Monday, August 11, 2014

Schematics, diagrams and programming code.

- Schematics is the language of electronics. It provides a concise and comprehensive diagrammatic description of a circuit. allows users to connect and share designs and ideas in a like-minded community.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

BMH Documentation (Draft)

BMH Power Plant Engineers Operating Manual.


A micro hydro turbine driving an induction generator is like a finely tuned instrument. It runs most efficiently when water flow and head pressure resonate mechanically with the turbine geometry and the rotational speed. The rotational speed generates a precise pitch of 60 cycles per second which in turn is tuned to resonate (electrically) with the load and a bank of capacitors to keep currents oscillating through the copper windings of the generator and create magnetic fields in synchrony which in turn produce the current that we can use to light up our lives.

Since there are significant energy flows to be controlled and contained, it is important to understand how to control the energy smoothly, avoiding sudden surges or stepwise impacts in both the electrical as well as the hydraulic circuits.  The operator, typically an engineer or highly trained technician, must understand, and be able to predict the result of turning On or Off any circuit breaker, switch or valve before actually touching a breaker, valve or controlling device. (In many localities grid-connected power plants are required to be operated under the supervision of an engineer.) Always check the readouts first to find out what loads are being powered when making any changes, and try to anticipate the result of the adjustment and the effects on the connected load. This manual will explain each switch, breaker, valve and controller and the function each serves.

This manual will give the procedures for startup of the plant, planned shutdown, unplanned shutdown and subsequent startup procedure. Monitoring and metering will also be explained. It may be useful for the more experienced operator to refer to the diagrams for further insight to the operation of this plant.

Conventions / Definitions as they apply to the Buttermilk Micro Hydro plant:
(Starting from the top.)

Storm Water Diversion = currently a pair of logs placed at an angle ~12 feet
upstream from the water intake. Their function is to protect the down stream
structures during extreme weather events. (Maintenance or future
enhancement / automation project.)
Water flow measuring weir = located immediately upstream from the water
intake. Functions to get an approximate measure of total water flow reaching the
intake. (Maintenance or future enhancement / automation project.)
Slide gate = at the entry to the flume, function is to shut off water at the water
intake during severe weather events or flume repairs.
Water intake = the 8” x 48” rectangular opening in the upstream end of the
Warm water feed = the warm Honderosa spring water fed via (blue)
underground pipe that keeps the water intake from freezing closed during most
subzero winter nights.
Flume = the structure that currently carries the water from the water intake to the
gravel baffle (and screening) box. (Maintenance or future enhancement /
automation project.)
Minimum flow bypass = the circular opening in the flume bottom that insures
the escape of a minimum of 200 Gallons / minute to keep the waterfall hydrated.
(Maintenance or future enhancement / automation project.)
Gravel baffle box = the 4ʼ x 4ʼ x 5ʼ high (wood) box (Maintenance and / or future
enhancement / automation project.) with the integral second gravel chamber
and attached first gravel chamber, ball and chain flush valves, moving screen,
screen drive mechanism, head valve, head valve drive / operator, and attached
to the flume upstream.
ice-leaves.html for diagrams/drawings)
Gravel Chamber = the first gravel chamber removes most negative buoyancy
material that did not fall out of the minimum flow bypass. The second gravel
chamber mostly collects fine sand and mud. (Maintenance or future
enhancement / automation project.)
Moving screen = the HDPE conveyor belt screen that functions to keep floating
or neutral debris from going down the penstock and clogging the turbines. The
screen duty cycle can be adjusted so it does not clog itself with heavy debris
loads or frazzle ice formation. (Maintenance and / or future enhancement /
automation project.)
Frazzle ice = the slushy watery ice that forms in the shallower upstream rapids
as water is supercooled during sub zero nights. The frazzle ice solidifies
immediately when it meets any cold or metal surface and blocks water flow.
Once ice covers the stream no further frazzle ice will form and the water will run
unimpeded underneath the ice cover, more so if snow also covers the ice. Even
water falling vertically will be covered with ice.
Head valve = the butterfly valve and operator (motor and drive circuitry) at the
bottom outlet of the gravel baffle box where the penstock connects.
Penstock = the 8” insulated or buried steel pipe that keeps the water contained
as the pressure increases going down to the powerhouse.

Green LED = indicates normal, OK, valve open, valve opening, green condition.
Red LED = indicates fault, valve closed, valve closing, red condition.
NO = Normally Open contacts / circuit
NC = Normally Closed contacts / circuit
GEN1 = Smaller 10kW turbine / generator
GEN2 = Larger 15kW turbine / generator
Rotork1 = Valve and valve controller on GEN1
Rotork2 = Valve and valve controller on GEN2

I. Start-up of water flow at intake.

During warm weather months the flow of water to the turbine may be started
(acquire ʻgreenʼ condition) by following these steps:
The initial conditions are:
a. All power house valves closed, No water flow.
b. GEN(1 and 2) Rotork in manual / local mode and run to CLOSED
c. Utility power present and fed through to homes, transfer switches in
Normal mode, not Utility / Emergency.

