow for evaporation losses, seepage and sedimentation, one might increase volume by a further 15 percent. Hence a lake of 1150km², or three times the area of Lough Neagh. The construction of an artificial lake of this size, at a raised elevation, would present some interesting challenges.

(If, on the other hand, as pointed out on the Spirit of Ireland Forum, the proposed glacial valley/s allowed an average depth of say 100 meters – the combined lake size would need to be 115 km2 a much more realisable size -ed.)

Finally, here is a link to some discussions on the Spirit of Ireland Forum which contains a partial rebuttal of some of the points raised.


Friday, December 25, 2009

By the Way - Happy Christmas and New-Year


By the way
Have a Happy Christmas
and New-Year

That is if you can be happy when considering the following which faces the world tomorrow:

1. Melting Glaciers.
2. Dwindling carbon fuel stocks.
3. Exploding population figures.
4. Global weather disruption.
5. Serious financial crisis.
6. World leaders who are completely impotent - Copenhagen - Finance - Security - - .


Steorn's Orbo Perendev Keppe Motor


Top 10 Weird and Wacky Energy League

Steorn's Orbo is in the running for a listing in the weird and wacky top 10 "free energy" devices to be held in Hawaii in January 2010.

Names like Perendev, The Keppe Motor, similar somewhat concepts to Orbo, will battle it out for a placing with names like the "Searle Effect Generator" the "Kapanadze Free Energy Generator" and the "ERR Fluxgenerator"

All of the 20 or so contenders claim to have viable devices which produce more energy than the input and which claim to be able to solve the energy crisis. The problem is that in 10 years or so over-unity devices like the "perendev motor" have failed to produce the goods. If the dang darn thing actually worked - the Chinese would have it copied and would have been selling to us by the million.

Twilight Zone

It seems to me that there is another dimension out there in which dreams become reality - for some - but for the rest of us unbelievers, they just remain as weird and wacky gizmos.

A number of features seem to be common to many of these inventions;

(1) The claimed effects appear to be easily duplicated in various video demonstrations etc.

(2) However, their inventors are super sensitive and secret about their machines and aim to vigorously control the environment of any observations - they only allow very limited viewing or testing.

(3) Despite the various video demos and hype, all of the devices have failed to make it to market despite many many years of trying, protestations of "ready for mass production", and various other hype.


All of the three factors mentioned above fully apply to stage magic tricks. So what conclusion would you draw when applying simple logic to observing these claims??


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Orbo comment


A Comment on Orbo
from an unidentifiable person

El Ch� has left a new comment on your post "Steorn's Orbo Battery Powered?":

The battery is "needed" -- for the moment -- but Steorn is also just setting scoffers like you up, IMO. The thing is to run these devices well past the point of any possibility of the battery being the motive force behind it all. Their claim: the battery really is just a "reservoir". And the reservoir could thus be many other things, as well.

And then what will you scoffers be able to say, when it's clearly not really being run-by-battery..?

Don't believe the (anti-)hype,

My Reply:

Thanks for the input "El Ch?" I appreciate a good debate,

It would seem that you are a believer in Orbo? I, on the other hand, sit straddling the fence but perhaps leaning a bit towards the side of the disbeliever.

The "anti-hype", as you put it, that you have read in my post is my own anti-hype. It comes simply from asking a few pertinent questions and from a bit of basic electrical knowledge.

A simple question for you - would you be prepared to bet $10,000 that within say 2, even 3 years of R&D, the Orbo claim would have come to commercial fruition according to their original hype??? That all electric cars, phones and other gizmos would never again have to be charged, and that a domestic refrigerator sized Orbo could be purchased in the shops that would 100% power a household for all electrical needs?? In other words, oil, wind, geo-thermal, and all other current power generating methods would be obsolete??


Steorn's Orbo Battery Powered?


Orbo's electric Motor

There is nothing new about Steorn's Orbo's concept - the perpetual motion idea has been around since the middle ages. More recently there have been a rash of magnetic motors and other self generating devices.

The original Orbo that failed to work in London, was a magnet only device. If that could have been shown to run for a couple of years it would have been something.

The new "improved" Orbo is nothing more than an electric motor driven by a battery. It has another added section on top, in the form of a dynamo - to "re-charge" the battery!!!

If my eyes serve me properly this is a
VERY high capacity 10 amp/hour battery
Sufficient to run a small motor for weeks!!

The battery in the Orbo machine appears to be an exceptionally high-capacity re-chargeable battery of 10 ampere hours. A battery of this capacity - fully charged, would run a well balanced small motor for weeks.

