Nikola Tesla Articles
Rebirth of the Tesla Turbine
Will the Real Engine of the 21st Century Please Stand Up!
It's been nearly 100 years since Nikola Tesla prototyped his first turbine engine, and the world is still waiting to see if it will ever amount to much. To understand why an engine with so much potential can languish in limbo for so long, we have to view in retrospect the state of the engineering world at the time of its development.
Just prior to the turn of the century (19th - 20th), gasoline and diesel piston engines were developed to the point where they could be used in vehicles. At the same time, Parsons and Curtis turbines were being developed for steam power plants. By the time Tesla began developing his engine, piston technology was fully entrenched in the auto industry, and the major players in electrical production - GE and Westinghouse - had already invested heavily in Parsons and Curtis designs.
When Tesla finally did approach power producers and car producers, they simply were too far into their investments, and were not interested in considering new technology - even if it was better. During that same time frame, the U.S. oil cartel was cooking up a plan to subjugate the people of the U.S. and eventually the rest of the world by making everyone dependent on the new “black gold” - oil. Engines such as Tesla's, that had the potential for lower cost and higher efficiencies did not fit into the profit schemes of the rich oil barons of that day. They saw Tesla's dream of a pollution-free environment as anti-American, since it cut into their profit plans.
Tesla's View of the Turbine ...
I have accomplished what mechanical engineers have been dreaming about ever since the invention of steam power. ... That is the perfect rotary engine. It happens I have also produced an engine that will give twenty-five times as much power to a pound of weight as the lightest weight engine of any kind that has been produced. ...
New York Herald Tribune, Oct 15, 1911 (pg1)
Tesla and his technologies were systematically swept under the carpet until the “great awakening” in the late 1960's to early 1970's. Some of us who were starting college around 1969 discovered obscure books and articles in campus libraries that spoke of experiments and developments performed by a completely unknown inventor - Nikola Tesla.
The old book that I unearthed and read from cover to cover featured a man and his vast variety of discoveries - in practically every area of science - and how he developed working prototypes for most of these discoveries. I was fascinated with his ‘earthquake machines’, death ray concepts, and most of all by his turbine. Not having the opportunity or resources to do very much with it at that time, the knowledge slowly cooked on the back burner for another 25 years.
Then in 1994 the turbine memory emerged as an answer to a pressing problem. At the time my company's focus was on developing UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles). As we stepped through the first design, we discovered that engines being used by other designers for aircraft were either high-priced bladed turbines or gas piston engines that needed major rebuilding every 500 hours. The answer to the powerplant problem stuck out like a sore thumb - Tesla turbines.
In addition to being the answer to the UAV power plant problem, we also discovered along the way that the Tesla turbine is the answer to man's greatest challenges facing him in this century: rapidly increasing demand for electrical and automotive power. For a couple of years running we've studied serious global issues such as global warming, climate shift, the high costs of food & fuel, and how all of these factor into sustainable growth for everyone on the planet - not just the top l% to 5%.
The Tesla Turbine's Technical Superiority
The Tesla Turbine is a remarkable machine in terms of simplicity, robustness, efficiency, and applicability but little is known, even among today's' engineers, about how it works and how well it performs alongside conventional turbines. Let's take a brief look at turbines in general and how the unique design and characteristics of the Tesla engine stack up.
Turbines, for the most part, can be classified as either impulse or reaction engines. Impulse turbines convert kinetic energy to shaft power by deflecting the gas path using buckets or blades, resulting in decreased gas velocity.
Reaction turbines use blades only in a compound energy conversion mechanism - which decreases both gas velocity and pressure, resulting in higher energy conversion efficiencies.
Figure l shows a close up view of a typical impulse turbine blade array. High velocity gases (steam or direct combustion) pass through the blades, imparting radial motion to the rotor and shaft. Gas velocity is decreased while pressure remains constant across the blades. Equal gas pressure on both leading and trailing edges of the blades is characteristic of the impulse turbine.
Figure 2 shows a close up of typical reaction turbine blades. They are shaped to create a pressure drop across the blade surface resulting in a reaction force in a radial direction. Since there is both a decrease in gas velocity and pressure, reaction blades are more efficient than impulse types in imparting shaft power. The difference in gas pressure (lower pressure on the trailing edge) results in a greater axial load on the rotor assembly.
Figure 3 shows a typical Tesla/boundary layer disk turbine configuration. Notice that there are no blades whatsoever- parallel, closely spaced disks use aerodynamic skin adhesion effect to resist gas flow between the plates. Resistance to fluid flow between the plates results in energy transfer to the shaft.
High velocity gas enters the disk pack through the inlet (upper left) in a path tangent to the outer edge of the disks. Outer-periphery round washers convert high velocity gas to shaft power through impulse and drag forces. As the lower-energy gas spirals toward the central exit port, adhesion, drag and centrifugal forces continue to convert kinetic gas energy to shaft rotational power.
The energy conversion mechanism of boundary-layer turbines is so efficient - even in just one stage - Tesla recorded an astounding 60% under ideal lab conditions using direct combustion. Compare this to bladed turbine best efficiencies of around 30% - 35%!
The only area in which bladed turbines beat out Tesla turbines is in power density or horsepower per pound - but that advantage could be completely overturned through advances in disk turbine design.
As you can see from Figure 4, the Tesla turbine is manufactured from simple stock materials - flat plate, tubing, round stock and aluminum square stock. This translates into potentially very low engine manufacturing costs (in large quantities). That, combined with the all-fuel capabilities of this engine, makes it the only choice for 21st century global power needs.
Sustainable growth is global progress without pollution overhead. It is the ability for mankind to move forward and create quality of living for everyone, even with a rapidly increasing population.