1. Insure that there is at least enough flow in the stream to support turbine/
GEN1 operation. This can be judged by observing the flow into the flume.
Standing on the flume looking upstream, the water should cover ~80% of the
width of the sloping bedrock stone weir, or within ~20% of the right side of the
flume. (This measurement method should be refined when the temporary intake
structures are made permanent by having a constant slope and marks ground
or cemented into the trailing edge of the bedrock leading into the flume.)
2. Check that the moving screen (trash rack) is clear and operational. (see:
Moving Screen Maintenance) Flush the 1st and 2nd sand and gravel settling
chambers by pumping the ball valves (via stainless chains) up and down
several times or until the water flows clean from the flush opening. (This
procedure should be refined when the temporary intake structures are made

II. Start-up of co-generation.

The initial conditions are: all the above and:
1. Open Head Valve (press button once on ʻHead Valve and
Communication box), wait for valve to open as indicated by ONE green LED.
(the ʻgreenʼ condition)
After 15 minutes check that pressure is stable at 95 PSI. (It was
previously insured that a good volume of water is available in stream above and
no ice/sand/gravel is present in penstock water. ( See: “Winter Icing Conditions”
for cautions.)
2. Utility grid power ON. Beckwith 5 minute timer expired and ʻOutput 1ʼ
RED LED is ON and GREEN LED is blinking.
3. Top four load side breakers ON. We are using grid power as indicated on
the Net Grid meter lower right in Beckwith enclosure.
4. Bottom six Generator side breakers OFF. We are not making any power
5. Check for nominal meter readings of Honders ~1-3kW, Buyske ~ 1-3kW,
NET from Grid −3kW to −8kW on PM620 meter in lower right hand corner of
Beckwith enclosure. (The signs will change once the PM620ʼs are directionally
adjusted to conform to Utility practice.)
6. REV PWR RESET to OFF (down) (located under Beckwith 3410)
3. Open the GEN 1 or 2 (which ever one is being started) manual main
(RED WHEEL) valve to 50%.
4. Open GEN 1 or 2 Rotork in MANUAL mode to get RPM ~2000 using
manual mode with the lever and hand-wheel or local control with open / close
switch. Observe open / close LEDs in Rotork housing, after alternating red/
green both should be OFF indicating speed is within range.
5. Switch REV PWR RESET to ON (up) (located under Beckwith 3410)
6. GEN1or 2 breaker ON, never both.
7. C1 breaker ON for GEN1. C1 and C2 breaker ON for GEN2. (Do not run
both GENs simultaneously.)
8. Switch Rotork valve to remote (automatic enabled). The Rotork controller
should now open the valve slowly to maximum power.
9. Observe pressure gauge reading, (~90 PSI GEN 1, ~80PSI GEN 2),
holding steady, not dropping for lack of water at the top or too much power
input to GEN2. If too much power revert to manual control, 5/8 open 80 psi.
Check that the Reverse Power Relay ORANGE light is OFF.
Check PM620 Grid Power, Summary kW3Ø 5 to15 depending on house
Check that power factor, PF3Ø > .90 or as close to 1.000 as you can get
by switching breaker C2 and/or C3. Closer to 1.00 is better. If PF3Ø is -
(negative) then turn off C3 if you can get closer to +or- 1.00
Check that the pressure remains stable at ~90 PSI GEN 1, ~80PSI GEN2.
If it is raining/snowing be sure to set screen to continuous mode to
prevent clogging.
10. GEN1or2 set the Rotork valve controller to remote (automatic enabled).
11. Set house meters to read kW3Ø.
12. Switch REV PWR RESET to ON (down) (This will change with further

III. Shut-down of water flow.
During warm weather months the flow of water to the turbine may be stopped
(ʻredʼ condition)by closing either the head valve, the manual valves, or the
Rotorks in the powerhouse.
and following this sequence:

The initial conditions are:
a. Head Valve open, normal water flow. ʻGreenʼ condition.
b. GEN(1 or 2) operating, Rotork in automatic control mode.
c. Utility power present and BMH power fed back to grid and through
to homes, transfer switches in Normal mode, not Utility / Emergency.

Sequence to follow:
1. Set the GEN(1 or 2) Rotork to Manual.
2. Switch REV PWR RESET to OFF (up) (located under Beckwith 3410)
3. While observing the Valve position indicator on the Rotork run the valve
to its fully closed position. All should be quiet now.
4. Turn off all (lower) Generator side breakers. Do not touch the upper 4
Load side breakers.
During cold weather months or anytime there is a danger that BMH may stop
generating power it is best to switch REV PWR RESET to OFF (up) (this will
change with further automation.)

During cold weather months the stream water flow must be kept from entering
the penstock by:
1. Lowering the slide at the entry to the flume. ( needs improvements with the
2. Pull up 10” and hook both gravel flush ball valves.
3. Check that warm water flows down penstock to keep it from freezing solid.
4. Turn off all (lower) Generator side breakers. Do not touch the upper 4 Load
side breakers.