Here is a question - why does a machine that generates power need a high-capacity battery??? Would not the tiniest capacity suffice if the thing actually worked???


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Electricity Savings Incentive


How to Reduce Electricity Usage

Ireland, like most other developed countries, badly needs to cut down on carbon emissions and generally reduce or at least stabilise projected energy consumption. In it’s recent emergency budget, Ireland has imposed a “carbon tax” on fuel, I am pretty sure it will have little or no impact on usage. I think this because a carbon tax is a negative motivation and does not positively reward using less fuel.

A Positive Incentive

I have been thinking about a positive incentive based on domestic electricity usage. A similar system could be worked out for business' but would be much more complex to operate.

The idea is basically to have a tariff system that rewards low users. The cost per unit of power would be say 10% lower than the current norm for the first step. This would allow careful users to keep their electricity bills really low. There would then be a higher rate for the next step by adding say 15%, and finally a top rate for very heavy users would be at a much higher cost of say plus a further 20%.

Something like the following:

Basic cost per unit of say 13 cent.
Next step of tariff costs 15 cent.
Top rate tariff would cost 18 cent per unit.
(just a rough example)

For the first 12 months, there could be an allowance for those with electrical storage heating. This would give those householders time to change to other forms of heating and avail of grants for sustainable energy solutions. At the end of the first year, the new tariff system would apply across the board.

Effective but not Popular

Its introduction would be far from popular, but because money is such a strong motivator, it would be a very successful means of reducing the national electrical requirement, modifying the huge bill for imported fuels, and reducing carbon emissions over coming years. It would also encourage a different way of thinking about power usage and that in turn would encourage insulation and the use of low powered lighting systems.

How Many Politicians does it take to change a Light Bulb?

On the back of such a motivating power tariff system, the introduction of simple and effective energy saving strategies are essential. IMHO the single most effective and also the simplest to implement would be a really big push and promotion to have every last light bulb in the country replaced with CFL, LED, or at least halogen bulbs. This alone would make a huge reduction in our future energy requirements.

The half-arsed approach the Irish government has currently adopted to changing the light bulb in Ireland will take years and years to have much of an effect. We need to re-think the strategy!!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SunMachine Pellet Boiler Update


Some pictures and details of the unique
SunMachine Pellet boiler

In my previous posts on the German company "SunMachine" I gave some basic details of their very innovative wood pellet machine CHP Unit (Combined Heat and Power).

I wrote to the company requesting some more specific details and photos etc. It would seem the company are further developing the design and were therefore not forthcoming with information, I received the following answer in reply to my request:

Dear Mr. McGinley, Sorry for replying to you not earlier. We would like to thank you very much for the short publication to our Sunmachine® Pellet as wood pellet CHP machine. That’s great to hear and that you are interested in more information. At the moment we are doing a lot of improvements and further developments on our CHP machine within the next months. In the same way we are currently developing a new corporate design which means, that the Sunmachine® Pellet will be presented in new colors too. Based on this current situation we would prefer to do a more detailed publication first in Spring. Would that be fine for you?
Thanks and best regards,

Roland Schmid
Head of Corporate Communications
Sunmachine GmbH
im Innovationspark Allgäu Am Riedbach 1

D - 87499 Wildpoldsried

I Poke around and find some interesting bits

So me - being me - I go and do a litle digging and poking around for further details of this innovative design. I came accross a video on YouTube (link below) and other details which I share here with you.

So what I have is pictorial, some are pulls from the video and others from pdf literature. They give a bit more of a picture of the SunMachine pellet boiler. It looks as if the air supply is delivered up through the hopper and the delivery tube along with the pellets, that is, if I am correct, another innovative feature of this unit.

I would love to see a simple pellet boiler only version of this machine. I am not convinced of the CHP concept, and it makes the unit very expensive overall. A simple boiler should be able to deliver 14+Kw of heat - more than enough for a small to medium sized well insulated house.

This is a good quality drawing of the unit
you can see it even better if you click on it

This series show the hopper and pellet delivery system

Close-up of the top of the boiler

Looking down the air and pellet delivery tube into the grate
If you look carefully you can see a pellet in the act of dropping

A detail of the flame - looks like a pressure jet burner!

Finally, I have included a link to a YouTube video showing the machine and its test set up the quality of the video is not great but you will get a fair idea of the unit nevertheless.

One thing struck me though, was the noise of the unit. if it is as noisy as I think, it would require major sound baffling and might need to be in an out building. I would also guess that most of that noise on the video is coming from the Stirling engine?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Steorn Big Time Advertising Spender


Hey Big Spender!!