The major impediment to global growth is greed. Greed economics has driven accelerated growth with profiteering for a select few, along with unchecked pollution for over one hundred years, and the result is devastating to our ecosystem and world health.
Deregulated industries are accountable for most of the ills of mankind today including poverty, famine, disease, dwindling fuel reserves, and climate shift catastrophes (severe weather anomalies). The three main sources of air pollution are: internal combustion engines, coal-fired power plants, and the manufacturing sector.
The only viable technology capable of delivering the elusive sustainable growth formula - more power, less pollution, lower cost - is the Tesla or boundary layer turbine. While knuckleheads in government bank on fuel cells and IT as the saviors of mankind, anyone with half a brain knows that the ‘fool cell’ and its requisite fuel infrastructure will not be able to move mankind from piston engines to the new system for another 50-100 years!
In real terms, this means that the world will kill itself off in the mire of toxic waste before the idiots who now run the system (industrial-government cartel) deliver a timely solution. Piston engines must be tossed aside if we are to save the planet, and since fuel cells won’t meet the deadline, what's left? - the Tesla turbine.
The Tesla turbine is the only technology now available to head off the rapidly compounding disaster that now plagues mankind: self-inflicted death by industrial toxins. That availability is why the Tesla turbine is the real Engine of the 21st Century!
The Bush energy program (written by the U.S. energy cartel) describes a Pollyanna-type future in which all Americans will enjoy ‘abundantly flowing electrical power to rid them of the scourge of pollution and power deprivation. Let's stop right here and take a reality check... First of all, the plan calls for constructing a large number of huge coal-fired power plants just across the Mexican border to evade air quality legislation. Next, the entire U.S. must be rewired with high voltage power lines crisscrossing the entire country. Bush also claimed in passing that Americans would be happy to give up their lands and properties to facilitate construction of this divine energy system. Again, the reality is plain to see: this is nothing but a ploy to secure Bush’s rich buddies in a monopolistic, centralist utility extortion scheme over the American public.
The reality is that we already pay too much for utilities - much more than the cost of energy. To give you an example - my electric bill for last month was round $53. I used $17 worth of electricity, and the rest was surcharges and “distribution fees”! Does anyone else smell extortion here? It's extortion because government refuses to put a cap on greed, and we - the American public - must have the utilities to survive.
The obvious answer to the problem is to decentralize utilities to place the power of self-determination back into the hands of the public, as it should be! This means providing the technology for every household and every business to produce its own heat and electrical power. There are a number of technologies that can be considered for a quick fix, but the only technology that fits into sustainable growth strategies is again, the Tesla turbine.
Some of the benefits we have to keep in mind when considering any engine technology are:
- a) All-fuel capability
- b) Quiet operation
- c) Long life
- d) High power density
- e) Pollution free
- f) Low cost to produce
- g) Low cost to maintain
Of all technologies I have studied, the Tesla turbine is the only engine that fits all of these requirements, and is the only one capable of delivering on the decentralized utility strategy.
So many of you may agree with what we've said so far, but your big question is, “How do I get involved, and where do I get hold of this technology for personal and business use? How can I secure my future through decentralized utilities?”
PNGinc has set up a number of programs for both local and global involvement - from technology construction clubs to business and philanthropic activities. We believe that to make the world a better place for all of us, we must take back control of our lives from centralism - worldwide. In other words, break up the monopolies.
On a personal level we have formed the Phoenix Turbine Builders Club (http://www.angelfire.com/mi3/gmpr/ptbc.htm), which is free for anyone to join. We started the club by providing basic Tesla turbine construction diagrams and tips. Today we are able to offer a kit of parts that a mechanically inclined individual can machine and build into an industrial-quality, low-horsepower Tesla turbine.
The end goal of the club is to construct complete, all-fuel cogenerator systems for personal decentralized power (heat and stored electricity). With the recent introduction of the turbine engine component kit, we are well on our way to realizing this goal, as we bring more of the components online over the next 12-18 months.
In addition to the free club, PNGinc also offers its expertise in the form of philanthropic work, sourcing turbine kits to OEM's and providing consulting and joint venture opportunities to companies of all sizes. All of these programs are geared toward solving global growth problems by replacing old, dead-end technologies such as piston and conventional turbine engines with powerful, pollution-busting, cost-effective Tesla turbines.
The “grass roots” initiative in the Phoenix Turbine Builders Club is the first shot at taking back control of our lives through decentralization. As mentioned above, the primary goal of the club is to work with our members to build complete cogenerator systems at a hobby level and pace, making the project affordable for people around the world.
At the same time we are offering our technical expertise to small (or large) businesses in the fields of power production and vehicle powerplants. OEM’s looking for a turbine component for their solar-steam or combustion-steam electrical power systems may find our engine kits ideal for first product, followed by larger units developed through our consulting or joint venture programs.
Proprietary knowledge gained in our PNGinc labs such as improved disk geometry, ultra-clean burner and pulse detonation combustion techniques are key pivotal points for future growth in boundary layer engine systems. Advanced projects such as our Kinetic Energy Drive(tm) and aircraft propulsion systems, along with our initial cogenerator project, are destined to sweep aside both piston and fuel cell engine offerings.
After examining and comparing every known viable technology for pollution-free growth in this new century, we've concluded that there is no engine technology or type that comes even close to the Tesla or boundary layer disk turbine. Piston engines and bladed turbines had their shot in the 20th century and caused the polluted cesspool we all live in today. Fuel cells are too immature and won't be ready for another century.
Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes of a former life, the Tesla turbine is now emerging to take its rightful place as the real motive power engine of the 21st century!