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Anybody know where to get a small steam turbine?

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Posted by Lord Gow333, Dirk Benedict's n on March 23, 2009, 4:35 pm
Preferably cheap (naturally). I have several acres of brushland and a good
source for broken wood pallet scraps so I'm considering a small scale
biomass generating plant. The boiler I can handle (safely, if not
"officially approved"), and I could build a piston engine but I imagine a
turbine would be more efficient.

I'm a flaming lunatic?

"The United States is like a giant boiler. When the fire is finally lighted
under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate." - Winston

Posted by Curbie on March 23, 2009, 9:06 pm
Here is a dump of some of the research I did on steam engines both
piston and turbine.

My conclusions (for what that is worth) is that if you are building a
single stage plant under 75Hp is way more cost efficient to buy plans
for a piston engine and boiler and have a local machine shop build it.

If you are going to buy go with Mike Brown he has a 3Hp & 20Hp self
starters (2 cylinders). He does not have much competition and his
prices reflect it, but his stuff gets good reviews (what little
reviews there are).

I highly recommend some reading and a spread sheet first; steam can
convert a mountain of wood chips (and work) into surprisingly little
electricity. I have a spread sheets on piston and Tesla turbines if
you want.

Still if you have a stable resource I like steam.
Good Luck.


Mike Brown (Finished Piston Enines 1Hp $200.00, 3Hp $400.00, 20Hp

Reliable Steam Engines (Piston Plans $0.00, Turbine Plans $0.00,
Boiler Plans $0.00, piston 4-200 Hp, turbine 5Hp)

Tesla Tubine (Finished Turbine 1Hp $000,00)

Link to a engineering student's who re-designed the Reliable Steam
Engines turbine for low RPM Electricity generation (small scale)

Google Books

Piston Spread Sheet
Steam Horse Power (P.L.A.N.)        
Pressure (P)    200    PSI
Length of Stroke (L)    8    In.
Bore (Bore)    1.81    In.
Bore in millimeters    45.974    mm
Connecting Rod Diameter (Rd)    0.5    In.
Cylindars (Cyls)    1    
Single or Double Acting (Act)    2    
RPM (N)    600    RPM
Friction Losses (i)    5%    
Hertz (hz)    10    Hz.
Area of Bore (A)    4.75    In.
Steam Horse Power (HP)    11.52    HP
Brake Horse Power (BHP)    10.95    BHP

Minimum Required Load    1000    Watts
Maximum Required Load    8000    Watts
Calculated Output    8167    Watts
Minimum Required HP    1.34    HP
Maximum Required HP    10.72    HP
1 Horse Power (hp2W)    746    Watts

Frequency (f)    60    Hz.
Number of Poles (Np)    12    Poles

Tesla Turbine Spread Sheet
Turbine Input Parameters        
Disk Diameter    9    Inches
Disk Gap    0.2    Inches
Disk Stack Increamentation    1    Units
Minimum Number of Disks    6    Disks
RPM Increamentation     3000    Units
Minimum RPM    3000    RPMs
Turbine Output Parameters        
Disk Vent Radius (R1)    0.056    Meters
Disk Outer Radius (R2)    0.114    Meters
Vent Diameter    4.379    Inches
Half Gap (h)    0.005    Meters
Dynamic Viscosity for air (mu)    0.0000179    Ns/m^2
RPM to Radians    0.1047    Radians
Newton Meter to Lb. Ft. Torque    1.3558
HP (Elec) to LB. of force Ft./s    550.2200
Turbine Vent to Rim Ratio (Tasla's)    0.4866
Number of Disks Test Points    5    Points
Number of RPM Test Points    10    Points
                        Electric Horse-Power
                        Disk TP 1    Disk
TP 2    Disk TP 3    Disk TP 4    Disk TP 5
                        Number of Disks
Disk Parameters    w    Vtheta    Gamma    Pd    RPM    6    7
8    9    10
RPM Test Point 1    314.2    35.9    25.8    1.7    3000    0.0
0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0
RPM Test Point 2    628.3    71.8    51.6    6.8    6000    0.0
0.1    0.1    0.1    0.1
RPM Test Point 3    942.5    107.7    77.4    15.4    9000    0.1
0.1    0.1    0.2    0.2
RPM Test Point 4    1256.6    143.6    103.2    27.3    12000    0.2
0.2    0.3    0.3    0.3
RPM Test Point 5    1570.8    179.5    128.9    42.7    15000    0.3
0.3    0.4    0.5    0.5
RPM Test Point 6    1885.0    215.5    154.7    61.5    18000    0.4
0.5    0.6    0.7    0.7
RPM Test Point 7    2199.1    251.4    180.5    83.7    21000    0.6
0.7    0.8    0.9    1.0
RPM Test Point 8    2513.3    287.3    206.3    109.3    24000    0.7
0.9    1.0    1.2    1.3
RPM Test Point 9    2827.4    323.2    232.1    138.3    27000    0.9
1.1    1.3    1.5    1.7
RPM Test Point 10    3141.6    359.1    257.9    170.8    30000    1.1
1.4    1.6    1.8    2.1
On Mon, 23 Mar 2009 12:35:51 -0400, "Lord Gow333, Dirk Benedict's

Posted by Lord Gow333, Dirk Benedict's n on March 23, 2009, 11:28 pm


WOW! Thanks! Looks like I've got some reading to do. I may also just use the
steam engine in place of electric motors or gas engines for various farm
tasks, a la 1800s threshing machines.

Or I may just make a wood fired water heater... :-)

Thanks again.

"Keep it simple. If it takes a genius to understand it, it will never work."
- Clarence Leonard "Kelly" Johnson

Posted by Curbie on March 24, 2009, 1:17 am
 On Mon, 23 Mar 2009 19:28:06 -0400, "Lord Gow333, Dirk Benedict's

A wood fired water heater may not be such a bad idea. It's been a
couple a years since I worked the math for steam but my foggy
impression is that unless you have a BIG fuel supply (which led me to
bio renewable/grown oil or ethanol) the commitment is large enough
that you will exhaust your fuel before you get a meaningful return.

Home grown and made bio-diesel or ethanol led me to I.C.E.s, but maybe
you'll see something different, keep me updated if you chase steam. If
you're looking at a multi-function steam engine, a piston steam engine
is the only choice.

Have Fun.


Posted by Ulysses on March 24, 2009, 2:36 am

With the limited amount of information I was able to find (nowhere near what
you found/determined) I came to a similar conclusion about the piston
engines.  So, what do you have to say about using a solar furnace to power a
piston steam engine?  The fuel is fairly inexpensive.  I would simply do it
if I had a good idea that it would be worthwhile.

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