Steorn, it seems, do not believe in half measures when it comes to advertising, only when delivering working models of its Orbo discovery!!

I usually watch world news on AlJazeera, as I find the BBC and US news too insular. Guess what popped up before my eyes? - an advert for Orbo.

The advert features the public criticism and condemnation Orbo received on its last outing, but nothing much else - other than it asks us to "believe" - like something on one of those God channels.

Here is a You Tube link for the advert:


Steorn and Orbo Back to the Future


Steorn and Orbo Re-Birth??

Back from the grave Steorn and Orbo? They are re-launching with working models at their Dublin base.

When Steorn launched originally, about four years ago, I got all excited like a child on Christmas eve. Their publicity at the time suggested they had a working device ready to be developed and mass produced. They quoted power output figures per cubic centimetre etc. like it was all tested - measured, and ready to go. - - - - Then it all died ignominiously in London.

Now, just over a week to Christmas, when we least expected it - they have a re-launch. This time - they assure us - it will work. What they seem to have however, judging from the videos, is little more than a toy - certainly nothing that would power your household needs.

You can visit or watch the presentation video and a live video stream at the link below:

Even Got Plans on line

Steorn have even published a pdf download link with an exploded drawing of the Orbo device, looks like DIY experimenters could perhaps even replicate it.

When Steorn launched originally, about six years ago not, I got all excited. Their publicity suggested they had a working device ready to be developed and mass produced. they quoted power output figures per cubic centimetre etc. Then it all died ignominiously in London.

I wish Orbo well and hope that it leads to something. However, I have really major reservations. If the thing works, like they seems to be saying on the video, why has it not already sold millions and be running just about every electrical gadget on the planet?? Why indeed!!

Much as I hope for some energy breakthrough and would truly like to believe, why am I not confident of a future for this device??


EEstor and Santa Nicklaus


All I want for Christmas!

What do I want for Christmas, apart from world peace, economic recovery, and a 100% agreement at the Climate Conference???

Well one small thing that Santa Nicklaus might bring is for EEstor to actually deliver 100% on their EESU or Supercapacitor before the end of the year.

Mind you, it would not be a good Christmas for everyone. The people in the lithium ion battery business would not like it one bit as overnight their product would be obsolete.

EEstor would need to hurry up there is just over 2 weeks to go!!!

Here is a link to an interesting piece which talks about EEstor:


Monday, December 14, 2009

Sustainable Energy Advisory Service


A Message that
I feel I need to repeat

from time to time!!

I get a lot of very nice letters of support and thanks for my blog, for which I am most grateful.

I occasionally get a batch of letters requesting very specific information that would require a good deal of time to research and answer. This annoys me, especially when most of the information is contained in my previous posts.

I estimate that I have put around 1000 - 1200 hours of my time into this blog since I started it in 2006. I have made many international phone calls, did a fair bit of travelling, trawled the Internet for information, and of course also I have received much helpful input from a few readers.

Point is I have maintained this Blog purely as a hobby in support of a sustainable future for the planet, and simply for the personal interest, without any reward whatsoever.

I feel a Rant Comin' on!!

I therefore get a bit peaked when I receive very specific requests from individuals, who, I am sure, just have not engaged their brains and thought the situation out, expecting a service as if from a highly funded government agency or a contracted consultant.

I include the latest example below. If I were to do the simplest research and write a report in response to this letter, it would take me a minimum of two hours and a half dozen phone calls. If I was in business I would expect to ask a fee of at least £150 for the time and expenditure involved. I think I was most civil in my reply - don't you?

The Letter

Hi. I read your blog re; rip off merchants, could you give me a run down on wood pellet heating we are moving to Ireland very shortly. The quotes we have received have been staggering!! Or, do you know a reasonable company, thank-you. Is it a good alternative to fossil fuels?
Ken .. ..

My Answer

Hi Ken - Most of your questions have been answered in my blog - go through the archive.

I am not a consultant - the blog is a hobby, you will have to do your own research but maybe you would share your findings like I do?

Tony McGinley


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

EEstor Information


Some Technical Information
about EEstor's EESU

I have been writing a bit about EEstor and their proposed Ultracapacitor / Battery they call an EESU (Electrical Energy Storage Unit).

It is hard to find any hard facts about this secret company and its secret battery, but I came across an informative "Knol" (an Internet unit of knowledge posting) which offers quite a bit of info and a bit of science for those interested.

According to the post, a 52 Kilowatt/hour unit would cost no more than $2200. It would have a 6 minute charge time and the operating voltage is a whopping 3500 volts.

