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Self-Running Ambient Heat Engine

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  • Peter
    My thought is to build a double ended cylinoid diaphragm compressor much like a latching relay giving plenty of time to absorb and emit Heat.
    Last edited by rosehillworks; 09-01-2016, 11:47 PM.
    William Reed


    • Originally posted by citfta View Post

      Have you considered a Tesla Turbine?
      Certainly. I think I have a "Tesla turbo-generator" illustrated as one of the components earlier in the thread.

      What possibly interests me most about the Tesla turbine is it's virtually silent operation, which would be a consideration for residential use.

      It has been proven to be one of the most efficient designs. It is also much simpler to build. Anyone with reasonable machining skills and a lathe and milling machine can build one.

      It can be used as an expansion turbine or a compressor/pump. With some fairly simple modifications it can even be used as a fuel driven turbine.

      Last edited by Tom Booth; 09-02-2016, 10:50 PM.


      • Originally posted by Peter Lindemann View Post

        I am not concerned about whether other people believe this will work or not.
        Ok, but I guess I am. I guess I still don't know as I'm 100% fully convinced, until I see something actually running, with some sort of cooling system other than evaporative cooling. That is a demonstrated fact, that a heat engine can run on the temperature difference provided by the evaporation of water.

        Now, back to real science. there is no such thing as the "heat of compression." This idea was the brain child of James Joule and was part of his "proof" that mechanical energy could be converted into heat. He studied and published on at least 4 different methods to illustrate this process. They included: 1) running electricity through a resistor and measuring the temperature rise, 2) turning a paddle wheel in a tub of water and measuring the temperature rise, 3) pushing water through a conical sieve and measuring the temperature rise, and finally, 4) compressing a gas and measuring the temperature rise. The first three examples dissipate the initiating source energy to produce the temperature rise, but the fourth example does not!

        Tesla did not believe in the "Laws of Thermodynamics".... end of story!! He openly published on the idea that electricity behaved more like a "gas under pressure" than anything else, and that electricity followed fluid dynamic laws much more closely than thermodynamic laws. Before the Kinetic Theory of heat became prominent, heat was considered similarly. Carnot, who believed in Caloric Theory, developed all of the math to build heat engines based on the idea that heat was a subtle fluid. This is also, absolutely, what I believe.

        A volume of air is actually a volume of two fluids. One is the air and the other is its content of heat. Boyle's Gas Laws say that if I confine that volume of gas and mechanically force it into a volume half its size, both the pressure and the temperature will rise. This does not mean there is more HEAT in the system. It simply recognizes that both fluids were densified.

        The external, mechanical pressure applied to the gas is expressed as a rise in the pressure of the gas itself. This does NOT represent an "energy conversion." Pressure was added to the gas and it exhibits more pressure within itself. The heat content of the gas is now also forced to express itself within half its original volume. This is the temperature rise! But this represents the densification of the heat that was already in the gas, NOT the production of "new heat" by the action of pressurizing the gas. Arguments like this were originally raised against Joule's thesis, but were eventually ignored as the proponents of Kinetic Theory pushed Joule's work forward as "proof" that Caloric Theory was bogus. But as you can see, it did not make this reality go away!

        This is why you can compress a gas, remove some of its heat, decompress the gas and recover some (most) of its stored mechanical energy, and end up with refrigeration effects "seemingly" for free. People who fail to understand this are never going to comprehend WHY these machines can do what they do!!

        Best regards,
        Wasn't Tesla's entire argument based on the "fact" thst heat IS NOT A FLUID?

        He said that a Self-Acting Engine could work on the principle that heat, though behaving like a fluid in some respects was not such, but that it was a form of energy that could be transformed in it's passage through a heat engine.

        Because heat can be transformed into mechanical work, and vice versa. Heat passing through a heat engine WOULD NOT FLOW THROUGH THE ENGINE LIKE A FLUID BUT COULD BE TRANSFORMED into some other form of energy.

        If heat is really a fluid after all does not Tesla's entire theory of operation for his so-called Self Acting Engine fall flat?
        Last edited by Tom Booth; 09-03-2016, 06:27 AM.


