Tag Archives: Internal combustion engine

Is This The End of the Internal Combustion Engine?

Environmentalists are killing the planet, destroying the economy, and stealing your children’s future.

A bunch of rabid environmentalists have forced the British Government to announce that all petrol and diesel cars will be banned from the year 2040.  Nobody ever accused rabid environmentalists of being intelligent, or having any common sense.  Banning diesel and petrol cars, (or will it be all cars that have exhaust emissions?), has staggering implications that the officials, politicians, and environmentalists haven’t properly thought through.

In Sweden, Volvo has announced that from 2019 all of its new models will be either completely battery powered or hybrid vehicles.  There’s a couple of interesting points here.  Firstly this move will put a whopping premium on the price of all new Volvo’s.  And secondly, hybrid cars still have to have a petrol or diesel engine that will produce nasty polluting exhaust fumes.

Diesel exhausts are killing us all, allegedly.

Across Europe several major cities, (Paris, Madrid, Athens), say that diesel cars will be banned from entering their environs from 2025.  The Hell-Hole that is Mexico City has followed suit ~ ha!  The mayor of London, Mad Sadiq Khan, wants to ban Petrol and Diesel cars from London by 2050.

These headline grabbing moves will achieve absolutely nothing except to cost consumers and taxpayers trillions of Pounds / Euros / Dollars.  Banning diesel and petrol cars in the UK will impose vast costs on drivers for little environmental benefit.

There is no conceivable way that the British electricity generating and distribution systems will ever be able to provide enough power for all those battery powered cars, (and vans and busses, and trucks?).  Just where will all the extra power come from?  The back of an envelope estimate is that all these electric vehicles will add an extra 30 gigawatts to UK peak demand, and that means we would need 50% more generating capacity.  That’s equivalent to another half-dozen huge nuclear power plants like Hinkley Point, or another 20,000 wind turbines, (which only work some of the time).  I have no idea how many acres of solar collectors it would take to generate that amount of power, but they don’t work at night, which is when most people will be charging their electric vehicles.

The British Government says it will install a fast charging point every 20 miles on major roads ~ imagine how many holes in the road and road works delays that will mean.

The British Government are also considering slashing the maximum speed on our motorways to 60 mph, and what is that supposed to achieve except more fines from speeding tickets?

This all seems a bit rich considering that the whole man-made global warming agenda has been exposed as nothing more than a massive fraud.  The best estimate is that if all the trillions of dollars Obama proposed to spend on his Clean Power Plan to tackle non-existent man-made global warming was actually spent, then global temperatures would perhaps be reduced by 0.057 degrees Fahrenheit ~ one five-hundredth of a degree.

Climate change is a normal, natural, and perpetual process which occurs, and has always occurred, with sublime indifference to man’s puny input.  ~  James Delingpole.

There are a few inconvenient truths that politicians and environmentalists would rather the public didn’t wake up to;

  • Man-made global warming / catastrophic anthropogenic climate change doesn’t actually exist in any meaningful form ~it’s nothing but a fraud, a massive scam designed to give politicians back control over an increasingly independent populace.
  • There is no such thing as completely clean power.  Green Energy produces nastier and longer term environmental pollution than does burning fossil fuels.  Nuclear Energy is a case in point, look at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.  Wind turbines have a massively negative impact on the environment, are bad for wildlife, and a blot on the landscape.  All batteries are inherently polluting, expensive, and dangerous.
  • Switching to electric-powered private transport will require at least a 50% increase in electricity generating capacity in any country that tries it.
  • A vast investment in an infrastructure of new charging points to support all these new electric vehicles will be needed.
  • Electric vehicles cost a hell of a lot more than an exactly equivalent bike / car / van / truck / bus powered by an internal combustion engine.
  • Electric vehicles are less capable, and have a shorter life-span, (about 5 years), before major maintenance is required, (new batteries), than do ‘conventional’ cars, trucks, and busses.
  • There aren’t enough qualified mechanics to maintain the huge increase in the number of electric vehicles the politicians propose.
  • Disposing of all of the ‘dead’ batteries will require a huge investment in a recycling technology that, as yet, doesn’t actually exist.
  • The value of used vehicles powered by petrol and diesel engines will plummet, destroying the economies of the developed world.  There is a vast investment in lending to finance vehicle purchases.
  • Internal combustion engines don’t have to run on either petrol or diesel fuel.  Is a ban on ethanol / methanol / vegetable oil / propane / butane fuelled vehicles also proposed?
  • Are politicians also proposing to ban aircraft / railway engines / ships / electricity generators powered by fossil fuels ~ otherwise what’s the point?
  • If Politicians think the backlash against Hillary Clinton was an isolated aberration, they’ve got a big surprise in store after all this banning cars crap.

