Friday, December 2, 2011


Serge Klutchnko and his team have been working for years on developing the ultimate Carnot Engine. Serge has read hundreds of engineering reviews, studies and thesis from all around the world, at this point he is probably one of the most knowledgeable expert of this topic.
He and his team are now ready to begin the development of a new Carnot Engine design that will be efficient, reliable, and cheap enough to be marketed. We have also covered the commercial aspect of our project through a pragmatic and market orientated approach.

We are now confident that such a Carnot Engine can be developed, tested and approved for industrialization within a short time period (1 year). We have the knowledge, the experience and the team to do so.

But we are currently facing a critical challenge. We need to find a partner to pursue the development of this promising technology. Ideally, we would like to have an industrial and/or financial partner that would share the exclusive content of this technology.

Feel free to contact us.

Best Regards 

The Carnot engine

The laws of physics show that the Carnot cycle is the most efficient thermodynamic cycle that can be achieved. These same laws show that the Stirling cycle and second cycle Ericsson have exactly the same efficiency.

Each of the three cycles involve a succession of four thermodynamic transformations:

Carnot:         Isothermal, adiabatic, isothermal, adiabatic.
Stirling:        Isothermal, isochoric, isothermal, isochoric.
Ericsson:      Isothermal, isobaric, isothermal, isobaric.

If the Carnot engine was never built, the industry uses Stirling and Ericsson engines. I think if Robert Stirling had invented the engine described by Carnot, he would certainly have built so that if Carnot had thought about the Stirling engine, the scientific community would have said “it is impossible to build”.

Here is my explanation: if we consider the Stirling cycle the theoretical point of view we have to analyze each of the four transformations according to the methods of classical thermodynamics which consider that the processes are quasi-static close to equilibrium. We must admit also that the regenerator is perfect and there are no internal dead volumes. We conclude with absolute certainty that the Stirling engine is impossible to build. It would be the same conclusion for the Ericsson engine. The main difference between Sadi Carnot and Robert Stirling was the one built without really understanding how it works and the other understood without knowing how to build it.

If we compare these three engines seriously, we find that the simplest of them is that of Carnot. It does not need regenerator, heat exchanges take place during the isothermal transformations, widely studied for Stirling engines and Ericsson and the working gas can be moved easily without the need for valves or flaps. Strangely the engine simplest and most basic mechanical terms has never been done.

Making an engine to convert heat into mechanical or electrical energy requires a new vision of thermodynamics presented for the first time by Curzon and Ahlborn in a paper published in 1973: "Efficiency of a Carnot Engine at Maximum Power Output"  (This same result was independently obtained by Novikov and Chambadal). Since, to differentiate the theoretical Carnot cycle that describes a functional Carnot engine, some call it “the Curzon engine”. In practical terms, the Carnot engine has been more studied than the Stirling engine without ever having been made. These studies reveal the potential of this machine that will find its place in the real economic world.

For all these reasons that we will undertake its industrial production.

New design

How to make a Carnot engine?

Figure 1 shows the original drawing created by Carnot to develop the engine and explain how it works. This drawing was published in 1824 under the title "Reflection on the Motive Power of Fire and on Machines fitted to Develop That Power". Fields marked A and B represent the hot and cold heat sources.

Figure 1

To my knowledge, few engineers were critical of this mechanical assembly and none have proposed alternative architectures. Let's start by doing a serious analysis of what should be a realistic Carnot engine.

Here are the basic functional requirements for the Carnot engine:

1.     This is a complete and closed  mechanical system containing a working gas,
2.     Its volume is variable,
3.     Its operation is sequential and continuous.
4.     It moves the gas in three separate internal spaces.
a)    In contact with the hot heat source.
b)    In contact with the cold heat sink.
c)    Without any contact with these two sources.
5.    The functional architecture allows the gas to operate as best as possible the four thermodynamic processes, described by the theoretical Carnot cycle.
6.     A system should recover the mechanical energy generated by the thermodynamic transformations.

This engine shown in Figure 1 is in contradiction with the constraint number 4. The architecture suggested by Carnot must be rejected.

To these basic functional constraints I propose some recommendations, useful for making an efficient and commercially acceptable engine. The list presented here is not exhaustive.

•    The heat losses by conduction between the two sources of heat should be minimized.
•    The general architecture of the system must remains the same whatever the conditions of entry and performance desired.
•    The exchange of heat between the sources and gases occurring in an effective manner to achieve maximum power, as defined by Novikov, Curzon and Ahlborn.
•    Good seals are needed to keep the working inside the engine. (no gas leak)
•    The maximum internal pressure must be acceptable and should not cause ruptures.
•    The engine should be simple.
•    Manufacturing costs must be reasonable.
•    Maintenance can be performed by regular technicians.
•    Etc.

All these constraints and recommendations require forgetting about the quest for a hypothetical ideal machine, without sacrificing the expected performances of a realistic Carnot engine. An advanced mathematical approach is necessary to verify all of our technological choices.