Winter Icing Conditions - - CAUTION

Over the years I have made continual improvements to the ʻtemporaryʼ intake
structures to mitigate some of the problems with slush and ice in winter, leaves
in the fall, sand gravel, rocks, logs and debris washed down every time it rains
more than an inch or two overnight.
Most winter problems would be greatly reduced or eliminated if there was a
deeper reservoir to draw water below the surface ice layer, but not so low as to
suck up sand and gravel. ( An 8” high x 48” wide opening just above the low,
upstream, end of the moving screen could be opened to take water in through
the screen if the water level is raised just above this opening. )
The first fall excursions to single digit temperatures will probably not cause
slushy (frizzle ice) water. But after a day or two of sub-zero nights frizzle ice will
start to dam up flowing water especially any place where there is the slightest
restriction or shallow water flow. So the first problem occurs under the storm
water diversion logs which will definitely have to be repositioned or removed in
winter. This means that they probably will not be able to be repositioned before
the spring thaws to deflect the likely storm waters.
The second problem area is the 8”x48” primary intake at the upstream end of
the flume. The water arrives super cooled to below freezing, carrying slush.
Icicles form along the top edge of the 48” wide opening and grow rapidly
together to the bottom of the flume and, with the slush, completely block the inlet
in short order. Then the upstream water rises until it flows around the plugged
up intake opening, dropping the head pressure, and starving the turbine.
Shutting down the power plant under these conditions is both difficult and risky.
The valve stems and motor drivers tend to be frozen in place or are unable to
close completely because of the cold and icing. This allows a trickle of water to
continue down the pipe with increased likelihood of freezing inside the
penstock. All means should be employed to keep a flow of water going down
the penstock to keep that from freezing solid and potentially bursting or splitting
or having it frozen until spring thaws. To facilitate this I have installed piping that
carries warm water (45°F) from our hillside spring (and domestic water supply)
to the intake structures. This warm water is directed to the penstock in the trash
conveyor enclosure.

Exercise extreme caution when restarting the plant after a shutdown forced by
extreme cold. It is possible for ice to come loose from the penstock walls and
damage valves, pipes and turbines. If ice in the penstock is a possibility then the
dump valve should be opened sightly to allow a low flow (~60GPM) through for
8 to 12 hours to insure all the ice is melted before starting the turbine /

The most risky procedures in plant operation are shut down and startup. A
running plant is far less prone to be damaged by nature or human error.

Gravel baffle box, aka Trash rack / conveyor.

The Gravel baffle box is still the (2007) original temporary wood construction
and needs to be reconstructed of more durable materials. At the same time the
badly worn down concrete and stone dam needs to be restored to its original
height as planned in this earlier graphic:

The rebuilt trash conveyor box may be left in the current place and configuration
with just an 8” x 48” opening added to the upstream side just above the lower
end of the trash conveyor belt  to allow water to enter. The trash conveyor has been
very effective in minimizing fall leaf drop and debris problems. The higher water
level behind the dam will minimize freezing problems in winter.

The Gravel Baffle Box: Raising the water level behind the low stone dam will minimize winter icing problems.

Net metering
The debiting and crediting of kWh is done inside the NET meter in real time as
power flows back and forth as local demand fluctuates.

Beckwith M3410 Grid Intertie Protection Relay
The Beckwith relay monitors the grid side of the system. If the grid goes out of
normal bounds it will separate BMH from the grid. During normal BMH-grid
connected operation, if the grid goes out of bounds it will also pull BMH out of
bounds with it. When the programmed trip point is reached the Beckwith will
separate BMH from the defunct grid and the BMH valve controller will attempt to
match local generation to the new load conditions for OFF GRID operation,
sparing the line men working on the dead grid, while continuing autonomous

Reverse Power Relay
The Reverse Rower Relay will monitor the direction of energy flow in the
connection between the BMH generator and everything else. If the water flow
decreases or stops and the generator output starts to drop below a
programmable minimum, the Reverse Rower Relay will open the relay in the
generator connection, preventing grid power from flowing to the idled generator
and causing it to 'motor'. Refer to the One Line Diagram to see more detail, or
the Power House wiring diagram for even more detail.

All monitoring functions are provided via webserver at:
After entering a username and password all real time data as well as accumulated
totals may be read remotely using a standard web browser. (Chrome / Mac seems
to work the best.)

The video overview.

Ask the Renewable Energy Guru: Matching Impeller diameter, head, and generator RPM in a Pump as Turbine Micro Hydro

Ask the Renewable Energy Guru: Matching Impeller diameter, head, and generator RPM in a Pump as Turbine Micro Hydro

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Matching Impeller diameter, head, and generator RPM in a Pump as Turbine Micro Hydro

Mike from Vermont said "...there is an existing dam which is in good shape (built by the state many decades ago), with  about 40’ of head, and at least 7 cfs of flow the majority of the year.  ...Based on this VERY limited information, and based on your experiences, do you think a pump could be a good option or should I stick with the crossflow? 

Mike, I think a split case pump to handle 4500G/min at 40' of head might be big, expensive to buy new and not as efficient as a as a crossflow. So unless you can pick one up for scrap iron price I'd stick with a cross flow. 