Here is the link:


Saturday, December 05, 2009

EEstor and Lockheed in love affair?


Update on EEstor's UltraCapacitor
and a
Secret love Affair with Lockheed?

I came across a very interesting video interview on YouTube made at a conference with Lockheed execs. It would appear that Lockheed are excited about EEstor’s ultracapacitor. There would appear to be a secret love affair AKA a "working agreement" between the companies.

Have a look at the YouTube video interview, it's worth a look just to see the wriggling that is going on. I have pasted the link below.

These Lockheed guys are being REALLY - I mean R - E -A – L - L - Y tight lipped but there are still a number of indicators that there may be something brewing.

There wasn’t as much secrecy about the atom bomb when it was being developed as about EEstor. These guys fairly wriggle to avoid a straight answer!!!


Monday, November 23, 2009

SunMachine Germany

. is a very interesting small company, just 100 employees, recently founded in Germany in 2005. I am very interested in them because they are developing some very interesting CHP machines and a mini solar converter.

The development that fascinates me the most is their Wood Pellet Burner / Stirling Engine CHP.

Unique Down-firing Top-feed Burner

Unique Pellet Burner

I am especially fascinated by the top fed down-firing burner design. Also I love micro-mini feed system and hopper. The rest of the CHP design is a bit more familiar.

This bit of engineering is a serious development of the woodpellet burner - I really hope that it works as good as it looks on paper. It IMHO represents a major design shift for pellet boilers - may I offer congratulations to SunMachine!!!

I wonder how is the ash removed from the machine, and how reliable the pellet transport system is? These two functions are the cause of very many wood pellet service problems in many current machines.

The SunMachine machine looks to be a major departure from the current norms. I would love to see this thing working.

Above diagram shows the basic set-up with an indication that the machine produces 20% Electricty and 70% Heat - giving an overall efficiency of 90%.

Here is the Sunmachine Pellet data sheet:

Datasheet Sunmachine-Pellet
1.0 CHP unit
Electric power fed to grid: ------ approx. 3 kW (electric output)
Thermal power: approx. ------- 10.5 kW (thermal output)
Efficiency (electric): ------------ approx. 20 %
Overall efficiency: -------------- approx. 90 %
CHP coefficient: ---------------- 0.286
Flow temperature: ------------- 50 - max.75° C / 122 - max.162° F
Return temperature, max. ----- 60° C / 140° F
optimal return temperature: --- 30° C / 86° F
Sound emission: --------------- approx. 49 dB
Color: ------------------------- RAL 5001 (blue-green)
Weight: (without covering): --- approx. 410 kg / approx. 903.89 lbs
Dimensions LxWxH in mm / inch: 1160x760x1590 / 45.7"x30"x62.6"
1.1 Burner unit
Fuel: woodpellets, DIN plus (german industrial standard)
Power: 14.9 kW fuel provided
Matintenance interval: recommended once a year or every 3,500 operating hours
1.2 Stirling engine
Cylinders: 1
Cylinder capacity: 520 ccm / 31.73 cubic inch
Speed range: 500 - 1,000 rpm
Working gas: nitrogen
Working pressure: max. 40 bar / max. 580 PSI
2.0 Input with inverter
Feed to grid: single phase 230 Volt 50 Hz
Grid control: 3 phases through build-in grid disconnecting device
2.1 Inverter
Nominal output: 3.4 kW
Peak capacity: 3.8 kW
Input voltage: 350 - 750 Volt
Efficiency: max. 95.7 %
Power factor cosPhi: 0.997
3.0 Control Unit
Interface: graphic touchscreen display
Interface RS 232: suitable for modem and PC (readout of important data)
Optional: 3 heating circuits and one warm water controllable,
switching output for peak load demand
4.0 Feed
Pellet-supply-container: approx. 50 l / approx. 13.2 US gallons
Pellet feed from storage room / bag - silo / via vacuum delivery with internal day / night control
subterranean tank to sunmachine: (closed system)
5.0 Exhaust
Exhaust: Exhaust gas routing after request with solid fuel boilers condensate
6.0 Recommended heat-store stratified storage: min. 1,000 liters / 264 US gallons incl. heating rod 9 kW

Subject to technical modifications. The values, power ratings and other technical data stated in this data sheet, in our brochures, announcements and other bidding documents as well as included images or drawings are standard only approximately, unless the data are explicitly qualified as binding by us. We assume no liability for translation errors! Version: 2/0


Starstruck by Stirling


Sun Machine by SunMachine Germany

Stirling Fan Mail!

I received a very interesting email from Danny Mc Menamin pertaining to the Reverend Robert Stirling's wonderful engine. He is a fan of the Rev. Stirling's invention like myself. He has included some very informative links which you might like to take a look at.

The link that fascinated me the most is the commercial link to a small German company who are developing several new domestic CHP (combined heat and power) type machines, and who also have a mini Stirling sun machine in development.

I will detail what I believe is the most innovative one of SunMachine's developments in my next post. But here first is Danny letter and the links:

EMail from Danny Mc Menamin:

Good work with the blog. Like you I share a fascination with the Stirling engine. See:

Also interesting is the Thermo Acouustic Stirling Engine:

Danny Mc Menamin


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Electric Cars and the Goddess of Love


Electric Cars
and the re-birth of
Love & Passion!!!

Some paintings make Venus look about as sexy as a side of mutton
But I like this one - she is a real beauty!!

In the light of my recent posts on the development of SuperCapacitors and Ionic Fluid Batteries, I felt it time to re-address the problem with electric cars.

Generally speaking, electric cars, to this present time, have been about as popular and desirable as two week old bread. Why is that do you think? Well for one thing, they are VERY very expensive. Also, they take ages to re-charge and can only go for relatively short distances on a single charge. Why with all the hype and hoopla, the government grants, and the urging of the loony fringe, have the public not embraced the electric car with a firmer grasp??

Where do the problems lie?

Electric cars have been around for a quite a long time. Edison had one on the road in 1913 but the Germans had one going in 1904. Early examples had poor quality motors with low efficiency and torque, the batteries weighed a ton and took ages to charge, and oh - not to mention that they were ugly.

Nowadays, however, the electric engines had been re-invented several times over, and the latest breed are super strong, highly efficient, and a relatively small size.

The other factors making the modern electric car more viable than earlier attempts, are the control gear, and the drive chain. These items have, in recent years, been highly perfected.

Sex and the Modern Electric Car

Certainly some of the modern up-market electric cars are things of beauty which could well inspire desire and lust. Tesla have my vote for design sexiness.

The Elephant in the Living room

However, there is one area of the design and refinement of electric cars, which still lies in the realm of the unresolved.

Truth is there is this ‘elephant in the living room’ that is not talked about too much. The glaring problem with electric cars is the battery of course.

When the Lithium Ion battery was perfected, if one can use that word, it was supposed to revolutionise electric driving. However, there are huge problems with Lithium Ion batteries; not least of these is the HUGE bit. Then there is the cost, 40% or more of the total cost of the car. Then, on top of that again, consider that the dang darn battery will last at best 3 to 4 years. Also environmentally the cost is huge - how to dispose of millions of used batteries. On that basis, it makes no sense at all to buy one of these cars.

Never Until a Better Battery is Invented

Electric cars are IMHO doomed unless and until a seriously better and much cheaper battery is available. Then, and only then, will we see the re-birth of the electric car/bus/truck, and, like Venus, they will emerge from their shells in a glorious re-birth and seduce the population.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Super Battery Development


Professor Cody Friesen
and the
of the
Metal-Air Ionic Fluid
Super Battery

As already discussed, “Fluidic Energy” led by Professor Cody Friesen of Arizona SU is working to build a Metal-Air Ionic Liquid battery that has up to 11 times the energy density of the top lithium-ion technologies. The other bit of encouraging news is that they aim to have the x11 strength battery for less than one-third the Li battery cost.

Professor Cody Friesen strikes me as being one of a new breed of scientist; he is young, popular with students, and a real tryer. There also appears, to my limited view, to be a rare and pleasing lack of spin doctoring, hype, and sales talk, and he seems realistic when he talks about the developments made to date.

Popular Prof.

Rate my professor.
Prof. Cody Friesen's Scorecard:
* Average Easiness: 3.0
* Average Helpfulness: 5.0
* Average Clarity: 5.0
* Hotness Total: 0
* Overall Quality: 5.0

In an interview he said that their team has not achieved the ultimate goal of a fully working battery yet. That one statement alone sorta indicates openness and honest – I like openness!!!

On the right in blue shirt

Cody Friesen and his ASU team have been experimenting with various ionic liquids, and anode materials for several years.

Some Goal!!

The team have a short-term goal of energy densities around 1Kw/h per Kg of battery weight – that is some serious punch - - and they are aiming eventually at 1.6Kw/h per Kg!!!!! That means a battery weighing just 50Kg could hold a charge of 80Kw/h – hard to credit this sort of energy density?