        • Just a heads up. It might be possible to secure some funding for building a prototype. My girlfriend recently talked me into submitting the idea for an engine to a National Geographic Magazine contest.

          Four of the ideas submitted will be granted $25,000 each to help forward the winning projects.

          I got a submission in at the last minute, which turned out to be beneficial in some ways. Turns out that the ideas are listed by default with "most recent" at the top. Since I just got it in before the deadline my video presentation will be one of the first people will see on the site, apparently.

          I'd love to get some comments or questions if anyone here would like.

          My Idea was just approved for going live on the website yesterday, so it passed the initial screening.

          It also happens that I, or We, (My girlfriend and I) have found a place where I'll finally be able to set up a workshop here in Fort Plain, NY. I bought some equipment to build a prototype engine: metal lathe, drill press etc. but most of the equipment is still in boxes. That should change soon. We just got the electric turned on and should have the water turned on today or tomorrow.

          Anyway, here is the National Geographic contest page. I'm "The Air Juicer" guy, which right now is at the top of the page.

          National Geographic Contest:

          If you don't find it there on the front page any longer, try the "Most Recent" button,

          or here is a direct link:

          "The Air Juicer" - An Untapped Renewable Energy Resource

          "Air Juicer" is my girlfriends descriptive term for it.

          The video was limited to 60 seconds max, so I had to keep it pretty basic.
          Last edited by Tom Booth; 08-18-2017, 03:38 PM. Reason: edited links


          • I feel some need to reiterate that IMO Tesla's "Self Acting Engine" was some form of HEAT engine. Here are some excerpts from his article:

            ...Clearly, then, the problem was to discover some new method which would make it possible both to utilize more of the heat-energy of the medium and also to draw it away from the same at a more rapid rate.

            I was vainly endeavoring to form an idea of how this might be accomplished, when I read some statements from Carnot and Lord Kelvin (then Sir William Thomson) which meant virtually that it is impossible for an inanimate mechanism or self-acting machine to cool a portion of the medium below the temperature of the surrounding, and operate by the heat abstracted. These statements interested me intensely....

            Conceive, for the sake of illustration, [a cylindrical] enclosure T, as illustrated in diagram b, such that energy could not be transferred across it except through a channel or path O, and that, by some means or other, in this enclosure a medium were maintained which would have little energy, and that on the outer side of the same there would be the ordinary ambient medium with much energy. Under these assumptions the energy would flow through the path O, as indicated by the arrow, and might then be converted on its passage into some other form of energy. The question was, Could such a condition be attained? Could we produce artificially such a "sink" for the energy of the ambient medium to flow in? Suppose that an extremely low temperature could be maintained by some process in a given space; the surrounding medium would then be compelled to give off heat, which could be converted into mechanical or other form of energy, and utilized. By realizing such a plan, we should be enabled to get at any point of the globe a continuous supply of energy, day and night. More than this, reasoning in the abstract, it would seem possible to cause a quick circulation of the medium, and thus draw the energy at a very rapid rate.

            Here, then, was an idea which, if realizable, afforded a happy solution of the problem of getting energy from the medium. But was it realizable? I convinced myself that it was so in a number of ways, ... Heat, like water, flows from high to low level, ... Heat, like water, can perform work in flowing down,... But can we produce cold in a given portion of the space and cause the heat to flow in continually? To create such a "sink," or "cold hole," as we might say, in the medium, would be equivalent to producing in the lake a space either empty or filled with something much lighter than water. This we could do by placing in the lake a tank, and pumping all the water out of the latter. We know, then, that the water, if allowed to flow back into the tank, would, theoretically, be able to perform exactly the same amount of work which was used in pumping it out, but not a bit more. Consequently nothing could be gained in this double operation of first raising the water and then letting it fall down. This would mean that it is impossible to create such a sink in the medium. But let us reflect a moment. Heat, though following certain general laws of mechanics, like a fluid, is not such; it is energy which may be converted into other forms of energy as it passes from a high to a low level. To make our mechanical analogy complete and true, we must, therefore, assume that the water, in its passage into the tank, is converted into something else, which may be taken out of it without using any, or by using very little, power. ... If the process of heat transformation were absolutely perfect, no heat at all would arrive at the low level, since all of it would be converted into other forms of energy. ... We would thus produce, by expending initially a certain amount of work to create a sink for the heat ... to flow in, a condition enabling us to get any amount of energy without further effort. This would be an ideal way of obtaining motive power. We do not know of any such absolutely perfect process of heat-conversion, and consequently some heat will generally reach the low level, ... But evidently there will be less to pump out than flows in, or, in other words, less energy will be needed to maintain the initial condition than is developed by the fall, and this is to say that some energy will be gained from the medium. What is not converted in flowing down can just be raised up with its own energy, and what is converted is clear gain. Thus the virtue of the principle I have discovered resides wholly in the conversion of the energy on the downward flow."