But keep your options open while you work on the intake structures, penstock, powerhouse and valving. When I started building 8 years ago I thought to just try a used PaT, Pumps as Turbine on 200' of head and ~1000Gal/min, half expecting having to go to Francis or Turgo turbines at 10X the cost. But the PaTs have worked out really well and reliably, only a few % less efficient, and much cheaper, widely available, and easy to repair / find parts. I control water flow to each turbine with a motorized butterfly valve very effectively. There is a bit of noisy turbulent flow at very restricted flow settings but that never occurs during normal operation, and would not be a problem with lower head pressures at all as long as the valve is sized properly.

(Rough rules of thumb, if the smallest port (pressure side) on PaT is 6" use an 8" motorized butterfly valve and a minimum of 14" diameter of penstock pipe if it is not too long.
I don't advertise this, but if you have read this far and email me numbers for your head, flow, pipe length and material, and number of degrees of bends if any, then I can give you better numbers for all the outputs and PaT specs just for some nice comments and feedback here.)

So, Mike, if you do go for a PaT you will need to match the pump impeller diameter to the available head to match the RPM to the generator. This dictates that you will be looking for a minimum impeller diameter and pump I/O ports that can still handle 5000Gal/min. So I estimate you'll need at least a 8"X10"X7"dia split case pump to get the full load speed up to around 900 RPM (The exact relationships you can find here and here on my blog. ) That means you are looking for a 30 - 60 HP, 8pole, 900 RPM, 3 phase, motor to use, direct coupled, as a generator. I doubt you can find motor and pump together, so you'll have to look for them individually. If you find a 10x12x larger impeller that might work also, if you cut the impeller diameter down to match the head.

Another option, to get a good impedance match for maximum power transfer, is to belt couple the generator to the PaT and tune the generator RPM with suitable pulley diameter ratios. This will incur a small % loss in the belt drive and have a slightly increased maintenance cost. 

The definitive test to see how well your equipment is matched up to your head and flow for maximum power is that your PaT and MaG with no (electrical) load should spin at around 2X the full load RPM.

FL RPM in the case of the 8 pole MaG is around 910 rpm, so 1820 just free wheeling. Adjust the impeller diameter downward to get the no load speed up close to 1800.

For a video overview see:

Happy Hydro

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why it has taken 25 years, so far, attempting to bring LENR to market.

Alternative energy sources based on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) are just beginning to be developed commercially, world wide. Many companies and governments are now involved in LENR research as shown by the links in my previous post. Unfortunately most are working to develop the technology for boiler replacements at large utility scale, fossil fuel burning, grid feeding, central energy suppliers.

The big corporate entities want to keep the technology away from home users under the guise of 'safety' and the unfortunate name(s) the technology has been given, even though it is much safer than any of todays fossil fueled home heating plants. 

The reason?...  an $800, two foot square box, that heats and provides 10kW of electricity for $50/year without burning fossil fuels would make the centralized grid obsolete overnight.  
LENR is clean, safe and the biggest threat to the whole fossil-fuel-electric-grid industry, because it makes possible decentralized energy. No grid needed. No monthly energy bills. 

So until this technology becomes more widely disseminated in the hands of the home heating contractor / installer we can just keep on paying our local Utility Company, and that is the way they like to keep doing business.  

But eventually, I see no reason that you won't be able to get your made in China, heating / electric box at Walmart, then plug it in and plumb it up just like a washing machine. 

No physical reason that is, but I'm sure the politicians and government bureaucrats with the help of Big Corporate Money will continue to slow things down to a crawl with tariffs, regulations and misinformation to keep central control firmly in their hand.

Literally, we need a new power to the people movement.

Monday, March 10, 2014

LENR reactor vessel nearing completion.

I have been kept busy lately just clearing snow and ice, but here is the latest regarding the new energy business. 

Also, see below for a picture of the start of my 4 inch X 8 inch research reactor vessel sitting on the corner of my SEM. Now if I can just find someone to re roof my house, clean up after my tenants left a big mess, repair a leaky cylinder on my backhoe, run my power-plant, etc, etc, I might actually be able to spend some time replicating some of the numerous experimental successes out there. Until I do I remain ...

Skeptically yours,

Larger companies working on LENR:

NASA LENR activity:

(This link seems to have 'broken' since I posted it.)
The 4th NASA slide features Rossi's 'Hot Cat' in operation. I was always very skeptical of Rossi but NASA seems to give him credibility, or were they just looking for a nice picture?

Mainstream mag:

Older video...

For the metals investors:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Some Energy Basics

Some answers, can you guess the questions? 

Yep, I am asked about pumping water back up the hill about once a week. And I'm not saying 'never works' , only that you'll never get more energy out than is put in. 

In some cases it pays! If electric costs at night are 1/3 of daytime charges you could make money by using twice as much electricity to pump the water up than you will get out on the trip down through the turbo generators during daytime with rates 3X higher.

A rough approximation for power (Watts) you can get from water at a height is: Gallons per minute times feet of height all divided by 14. So with the given 12 feet and 1000 gal/min you could generate about 900 watts for 15 minutes starting with the 15000 gallon tank full. To fill the tank would take a bit more than 900 Watts for a little more more than 15 minutes, and so you would end up with a net loss of energy every time around this loop. You would be better off with just a wind mill  and some solar panels, and using storage batteries instead of the water tank scheme for storage.  

One HP is 746 Watts, so a 100 HP motor would require 74,600 Watts for however long it runs with a load. And if you want to use the motor as generator you would have to have 74,600 Watts of water power where you only have 900 Watts for 15 minutes, or 450W for 30 minutes, or 0.225 kWatt hours from you water tank. So a half HP motor would be more appropriate as a generator.

Start with these basic numbers and estimates, then decide on the size of the equipment to handle the available energy. A 100HP motor does not make 100HP unless you put that much energy into it, either electrical or mechanical shaft rotation. It only converts mechanical to electrical and vise-versa. And if you use too big a motor (energy converter) for the energy input you will waste a lot of energy in bearing friction, windage and other losses. So it is important to match your machinery to the energy source. Don't buy machinery before you determine what the available energy sources can deliver. Measure head and flow, wind velocity over time, or sunshine over time, then calculate Watts or kiloWatts available and see if this will meet your needs at a reasonable cost. With wind and solar you can install a bigger mill or more panels to get more kWatts while the wind blows or the sun shines. With water there only flows so much for so long on average and a bigger turbo-generator may not be able to run efficiently or at all during low flow periods or dry spells.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Explaining LENR theory... How does this work?

I wanted to add this excellent clarification by David Niebauer to my previous post. Here is his conclusion:
Scientists have focused on the strong nuclear force due to the immense power that can be released from breaking the nuclear bond.  Less attention has been paid to the weak force, which causes transmutations and the release of energy in more subtle ways.  Recent theories that explain many of the phenomena observed in low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) implicate the weak force.  We are now at the stage where theory and experiment begin to complement each other to allow for the rapid transformation of the new science of LENR.
Journalistic disclosure:  David Niebauer is general legal counsel to Brillouin Energy Corp.

And the following by Krivit,

“The amount of heat generated from the Pons-Fleischmann discovery resembled a nuclear reaction. The tritium and helium produced were characteristic of a nuclear reaction. A research community developed as a result of the Pons-Fleischmann discovery. Central to this community is a utopian concept and hope for a world fueled by a new kind of clean nuclear reaction.
But there was a subtle but significant difference with the underlying physical mechanism: It was based primarily on weak interactions and neutron-capture processes, not fusion. Despite the growing body of experimental evidence that revealed this distinction, and despite all the attempts that Pons and Fleischmann's followers made to try to make LENR look like fusion, no amount of varnish could change the fact: "Cold fusion" too, was a myth. But LENR, which does not presume or assert a fusion mechanism, is real. “

( the above By Krivit, emphasis mine, Rob)

I'm not big on hair splitting semantics so if LENR can heat my house without burning more expensive, CO2 producing fossil fuels, lets get this train moving!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Ultimate Renewable Energy

Take away message from ICCF18, THE Cold Fusion Conference.

1. Anomalous heat, with power density far beyond what can be obtained from chemical (outer electrons, burning) reactions can be obtained routinely and repeatably.
2. If it is not chemical then the energy must come from the nucleus or its constituents as is borne out by the clear detection of transmutations, even if neutrons and other high energy particles are below easily detectable (and safe) levels.
3. AHE, LENR, CF or whatever the name, is a real and imminently more useful effect than fission because it can produce the energy of fission without the dangers or pollutants.
4. Efforts are underway, worldwide, to bring the technology to market, even absent a widely accepted theory of operation, as evidenced by successful demonstrations by several companies.
5. There is no doubt that as more testable theories are proposed the 'effect' will become better understood and be optimized for a multitude of applications including energy production.

Opening Session of ICC18    7/21/2013

All the LENR luminaries are here including Peter Hagelstein and some that I had met up at MIT's 'Cold Fusion 101' in January '13.
Peter handed me a 'LENR intro short course' sponsored by National Security Innovation Center (NSIC) that he had prepared for the early Sunday morning session that I missed. I'll be reading that until my eyes close right after this report to my friends and family.
I've got to say that the 200 or so attendees were top notch and many known to me by name and some by sight from their research, web activities, postings and previous meetings. I have the complete list so I won't mention any more names now. 
A great many of the big names I spoke with had renewed confidence that Rossi's 'E-Cat' is for real after the independent testing and reporting that took place a couple of months ago. At the same time, none could confirm having achieved similar power gains (COP =6) with any consistency and duration. So my question, often repeated, was how long before someone else hits the magic formula / potion / catalyst or conditions that make LENR a viable power producing reaction? I have a few other questions that I hope to have answered this week at ICC18. All in all a great start.
Will keep you posted.

Hi Condensed Matter Physics or Anomalous Heat Effects (AHE) or LENR or Cold Fusion etc. etc. followers,

No I'm not making light. This stuff is serious. Ten to twelve hours a day spent at Mizzou U and I've already got a serious headache trying to wrap my head around all I've learned. Talking ( which is not my strong suit) and listening to many scientists here, I've learned a lot about the discontinuities in the thinking about an appropriate theory that covers all the observed phenomenon. I watched the live feed from the Defkalion demonstration where the input was about 1900 Watts and the output was 5800 Watts! OK, maybe not as impressive as a gain of 6 or 60 that others have claimed but impressive to put on this kind of demonstration at this venue of 200 + knowledgable people in the field. Defkalion said they will make all the data publicly available. I have no doubt that if there is anything deceptive going on, this bunch will be all over it in a nano second. 
Another long, exciting day tomorrow. Will tour the Nano Tech facility at 4:15 tomorrow and the SKINR (LENR, AHE) labs at 11 on Thursday. Best of all are the in-depth one on one 'poster board' discussions where all related and even remotely related questions are discussed. 

