Patents Examined by Brian Inacay
  • Patent number: 8875513
    Abstract: A thermal energy conversion plant, wherein a pressurized liquefied working fluid gasifies in an evaporator unit located at the lower level of a closed-loop thermodynamic circuit, ascends through a widening ascending conduit to a condenser unit located at the upper level of said thermodynamic circuit, condenses and falls because gravity powering a power extraction apparatus, before entering back into the evaporator, and restarting the cycle. A much lighter pressuring gas could be optionally included in the widening ascending conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2014
    Inventor: Gaspar Pablo Paya Diaz
  • Patent number: 8857174
    Abstract: An energy harvesting system comprises a first region having a first temperature and a second region having a second temperature. A heat engine is configured for converting thermal energy to mechanical energy. The heat engine includes a plurality of discrete elements of a shape memory alloy each having a crystallographic phase changeable between austenite and martensite in response to a temperature difference between the first region and the second region. At least one member of the heat engine is driven to rotate about a first axis by the phase change of the plurality of discrete elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 14, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Paul W. Alexander, Alan L. Browne, Patrick B. Usoro, Xiujie Gao
  • Patent number: 8820080
    Abstract: A system and method for cogeneration of electricity and useful heat utilizing non-fractionalized biomass as a fuel whose combustion in thermal proximity to a heat transfer medium, preferably water, is used to drive an organic Rankine Cycle which generates mechanical power for driving an electrical generator, and from which useful heat is captured and may be used for any of a myriad of purposes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2014
    Inventor: Marvin Duane Julian
  • Patent number: 8800286
    Abstract: The invention comprises a rotary engine method and apparatus configured with an exhaust system. The exhaust system includes an exhaust cut or exhaust channel into one or more of a housing or an endplate of the rotary engine, which interrupts the seal surface of the expansion chamber housing. The exhaust cut directs spent fuel from the rotary engine fuel expansion/compression chamber out of the rotary engine either directly or via an optional exhaust port and/or exhaust booster. The exhaust system vents fuel to atmosphere or into a condenser for recirculating of fuel in a closed-loop circulating rotary engine system. Exhausting the engine reduces back pressure on the rotary engine thereby enhancing rotary engine efficiency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Inventor: Merton W. Pekrul
  • Patent number: 8769951
    Abstract: [Problem to be solved] To achieve a reduction in facility costs in a geothermal power-generation system. [Solution] To provide a compressor 11 that compresses air, a heating device 14 that heats compressed air compressed by the compressor 11 by geothermal heat, a turbine 12 that obtains a rotational force by heated compressed air heated by the heating device 14, and a generator 13 that generates power by the rotational force inputted from the turbine 12.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 8, 2014
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
    Inventors: Hiromi Nakatani, Jin Kato
  • Patent number: 8756933
    Abstract: An SMA actuation arrangement comprises: an SMA actuator arranged on contraction caused by heating to drive movement of a movable element relative to a support structure; a current source operative to supply drive current through the SMA actuator to heat the SMA actuator; and a detector circuit operative to detect a measure of the resistance of the SMA actuator. While detecting a measure of the resistance of the SMA actuator and controlling the drive current on the basis of the measure of the resistance of the SMA actuator; there is derived a measure of an electrical characteristic of the SMA actuator that is representative of the ambient temperature. While applying closed-loop control an offset is added to the control signal which reduces the steady-state value of an error between the measure of the resistance of the SMA actuator and a target value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 24, 2014
    Assignee: Cambridge Mechatronics Limited
    Inventors: Richard Topliss, Robert John Leedham, David Charles William Richards, Thomas Matthew Gregory
  • Patent number: 8733103
    Abstract: A thermal energy conversion plant, wherein a pressurized liquefied working fluid gasifies in an evaporator unit located at the lower level of a closed-loop thermodynamic circuit, ascends through a widening ascending conduit to a condenser unit located at the upper level of said thermodynamic circuit, condenses and falls because gravity powering a power extraction apparatus, before entering back into the evaporator, and restarting the cycle. A much lighter pressuring gas could be optionally included in the widening ascending conduit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2014
    Inventor: Gaspar Pablo Paya Diaz
  • Patent number: 8733097
