Slam Valve Motor, supplying efficient steam engines for homeowners and professional solar installers
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             Bringing you the very latest in 18th century steam engine technology

Steam systems

The steam system for a solar thermal or a vehicle power plant is the plumbing system that goes with a steam engine. The system consists of a water pump, a boiler, a motor, a condenser, and a reservoir.  The water pump is not absolutely necessary but is generally an improvement.  The nominal water pump to use is a pressure washer. These produce much more water and pressure than is needed for most steam systems so these must be operated in pulsed mode. The water pump accepts cooled water and possibly oil from the reservoir. In many systems the water pump must also pass a thick mayonnaise like mixture of oil and water called emulsion. Normal steam systems require on the order of 1 CC per second at 200 PSI.

The boiler accepts pressurized water and oil, adds heat, and produces steam. The flooded tube type boiler can also break down emulsion into oil and steam. Boilers can accept heat from sunlight, combustion, or from stored heat in a thermal battery. Galvanized steel water pipe is preferred for boilers and steam piping.

The motor converts pressurized steam to work. The work can drive a pump or a generator. The slam valve motor is the superior steam motor for applications under 1000 horsepower. The steam turbine is preferred in the 1000 horsepower and up category. Exhaust steam comes out at condenser temperature containing some liquid water and some oil.

The condenser passes heat out. Condensers can be located within a hot water tank, on the pipe from a pools filter, inside a house to be heated, or can reject heat to outside air. Condensers pass heat at a temperature set by the system pressure. If the reservoir contains a vacuum pump, temperatures below 100 C and corresponding efficiency improvements are possible, at a cost of making heat harder to reject. The reservoir holds liquid water from the condenser, allows oil to separate, and provides a reserve in case the system leaks. Most of the systems oil and water will be located here.

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      Vacuum on the condenser side lowers the condenser (radiator) temperature and improves efficiency.  This makes heat harder to reject and also reduces torque on the steam motor.