More impressions from ICCF 18 in Columbia Mo. 7/2013 and some links.

A very impressive group of researchers, scientists and engineers meeting to advance the cleanest, safest form of energy ever discovered. Nearly as powerful as fission or fusion, these Anomalous Heat Effects, (AHE) discovered over 24 years ago by chemists Fleischmann and Pons, were largely ignored at the time because there appeared to be no immediate way to create military weaponry (explosions with fallout and deadly radiation) using the clean, 'atomic weak force'. Now, after nearly a quarter century, we are about to exploit AHE to solve the bigger problems threatening to destroy us all.

AHE also known as LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) and cold fusion still has a huge image problem with the general public which will need to be addressed. When we can buy a hot water heater that uses no fossil fuel and very little electricity (less than a 50 Watt light bulb on average) and with that (and a $50 nickel and hydrogen fuel cartridge) heat your whole house for a year and give you copious hot water as well, the image problem will disappear. 

The next hurtle for this to happen is regulatory (UL, CE) approvals and certifications. This being a brand new technology for home use, with a poorly chosen name and lots of vested fossil fueled interests... well, you can see that this will take a little longer even though similar devices already exist and are being tested with positive results.

Someone commented that the tools to be able to elucidate LENR phenomenon are just now being developed. I think this is only half the reason for the lethargy in LENR R and D.
It is not so much that research tools are lacking, it is more that the young scientists with the energy and zeal to apply them are absent. This became clear to me as I scanned the auditorium at ICCF-18. My guess is that the average age of the 200+ attendees was somewhat past retirement age. Our educational system and the way we fund it may be the cause. Hopefully, renewed emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) will help reverse this, but only if we are willing to fund education more equitably, not based on local wealth.
The Defkalion Reactor Cross  Section 195mm X 213mm, 6KW heat output

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The current state of LENR, aka Cold Fusion

Will LENR break out this year? I went up to MIT for a couple of weeks in January 2013 to try to answer that question and a few others I had.

Years ago (1989), when Pons and Fleischmann were attacked by physicists, MIT and others, I had also given up hope for a solution to the ever present energy crisis as well. After all, if MIT (hot fusion) physicists say cold fusion is impossible why should I disbelieve them? There was also the lack of a theory to explain the excess heat, apparent fusion reactions, transmutations, helium 4, no measurable radiation or radio-active elements left after the LEN Reaction ceased.

But then I came across a report by Dr. Eugene Mallove and learned (again!) why I should not believe those with self serving interests. In the years since Fleischmann and Pons cold fusion was discredited, research funding withdrawn, patents denied, and careers and reputations destroyed for even attempting to work in the field. So very little progress, until recent years, when Andrea Rossi re-ignited the field with his claims. Unfortunately Mr. Rossi's background is not without blemish. So, even though he may have hit on the magic catalyst to get the reaction to work more reliably with outputs of 6 to 40 times input, the skeptics had a field day.  I got excited, particularly over the fact that Rossi claimed to make his 'Ecat' work with ordinary Nickel and Hydrogen instead of the more exotic materials (Palladium, Deuterium) that other researchers had widely reported to produce excess heat well beyond what chemical reactions could produce.

There are now many companies involved in LENR research and many LENR patents have been issued.  Theory is slowly catching up to explain the phenomenon and the observed and measured data  experimentalists are producing world wide.

To be continued...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

OK, You've measured head and flow, what's next?

Assuming you have some good figures for head and flow your next step should be penstock sizing. Go bigger when in doubt. The pipe doesn't cost much more compared to the labor.  If you had 200' of head, that's great, how long a pipe will you need? Have you measured the flow through a couple of seasons? If you email me some pictures with someone standing in the stream I can give you a ball park flow figure.  
Also check with local water resources authorities for flow data. Or take some rough seasonal measurements as explained on my blog. You'll want to size your power plant so that you will have enough water to run 95% of the time. This is why sometimes it is better to have two turbines of different sizes so when you don't have enough water to run the bigger unit you can at least make some power with the reduced water flow in the smaller unit. The head is constant, but the flow is the variable to be able to adapt to. The best way to adapt using a PaT is to have two.
Pump/motor working asTurbine/generator units are cheap and it is nice to have two PaTs in the powerhouse, one for low flow and one for high flow. It also gives you a backup power source incase of breakdown, maintenance or repairs.

Concentrate, and don't skimp, on the  intake structure, penstock and powerhouse first. If you run out of money with those three items, just get a split case pump on Ebay save the $9K to 12K you'd be paying for an 'engineered system'.  For this site you would be looking for a 3X4X12 with a 20 to 40 HP, 3 phase motor. An 'end suction' centrifugal pump will also work but is somewhat less robust. 

Here is a source of used steel pipe on my Blog.

