Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Silo Combustion Engine

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Growing up in a semi-rural area, I occasionally heard about grain (corn) silos spontaneously exploding. I think that by using normal sized reinforced concrete grain silos as combustion cylinders, it should be possible to make a gargantuan internal combustion engine.

Suspended in air, corn dust acts as the fuel, intentionally supplied by a nearby corn-to-corndustification unit. I guess that a straight 8-cylinder configuration would be best, valves and sparkplugs would need to be sized appropriately. The speed of the giant crank shaft would be measured in MPR instead of RPM.

Nebraska would be an ideal place to build this sublime device, as it would act as a corn-themed tourist attraction in addition to its mundane duties.

Incidentally, this would be an environmentally friendly way to source power. Substantial gearing after the take-off shaft could turn an electric generator, amongst other things.

(I am not sure if this should be in [other: Energy: Bioenergy] or in [car: Engine: Combustion]. I do not intend to suggest mating this to an automobile, as this is clearly a stationary engine.)

Laughs Last, Jun 17 2004

Concrete grain silo? http://images.googl...e=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
google image search [Laughs Last, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

GM Flour Power http://www.halfbake.../GM_20Flour_20Power
flour as rocket propellant [Laughs Last, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Archived version of "Flour Power" http://web.archive..../idea/Flour_20Power
[hippo, Nov 20 2007]


       I like the idea for it's sheer size.   

       While flammable dust in the air has been the source of mine explosions, I've also heard of the ground corn stalks, leaves, and ears that farmers store for cattle feed ferments, and a nasty form of corn wine drips out the bottom of the silo.   

       Can we this make it an alcohol fuel engine ? I guess you'd need to distill and feed it back into the silo.   

       " Watch closely now, everyone. Cylinder number one is about to fire....."
normzone, Jun 17 2004

       Normzone, no. Even if this could work on another fuel, grain dust is the only fuel that has ironic beauty.   

       That nasty stuff you referred to is called silage, it is similar to the stuff that accumulates at the bottom of garbage cans that people have put food and soda into. It is just about the filthiest fuel source I can think of. I haven't heard it referred to as wine before.
Laughs Last, Jun 18 2004

       (+) Cool yes, but why?
swimr, Jun 18 2004

       This idea came up once before. It was called Flour Power courtesy of [MrBurns] who's account and ideas can no longer be found.
I remember the conversation turning to why powdered creamers are not allowed in prisons.

       Curses. How similar was Flower Power? Searching for it turns up a related idea for flour as a rocket propellant. It is sad that [MrBurns] left.
Laughs Last, Jun 18 2004

       If I remember it correctly, (no guarantees) it was a one cylinder concept but not as large as a silo, and yeah it's a shame he left, he had some good ones.   

       Some things you can take with you.
FarmerJohn, Jun 19 2004


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