One of the mechanical architecture I suggest (the way of thinking of Robert Stirling)

To begin,  we must answer to the six functional constraints already mentioned  above

•    1 - A cylinder closed at one end.
•    2 - A piston driven by a kinematic (for example, a sinusoidal motion).
•    3 - A simple mechanical link to move the internal gas from one space to  others.
•    4 - To create three spaces you must use two displacers.
•    5 - Displacers hide the heat sources when they are not used.
•    6 - Kinematics has a flywheel to store energy from the adiabatic transformations, or a second set in opposition of CYCLE must be provided, the entire system then extracts energy from the force difference created by two symmetrical sets.

This finally gives us the following simple architecture to which we add a kinematic assembly (which I do not reveal any here):



Using Figure 3, which represents the PV diagram of the Carnot cycle, we will try to understand the functional aspect of the proposed architecture. The engine is in position A (P1, V1). Both displacers (D1 and D2) occupy a large part of the cylinder volume and completely hide the cold source. The gas is in contact with the hot source. The isothermal expansion process can begin from this point.

1 - Thermodynamics isothermal expansion process AB.
      The movement of the piston causes an increase in volume. The displacers follow stroke of the    piston. The gas remains in contact with the heat source and is maintained at temperature T1.

2 - Fast configuration transition
The displacer D1 moves to hide the hot source. The displacer D2 continues to follow the piston    motion and hide the cold source. The gas is no longer in contact with any heat sources. The point of the cycle at this time is B.

3 - Thermodynamics adiabatic expansion process B-C
The piston continues to move and expand the working gas. The gas temperature is lowered until it reaches the temperature of the cold source at point C of the cycle.

4 - Fast configuration transition
The D2 displacer frees heat sink by moving closer to D1, all the gas is then in contact with the cold source. The volume occupied by the displacer D2 is equal to the displaced gas volume. The piston reverses the direction of its movement. We are at the point C at the time.

5 - Isothermal compression C-D
The movement of the piston reduces the volume of gas to the value V4. The gas is held in contact with the heat sink and its temperature remains constant up to the point D of the cycle.

6 - Fast configuration transition
The D2 displacer moves toward the piston and mask the cold source, the hot source is hidden by D1 who does not change position.

7 - Adiabatic compression D-A
The volume is reduced until it reaches the value V1. The gas is not in contact with any heat sources, hidden by D1 and D2, its temperature increases by compression effect until reaching the value of the hot source. We are nearly at the point A at this time

8 - Fast configuration transition
The displacer D1 unmasks the hot source by moving closer to D2. Gas is in contact with the hot source. The piston stroke is reversed and the cycle can begin again.

See the complete cycle below:

The mechanical architecture presented here properly reproduces the Carnot cycle by a sequence of eight steps. This is a statement of principle for its implementation. I know, the two displacers proportions are not perfectly accurate. Feel free to do it if you wish !

Implementing the recommendations:

•    The displacers D1 and D2 are made of lightweight materials with high thermal resistance.
•    The adiabatic zone of the cylinder is not swept by the piston’s  movement, so we can thermally insulate the cylinder in this area. (Inside and outside the cylinder)
•    A balance between the aerodynamic losses resulting from the gas movement and dead spaces must be found. This source of irreversibility is to be fight.
•    The method, often used with Stirling engines, which consists of heating one end of the motor is a source of significant losses. Heat must be provided to the working gas and not to the cylinder. This is the most important of my recommendations. There are many solutions that enhance the heat transfer from heat sources to the gas. I will not reveal any here.

Benefits of this architecture:
It is Simple, effective and inexpensive. It is Valid for engine or heat pump. Mathematically we have all the levers to optimize its operation. We can adjust the ratio of time between isothermal and adiabatic during phases of compression and expansion. We can also optimize the exchange surfaces by adjusting the overall geometry of the system. Finally, we can adjust the amplitude of movement of the piston according to the temperatures T1 and T2. Therefore, we can act on the power and performance for all operating conditions.

To keep this architecture as simple as possible, we must know in advance the conditions of engine operation. This engine will be very sensitive to temperature changes of the two heat sources. It is of course possible to adjust the time allocated to adiabatic changes dynamically, but it will result in additional complexity that will affect the price. This engine is ideal for operation up to 610 K (336.85 ° C) with a cold source at 303 K (30 ° C). For these temperatures the ratio of adiabatic is: 5.750554 (adiabatic ratio). Industrially this engine is designed for applications that need to transform thermal energy at low temperatures.

In conclusion:
We know that the Carnot engine is the best thermodynamic machine it is possible to achieve. Unlike dogmatic assertions expressed by those who have not think about its mechanical architecture so simple and obvious.

Engine characteristics

The Carnot engine is classified as an external combustion engine, as all heat transfers to and from the working fluid take place through the engine wall. This engine is noted for its high efficiency compared to steam or internal combustion engines, quiet operation, and the ease with which it can use almost any heat source.
Here are some of its main characteritics and advantages

High Efficiency
Most steel engines have a thermodynamic limit of 37% (little bit higher for diesel engines). Even when aided with turbochargers and stock efficiency aids, most engines retain an average efficiency of about 20%.
Our design allows the output to reach XX% and in theory it could reach a maximum of XX%. Practical efficiency depends of temperature level and differences but it’s still higher than actual technologies.
Waste heat is easily harvested (compared to waste heat from an internal combustion engine) making Carnot engines useful for dual-output heat and power systems

Multi-Source Engine
Carnot engines can run directly on any available heat source, not just one produced by combustion, so they can run on heat from solar, geothermal, biological, nuclear sources or waste heat from industrial processes.