How far a distance is your planned home from the planned powerhouse? I'm asking because most 3 phase motors can be set up for 480V so you can transmit power over longer distances with thinner wire and then using a step-down transformer at the house will give you better regulation plus the standard 240V/120V service.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Turbine Speed, Torque, Flow, Pressure, and Efficiency Relationships

Here is some information you may find helpful in evaluating speed torque flow and power relationships in rotating machines. The graph showing these relationships works for most any rotating machine once you recognize that Volts, (the pressure pushing electrons) is analogous to water pressure, and current (Amps, the flow of electrons) is analogous to flow of water. And just like head Pressure x Flow= Watts so too Volts x Amps = Watts. Consistent units of measure have to be used to have this work out to the same numerical values.
In most well designed turbines, the runaway, or no load speed is ~1.8 to 2 x rated load speed. This means that under no load conditions the water slides by the impeller surface, without transferring any energy because they are moving at nearly the same speed. Another feature of the runaway speed is that the turbine output shaft torque is zero, (nothing loading it) no matter how much water flows through the machine.

The mechanical power is therefore null (about twice the rated speed multiplied by zero torque). The torque will rise by applying an external braking torque (the electric generator does that), while the speed will decrease, and that means you will start harvesting power (the water slips partially by the impeller, partially "pushing" it = energy transfer). You are moving (left on the speed axis) towards the best operating area where you will have rated torque, speed, and power.

Note that water consumption or flow also decreases so you are getting more power for less water and better efficiency. For simplicity the torque and flow plots are shown as straight lines whereas in most cases these curve, particularly near the ends.

Compared to this best operating point, if you apply even higher braking torque ( or electrical loading), the turbine speed will go down, while the torque will go up. You will ultimately reach the standstill point (turbine stalling), where the impeller is standing still, the water hits them with the greatest force (torque around 2 x T normal). Again, the power is null (zero speed multiplied by twice the rated torque). Basically, while you go from zero to runaway speed, the torque decreases with the speed, from 2x Tn at zero speed, to zero torque at 2 x rated speed. If you multiply this torque characteristics with the speed, you will have the power vs. speed curve, which is the yellow hill shaped graph, having it's maximum around midway between the speed extremes, 0 rpm and No Load rpm.

Note that for best efficiency, you will want to increase the turbine loading a bit, by reducing turbine speed (with a slightly larger pulley on the turbine, while maintaining synchronous speed on the generator). If you are just looking for maximum power (as when water pressure and volume are free and plentiful) run at a higher speed where the (yellow) power output peaks.

Happy Hydro

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Three Phase Motor as Single Phase Generator

To get single phase electricity from a three phase motor being spun as a generator you'll need to add some oil filled motor run type capacitors.
Here is a more fully developed diagram:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

LENR (aka cold fusion) gaining credibility.

Enter LENR into the search box to find out more.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Connecting your generator to the grid

Power companies require that you disconnect your generator from the grid whenever grid power is lost or goes out of spec. (This is different from the function of a generator 'transfer' switch.)
The Beckwith M-3410 Intertie/Generator Protection Relay is 'approved' to perform this function.

This is basically a computer in a box that monitors voltage, frequency & currents and opens or closes contacts when anything goes outside of programmable limits. You will need an additional contactor (relay) to carry the main current between your generator and the grid. The 3410 will control the 'coil' of this relay.

The M-3410 can also display and track voltages, currents, kWhrs and much more information on a connected computer.

You will also need a little more circuitry for a system with added features, like possible off grid operation or high voltage transmission (480V) for longer distances to the power house.

Friday, February 10, 2012

LENR... is it cold fusion after all?

I see the strength of this whole 'new energy' business growing to the point where they are no longer afraid to call it what it is, cold fusionand go up against the likes of MIT and NASA with real practical working devices. Maybe theory will follow but let's not wait. The (E)cat is out of the bag. It is time to get this out into the mainstream. See LINKS below for direct access to original sources. -  Rob -
Hank Mills sees the recent NASA video endorsing LENR as a spin attempt, pushing the Widom Larsen theory, which takes the "fusion" out of cold fusion; as a way to diminish the blowback on the political and scientific establishment who have been denigrating cold fusion for two decades. What will people think when they realize cold fusion is legitimate after all, and we could have had it 20+ years ago?
Hank's Preface / Disclaimer: The following commentary is very harsh against NASA and other entities. For the record, I want to make it clear that I do not think every single employee of these organizations has been actively working to suppress cold fusion research. However, I think it is obvious many highly influential and powerful individuals in these agencies have been doing so, along with certain of their underlings who do not oppose the agenda they are told to follow. If I ever hear a prominent NASA scientist openly condemn the suppression of cold fusion research (while using the term cold fusion) that has taken place for the past twenty years, I will adjust my views about that specific individual's motives.

We reported yesterday about a two-minute, non-technical video clip on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR), previously called "cold fusion", that has been uploaded to the NASA technology gateway website. It features senior research scientist at NASA Langley, Joseph Zawodny describing the new world that is possible from the Ni and H fusion science presently emerging.

