Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Solar Powered Steam Turbine

A Professor at Tohoku University in Japan has created a system that can power a steam turbine using solar energy.

According to Professor Saito, he's been able to generate twice as much energy as was possible with early solar cells. He was spurred on during the period of Japan's "bubble" economy by energy and environmental concerns, feeling that if we continue on our present path society may collapse.

The first application he believes will be putting a minature version in devices such as washing machines.


Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

From the description (which is very vague, and the article has no links to clarifying information) this "invention" is just a Tesla turbine running on a heavy vapor.  Tesla turbines are less efficient than bladed turbines because they work by viscous drag instead of by lift and reaction effects.  Farrington Daniels described a similar device roughly 40 years ago, so it doesn't appear to be very new.

This looks very much like a curiosity rather than any sort of significant advance.

12:04 pm, August 27, 2004  
Blogger James said...

Engineer Poet,

I'm inclined to agree with you, which is why I significantly toned down the references to this "revolutionary system" in my own post compared to the original article. As you say it seems like more a curiousity rather than a significant advance.

However if it does lead to a small improvement to the efficiency of every washing machine manufactured in absolute terms it could produce notable energy savings. The more improvements that are made in efficiency that are widely implemented the bigger cumulative effect.

Your blog has an article on efficiency that is well worth reading:

I'm interested in your thoughts on combining wind, wave & tidal power in large off-shore farms.

6:20 pm, August 27, 2004  

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