Low Temperature work
Unlike other technologies, the Carnot engine is very suitable for low temperature applications such as concentrated solar power (CSP), geothermal energy and more generally any low temperature fluids or gases coming from any heat sources (exhaust gases, power station, data centers, etc.). It can use flows from 80 to 650 C. See the Technological Comparison Chart.

Better reliability and easier maintenance
The engine mechanisms are in some ways simpler than other reciprocating engine types. No valves are needed, and the burner system can be relatively simple. Because of the absence of matter exchange with its environment and the absence of inner chemical reactions, this engine suffers less deterioration than an inner combustion engine.

Driven by another engine, it becomes a heat pump capable of cooling or heating, dependent on requirements. It is extremely flexible. It can be used as CHP (combined heat and power) in the winter and as coolers in summer.

Safe, discret and oxygen-free

A Carnot engine uses a single-phase working fluid which maintains an internal pressure close to the design pressure, and thus for a properly designed system the risk of explosion is low. In comparison, a steam engine uses a two-phase gas/liquid working fluid, so a faulty release valve can cause an explosion.
The limitation of vibrations caused by explosion’s absence makes this engine quieter than reciprocal engines.
Moreover the Carnot engine can be built to run quietly and without an air supply, for air-independent operation (ie: submarines, spatial applications).

Modularity and flexibility
Possibility to use the same engine for different applications with only minor modifications. Moreover, the Carnot architecture allows to develop a wide range of power based on the same design. It means the possiblity of scaling up or down the engine power without the need of costly and time consuming design studies.


For more information about our engine size, power output and performances, please contact us and we will send you our Carnot Engine software.

Screen capture of our Carnot Engine size calculation software

Our approach

Since the beginning of our work, we have always kept in mind the final objective of this project: produce a competitive engine that will be sold

To achieve this goal, our engine must comply with the following criteria:

- Bring a useful technological breakthrough
- Be efficient
- Avoid unnecessary complexity
- Be reliable

Accordingly, the conception of our engine is driven by a pragmatic approach in our technological choices. I the meantime, we are focusing on the market

1. A market orientated approach: a useful and efficient innovation

During the 60s, France and Great Britain teamed up to develop a revolutionary supersonic airplane that was able to cruise at twice the speed of sound, more than two times faster than conventional airliners. This airplane named Concorde was an amazing aircraft packed with the latest technologies. It reaches its specifications, it was a technological success, and it was fast and effective. Passengers could now cross the Atlantic in only 3 hours.
The Concorde was useful but was it efficient? Not at all. This airplane was amazingly noisy, complex to maintain and its operating costs were excessively high, especially in term of fuel consumption.
Meanwhile, Boeing showed up with his new Jumbo-Jet, the 747, a disgraceful fat plane that could carry up to 500 passengers on long range trips. The 747 wasn’t especially revolutionary in term of technology, it rather was an evolution of existing technologies. Less than 20 Concorde have been produced while Boeing still proposes its 747 today after having sold over a thousand units worldwide.

This is a perfect example of how a technological wonder can be a commercial disaster. The technology has to bring useful innovation that must be efficient, cost effective and match with the market needs.
We keep that in mind since the early stage of our engine conception. We have identified potential applications and market demand. We also know that the success of our project lies on strict specifications definition. We do not have the ambition to change the world nor create the new technological revolution. We know the strengths and limits of this Carnot engine, we have identified promising applications while uncertain markets and uses have been deliberately rejected.

2. A pragmatic technological approach: keep it simple, make it reliable

Another key to success is to build an affordable and reliable engine by avoiding, as much as possible, any unnecessary complexity. A user centered approach commands to offer a cost-effective technology that will be easy to use, integrate to existing systems, and cheap to maintain.
The Carnot engine will be built based on existing mechanical components commonly used in automobile and compressor industry. It doesn’t include any hazardous substances or highly pressurized gases. Our engine is meant to be built, used and serviced according to usual industry standards.



Adrian Bejan: “The method of thermodynamic optimization of finite-size systems and finite-time processes” 
Entropy Generation Minimization, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla, USA, 1996.

Jican Chen and Bjarne Andersen: Diagrammatic representation of the optimal performance of an endoreversible Carnot engine at maximum power output 

K.H Hoffman: Recent Developments in finite time thermodynamics

Fernando Angulo Brown: An entropy production approach to the Curzon and Ahlborn Cycle 

Fernando Angulo BrownMethod of Endoreversible Carnot cycle 

Jun Li, Ligen Chen and Fengrui Sun: Fundamental optimal relation of a generalized irreversible Carnot heat pump with complex transfer law

Bo Yang, Ligen Chen and Fengrui Sun: Performance analysis and optimization for an endoreversible Carnot heat pump cycle with finite speed of the piston

Yuki Izumida and Koji Okuda : “Onsager coefficients of a finite time Carnot Cycle

Commercial potential and business strategy

The Carnot engine can transform:

- Thermal Energy into Mechanical Energy
- Mechanical Energy into Thermal Energy

That being said, we are going to review the possible and profitable applications

1. Possibles Applications

A) Propulsion
Automobile propulsion
Hybrid automobile propulsion
Maritime propulsion
Aircraft propulsion

B) Power Generation
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
Other heat source (waste, industry)

C) Heat Pump

2. Realistic and Profitable Applications

Among all the possible applications listed above, some may not be found feasible at a reasonable cost. We need to focus on marketable and profitable uses.
The success of commercializing the Carnot engine lies on 3 elements:

- The market need and size
  Is there a market?
- The competitive environment
  Is this market virgin or crowded?
- The market access
  Is this market accessible on a technical standpoint?

Let’s make a quick assessment of these possible markets:

A) Propulsion Market

Due to its high efficiency and simplicity, the Carnot engine may be a good candidate in the propulsion area. Nowadays, with oil price soaring and environmental regulations, the fuel consumption has become a real deal and producing better fuel efficient vehicles represent an important challenge.
However the Carnot engine is not suitable as a direct engine in automotive application. It is not design to provide fast startup time and acceleration response but Carnot engine as part of a hybrid electric drive system may be able to bypass the design challenges or disadvantages of a non-hybrid Carnot propulsion systems. A hybrid Carnot Engine may also be use in ships and aircrafts, its external combustion capacity would be appreciated in the maritime world (muti fuel capacity). As for airplanes, this engine gains efficiency with altitude due to lower ambient temperatures, is more reliable due to fewer parts and the absence of an ignition system, produce much less vibration (airframes could last longer) and uses safer, less explosive fuels.
However, introducing the Carnot engine in the propulsion world would require a substantial work of optimization, rules compliance, and integration studies.

B) Power generation 
Within the next 20 years, the primary energy demand is going to rise by 40% while the electricity consumption will soar by 70%.

More than 90% of our energy demand comes from thermal primary energy

Now or Later, the vast majority of power generation comes from thermal process
The Carnot engine is a heat engine that can retrieve heat from any sources. It will be suitable for both direct electricity generation on power plant sites and indirect power production on industrial or secondary heat source (Data Centers, Heavy industries which emit unexploited heat flows, etc.).
The engine integration will be pretty simple on these sites and it can be used on a wide range of low to medium temperatures. Biomass, CSP and geothermal energy could benefit of a major gain of productivity due to the low temperature flows emitted by these facilities. Unlike the other technologies (Rankine Cycles, Steam turbines, etc.), the Carnot engine is tailored to work on this temperature range.
Our device can open new applications and markets segment for some renewable energy.

C) Heat pump 
As seen previously, the Carnot engine has unique characteristics. Its reversible cycle and high efficiency make this system particularly suitable for heat application such as heat pump.
The system may be worked upon by an external force, and in the process, it can transfer thermal energy from a cooler system to a warmer one, thereby acting as a heat pump rather than a heat engine.
Most of household energy is consumed by heating, causing it to be the largest portion of monthly utility bill. With the price of oil and gas at record levels, the heap pumps market has been very dynamic the past 10 years.
The simple design of our engine coupled with its high coefficient of performance (COP) would make the Carnot engine perfect for this application.


The unique characteristics of our Carnot engine make it suitable for a large range of applications. However, we have narrowed down our commercial ambition to the easiest and most profitable markets. Power generation and heap pump markets tend to offer the best commercial potential considering the market demand, level of competition and ease of technical integration.

Commercial priorities depending of technical and commercial parameters

Concentrated Solar Power

1. Presentation

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP).
Photovoltaics convert light into electric current using the photoelectric effect. Concentrated solar power (CSP) systems use mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small area. The concentrated heat is then used as a heat source for a conventional power plant (ie: gas, oil, coal, nuclear): the heat drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator.

Various techniques are used to track the Sun and focus light but there are four main forms of concentrating technologies:

- Parabolic trough
- Fresnel reflector
- Solar power tower
- Dish Stirling

Difference between Photovoltaic and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP):

CSP plants produce more consistent power output (less 'spiky-ness'). These plants can produce power fairly consistently throughout the day because of the thermal inertia and the ability to burn natural gas when clouds roll in. When clouds blanket a PV plant, the output can drop off a cliff. CSP power plants fit naturally with storage systems and can even continue to produce power at night.

2. Market Analysis

The CSP market has seen about 740 MW added between 2007 and end-2010. More than half of this capacity (approximately 478 MW) was installed during 2010, bringing the global total to 1095 MW. Spain added 400 MW in 2010, taking the global lead with a total of 632 MW, while the US ended the year with 509 MW after adding 78 MW, including two fossil-CSP hybrid plants.

CSP growth is expected to continue at a rapid pace. As of April 2011, another 946 MW were under construction in Spain with total new capacity of 1,789 MW expected to be in operation by the end of 2013. In the US, a further 1.5 GW of parabolic trough and power-tower plants were under construction as of early 2011, and contracts signed for at least another 6.2 GW. Interest is also notable in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as India and China.

Although industry activity continued to focus in the two leading markets of Spain and the United States, the industry expanded its attention to other markets in Algeria, Australia, Egypt, Morocco, and even China. Still, most industry expansion took place in Europe and the United States. For example, Schott of Germany doubled its production of receiver tubes in its facility in Seville, Spain. Rio Glass of Spain, a relatively new company that has become a major producer in recent years, was building a manufacturing plant in the United States and also planning for plants in India and China.
The industry also saw several acquisitions by major energy players seeking to enter the CSP market. Siemens bought Solel (Israel), ABB bought Novatech, GE bought E-Solar, and Areva bought Ausra. Alstrom also entered into a joint venture with Bright Source. The industry remained vertically integrated, with individual companies involved in many parts of the value chain, but this was expected to change as markets expand and as companies specialize in specific parts of the value chain.

Leading project development firms worldwide include Abengoa (Spain), Acciona (Spain), BrightSource (United States), Schott (Germany), and Siemens (Germany). Leading mirror manufacturers include Saint-Gobain (France), Flabeg (Germany), and Rio Glass (Spain). Other notable CSP firms include Areva (Spain), eSolar (USA), Solar Millennium (Germany), and Solar Reserve (USA).


One of the world largest ongoing project, is Desertec. This German based consortium of about 20 companies, including RWE AG, EON, Munich RE Siemens and Deutsche Bank is behind a hugely ambitious EUR 400 billion ($550 billion) project to build solar plants stretching across 6,000 square kilometres of the North African desert. The rollout is planned for the coming decades and will eventually supply up to 15% of all of Europe's electricity needs by 2050.

According to a study by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), a state agency that provided data used by Desertec, less than 1% of suitable land in the North Africa and the Middle East would be needed to cover the current electricity consumption of the region, as well as Europe. Many countries with intense sunshine also have large tracts of uninhabited land.

The consortium already has two plants in operation in Morocco and Egypt. Morocco hopes to upgrade its existing transmission line to Spain and install 2000 megawatts of solar power capacity to supply both its own needs and to tap into the lucrative European export market.

Desertec expects to see the first electricity flowing through undersea cables from Morocco to Spain as early as 2014. The technology that will initially be used in Morocco is concentrated solar power (CSP), allowing a secure supply even when the sun is not shining and at night.

3. Commercial Potential for the Carnot engine

Despite competitive photovoltaic prices and lingering environmental and financing concerns, CSP technologies are poised for gigawatt-scale adoption in 2011. Future growth will remain healthy as the generation stack increasingly incorporates CSP plants in excess of 100MW.

The CSP industry has finally reached a mature state where the less efficient technologies have been overtake by more competitive technologies.

FAIL: The SES's suncatcher: too complicated, too expensive. The company went bankrupt last setpember.

WIN: AREVA's compact linear fresnel reflector system. A simplified CSP with direct steam generation compatible with hybrid gas/coal/solar power plants.

What can the Carnot engine bring to CSP ?

As an efficient, simple and reliable technology, our goal is to implement the Carnot engine in low cost and low to medium temperature CSP systems such as:

- direct steam generation CSP (without the need for costly heated oil/heat exchangers);
- direct solar generation (low cost and small scale CSP systems)
- air cooled systems (no water needed)

Moreover, the flexibility and modular design allow us to produce a wide range of on demand power engines based on the same architecture. Since the Carnot engine is an external combustion engine, it can be plugged on mutiple heat flows coming from various sources (heated oil, steam, direct sun beam, etc.).

As the competition with photovoltaic technologies goes on, especially in term of costs, the CSP industry is leaning toward cheap and simple solutions. The Carnot engine is well suited for this market.

4. Conclusion

The latest international energy outlook from the US Energy Information Administration shows a strong growth of the world solar energy demand. For the next 10 years, the solar power generation should increase by at least 200%. The International Energy Agency forecasts are even more significant.
Despite the fact that the largest share comes from photovoltaic modules, the CSP market remains very dynamics with large projects under development. These projects are supported by big industrial and financial players. The CSP unique ability to produce consistent power output make it valuable in some power generation cases. It can also be interconnected with a traditional fossil fuel power plant to create hybrid fuel power facility.
The latest industrial trend to ensure CSP competitiveness is to lower the capital and operating costs by building simple systems and getting rid of costly technologies (complex reflectors, multiples stages heat exhangers, water cooling, etc.).
The characteristics of the Carnot engine make it a perfect candidate for these low costs standards: high efficiency at low to medium temperature, external combustion and multi-source.


1. Presentation

Wood pellets used for power generation
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel.
Biomass resources include wood, agricultural waste, animal residues, and other living-cell material that can be burned to produce heat energy. They also include algae, sewage and other organic substances that may be used to make energy through chemical processes.

There are a number of technological options available to make use of a wide variety of biomass types as a renewable energy source. Conversion technologies may release the energy directly, in the form of heat or electricity, or may convert it to another form, such as liquid biofuel or combustible biogas. While for some classes of biomass resource there may be a number of usage options, for others there may be only one appropriate technology.

2. Market Analysis

Biomass supplies an increasing share of electricity and heat and continues to provide the majority of heating produced with renewable sources. An estimated 62 GW of biomass power capacity was in operation by the end of 2010. Biomass heat markets are expanding steadily, particularly in Europe but also in the United States, China, India, and elsewhere.
Trends include increasing consumption of solid biomass pellets (for heat and power) and use of biomass in combined heat and power (CHP) plants and in centralized district heating systems. China leads the world in the number of household biogas plants, and gasifiers are used increasingly for heat applications in small and large enterprises in India and elsewhere. Biomethane (purified biogas) is increasingly injected into pipelines (particularly in Europe) to replace natural gas in power and CHP plants.

