Who Says Steamships Are Obsolete?

5th February 2009, 03:10

Perhaps someone with more scientific knowledge can look into this and render an opinion, but if the cost of generating steam can be reduced by 90%, I can't see how steamships wouldn't be returning.


Steam power may again return to preeminence, as Business Week puts it:

Quicker boiling
Think about all the steam used to heat buildings and power factories. If it took less energy to create steam for industrial uses, there'd be huge savings. Nanotechnologists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute say they cut the energy needed to boil water by 90%. The trick is a nearly invisible layer of nanorods--ultratiny columns of copper grown chemically on the inside of a vessel used to create steam.
Source: http://www.businessweek.com/

The press release from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is here:

5th February 2009, 09:49
Bill - interesting article to be sure. I always thought that Marine Boilers in themselves were very efficient in boiling up water.

The letdown in the efficiency calculations for a steam plant is the huge amount of energy lost in removing the latent heat to get the steam back to a water phase, thus enabling it to be pumped back to the boiler as condensate.
I always tell my students on training courses the man that can invent a steam pump would be the richest guy in the world!