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OS:Cowlishaw Endothermic Steam Engine

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An ambient heat engine is any mechanical device that utilizes ambient heat in air, water, or ground as an energy input source using compression or "adiabatic heating" (look it up!).

One example of this is the heat pump, which can achieve an "overunity" quantity of thermal energy in an enclosed space, by moving and concentrating existing heat from the exterior environment, at an energy "cost" of 'less' than the amount of energy required to move it.

This is true even if the exterior of the dwelling is at a lower temperature than the interior temperature needing more heat.

Efficiencies of over 300 percent are now routine, in that 300 or more watts of thermal energy can be produced with less than 100 watts of electrical power needed to run the pumps and fans.

A heat pump is in effect, an air conditioner run in reverse. Instead of absorbing heat from an enclosed space, then concentrating that heat by gas compression to cool the interior, by rejecting that heat to the even hotter exterior, the reverse of that is accomplished in now routinely installed domestic heat pumps.

Of course many are now reversible, so the heat pump acts as an ordinary air conditioner in the summer.

By effective use of refrigeration technology, an ambient heat engine generates mechanical power from existing "free" environmental thermal energy!

It is in effect, a reverse Carnot cycle engine. The Carnot cycle obtains mechanical motion by an expansion of a gas (typically with pistons or turbines), venting it's waste product (heat, and often other pollutants), out to the environment.

In the reverse Carnot cycle, an ambient heat engine uses the same general mechanical translation (tapping into the stream of thermal movement from hot to cold), but produces a waste product of COLD rather than waste heat. An ambient heat engine takes advantage of the fact that the compression of a gas concentrates (raises the temperature of) it's contained latent heat. This is also known as adiabatic heating, or changing the thermal profile of a substance without the addition of outside thermal input.

Simply put, compressing a gas (reducing it's captured volume), increases both it's pressure AND temperature. By transfering the gas' increase of temperature during the compression process to another mass, less energy is needed to perform that compression, while at the same time, making it ready for a "downhill" run. The thermal energy is transfered to another mass (generally a liquid refrigerant), and the heat can go "uphill", or make a hot space hotter, from a colder pool of energy, using less energy than would be required to heat that space in isolation.

This is not "FREE" energy, but it's a MUCH less expensive means to concentrate and use, the abundance of ambient energy all around us.

The term I use for the most typical application of this concept is an "Endothermic Steam Engine" or "ETSE" for short.

The most famous, but still suppressed realization of this concept was built and demonstrated in California in the spring of 1929, and was then called "The Water Powered Car" or WPC.

A reliable witness (my maternal Uncle Hugh Wilson, a now deceased teacher from Chico California), was present at the celebrations in Fresno California, when the Water Powered Car drove from Los Angeles California over several days in the hot California afternoons, only to disappear from history on that final afternoon "after much speachifying and a potluck picnic".

Uncle Hugh had observed it drive up onto a Standard Oil marked flat bed truck (an historic oil monopoly) there in Fresno. This was shortly before the stock market crash and the Great Depression.

Then subsequent active suppression by the oil barons, along with government complicity, helped erase our public knowledge of this device, including the radio and newspaper accounts, but NOT his eyewitness experience!

He reported that the newspaper accounts showed photos of the now unknown, but not forgotten inventor, holding a garden hose, filling his "fuel tank" with plain water.

He recalled listening to radio interviews with the inventor, promising a new era, one without the polluting, expensive, and economic stranglehold domination of petroleum.

Apparently he didn't count on the extent that corrupt oil executives would go, to maintain their stranglehold over our lives.

In my reconstruction of the Water Powered Car, water was not the fuel source (no fancy hydrogen splitting etc.), the thermal energy contained in the air was! The water was only used as a disposable refrigerant, which would help carry away the waste product of his engine, COLD.

This concept has been effectively suppressed for OVER 80 years now!

It's about time to get it back into our knowledge base, for we certainly need it. The ETSE is a FAR better "green" solution than allowing self-appointed overlords to beat us up (and heat us up) with "Carbon Credit" centralized trading schemes, and the like, while still polluting and ruining our planet, with them in charge of every erg of energy we use.

If others are interested in pursuing this technology, I will add to my public and private understandings here on

I am willing to reveal how that inventor took a standard diesel engine, removed the intake valve springs, flipped it upside down, and replaced the diesel fuel with plain water, as his only modifications (a forensic time period science reconstruction speculation on my part only, so far).

As described, the Water Powered Car would only operate effectively in high ambient temperatures (above 80 F.), before valve icing would compromise the machine, since it only traveled in the hot California afternoons over several days, across several hundred miles of "whistle stop", late afternoon California demonstrations.