In my life I’ve seen some insane ideas put forward by politicians at the behest of special interest groups, but a total ban on the internal combustion engine running on fossil fuels has got to be maddest thing I’ve ever heard.  But then, politicians, special interest groups, and bureaucrats have never been known for putting much thought into anything.

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.  ~  Henry Ford

At least I have the personal benefit of being able to totally and completely ignore all this banning petrol and diesel fuelled cars crap.  Not only that, because I live in a democracy I can cast my vote in ways designed to discomfort the current crop of lightweight, insane, political pygmies.  (And that’s an insult to pygmies and the mentally ill.)

Meanwhile, the Lotus 7 is 60 years old this year.  Now that’s a great car.


jack collier


read about the Seven

Free Power ~ Combustion Engines

For the Backwoods / Backstreet Engineer interested in becoming ‘greener’ self sufficient and possibly going off grid, there are some serious problems with the two common types of combustion engine.

  1. Steam Enginessteam-boilerIt is perfectly possible to build, operate and maintain your own steam engine, and you can power it using wood, (or practically any other combustible material come to that).  However, you will soon come up against the problem of the high-pressure boiler, (leave aside how many psi constitute high pressure).  Very hard to make, requiring official inspection, and a big bomb waiting to go off.
  2. Internal Combustion Engines4-strokeBasically your car / truck / tractor engine.  Doesn’t matter what shape you choose the problem you have is making clean fuel.  You can make your fuel from just about any type of vegetable matter, including wood, and you can make either a gas or a liquid.  But making methanol from wood is fraught with issues.  Gasification of wood is a bit easier, and you can even buy a small-scale gasifier in kit form.

The Stirling Engine solves many of the issues raised by the two more common combustion engines.  And, here we get into the realm of the impossible.  To a lesser engineer a Stirling Engine looks like a perpetual motion machine because it operates on a closed cycle.  For an engineer who properly understands heat a Stirling Engine makes perfect sense.  Heat = Energy = Work

The good part is that we probably get to explore our pyromania and build a fire.

At this point I could direct towards the study of Thermodynamics and Carnot’s theorem, but honestly my bible these days is D. A. Low’s Pocket Book for Mechanical Engineers, (1953 edition).

The Stirling Engine works because a gas takes up more room when it’s hot than it does when it’s cold.  If there isn’t any more room ~ as in a container ~ then the pressure increases.  Cool the gas and it will take up less room ~ the pressure drops.

Therefore a the operation of a Stirling engine is exactly like the essence of a woman, she will blow hot and cold, and it’s a man’s job to harness and control her.

To make a Stirling Engine 5 elements are needed:

  1. A temperature difference.StirlingEngine  This is the essence of a good heat engine.  It’s not raw heat that’s needed, it’s a temperature differential.  If you have a source of cold ~ (OK physicists can shut up) ~ you can make a Stirling engine run on sunshine.
  2. A working fluid.  A gas is best, you can use everyday air.  For the sake of argument our working fluid is any gas, (NOT Gas as in Petrol).
  3. An expansion cylinder.  This is where the hotter part of the gas gives up work.
  4. A compression cylinder.  This is where the colder part of the gas gives up work.
  5. The mechanical linkages turning lateral motion into rotary motion.

There are two basic models for the Stirling Engine:

  • Alpha ~ two cylinder engine
  • Beta   ~ one cylinder engine

For me, the two cylinder engine is far, far less complicated to build and operate than the one cylinder engine.  That is counter-intuitive, but I told you the Stirling Engine is like a woman, the logic is a little twisted, but it’s there all the same.

The benefits of a Stirling Engine are:

  • Low noise.
  • Very energy efficient
  • Simple in operation
  • Very low maintenance
  • Very scalable ~ you can make a little one or a huge one
  • Multifuel
  • Can use any combustable crap as a fuel
  • Can utilise coldness as a fuel

I could design, draw, fabricate, build, operate and maintain an Alpha type, 2 cylinder Stirling Engine using basic tools and techniques.  I probably wouldn’t need a machine shop, but access to one would simplify things.

Do some more internet research and you will find some resources to get you started.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are also some complete installations on the market, try here to begin with


But I would caution you NOT to use a pellet system unless you are allergic to hard work.  Pellet systems tie you to going on buying your fuel from the outside.  The thing about a Stirling Engine is that it should run on any old wood.  To get your free power, you need to get away from the bad idea of buying fuel.

A small Stirling Engine is an ideal power generator for anyone going anywhere near the green / self-sufficiency / off grid lifestyle.  And, you probably get to use up a hell of a lot of that wood you just happen to have lying around.


P1010853jack collier




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