Ionic fluids or liquid salts have electro-chemical stability of up to 5 volts – way better than water based electrolytes. This would give much more stability and punch in any battery. Right now ionic fluids are not made in commercial quantities and are therefore very expensive; this is an area of intensive research and development in several research centres. Another problem is finding just the exactly right type of ionic fluid for the job.

Naturally enough “Fluidic Energy” and the professor are a bit coy about specifics on what they have achieved in the development of the super fluids. They are also careful when talking about another key part of their research, that is the development of the metal electrodes.

Battery electrodes essentially corrode under the intense electro-chemical activity. They grow crystal like structures or fur that can eventually lead to breakdown of the cell. Word is that “Fluidic Energy” is working at ‘encasing’ the electrodes in some form of nano-technology coating to prevent the build-up on the electrodes.

Where would you place your bet?

It is a great race, this Super Battery Race, and its good to see that there are several hopefuls in the running. Of the two we have discussed to date, which would you bet on?

Would place your money on the very secretive EEstor and its UltraCapacitor, or would it be the young and hopeful team at Fluidic Energy?


Friday, November 06, 2009

"Fluidic Energy" versus "EEstor"


The Development
of a
Metal-Air Ionic Fluid
Super Battery

A cool looking young Professor Friesen

A company called “Fluidic Energy” is developing an Arizona State University research project and the main man behind the effort is Prof. Cody Friesen, professor of materials science at Arizona State Uni. In development essentially, AFAIK, are ionic fluid electrolytes for a special type of metal-air battery which would have much greater capacity than that of the very best lithium-ion batteries today.

"EEstor": 0 "Fluidic Energy": $5+million

Unlike EEstor, “Fluidic Energy” of Arizona has received a $5+ million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, which should help speed up the work no end!! Would you think that also makes a statement, or what, about EEstor??

“Fluidic Energy” is developing the rather unusual type of new battery called a metal-air ionic battery. Batteries generally have metallic electrodes immersed in an acid or some other water based electrolyte. Instead, this new type of cell will have a special liquid salt electrolyte.

Liquid Salts

Normally salts are solids / crystals at anything but very high temperatures, however these new salts are in the form of “ionic fluids” which will be liquid at ordinary room temperatures. These ionic fluids have several major advantages as electrolytes, they will not evaporate, and they will have very much higher energy density.

Here is the really interesting bit; Fluidic Energy is working on a battery that has 11 times more capacity than the same size of lithium-ion battery.

Say that again.

I said; “11 times more juice can be stuffed into this new type of battery”, and what that means is that an electric car with one of these batteries fitted could go for more than 1400km on a single charge, instead of the 140km or so of a current electric car.

Now that is not all of the interesting news either - more in the next post.


Thursday, November 05, 2009

More Comment on EEstor


EESU Charging Infrastructure

The EEstor issue has cause quite a bit of activity and interest on this blog, be it for real or just another stock promotion scam. Comments are flowing in on the subject. When I get comments that are intelligent, relevant, and current, I like to publish them as a post. The following IMHO is one such comment.

Comment from "hendersn":

If EESU's (Electrical Energy Storage Units) are used to store energy at the 'gas' stations, they can provide the high transfer rates necessary to 'fuel' the cars.

Yes, many EESU's would be required at a given 'gas' station to ensure that the peak usage wouldn't exceed the storage capacity, but as long as the average energy consumed over a day by fueling cars doesn't exceed grid capacity to the 'gas' station, this is feasible.

If you can charge the station's EESU's at off peak times, you can actually improve grid efficiency by reducing the ratio of peak to average power delivery.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

EEstor Comment


EEstor Comment

I received an interesting comment on the EEstor ultracapacitor, which pointed out that if the thing actually works, there would be still some problems regarding charging times for electric cars.

Comment from Craig:

Whether the ultracapacitors every materialize as cheap units for small consumer electronics remains to be seen, but they will not provide the dream of a quick refill that you envisage.

The problem is common to all electric cars:
Petrol has an energy density of about 10kWh/kg ~ 12kWh/litre.
A 60 litre fuel tank will hold 800kWh of energy, which is approximately 3GJoules.
Say a refill takes 5 minutes=300seconds (a quick coffee!).
The energy flux is now 3GJ/300s=10MW !!
The problem is not whether the battery can hold the charge (although this is an issue) but that the infrastructure to provide the flow of energy is very significant. That's why I don't think people will willing give up liquid fuels for transport!

Thank you for your informed comment Craig. I would be coming from a nuts and bolts background myself I did a few simple calculations. The EEstor example is given for a 52Kw/h capacitor/battery. As far as I know, these units (if for real) are supposed to work at high voltages.