            The full article can be found at either of these links:

            "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy" by Nikola Tesla

            PBS: Tesla - Master of Lightning: Selected Tesla Articles
            It seems to me that Tesla here makes absolutely clear exactly what he's talking about. He starts out discussing the opinions of some authorities of the day "Carnot and Lord Kelvin (then Sir William Thomson)" Putting the topic clearly in the realm of thermodynamics. How many times does he go on to use the word HEAT? He also talks about a heat "sink" or "cold hole".

            Tesla was not talking in code or riddles here or even much in the way of analogy except to illustrate his point about heat.

            True, electrical voltage is rather like air or water pressure and Amperage is kind of like the volume of flow of water and so forth but I do not think it is a waste of time to take Tesla's clear statements at their face value and build on the ideas he clearly stated. I don't think there is any reason to veer off from the arena of Thermodynamics, heat and heat engines.

            When Tesla says his device comprised an "Air compressor" and "refrigerating unit" and talks about Lind and Dewar and liquid air, I see no reason to conclude that he was perhaps talking in riddles or code "to hide his true message". There is nothing mysterious or cryptic in his plain words.

            What I see as a real problem in Tesla's day is that virtually the only known "Heat Engine" was the Steam Engine.

            To run a steam engine it is necessary to get something expansive INSIDE the cylinder, so naturally liquid air would be a means of doing that.

            Make liquid air and you can have a kind of "free energy" by boiling the liquid air in a steam engine using ambient heat. That would be your "cold hole" for the surrounding heat to flow into.

            It wasn't until the 1980's that Ivo Kolin devised a Low Delta T Stirling that exceeded 50% efficiency. (about 60%).

            There is absolutely no need for any liquid air in an LTD Stirling engine. But the same principle Tesla described could be utilized to run an LTD type Stirling Engine with greater facility.


            • A recent presentation by Peter Lindemann on this subject:



              • I have been doing some experiments with Stirling engines (running on ice) which seem to validate Tesla's belief that a heat engine would allow LESS heat to reach the sink or "cold hole" as he called it, due to converting the incoming heat into some other form of energy.

                When I posted,to a science/physics forum, inquiring about these results I was banned for supposedly "invoking perpetual motion"

                Thread 'Should ice take longer to melt when used to run a heat engine?'


                • Hi Tom:
                  Following you with much interest on this subject. I have talked with Peter a bit on this subject. I have been on the hunt for a Sterling Engine that would power the pump but so far no luck. They just do not have much power. I came up with an idea to use a home built axial flux motor 12v to drive a set of six pumps so as not to bog it down. It has to only produce 15psi and that is nothing real hard. To power this pump I got the idea of using Peltier TEG units that would be between both radiators on the bottom half. Using a pump for cars, I was able to pump up a heat radiator out of a late model toyota. It got hot. Depending on how tight I had the ballbearing valve set, could regulate the temp. Releasing that pressure into another radiator slowly, it got cold. Proves the theory to me anyhow. They are a bit spendy but then, hey, if it gens enough to run the pump and push out cold and hot air as well, then its worth it. Have a source for them so will see what it takes to put this monster together and play a bit. A 12v batt to start it and let it run when up to temp is good by me.