The European Union’s gross electricity production from biomass increased nearly 10.2% between 2008 and 2009, from 79.3 TWh to 87.4 TWh. Germany’s total power output from biomass increased by an annual average of more than 22% during the past decade, to an estimated 28.7 TWh with a total of 4.9 GW capacity in 2010. By the end of 2010, bioenergy accounted for 5.5% of Germany’s total electricity consumption, making it the country’s second largest renewable generating source after wind power. 
There is increasing interest in Africa and the Middle East as well, where several countries – including Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda – have existing biomass power capacity or plans for future development

The biomass power and heat industry supplies and uses solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels from forestry, agricultural, and municipal residues. Much of this diverse industry is centered in Europe where, despite fiscal austerity, manufacturing and project-development firms saw modest growth in 2010, reflecting the continued push from EU targets and national action plans for renewables. Leading biomass conversion equipment manufacturers are located primarily in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Poland, and Germany. Europe has the largest wood pellet production industry in the world, with 670 pellet plants under operation, producing 10 million tonnes in 2009. The growth of wood pellet production facilities, in particular, continues to be a notable trend in the biomass industry.

3. Commercial potential for the Carnot engine

Our goal is to place this engine on the power generation market. As of today, biomass power generation is a fast growing sector which uses both solid biomass (agricultural by product, woods, organic waste) and biogas (waste, landfill gas) to fuel the power plant.
Landfill gas collector
As an external combustion device, the Carnot engine can run directly on any available heat source. It could be used for low cost power generation system as well as raw biogas (with high concentration of corrosive CO2 and H2S). Another promising market is the hot exhaust gas produced by biogas turbines. Our engine can exploits this heat flow to produce electricity (we have already received some requests from biogas power generation facilities).

4. Conclusion 

Biomass energy is by far the most important renewable energy with 10% of the world's primary energy demand. Its great versatility allows to produce fuel, electricity, heat and gas out of various biomass resources.
Due to its characteristics, the Carnot engine will be suitable for power generation application. During the past 10 years, there has been a significant growth in biomass electricity production, forecasts show that this expansion will remain consistent. Our engine can be used in solid biomass and biogas applications, from a sophisticated power plant system to a low cost unit. For instance, it can be plugged on basic biomass systems or enhances the overall efficiency of biogas facilities by generating power out of the biogas exhaust heat.


1. Presentation

A geothermal power plant in California
Below the Earth's crust, there is a layer of hot and molten rock called magma. For commercial use, a geothermal reservoir capable of providing hydrothermal (hot water and steam) resources is necessary. Geothermal reservoirs are generally classified as being either low temperature (<150°C) or high temperature (>150°C). Generally speaking, the high temperature reservoirs are the ones suitable for, and sought out for, commercial production of electricity.
Geothermal reservoirs are found in “geothermal systems,” which are regionally localized geologic settings where the earth’s naturally occurring heat flow is near enough to the earth’s surface to bring steam or hot water, to the surface. These "hot spots" occur at plate boundaries or at places where the crust is thin enough to let the heat through (volcanoes, Seismically active region, etc.).

Geothermal power plants use steam produced from reservoirs of hot water found a few kilometers or more below the Earth's surface to produce electricity. The steam rotates a turbine that activates a generator, which produces electricity. There are three types of geothermal power plants: dry steam, flash steam, and binary cycle. 

- Dry Steam
Power plants using dry steam systems were the first type of geothermal power generation plants built. They use steam from the geothermal reservoir as it comes from wells and route it directly through turbine/generator units to produce electricity.

- Flash Steam
Flash steam plants are the most common type of geothermal power generation plants in operation today. They use water at temperatures greater than 182°C (360°F)  that is pumped under high pressure to the generation equipment at the surface. Upon reaching the generation equipment, the pressure is suddenly reduced, allowing some of the hot water to convert or “flash” into steam. This steam is then used to power the turbine/generator units to produce electricity.

- Binary Cycle
Binary cycle geothermal power generation plants differ from dry steam and flash steam systems because the water or steam from the geothermal reservoir never comes in contact with the turbine/generator units. In the binary system, the water from the geothermal reservoir is used to heat another “working fluid,” which is vaporized and used to turn the turbine/generator units. The geothermal water and the “working fluid” are each confined in separate circulating systems or “closed loops” and never come in contact with each other. The advantage of the binary cycle plant is that they can operate with lower temperature waters 107°-182°C (225°F to 360°F) by using working fluids that have an even lower boiling point than water. They also produce no air emissions.

Currently, two types of geothermal resources can be used in binary cycle power plants to generate electricity: enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) and low-temperature or co-produced resources:
  • Enhanced Geothermal Systems: EGS provide geothermal power by tapping into the Earth's deep geothermal resources that are otherwise not economical due to lack of water, location, or rock type.
  • Low-Temperature and Co-Produced Resources: Low-temperature and co-produced geothermal resources are typically found at temperatures of 300°F (150°C) or less. Some low-temperature resources can be harnessed to generate electricity using binary cycle technology. Co-produced hot water is a byproduct of oil and gas wells in the United States. This hot water is being examined for its potential to produce electricity, helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions and extend the life of oil and gas fields.

