I am now in Berrien Springs, Michigan, for a 2 day visit at the Steam Automobile Club of America (SACA) annual meeting in Chicagoland. I am staying with Tom Kimmel, club president – a jovial fellow who also runs a significant plant propagation nursery for ornamentals.
Tom is an interesting fellow, like the other steam people that I’ve yet to meet. He is a historian by training, but also has enough command of steam power to be able to critique steam system design. This is interesting – as it demonstrates that non-technical people can make significant contribution to technical development of relevant topics.
There are several goals for my trip:
- First, we will be building a stove with heat exchangers for producing at least hydronic space heating. Goal number one is to come up with an effective heat exchanger design.
- We are leaning towards a 1 inch pipe monotube heat exchanger – which may be sufficient to run a steam engine – for a combined heat and power system at Factor e Farm. My goal is to understand the feasibility of such a system, using an off-shelf steam engine from Tinytech Plants.
- Determine feasibiliy of our proposed Steam Engine Construction Set – a modular, scalable steam engine design that can be used for stationary and motive powe.
- Determine the research directions of OSE for the Steam Engine Construction Set, with particular emphasis on contributions to a Steam Power Automobile for the Twenty-First Century. Jerry Peoples, one of the people at this meet, has laid out the technical requirements for such a car. In short, he proposes that integrated design is the main missing requirement. This is aligned with our thinking – as we have shown that integrated design is key to the cost reductions of open hardware.