                  • Originally posted by thaelin View Post
                    Hi Tom:
                    Following you with much interest on this subject. I have talked with Peter a bit on this subject. I have been on the hunt for a Sterling Engine that would power the pump but so far no luck. They just do not have much power. I came up with an idea to use a home built axial flux motor 12v to drive a set of six pumps so as not to bog it down. It has to only produce 15psi and that is nothing real hard. To power this pump I got the idea of using Peltier TEG units that would be between both radiators on the bottom half. Using a pump for cars, I was able to pump up a heat radiator out of a late model toyota. It got hot. Depending on how tight I had the ballbearing valve set, could regulate the temp. Releasing that pressure into another radiator slowly, it got cold. Proves the theory to me anyhow. They are a bit spendy but then, hey, if it gens enough to run the pump and push out cold and hot air as well, then its worth it. Have a source for them so will see what it takes to put this monster together and play a bit. A 12v batt to start it and let it run when up to temp is good by me.
                    Historically, by my own analysis, a common element of all the apparent ambient heat engines that are at least rumored to have worked involved compressing and cooling air simultaneously. Compressing air and immediately removing the heat generated makes the air contract from the cooling, making the compression comparatively easy, like pushing a car DOWN an incline.

                    The problem with that is the resulting heat ends up being very low grade. Back in the old days cooling was often accomplished by drawing water from a cold stream that flowed continuously so the amount of heat actually being dumped; essentially "FREE refrigeration"; was easy to overlook.

                    So, in essence, having availed oneself of this free compression by cooling, accomplished by jacketing the compressor pump with an endless supply of frigid river water, the end result is a continuous supply of cold compressed air acquired with little effort on the part of the compressor, nevertheless, able to drive a powerful pneumatic air motor.

                    The pre-cooled compressed air, allowed to expand through any kind of work producing air engine or turbine causes the expanding air to lose energy to WORK output. A natural consequence of the conservation of energy. The temperature of the exhaust air from the air motor can drop down to near cryogenic range temperature.

                    At such an extremely low temperature, "low grade" ambient heat is comparatively hot. What was "low grade" heat, relative to cryogenic cold becomes, in effect "high grade" heat.

                    The "key" element is the extremely high heat capacity of water to draw off the heat of compression to make compression easy.

                    Is it very difficult to obtain cooling water? I don't think so.

                    A Stirling engine can be designed to run on relatively low grade heat. Of course it runs better on high grade heat, but provided with cold instead, it can run on the endless supply of the surrounding ambient heat.

                    Hot cooling water, if it serves no other immediate purpose can be easily cooled back down by just allowing it to cool down naturally. What keeps a cold running stream running cold? Nothing really. Some evaporative cooling perhaps, otherwise, just letting it sit.

                    But, it is almost impossible to immediately remove all the heat of compression, because compressed air produces high heat in the thousands of degrees range instantly. One quick plunge of a fire piston being a case in point.

                    So the cooling water will likely be at least WARM.

                    The warm cooling water could be at least partially cooled by using it to run the Stirling engine, which would be PRIMARILY running on ambient heat alone.

                    The Stirling engine, is, of course, being used to power the compressor.

                    This is really nothing other than an "Air Cycle" refrigeration system using a HEAT powered compressor driven by a Stirling engine rather than an electric motor.

                    The system you describe above: "Releasing that pressure into another radiator slowly, it got cold." could be improved.

                    Instead of just allowing the compressed air to expand directly from one radiator into another through a valve, use, instead of a valve, an air motor or turbine that powers some kind of load. The WORK output takes additional heat out of the air as it expands. You should find that the air gets MUCH colder than by ordinary expansion alone.

                    Possibly the air motor between the two radiators, can be bootstrapped in some way to assist the compressor.

                    A careful analysis of Tesla's article pretty much reveals all of this, though he writes in very broad generalized terms.

                    The air motor running on COLD compressed air and exhausting COLDER air is what generates Tesla's "COLD HOLE".

                    Tesla recognize that earths atmosphere is already a virtual blast furnace, blazing heat all around. The problem is not how to generate heat, but rather, how to maintain a "cold hole".

                    Step 1. Immediately cooling the air AS IT IS COMPRESSED. If the resulting heat is "Low Grade", no real worry there. heat isn't what is needed. If worst comes to worse, throw it away. Cooling the air by cooling the compressor with cold water, makes compression easy. Possibly the air could be pre-cooled by drawing it through a tube in a cold water bath.

