How to Develop a Technology Contest for a Heat Engine, Ala the X-Prize?

You'll likely think my idea is holey, but instead, I'm actually trying to develop it, figure out how to make it viable.

I'm looking to creating a technology-developing contest, and am trying to figure out how to do it.  Specifically, I'm trying to develop a specific idea of mine for a vortex engine, and am trying to work through the logistics.  Realistically, I figure all I'll need is $50,000 as prize money.
How to do it, though?  I have some ideas, but without being able to develop them myself, I'll need others to do that.  As  to patents, they won't be worth anything if they never reach market, and in the innovative process, assigning credit is counter-productive to synergy.  Instead, it is best, in my reckoning, to document my creative insights thoughout the process, and then patent, bolstered in my claim.
Essentially, I'm trying to create a vortex engine, and figure a minimal $50,000 prize would be good incentive for $100,000-a-year salaried engineer to make a working prototype, and more than one at a time, too.  As the one doling out the funds, I'll be at the the center, the point of aggregation, and if I can't leverage that position for profit, then I'll really be an idiot.


  • AguarancherAguarancher Solar Expert Posts: 263 ✭✭✭
    I see you making the solar forum circuits. Looks like garbage in, garbage out to me.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Here is one company that has some funding to design/test a Vortex Engine:
    An atmospheric vortex engine (AVE) uses a controlled vortex to capture mechanical energy produced when heat is carried upward by convection in the atmosphere. A tornado-like vortex is produced by admitting warm or humid air tangentially into a circular arena. Tangential entries cause the warm moist air to spin as it rises forming an anchored convective vortex. The work of convection is captured with turbines located at ground level around the periphery of the arena. The heat source can be solar energy, warm water or waste heat.
    Not sure that I would spend any of my own time/money on such a project--But there are people doing it. It is very difficult to get much energy from such systems (that have very low thermal/energy differences between two "heat sources/sinks").


    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • JoshKJoshK Solar Expert Posts: 232 ✭✭
    edited December 2015 #4
    The problem with this idea is at best it will run, but there's no significant power to take away without stalling the machine.
  • NoitartstNoitartst Registered Users Posts: 3
    edited January 2016 #5
    Thank you for you input; I'm reading up on it, and appreciate these points.  At this point, i am asking a lot of questions, and my most basic one is, "Why are man-made vortices are so much weaker than the ones in nature?"

    That is my biggest, most important one, at this point, and for that I seek input. If you're wondering why I haven't replied sooner, keep in mind, I am focusing on a lot of other things, and Sunday's the day I focus on things like this.

    BB.  You said: It is very difficult to get much energy from such systems (that have very low thermal/energy differences between two "heat sources/sinks").

    Okay, then; in other words, we are talking for lack of a better term, "air polarity," are we not?  Either we can find ways to make the cold air colder, or else we can find ways to make the hot air hotter.  Or we could do both, but making air hotter seems more doable if you ask me, and therefore more profitable to focus upon.

    Nature achieves greater polarity between hot and cold, yes?  Therefore, her vertices are more potent, yes?

    Making sure I get this, correct; assuming that I have, the next thing is how to heat air.

    One way I was thinking, was to energize the vortex via adding to it with oxygen.  Don't know how to do that effectively, but it would increase heat, and if efficient enough, it would increase polarity, opposites.

    Just throwing out ideas, at this point, and I've never heard anyone bring up the idea of combining a machine that splits water with a vortex engine.  Why?  Well, my thinking was like this:  Heat is power, so instead of using it to form a sluggish vortex, why not make a stronger one using hydrogen supplements?Might not work, but once again, I'm tossing out ideas, here. 

    Vortex engines suffer from finding a sufficiently strong heat source, and nature has it up on us because she has the whole atmosphere to play with, basically.  We can't scale up to her level at this time, but as much a possible, we need to co-opt her systems.   It starts, I think, by figuring out how to create a siphon that makes the upper atmosphere wish to fall into.  Explosives for pump priming, anyone?

    I have a half-baked idea for this, basically, for a suction cannon.  It works like this, basically.  Imagine two long cylindrical objects, one within the other--two cannon barrels, one within the other, with the interior one bearing the payload.  Why?  For the following reason.

    Fire another cannon identical to the interior cannon without the exterior cannon, and you will get inferior height on the cannon fire.  Why?  Thanks to suction, friend--thanks to suction.  The suction cannon, when it fires, diffuses not just the air in front of it, but also the air around it, and that means, essentially, that you are using  an extended cannon barrel.  As hot air from the interior barrel pushes the projectile up, the air and projectile will find themselves surrounded by air rapidly swirling down, trying to fill the vacuum created by the initial explosion, ala push-pull if you wish it that, even if I find that misleading.  In any rate, instead of just being pushed up by the heated air behind it, the projectile is also being pushed up by the air pushing down, trying to fill the internal vacuum.  Beyond that, the downward-swirling air has the add bonus of keeping the projectile pushing straight, i.e. up; make the interior barrel rifled, throw in a knowledge high math that I don't really get, and we're not just talking science project material, but weapons research.

    Just my two cents, but that is what I'm thinking of.  Call me crazy all you like.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    Natural vortices cover miles (tornado) to 100's of miles (hurricanes). The amount of energy available and the mass of air is just huge compared to anything on a man-made scale.

    Also, the energy goes into "making" vortices. You want to take the energy that would have gone into making a vortex and instead extract it with some sort of wind turbine. If you are sucessful in extracting a significant amount of power, then the vortex, by definition, has to be smaller/weaker than one that does not lose power to turbines.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • NoitartstNoitartst Registered Users Posts: 3
    And that's just fine if the energy pie is big enough, or the machine is sufficiently efficient.  If not, then such is an obvious problem. The question, is so to get there from here.  Also, what did you think of my cannon concept?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,769 admin
    As you will see from this youtube video (tank firing a shell):

    The shell passes the expanding gasses a few feet past the end of the barrel. You can find a gun firing and see the same thing (just inches beyond the barrel the gasses pretty much stop moving relative to the velocity of the bullet).

    Trying to channel expanding gases out to "help push" the shell (if I understand what you are suggesting).

    Have you taken any engineering or physics classes? Conservation of momentum and conservation of energy equations--Very quickly you will see that the energy to accelerate the "extra gasses" in the direction of the bullet will be very difficult (i.e., take lots of extra powder/energy to accelerate the gasses "faster" than the shell--And how quickly the energy of the moving gasses dissipate when they are unconstrained by the barrel).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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