    Abstract: A mechanical system for selectively moving a load a motive distance comprises an actuator operable for applying a force to the load. The actuator includes an active material element having a variable property. A controller is connected to the actuator and operable for sending a first stimulus to the actuator to shift the actuator from a first state to a second state. The second state is associated with detecting the onset of actuation for the actuator. The controller is operable to send the priming stimulus level to the actuator to shift it to the primed state. The actuator includes a priming device operable for determining the onset of actuation of the first active material element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Nilesh D. Mankame, Richard J. Skurkis, Nicholas W. Pinto, IV
  • Patent number: 8726651
    Abstract: The invention relates to a hydropower plant including a water turbine submerged in a water current, A grating is located adjacent the water turbine. According to the invention the grating is arranged to guide the water flow in the water current such that the velocity of the water between the grating and the water turbine becomes non-uniform. The invention also relates to a use of the hydropower plant for generating electric energy for supply to an electric network. Further the invention relates to a method for operating a hydropower plant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 20, 2014
    Assignee: Current Power Sweden AB
    Inventor: Mats Leijon
  • Patent number: 8713934
    Abstract: A free-piston Stirling machine drivingly coupled to at least one rotary electromagnetic transducer. At least one pulley is oriented in a plane of a reciprocating piston connecting rod. At least one motion translating drive link connects the connecting rod to the pulley by at least two straps so that the pulley moves in rotationally oscillating motion. The two straps extend along an arcuate surface of the pulley into connection to the piston rod at two spaced locations. The pulley is linked to a rotary electromagnetic transducer so that both move in rotationally oscillating motion. Preferably a piston spring resonates the piston at an operating frequency of the Stirling machine and a torsion spring resonates the pulley in rotational oscillation at the operating frequency of the Stirling machine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 6, 2014
    Assignee: Global Cooling, Inc.
    Inventor: David M. Berchowitz
  • Patent number: 8707693
    Abstract: An energy harvesting system comprises a first region and a second region having a temperature difference therebetween. A plurality of heat engines are located proximate to the conduit and configured for converting thermal energy to mechanical energy. The heat engines each include a shape memory alloy forming at least one generally continuous loop. The shape memory alloy driven to rotate by heat exchange contact with each of the first region and the second region. At least one pulley for each of the plurality of heat engines is driven by the rotation of the respective shape memory alloy, and each of the at least one pulleys is operatively connected to a component to thereby drive the component.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 29, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Paul W. Alexander, Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, Nilesh D. Mankame, Geoffrey P. McKnight, Andrew C. Keefe, Christopher P. Henry, Nicholas W Pinto, IV
  • Patent number: 8701410
    Abstract: In one aspect, the invention provides a method for rotating an impeller device. Said method comprises (a) positioning at least one ejector tube to eject a working fluid onto the impeller device; (b) locating a kinetic droplet in an ejector tube; (c) introducing a charge of vapor into the ejector tube behind the kinetic droplet so that expansion of the vapor in the ejector tube causes the kinetic droplet to accelerate out of the ejector tube and to impinge on the impeller device; and (d) repeating steps (b) and (c) in a synchronized fashion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 22, 2014
    Inventor: Mark W. Miles
  • Patent number: 8671685
    Abstract: The invention relates electrical power generation using renewable sun energy in a Microturbine Sun Tracker (MST), a system for useful electrical output power that combines a Concentrated Solar Energy (CSE) with a closed cycle Microturbine powerplant. The solar light ray energy of the CSE is directed into a solar receiver with an integrated closed cycle microturbine powerplant, heating the working fluid of the microturbine to cause the turbine rotor/power spool rotation and subsequent output electricity. Also the (MST) system combines the dish form (CSE) and the closed cycle microturbine powerplant to a common frame that incorporates a single axis 360° rotation capability and secondary declination tilting capability.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2014
    Assignee: TMA Power, LLC
    Inventor: Joseph Michael Teets
  • Patent number: 8667799
    Abstract: The present invention provides a method for operating a plurality of independent, closed cycle power plant modules each having a vaporizer comprising the steps of: serially supplying a medium or low temperature source fluid to each corresponding vaporizer of one or more first plant modules, respectively, to a secondary preheater of a first module, and to a vaporizer of a terminal module, whereby to produce heat depleted source fluid; providing a primary preheater for each vaporizer; and supplying said heat depleted source fluid to all of said primary preheaters in parallel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2014
    Assignee: Ormat Technologies Inc.