                    Step 2. Cool the compressed air further by taking more energy out of the air by EXPANDING THE COLD COMPRESSED AIR through any kind of pneumatic motor, engine or turbine. Efficiency is of little concern here, as again, the goal is the production of COLD, but, some energy can be reclaimed here from the air motor.

                    Step 3. Use the temperature difference between the cold air motor exhaust and ambient heat to operate a Stirling engine.

                    I believe, with a Low Temperature Difference Stirling engine, all this could be "Self Acting" at near ambient temperature. By that I mean, cold within a manageable range, say freeing down to -50F or so should be easily obtainable. Theoretically, the colder the "cold hole" the more energy could be made available. Tesla was talking about Liquid air or cryogenic cold for maximum power output, but IMO that approach creates near insurmountable problems. Material issues, containment/insulation issues, expense issues.

                    I've mostly been experimenting with "Toy" Stirling engines running on ordinary ice from the kitchen refrigerator.

                    If the principle is sound, it should work at any scale. Any temperature range.
                    It is essentially using water cooling to run an ambient heat engine, which has already been demonstrated with the dipping bird. Essentially the same principle.

                    The bird heats up by ambient heat, compressing the gas in the head, which is simultaneously cooled with evaporating water which has a mechanical effect. The compression and cooling are very slight. The birds head is a "cold hole" which renders the ambient heat available to run the heat engine.

                    A Stirling heat engine should produce a more practical result without necessitating going to cryogenically cold temperature.

                    Another thought I've had lately might be to use some sort of Veloko Milkovic type pendulum pump. In one of his videos, I recall he mentions that this pendulum/gravity power could be used to compress air rather than pumping water. Maybe a Stirling engine could be used just to keep the pendulum swinging.

                    But does this "pendulum power" really save energy? These guys seem to take it seriously:



                    • Here is an example of what happens when compressed air is expanded and made to do work.

                      This "Tesla turbine variant" running on "moist compressed air" is not powering any load, other than overcoming its own friction. If it was powering something, the cooling effect would be greater.

                      Ice formation due to moisture is one of the issues to overcome.

                      I first encountered this phenomenon working in an engine repair shop. using an ordinary shop compressor and air impact wrench, one of the mechanics had an accident.

                      He was removing some long head bolts from an engine and neglected to keep his finger away from the air tools exhaust port and cryo-froze a finger, which stuck to the impact wrench and broke off when he put the tool down. His finger became brittle like glass from the cold air exhaust.

                      This was in Arizona, in the desert where it gets quite cold at night, so the compressed air sitting in the tank overnight before work was cold to begin with.

                      This guy also is trying to explain how his air engine, generating electricity also exhausts cold "ice particles".

                      This seems to me to be a rather remarkable result for such a crude setup.

                      The cold exhaust, being very dense, it is supposedly possible to exhaust the cold dense air directly back into the tank for reheating.

                      This may be an actual video of that very thing:

                      A Self Running Ambient Heat Engine?

                      In theory, hooking this up to an alternator/generator would increase the cooling of the exhaust making it easier to inject back into the tank.

                      But is this video actually real? It would help with credibility if there was not a compressor running in the background but I'm not convinced it is necessarily a fake. It is not unlike other similar perpetual compressed air engines like Bob Neal.

                      Could it be that simple?

                      The main drawback is that even if it actually does work, Nobody will ever believe it. Scientists everywhere will come out of the woodwork to denounce the engine and its inventor pointing out that it violates the second law of thermodynamics. Since it is impossible, it must be a fraud. And so it goes decade after decade.

                      It appears that there is mounted on the above engine a conventional refrigeration, solenoid type expansion valve, similar to this one;


                      Which, to me, possibly makes sense.

                      The engine SHOULD BE exhausting frosty cold air. It appears that the expansion valve is mounted close to the exhaust, with the exhaust passing through the valve. Possibly the solenoid is being controlled by the engines own magneto, which would not be needed for generating a spark.

                      If I had to hazard a guess, such a valve could be adjusted to allow a bit of very dense cold air to pass through and into the tank when the exhaust pressure is at a maximum then close as that same air just allowed through absorbs ambient heat and expands. As the air pressure in the tank then drops slightly to run the engine there would be a slight pressure drop and the valve could open allowing another stream of cold dense air through.