By Hank Mills with Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

After over twenty years of successful cold fusion experiments (numbering in the thousands) being performed by hundreds of scientists around the world, it seems NASA has finally started the process of lifting their heads out of the sand about the phenomena. However, it seems obvious to me they did not "wake up" on their own accord, but were suddenly jolted to alertness by the reality of Andrea Rossi's E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) technology, which began to emerge into public awareness almost exactly a year ago.

Now, as we speak, Andrea Rossi is preparing for the launch of one million E-Cat units, designed for use in homes and businesses beginning this next Autumn. At the same time, he is continuing to complete the order for 13 one megawatt systems for an undisclosed branch of the US military. Also, there are multiple competitors in the fray as well, some trying to to figure out how his reactors work, some developing their own variations, and some modifying his system market as their own. From what I can gather from my sources, some people within NASA -- Never A Straight Answer -- have been in that fray, and the institution at large has begun to take notice about what is taking place. If they did not, they would eventually face massive criticism for ignoring such developments.

Regardless of the fact that NASA likes to represent itself as an open and honest agency that has the public's best interests in mind, they are part of the military-industrial complex. Many of their employees also have direct connections to the mainstream scientific community, and modern academia. Historically, these cult-like entities have been involved in the suppression of cold fusion technology ever since the era of Pons and Fleishman.

If it were not for the direct efforts of suppression by academic institutions such as MIT [see our story], government agencies like the Department of Energy, and hot fusion scientists desperate to maintain their careers; cold fusion technologies like the E-Cat could have already been on the market a decade or more ago. Instead, our civilization has been forced to continually depend on expensive and polluting energy sources -- at the cost of human lives. It's hard now to put numbers to such things because we don't yet know fully how much of a difference these technologies will make, and we won't know until they reach market penetration. Then it will become obvious how much better life could have been, so much sooner, had these things not been suppressed. The individuals and entities that have contributed to the suppression of cold fusion technology have blood on their hands. How much, will be for future tribunals to determine.

These crimson stains are not going to wash off easily. The repeated and ongoing efforts to suppress cold fusion are well documented. However, NASA is already scrubbing furiously to remove them, by promoting the "Widom-Larsen" theory. By advocating this unproven, highly disputed, and illogical theory, they can falsely assert that there are no "fusion" processes taking place in "cold fusion" systems. By doing so, it may be possible for them to distract the public from looking at the history of the situation. Even more importantly, they may be able to avoid reaping the consequences of their actions, or in some cases, inactions. In addition, by giving cold fusion a very different sounding name (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions), they can further avoid people finding out about their past deeds.

When you combine their tactics of promoting a highly disputed theory (which is only one such theory out of many possible theories) with their usage of the term LENR, their agenda becomes pretty clear. The following is a list of what I think they are trying to achieve by desperately trying to take the "fusion" out of cold fusion.
  • Erase the history of cold fusion suppression by MIT and other academic institutions. For example, the use of biased hot fusion scientists to perform tests, the altering of data, parties to support the "death" of cold fusion before replication attempts were even complete, etc. (Link)
  • Prevent the public from realizing that while futile "hot fusion" research obtained billions of dollars of funding, the DOD and DOE refused to provide funding for cold fusion research.
  • Stop the public from realizing the extent of "pathological skepticism" in the scientific community, which has contributed to the suppression of cold fusion technology.
  • Protect the jobs of thousands of hot fusion researchers. The fact is with cheap cold fusion technology, there is no reason for billion dollar hot fusion research to continue. By using the term LENR and promoting a theory that indicates there is no fusion in "cold fusion", they can try to protect these jobs.
  • Try to wipe clean the blood stains on the hands of the academic world, government agencies, and the military-industrial complex. They don't want the masses to realize that countless human deaths are the result of their suppression of cold fusion technology. Of course human deaths are not the only consequence. They are also partly to blame for high energy prices, the current global recession, and the massive amount of pollution that has been emitted into the biosphere.
The motivations of NASA are not so mysterious to some who are familiar with the history of cold fusion. They are perfectly happy with the status quo, and would not be investigating cold fusion (what they call LENR) if they had not been forced to do so by some of the white-hats among them. Since they have no other choice, they are trying to "spin" the reality of cold fusion in a way that will benefit them the most, and conceal the past.

If the space agency was truly composed of open minded scientists who supported the advancement of technology (especially those that hold the promise of improving our civilization) they would not have waited this long to admit the reality of cold fusion. Instead, they are only now coming around to taking it seriously, after years of suppression. If cold fusion is going to emerge, they want it to be on their terms.

If it were not for Andrea Rossi's efforts to turn cold fusion technology into a practical technology capable of producing large amounts of output, I don't think there would currently be a fraction of the interest in the phenomena. The entire alternative energy community owes him a great debt for the sacrifices he has made and his courage and tenacity in the process of developing and doggedly pursuing the technology.

Let's hope the public will not be manipulated by NASA and other entities that do not have their best interests at heart. We must remember the past, and hold those who have suppressed cold fusion accountable, in a peaceful and lawful way. We must not let the forces of darkness take the fusion, out of cold fusion.

# # #

This story is also published at BeforeItsNews.
Widom Larsen Theory
Here are the stories we've published previously at PESN where Hank has talked about what considers to be inadequacies of the WL theory:
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PESN Coverage of E-Cat
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