    Inventor: Dany Batscha
  • Patent number: 8667797
    Abstract: A heat engine system configured to extract thermal energy from a heat source, convert a first portion of the thermal energy to work using an expansion device, and reject a second portion of the thermal energy to a heat sink. The system utilizes a second fluid to inhibit a temperature drop of the first fluid within the expansion device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 11, 2014
    Assignee: Purdue Research Foundation
    Inventors: Brandon Jay Woodland, James E. Braun, Eckhard A. Groll, W. Travis Horton
  • Patent number: 8661818
    Abstract: A hot dry rock generation system, having: a recharge well that is formed from the ground to an underground hot dry rock into which a heat carrier streams through the recharge well; a production well that is formed from the underground hot dry rock from which the heated heat carrier is streams through the production well; a power generation plant that converts the thermal energy of the heat carrier streaming out of, into electric energy; a collecting tank that stores the heat carrier discharged from the power generation plant; a sealing water pump that sucks the heat carrier collected in the collecting tank and makes the heat carrier stream into the recharge well, whereby the hot dry rock generation system is provided with a heat exchanger into which the heat carrier streaming out of the production well streams.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2014
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
    Inventors: Takashi Nakamura, Koji Hiramoto, Ichiro Nakajo, Yoshiyuki Yokohama
  • Patent number: 8661810
    Abstract: A shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator includes an SMA element and a flexible outer coating or layer. The element is respectively activated by a heating source. The layer surrounds the element, and enhances the heat transfer characteristics of the element to increase the speed of the actuation cycle. The nominal geometry and/or thermal conductivity may be altered during an activation phase, and may include discrete elements oriented with respect to the element, and partially embedded in the layer. An end gripper assembly may be used to cause the layer to move in concert with the element during a phase transformation. An electro-mechanical system includes the cooling source and the actuator. A method includes connecting the actuator to a load, activating the element using the heating source, and deactivating the element using a cooling source or free/ambient air.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Nancy L. Johnson, Xiujie Gao, James Holbrook Brown, Nilesh D. Mankame, Nicholas W. Pinto, IV
  • Patent number: 8656713
    Abstract: An apparatus for and method of displacing a body, such as a projectile, piston, or the distal edge of a sunshade cover or energy absorbing honeycomb matrix, utilizing momentum generated by the rapid actuation of an active material element, such as a Martensitic shape memory alloy wire.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2014
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations LLC
    Inventors: Alan L. Browne, Nilesh D. Mankame, Nancy L. Johnson
  • Patent number: 8656720
    Abstract: The present invention includes systems and methods to recover heat from a lower quality heat source and convert that heat represented by its temperature differential range into a different form of extractable energy. In various illustrative examples, the system may include a heat recovery heat exchanger, a conventional counter-flow vortex tube, a power producing turbine, a condenser heat exchanger, and a liquid circulating pump. The system further comprises a condenser heat exchanger that is adapted to receive the turbine exhaust vapor, wherein the temperature of the exhaust vapor is reduced via heat transfer rejecting the waste heat to the surrounding atmosphere at atmospheric temperatures; wherein the compressible working vapor is converted to a saturated liquid and returned to the first heat exchanger by pumping means for further cycling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2014
    Inventor: William David Hardgrave
  • Patent number: 8650879
    Abstract: The present application and the resultant patent provide a waste heat recovery system. The waste heat recovery system may include a first organic rankine cycle system, a second organic rankine cycle system, and one or more preheaters. The preheaters may be one or more charge air coolers. The charge air coolers may be in communication with the first organic rankine cycle system, the second organic rankine cycle system, or both the first organic rankine cycle system and the second rankine cycle system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2014
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Sebastian W. Freund, Gabor Ast, Pierre Huck, Sara Rocci Denis, Monika Muchlbauer, Albert Scharl, Wolfgang Madl