Today, with the use of better refrigeration materials and pumping technology (in a semi-closed cycle adaptation), we can even help terraform Mars, using the needed atmospheric nitrogen gas from Saturn's moon Titan, by condensing it into a liquid, and launching it to Mars.

By using the relative heat energy from that abundant heat and material resource, stripped of it's useful heat for "fuel", we can ballistically deliver a "waste product" of liquid nitrogen to rebuild a human-friendly Martian atmosphere!

We can not only terraform Mars, we can also use that same technology to terraform Earth!

By having ETSE electrical generators needed to run the sea water pumps, spaced along solar salt water still rivers, venting their "waste product" (cold air) into clear air mattress-like condensation covers, deserts will bloom again!

Of course filtered krill and other particulates will be useful as sandy soil nutrient additives, however, the bottom will likely drop out of the sea salt market, darn! :)

It is possible to extract "extra" CO2 from the atmosphere along with "waste CO2" from burning coal for instance, combine it with ammonia from electrolyzed hydrogen and condensation distilled nitrogen (as high T&P iron catalyzed NH3), to produce carbamate (carbomate), which when dehydrated becomes UREA, a nitrogen rich fertilizer that can green deserts!

Now we just need to find a broad market for liquid oxygen, nitrogen, argon, and other atmospheric fractions that are "waste products" of an intelligent use of ETSE technology.

Interested? Tell me so via [ email].

PS: My now discontinued Inertial Propulsion website still pops up in net searches on the subject (along with my name). I can assure you that it works, but so far, not enough research money has resulted in less than commercially viable "anomalous" effects that were experienced and reported by the scores of contributors over the website's 11 year run.

The EndoThermic Steam Engine Jet Aircraft Adaptation:


A jet engine compressor to maximize contained intake air pressure also using ambient heat.

I have modeled and animated the initial proposal of the concept, because I can.

Interleaved, counter-rotating scythe-like turbine blades gather and squeeze air into a central funnel to increase adiabatic thermal heating of intake air. The non-rotating air and surrounding side jacket steam jets from this engine (not yet shown), will allow a heat exchanger transfer of compression (adiabatic) intensified compressed air heat, into a streaming boiler means to rapidly vaporize water into steam at high temperature and pressure, while exhausting the extremely cold heat-stripped air into a central tunnel column, without undue mixing until long after the jet has traveled further along the airways of our skies.

In the intervening space between the compressor blades, and the power tapping driver blades (increasing the dwell time pressure), a labyrinthine heat exchanger space to transfer compressed heat into the water before it becomes a steam jet, sits between the two, maximizing dwell time between air and water across the heat exchanger walls (also not shown).

The counter-rotating turbine configuration (center axis mounted counter-rotation gears needed), efficiently compresses the air, without rotating it on output, minimizing output mixing at ejection, allowing maximum thrust before the inevitable "dew point" collapse resulting from the mixing of the roaring surrounding outside water jet vapor, and the slower, small tunnel of supercooled air.

The graphic shown condenses the square area of the air intake manifold, into a much smaller diameter (2 foot diameter intake, with a 2" diameter tail pipe). In this model, the output "chimney" square area is 144 times diminished in cross section as the central cold air output. The steam rocket (jet) thrust addition is not shown, circle saddling the circumference of the device using a heat exchanger means.

Hot water, injected into a rapid thermal transfer heat exchanger means (not yet graphically depicted), will vaporize near boiling point hot water into steam, increasing it's volume by 1,600 times, to provide thrust, using onboard thermal and stored mechanical energy, and also ambient heat, that is inhaled and concentrated by the intake compressor turbine means shown.

Clearly, this motor means needs more thought, but it will not be all that complicated, once the initial principle of the ETSE is "grokked".

David E. Cowlishaw 10 May 2009

PS: I am willing to do NDA secured confidential graphics for hire (3D renderings and animations), but will reserve the right to inform you about previous art, public, or private. The last time I did that, I charged 10 bucks an hour, and 2 bucks an hour "machine time" while I could do other things (like watch TV, eat, or play video games), during rendering. I probably need to restructure my price schedule, if, and only if, I get overly busy. As you can probably see from my public musings, I still have a lot of time on my hands.

Links - MY Former Inertial Propulsion website now archived in Europe Public photo Album, latest works of DavidC - Author's Facebook page

Inertial Propulsion - archived by Google

Inertial Propulsion - at JLN Labs


David E. Cowlishaw

email: []

Formerly (service provider now defunct)