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Two Tiny Gas Turbines 202

Turbines are in the news this morning. bobtheimpossible writes to point out a BBC article on a Swiss turbine that runs at half a million RPM and generates 100 watts. It's the size of a matchbook. And af_robot alerts us to an even more diminuitive gas turbine on a chip, developed at MIT, that generates 10 watts — plenty for portable electronics — and should run 10 times as long as a battery of comparable weight and cost. A commercial version is 3 to 5 years away.
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Two Tiny Gas Turbines

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  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:36PM (#16279589) Journal
    "Where's these fuel cells I keep hearing about?"

    Why "A commercial version is 3 to 5 years away" of course...
  • by BoberFett ( 127537 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:40PM (#16279651)
    Imagine how tough it will be to bend over and tie your shoe with that thing on your hip. That could be a workout on it's own: The Gyroscopic Abdominzeratertron.
  • by roseblood ( 631824 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:13PM (#16280359)
    Fuel cells are still very hot (at least in the reformation process).

    Not only the heat, but am I going to have to get my notebook smogged?

    Just don't let SONY make these. They will have a rootkit and burst into flames, even when turned off.
  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:24PM (#16280555)
    New battery? Must be for laptops!!

    'Cmon? Does everything have to be "a new way to power your laptop"? First, who the hell wants a 500,000 RPM anything sitting in their lap? The high squeal resonant frequencies will be hell once it is about two weeks old. I'll pass, and I'll ask the stewardess to shut down the guy trying to use one next to me. Second, what happens when the enterprize standardizes on this thing, and you have a cubicle farm of laptops spew CO2 (and a small component of CO) into the closed office atmosphere. I'll pass, and I'll use the Worker's Compensation claim to its max if I survive the asphixiation.

    The guy says that he was surprised that designing the combustion chamber turned out to be easy, but the bearings were hard. He expected it to be the other way around. Well, no shit, Sherlock? Stationary components are easy and moving parts are hard. That applies to all mechanical systems. Duh? Someone else justified the high RPM in a previous post, noting how small the rotor will be. The gyroscopic forces trying to pull the laptop from your hands when the taxi rounds the corner will indeed be small, but the forces on the rotor bearings in relation to their size will be huge. The laptop may not rip from your hands, but it will get quiet (which the taxi driver will appreciate).

    How about putting one of these in a container the size of a breadbox, and mounting it above a septic tank in a small village or country farm. Have it charge a battery as it feeds off the methane produced?

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay