Anonymous
Anonymous asked in EnvironmentAlternative Fuel Vehicles · 3 years ago

90 percent efficient internal or external combustion engine?

My hot water heater burns natural gas. So does my heating system for my home. However, it occurred to me that my car's internal combustion engine produces a lot of waste heat. So two ideas popped up in my mind.

One was to take and bottle natural gas to use in my car after it was converted to run on natural gas. Then I'd have a large insulated coolant tank that I'd run the hot coolant from the engine into. Whenever I get home I could swap the hot coolant from this tank for cooler coolant in a tank in my house. The house would then use that heat source to heat the water in the hot water heater.

But since that seemed a bit too complicated I thought of using the natural gas to run a stationary steam, stirling or internal combustion engine. The waste heat would heat the hot water heater and even possibly the house. Then I'd use the engine to run a generator and charge my electric car. On cold days, when I have to heat the house more, I could possibly run the engine enough to even power my home and not pay for electricity for a couple cold months out of the year. Of course this might not be all that effective in the summer unless we decide to get a Jacuzzi.

At any rate, I figure that if I can use as much of the engine's waste heat as possible then the total efficiency would be very high, possibly even as much as 90 percent.

What do you think?

3 Answers

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  • David
    Lv 6
    3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Love the first idea. Some thoughts: I don't understand why you think it's necessary to convert the car to run on natural gas just because that's the primary heat source for your home hot water system, all it would seem you would need is a modified vehicle cooling system that you can tap into. And I see no reason to lug around heavy tanks, couldn't you just run a connection from your home's hot water line through the hot coolant tank in the car? You'll get everything, and also continue to absorb the fading heat from the engine after you arrive home -- and it won't have any effect on the car's efficiency since its job is already done for the day.

    • Lv 5
      3 years agoReport

      True.

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  • 3 years ago

    It's a good idea, but you'd need a means to remove the heat from your engine without interrupting the efficiency and then to store it.

    So in the example used where you want to heat a water tank, you would need a lot more power to boil the water than what you were able to contain.

    • ...Show all comments
    • Lv 5
      3 years agoReport

      Possibly idea 1 would be more efficient with exhaust heat exchangers.

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  • 3 years ago

    Give it a try. Just keep in mind that you would need a lot of fluid to store the heat produced. Then have well insulated pipes for transferring the heated fluid to the house. Give it a try.

    • Lv 5
      3 years agoReport

      Thanks!

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