Some Common Questions:
1) What size is the engine ?
The engine is big - its 8' 6" long - the diameter of the engine is 16" wide with out the flywheels, 30" with the flywheels. The engine sits 16" off the ground. The weight of the engine is approximately 225 lbs. The flywheels are 30 inches in diameter. The overall envelope of the engine is 102" long, x 30" wide x 34" in height.
2) What is the power output of the engine?
The engine out put power is a function of several variables - a) temperature difference between hot and cold ends of the engine (limited by the melting temperature of its aluminum head) b) baseline pressure that the engine operating at. Both of these parameters can vary based upon how you configure the engine. At its simplest configuration (low hot end heat of 400 F ) and no pressure - you'll see about 100 Watts of power output. At its max power out put (high hot end heat of 650 F) and pressure of 30 PSI you see about 1 KW of power output. The power configuration is up to you and what works best for your application. We are adding additional design elements to the engine that will further increase power out, these elements will be available shortly.
3) What is the best generator head to use with the engine ?
The best generator for the engine is one that operates at a low RPM (around 400 RPM) for your desired voltage output of the system.
The engine will rotate at speeds between 70 RPM at it low end profile up to 120 RPM at its high end profile (ie high heat and pressure). The pulley size of the output shaft can be exchanged to reach different optimal generator shaft speeds. One of the generator suppliers that has a nice product is the Renegade II from Missouri Wind and Power - Also the Ginlong series of generators appear to be a good fit, but we've yet to test. Shipping on the Ginlong generators comes from China at a steep price.
4) Is the engine dangerous to operate ?
The engine is not dangerous to operate, but keep in mind you are using heat to run it and that heat can be dangerous to operate. Good ventilation is required for both the wood and propane front end Fire Boxes. The engine is not a steam engine and has no danger of explosion.
5) Is the engine self starting ?
At this time no, but we are working on a auto start feature run from your iPhone.
6) Does the engine need to warm up ?
Yes, it takes about 15 min for the engine to warm up to operating speeds.
7) Can I hook the engine up to battery banks or the power utilities ?
Yes, the engine will charge battery banks and with the proper electronics (inverter) can be connected to your utilities grid (so long as your local laws allow it).
8) Why are the shipping costs so high ?
The engine is big and heavy - we're working to reduce these shipping costs with specific carriers and will update the shipping costs as they improve.
9) Why is delivery at 65 days from point of order ?
We currently have a backlog of engines on order and are working to get those engines built and shipped. Each engine is built to order at receipt of order. It takes us about 3 weeks to build one engine and about 1 week to test and then 1 week to ship each engine. We are working to reduce this time frame as more people and engines come online. Note: delivery timing can be worse then 65 days from point of order - we recently shipped an engine that had hit the six month mark from point of order. Check with us first if timing is a significant concern.
10) Is There Any Assembly Required ?
Yes, you will receive one or more crates containing the major components of the engine - head, chamber, piston, displacer, transmission, flywheels, etc. These components bolt together with simple tools. You will need a screwdriver, open end wrench (7/16), and an allen key wrench. We estimate the assembly time to be 2 hrs.
11) Why isn't the Fire Box - Wood insulated like the propane Fire Box?
We expect the wood Fire Box to be also used as a space heater as well as an electrical generator. For that reason we ship the wood Fire Box with out any exterior insulation - this does reduce the efficiency of the motor. Some of the heat gets lost to the room air instead of going into the engine. You can insulate the wood fire box with standard fiber glass insulation - be sure to remove any flammable components of the insulation.
12) How do I hook the Engine up to my house ?
There are several configurations that you can set up dependent upon your configuration. Two popular set ups are Battery Bank or Grid Tie to the utility system. Here is a simple diagram on the components involved.
13) What do I need to buy ?
We've designed the system so that you can pick and chose the elements you need for your configuration. So folks have wood stoves or burners that they want to use in conjunction with the engine. Others may not need all the power and can eliminate the pressure box component of the engine.
If you want to max out the power from the engine and do not have a heat source (ie wood stove, waste heat, pellet burner, etc) you'll need to purchase the pressure box and the appropriate fire box in addition to the engine. Dependent upon your preference you can get the wood burning Fire Box or the propane Fire Box (we can also make a custom combined Fire Box with both wood and propane elements).
14) Do you ship internationally ?
Due to many international requests we have started shipping internationally. We ship port to port. You are responsible for getting the engine and any accompanying components into your country. That includes getting through customs at your receiving port, paying any type of VAT taxes / customs fees or any other requirements that may be in place at your boarder. The company we use is APX (http://www.apx-ocean-freight.com/), it is a partial container shipment. The weight is around 250lbs and we ship in five or six crates dependent upon your order. Costs are pretty reasonably - check our APX's web site for estimates (use a size of 1.51 CU Meters). Timing is dependent upon their shipping schedule.
15) Can I return the engine if I don't like it ?
If for some reason you are dissatisfied with the engine you can return it. But keep in mind you bear the costs of returning the engine and may have to wait up to 90 days for a refund. The costs for shipping the engine are high, around $300-$400. Point here is, be sure this is what you want prior to ordering.