Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just ThinkingI / Carpet Driveway

I've been thinking about this for years, but as of yet have not tried it. Less chance now because if I had the right vehicle to use the engine from then I'd probably be using it to save gas. (Provided the rest of the car wasn't totaled.)

You might think that all of the energy used by burning gasoline in your car goes to making power to run it. That is far from being the case. The way it works is only about 1/3 of the energy is used for that. 1/3 is lost through heat which is removed by the radiator and 1/3 is lost through exhaust and goes out the tailpipe without doing anything other than polluting. Also while you are driving there are several other things that can cut down on efficiency. Like the weight of the vehicle and the engine having to work to keep it moving and buck the resistance from the wind it pushed in front of it.

This works the same for any internal combustion engine (car engine, generator, lawnmower and so on) EXCEPT for a diesel engine which is about 1/3 more efficient than a gasoline engine. That is because the diesel engine produces far less heat than a gasoline engine does and that savings goes toward making power. Therefore I'm leaving diesel engines out f this equation. However, burning propane in an internal combustion engine is much better for several reasons. (the first being that it is far less polluting and the second is that the engine stays much cleaner and requires less maintenance because the oil doesn't need to be changed as often because of the cleaner burning fuel.) Propane also has pretty near the same energy per gallon as gasoline so no big lost there.

Now with that behind us here is my idea and what I some day hope to start working on.

My idea is to route the antifreeze water mixture through an inside coil / fan unit to provide some of the heating inside during the winter and possibly a heat exchanger in the summer to run an absorption (refrigeration system) for cooling the inside of a cabin or what ever. At the same time use a heat exchanger on the exhaust system for heating water for various uses. It could also probably be routedthrough a boiler to provide steam for a small steam turbine for extra power to run other stuff. (Generate extra power, or run a refrigeration device for cooling.)

The actual output of the engine could be used to run a generator, refrigeration system and alternators to charge battery banks from when the engine isn't running. To get the most out of this I'd need a very efficient small car engine converted to run on propane. Not only would the engine not have to over come the drag from pushing a vehicle down the highway and wouldn't have to be pushing all of the wind a vehicle has to push while moving.

This is not something a person would want to use all the time UNLESS they run a generator all the time, but it could have its uses quiet often when you need a lot of power, heat and so on at the same time and should make it economically with a minimum of pollution.

 Occasionally I need to do some work on the falcon (Like now needing to do brake work). I just never can get in to it too much when it calls for crawling under the car. Now I'll have a place to work on it and it can be swept off when needed for a semi clean place to work. This is the carper RN left on his last visit and it had been in their house until they put down a simulated wood floor. Here the carpet is actually turned upside down with the pile in the dirt. I got this idea from my uncle who more or less paved in front of their house with carpet doing it like this. Its been there for many years and darn near as hard as concrete. There its gumbo mud, but I think the same effect will happen here. The carper pile gets pushed down in the dirt. Then it gets wet during rains and once dried it would take a bulldozer to pull it up.


  1. God help us if Martha Stewart gets a hold of this :D

  2. ezrablu, that isn't one of my favorite people! Thanks for posting though. ;)

  3. Hope your carpet/carport does not blow away.

  4. Too heavy to blow away Frann and now it would have to blow the falcon away to because its sitting right in the middle of it.

  5. The engine/gasoline stuff is a little over my head but I do like the carpeted drive way :)

  6. I had an idea of a diesel/flywheel engine. Use a four cylinder diesel to maintain a 'constant volicity" flywheel wieghing at least a 1000 lbs. The flywheel will turn at maybe 5000 rpm and be hooked reduction gears and an automatic transmission, driveline, then rear wheels of a car. The rpm of the diesel would never change maintaining flywheel rpm and the flywheel's torque would be transferred to the rear wheels. I could be very effiencent.

  7. Propane has 25% less energy than gasoline which is a substantial difference. I have used a propane generator in my RV for years. It burns about .7gal per hr. Many of the older RVs --pre 1995- had propane generators in the 6-7kw range. Maybe your best bet would be to find one of these to use?

  8. MsB, at least I might start working on the falcon more now?

    cc, You might have something there for a stationary power system.

    Andy, I was thinking propane was near the same as gas? I know natural gas falls way short of having the same energy as gas which would more or less rule it out. (Even if you had it piped to your place.) Guess I need to do a little more research. I also know that ethanol and methanol have significantly less energy that gas which is why cars that used to get decent mileage years ago no longer do. The falcon used to get over 20 MPG, but now its more like 17. :(

  9. I know this is an old post but, I used to have carpet in my garage in Indiana, it was great.

  10. Its great here for a driveway to if the falcon didn't get wrapped up in it some times or when the falcon isn't there it winds up somewhere else. If we ever get some rain it should bond in with the adobe dirt and be good from then on.


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