2. Market Analysis

By the beginning of 2011, geothermal power plants were operating in at least 24 countries, but the vast majority of global capacity was located in eight countries: the United States (3.1 GW), the Philippines (1.9 GW), Indonesia (1.2 GW), Mexico (just under 1 GW), Italy (0.9 GW), New Zealand (nearly 0.8 GW), Iceland (0.6 GW), and Japan (0.5 GW).

Although power development slowed in 2010, with global capacity reaching just over 11 GW, a significant acceleration in the rate of deployment is expected, with advanced technologies allowing for development of geothermal power projects in new countries. The International Geothermal Association (IGA) projects growth to 18,5 GW by 2015, due to the projects presently under consideration, often in areas previously assumed to have little exploitable resource. 

As of early 2011, nearly 0.8 GW of new capacity was in the drilling or construction phase in the United States and was expected to be generating by 2015; a total of 123 confirmed projects (accounting for up to 1.4 GW of resources) in 15 U.S. states were at some stage of development.
Iceland expects to add nearly 0.1 GW to an existing plant in 2011, and much more capacity is in project pipelines around the globe, with 46 countries forecast to have new geothermal capacity installed within the next five years. By late 2010, Germany had an estimated 150 projects in the pipeline, and projects were under development in Chile (0.2 GW), Costa Rica (0.4 GW), India (nearly 0.3 GW), and the U.K. (0.01 GW), among others.

The U.S. industry is the global leader, developing approximately one-third of the world’s new projects, all in its domestic market. Japanese firms Mitsubishi, Toshiba, and Fuji Electric supply 70% of the steam turbines at geothermal plants worldwide. Leading firms in conventional geothermal include Borealis Geopower, Calpine, CalEnergy, Chevron, Enel SpA, GeoGlobal, Gradient Resources, Magma Energy Corp., Mighty River Power, Nevada Geothermal Power, Ormat Technologies, Oski Energy, POWER Engineers, Ram Power, Terra-Gen Power, ThermaSource, and U.S. Geothermal. Leaders in EGS Geothermal include AltaRock Energy, EGS Energy, Geox, Geodynamics, and Potter Drilling.

3. Commercial Potential for the Carnot engine

As seen before, there is a lot of heat resources available underground. However, to be profitable, a geothermal reservoir must not be too deep and it has to produce either steam or hot water to be used by a power plant. Most of the traditional geothermal power plants (Dry steam and Flash steam facilities) are built above these types of reservoirs but such geological conditions are rare.
That’s exactly why new binary cycle facilities are now being developed. This technology allows cooler geothermal reservoirs to be used than with dry and flash steam plants. By doing so, it is opening a new range of available geothermal resources. Shallow and cold reservoirs that were once, not economically interesting, are now being potentially workable.
However, the thermal efficiency of a binary cycle power plant is lower than a conventional Dry or Flash steam plant because of the need of adding a heat exchanger in the system.

The Carnot engine has the capacity to exploit directly a low temperature flow from an Enhanced Geothermal Systems or any other low-temperature geothermal resource (old oil well, untapped geysers, etc.) without the need of adding a costly and less efficient heat exchanger.

4. Conclusion

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that potentially 500 GW of EGS resource is available in the western U.S. (about half of the current installed electric power generating capacity in the United States). Another report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), that included the potential of enhanced geothermal systems, estimated that investing 1 billion US dollars in research and development over 15 years would allow the creation of 100 GW of electrical generating capacity by 2050 in the United States alone.

As we can see, the geothermal energy is already used in many countries and its potential is great. Our Carnot engine would allow to improve the overall efficiency of EGS power plants. Better efficiency means better profitability. It could also move the economic threshold of some geothermal projects toward the “bankable” side.


1. Presentation

Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Just as many conventional thermal power stations generate electricity by harnessing the thermal energy released from burning fossil fuels, nuclear power plants convert the energy released from the nucleus of an atom via nuclear fission that takes place in a nuclear reactor. The heat is pulled from the reactor core by a cooling system removes heat and used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.

2. Market Analysis

As of December, 2011, a total of 433 nuclear reactors were operating in 30 countries providing about 6% of the world's energy and 14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity. The current world reactor fleet has a total nominal capacity of about  369 gigawatts and 62 Gw are currently under constructions. There are a considerable number of new reactors being built in China, South Korea, India, Pakistan, and Russia.

World number of reactors and capacity:
  • Current:                   433 reactors for 369 GW 
  • Under construction:   62 reactors for 62 GW 
  • Planned:                  156 reactors for 173 GW

China has 26 nuclear power reactors under construction, with plans to build many more, while in the US the licenses of almost half its reactors have been extended to 60 years, and plans to build another dozen are under serious consideration.

However, Japan's 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster prompted a rethink of nuclear energy policy in many countries. Germany decided to close all its reactors by 2022, and Italy has banned nuclear power. Switzerland and Spain have banned the construction of new reactors.  Japan’s prime minster has called for a dramatic reduction in Japan’s reliance on nuclear power. Taiwan’s president did the same. Mexico has sidelined construction of 10 reactors in favor of developing natural-gas-fired plants. Belgium is considering phasing out its nuclear plants, perhaps as early as 2015. Following Fukushima, the International Energy Agency halved its estimate of additional nuclear generating capacity to be built by 2035.