If we take an operating voltage of say 2000 volts and a capacity of 52Kw/h it would take 26 amps of current 1 hour to charge the battery. 130 amps of current would do the job in 10 minutes. 260 amps would do it in 5 minutes.

Granted, these voltages and currents would present some problems but it would not be impossible to create an infrastructure to accommodate perhaps a less ambitious target of say 15 minutes.

IMHO It is not a question of choice regarding liquid fuels - we simply will have to consider a radically different approach. It may indeed not be ultracapacitors, but for sure carbon based fuels will need to eventually be phased out completely.


Friday, October 30, 2009

TV Programme on Wood Pellet Heating


TV Researcher wants to talk to
WoodPellet Owners

Had a bad experience with wood pellet heating, maybe got poor or no satisfaction from installers or sellers?? This might be a chance to achieve some satisfaction.

Last call, at least on this blog, for anyone who has had a bad experience with Wood Pellet Heating. A production company who is producing a series for RTE TV is currently talking to people with wood pellet problems.

If you are willing to be interviewed - please make contact with me at: thenewoil at gmail dot com. and I will pass on your details.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zenn and the Art of Electric Car Making


and the

Art of Electric Car Making

Ian Clifford is the founder and chief executive of Toronto-based ZENN Motor Company Inc. formerly Feel Good Cars.

ZENN Motors is said to hold a minority stake in EEstor. Zenn Motors future is now set to sink or swim on one single factor – the delivery, within 2 months, of a viable ultracapacitor storage unit by EEstor. The word on the wires is that ZENN is expected to lose some $9 million or six times its $1.5 million or so annual turnover.

Ian Clifford at the Zenn Plant

ZENN recently decided to move away from making cars and instead it would put its energies into developing an EEStor ultracapacitor based electric drive train called ZENNergy. The idea is to sell it to other car makers worldwide.

Now that would be just darn tootin dandy if the EEstor battery / ultracapacitor thing-a-me-bob actually works.

Here we have an electric car manufacturer in deep financial manure basing its entire survival on a very very long shot from a company which has played its cards so close to its chest that you couldn’t get a rat’s squeak in.

Question is, would you invest your life’s savings in either of these two companies??


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Neverending EEstor Story


The Neverending
EEstor Story

Well then my last post on the EEstor Ultracapacitor battery thingy started quite a flurry of hits on the site and a few comments too.

Stage Trick?

Most stage magic tricks depend on mis-direction, or not showing the audience what you don't want them to see. The old sawing the lady in half trick simply depends on not showing what is actually happening, and at the same time suggesting something completely different.

When Steorn announced their 'free energy' device, the one thing we were not shown was a working device - I wonder ever why??

I want to believe but - -

I want to be a believer and live in the land of the hopeful but - a few things point me towards a fishy odor.

Firstly, EEstor has been very assiduous indeed in not showing their ultracapacitor. While at the same time making a lot of noise about the great benefits and the research etc. etc. Does that remind you of any particular strategy??

Secondly, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has just announced their awards and grants for the best contributions to energy efficiency. What do you know - they completely neglected to mention EEstor - now why would they do that??

Santa Clause

I cried bitterly when I discovered that Santa Clause was a scam - I really wanted to believe but the evidence was compelling, and I fell into the cold hard world of the unbeliever.

I hope and pray for some major breakthrough in our energy crisis - darn tootin we do need some and soon - and I struggle to remain hopeful.

Others feel much the same as I do. Here is one of the comments on EEstor:

I have this magic wand that can make cars fly. Just think of the money that will be saved on road construction alone. I'd happily sell you 10.7% of my company for $165 mm. Sorry you can't see it work beforehand.

Capacitors were invented almost 50 years before the battery or the light bulb for that matter. Billions of dollars have been invested into battery and capacitor technology worldwide over hundreds of years.

Barium Titanate is also a well known and highly researched dielectric compound. A quick Google search will turn up several PhD dissertations on these materials in the past couple of years alone. The problem is material science – not product commercialisation.

Zenn and Eestor, by the moves they are making, are starting to look like the game they are playing is just plain old stock promotions, and not terribly sophisticated at that.

In the past, the US has had its share of snake oil salesmen who used to sell instant cures in a bottle. The pitch has changed over the years, but human gullibility hasn’t.


Hey - I still hope that EEstor is for real - but I won't hold my breath while I am waiting to find out.