                      This type of closed loop air engine would not have a tremendous pressure difference between intake and exhaust.

                      It is unfortunate that the video is so unsteady and the explanation of how this engine is supposed to work so incomplete, but I think that there is reason to believe that there is a theoretical basis for operation and that it may be genuine.

                      as far as I can tell, it looks as though the original exhaust port on the engine is plugged by a pipe that terminates in an ordinary shut off valve.

                      The refrigerator expansion valve, if that's what it is, looks like it was tapped directly into the top of the engine head.

                      The idea there, perhaps, is that the exhaust is not exhausted in a normal way, through the exhaust port in the back of the engine. Probably the exhaust stroke of the engine is more a compression stroke directly into the expansion valve.

                      The four stroke engine acting as both a single acting air engine in intake down stroke and air compressor on the up exhaust stroke. No need for the usual gas engine closed valve compression or to atmosphere exhaust stroke.

                      Internally, the valve lifter was probably removed so that the valves are always closed.

                      There is no valve at the spark plug hole, used as an air intake. So, what controls the air input to the engine?
                      Last edited by Tom Booth; 10-26-2021, 10:57 AM.


                      • There is some large mess of something wrapped up in blue plastic in the air engine input line, very briefly shown in the video. Maybe some kind of silver knob above that.

                        In theory maybe, if there is a theory, I'm guessing that logically the input should have some kind of input control mechanism to cut off the air supply once the piston is driven down.

                        The blue mess above the engine is the only possible candidate I can see.

                        Why is it wrapped up? Insulation perhaps? To hide the secret valve mechanism?

                        What's under the plastic. Maybe desiccant to keep the air dry? air filter? Pressure control valve of some sort?

                        Anyway, there SHOULD be some cut off valve of some kind somewhere so perhaps it is under the blue plastic. By what mechanism it would open and close I don't know. Perhaps pressure controlled, similar to the expansion valve, as there seems to be no other visible mechanism.



                        • Here is an example of the sort of inlet control valve I was looking for.

                          This air engine uses the spark plug hole for both intake and exhaust, which is probably less (thermally) efficient as there would be some mixing of the warm intake air with the cold exhaust through the common inlet/exhaust valve and piping.

                          As a result of not keeping the intake and exhaust isolated, the comparatively warm exhaust of this engine is probably nowhere near cold enough to make recycling of the exhaust back into the tank possible.

                          Nevertheless, it is a good example of one possible DIY compressed air engine intake control valve.

                          The fog of condensed water vapor at the exhaust, especially when a load is applied to the shaft indicates there is a lot of cooling, enough to condense moisture out of the air, in spite of the lack of thermal isolation.

                          A typical cast iron IC engine and metal piping are such a good thermal conductors it's a wonder there is any cooling.

                          An acrylic cylinder head and PVC pipe for the exhaust, or some other non conducting material would help prevent the potentially cold exhaust from warming up before it passes a check valve or whatever back into the tank.

                          In the earlier video, there is a bulge in the exhaust return pipe that I think may be a check valve.
                          Last edited by Tom Booth; 10-26-2021, 05:46 PM.


                          • Possible return line check valves:
                            Last edited by Tom Booth; 10-26-2021, 06:08 PM.


                            • Take note that ordinary compressed air gets quite cold when it expands. As demonstrated in this next video.

                              But the effect, the cooling is much more extreme if the air is expanded through a turbine or reciprocating (piston type) air engine or motor.

                              The energy ("work") taken out of the air when used to drive a load on a turbine or engine reduces the temperature much more than mere free expansion as shown in the video

                              This seems counter intuitive. Work output AND additional cooling as a consequence?

                              The method of cooling by extracting work from compressed air, by using the compressed air to drive an engine or turbine (with a load) is an improvement over Linde's air cooling/liquefaction methodology that Tesla was familiar with and so excited about. (See for example Claude method of air liquefaction.)



                              • Thanks for the comeback. Wanted to make a small demo mode unit and came up with a pair of CPU coolers for the radiators. Since I have some TEC's, thought I would see how far I can go with them as a base. They do out voltage but not as a teg does. 35psi pump and will see the out.