On the other hand, according to the World Nuclear Associtation (WNA), over 45 countries are actively considering embarking upon nuclear power programs with front runners being UAE, Turkey, Vietnam, Belarus and Jordan.

- See the world reactors database: CHART or MAP

3. Commercial Potential for the Carnot engine

Basically, in most nuclear power stations, after the steam turbine has expanded and partially condensed the steam, the remaining vapor is condensed in a condenser. The condenser is a heat exchanger which is connected to secondary side such as a river or a cooling tower. Because its ability to work out of low temperature, the Carnot engine could retrieve this waste heat which is not used in nuclear power plant. Since this condensation process occurs in the non-radioactive side of the power plant, a Carnot engine implementation may not be too complicated. 

After leaving the turbine, there is still a large amount of energy that could potentially be used by the Carnot engine to generate more electricity. (ie: PWR Figure)

4. Conclusion 

Since about 2001 there has been much talk about an imminent nuclear revival or renaissance which implies that the nuclear industry has been dormant or in decline for some time (during the 2 decades post Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents). Whereas this may generally be the case for the Western world, nuclear capacity has been expanding in Eastern Europe and Asia but the March 2011 Fukushima accident has set back public perception of nuclear safety. Nuclear power growth will not be as strong as previously anticipated. Some western countries are phasing out their nuclear capacity while others have delayed their projects. Some experts say that governments should invest in energy efficiency and renewables rather than nuclear energy.
However, there is still a strong demand in Asia, with India and China currently building dozens of new plants and planning some more. Other parameters like climate change, increasing energy demand and security of supply might boost the nuclear energy in the future.
But whether it is for new or existing nuclear power stations, our Carnot engine could use the currently untapped waste heat commonly found in these facilities to produce more electricity out of the same resources, increasing the overall output of these power plants.

Heat pump

1. Presentation

A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another. Not too difficult, right? Heat pumps are typically used to “pull heat out” of the air or ground to heat a home or office building, but they can be reversed to cool a building. Heat pumps also work extremely efficiently, because they simply transfer heat, rather than burn fuel to create it.

2. Market Analysis

The heat pump market is mainly driven by the high oil and energy prices, which have helped consumers embrace renewable technologies more than ever before. A greater awareness about the environmental impact of non-renewable technologies has also played a part in the market’s growth. Other key drivers behind increasing demand are the numerous incentives legislation supporting renewable technologies. There is also a desire among countries to rely less on oil imports.
The market is dominated by Sweden, which is the third largest market for HP in the world, behind the USA and Japan. It accounts for almost half of market revenues.
The other major markets in Europe are France and Germany. The Austrian and Swiss markets are approaching maturity. However, countries like Germany and France are experiencing high growth with HPs gaining wider acceptance due to greater awareness as well as legislation.

3. Commercial Potential for the Carnot engine

When comparing the performance of heat pumps, it is best to avoid the word "efficiency" which has a very specific thermodynamic definition. The term coefficient of performance (COP) is used to describe the ratio of useful heat movement to work input. The Carnot engine would have a very high COP in heating application.

Other Applications


Gas Flare
The World Bank estimates that over 150 billion cubic meters (or 5,3 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas are flared or vented annually, an amount equivalent to more than 25 percent of the United States’ gas consumption or 30 percent of the European Union’s gas consumption per year. Flaring gas has a global impact on climate change by adding about 400 million tons of CO2 in annual emissions. Fewer than 20 countries account for more than 70 percent of gas flaring and venting. And just four countries together flare about 70 billion cubic meters of associated gas.

In 2002, the World Bank launched the Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR), a public-private partnership to supports the efforts of oil producing countries and companies to increase the use of associated natural gas and thus reduce flaring and venting, which wastes valuable resources and damages the environment.
The GGFR partners include: Algeria (Sonatrach), Angola (Sonangol), Azerbaijan, Cameroon (SNH), Ecuador (PetroEcuador), Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Khanty-Mansijsysk (Russia), Mexico (SENER), Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, the United States (DOE) and Uzbekistan; BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ENI, ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Maersk Oil & Gas, Pemex, Qatar Petroleum, Shell, Statoil, TOTAL; European Union, the World Bank Group; Associated partner: Wärtsilä.


The Carnot engine might be a good candidate for the vehicule propulsion. However, due to power and torque issue, this device is better used as a constant speed engine. I could be in a hybrid electric propulsion or "base load" utility generation where constant power output is actually desirable.


The worldwide data center electric consumption grew by 56% between 2005 and 2010. Data centers are used to process e-mail, conduct Web searches and handle online shopping as well as banking transactions and corporate sales reports.  Moreover, more services that depend on data centers, like cloud computing and streaming of music and movies, became popular.
The power used by servers in data centers represented about 0.5% of world electricity consumption in 2005. When cooling and auxiliary infrastructure were included, that figure was about 1 percent. The worldwide demand for data center power in 2005 was equivalent to the output of about 17 1,000-megawatt power plants.
The Carnot engine can generate electricity out of the waste heat produce by this data center, it can also be used to cool these installations down.


Many industries produce waste heat that could be used by a Carnot engine such as steel plants, incinerators (heat exhaust), cement factory, etc.