Monday, October 26, 2009

EEstor and the Holy Grail Ultracapacitor


and the Holy Grail

of Ultracapacitors

EEStor Inc. is a private (very private indeed - it is said secretive even) company based in Texas. It was founded in 2001 by Richard Weir and Carl Nelson. EEstor has just announced that it is about to launch a new ultracapacitor (battery) an EESU (Electrical Energy Storage Unit), which if it works like they say, it would be nothing short of the Holy Grail for electric cars and many other applications, and it would make many of the older types of batteries completely obsolete.

The Claim

EEStor says its ultracapacitor has several times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries. This is a fairly amazing claim and will no doubt spark much suspicion and disbelief. I will keep an open mind and live among the hopeful.

Ultracapacitors already exist and are used in some applications, hybrid cars use them. However, up until now, ultracapacitors can only take about 5 - 10% of the power/charge of a lithium-ion battery of the same size. Many scientists recon that it is next to impossible to make an ultracapacitor that can match or beat a lithium-ion battery.

Click on the image for better quality Blogger has poor image handling

For instance the EEstor EESU is reported to be some 20+% smaller in size and to have 60% less weight than that of a similar capacity lithium-ion battery. It can be charged fully in 5 minutes, unlike a lithium-ion battery that takes at least 4 hours to charge. Because of its smaller size and greatly reduced weight, a larger capacity unit can be fitted in a given space thus giving a greater range to the vehicle.


Just imagine an electric car, truck or bus, that can make a journey from Cork to Belfast on a single charge. Then imagine charging it up fully in the time it takes to have a quick cup of coffee. And what about a ‘battery’ that can outlast the life of the vehicle it powers. A battery that is safe and non-toxic, no fumes, heat, or flames!!

And it doesn’t even begin to stop there. Ultracapacitors could be the answer to the mass storage needed for wind turbines in order to balance out the power. They could soak up energy very quickly, and release it equally quickly. They could last decades, making them a very good choice on economic grounds, gaining over pumped storage and other types of battery. Ultra capacitors could power mobile phones, cameras etc. Your mobile would charge in a few seconds.

Ahhhh but is my imagination running away with itself a bit too soon?????


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Holy Grail Ultracapacitor nearer the real World


EEstor about to announce
a viable

The whispers are out on the WWW that EEstor are about to test a viable ultracapacitor. This is close enough to the "holy grail" for electric car manufacturers.

Current Electric Cars are little more than a Joke!

The only thing that is holding back the all electric car is the development of a viable battery or some other high capacity energy storage unit. All of the batteries developed to date have been various combinations of the following; expensive, bulky, heavy, slow to recharge, short-lived, dangerous, or just plain useless.

An ultracapacitor on the other hand can be charged in minutes rather than hours. it can give out its power in greats blasts for fast acceleration. It can be charged and re-charged many many thousands of times - unlike chemical batteries. However, up till now, an ultracapacitor could not hold a sufficient amount of power.

An Electric Car Battery that can outlast the Car!!

The new breed of ultracapacitor, using nanotechnology, will have a capacity tens of times greater than the current types. They can be charged while having a coffee at a filling station, instead of 6 or 8 hours with current technology!

They will also be relatively cheap and light, they will not have a tendency to heat up, go on fire, or to explode, and they can outlast the life of the car!!!!

Is this just another scam? Or is the ultracapacitor really on its way to the stores??


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comments and Commercial Links


Always Happy to Post Comments
Except - -

I really like to receive comments to this blog, and I am happy to post most that I receive.

What will guarantee that a comment goes into the bin is when it comes with commercial links embedded. I have never had any commercial strings attached to this blog, and I never will.

I will also guarantee to lose comments which have little or no relevance to the post, and of course, those which could be considered abusive or indeed libelous.

But maybe I am fooling myself to think that the block-heads who keep sending me hollow comments riddled with commercial links to their sales sites will ever read or heed this rant!!!!


TV Programme being Researched


A Call
to my

WoodPellet Contributors

I have been contacted by a researcher for an Irish TV production company who is researching a programme on "Wood Pellet Boilers" in Ireland. He would really like to talk to anyone who has had problems with their installations.

If you are willing to be contacted, please email me at: thenewoil at gmail dot com and I will pass on your contact details.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pretty Solar Tiles


PV Solar Panels
Getting Pretty

Just a quick post with a couple of photos. A friend of mine sent me a couple of photos of new style Photo Electric Panels. They now can come in the shape of very nice roof tiles and can look really well in addition to generating electricity. I wonder about the bright blue - is that optional?

In Ireland these lovely tiles would be good for keeping the rains out but would not be not much good at generating power.