At one time, Diesel power was poised as an alternative to big Coal and Oil…
At the World’s Fair of 1900 in Paris France, Rudolph Diesel demonstrated the virtues of his new pressure-ignited “rational heat motor” which came to bear his name to the world then, and has done so to the present day. We’ve come to also know Rudolf Diesel as an eminent mechanical and thermal engineer, a multi-lingual and knowledgeable patron of the Arts, and not least of all a highly progressive Social Theorist. Although his legacy is inestimable, his rise to fame was as quick as it was brief…and leaves us with some unanswered questions about how Diesel’s vision may have offered us a different world than the one ruled by Oil and Big Banks.
Prior to revolutionizing the world of mechanized power, the Paris-born, Bavarian-bred Diesel had pursued his education in England, and at the Polytechnic School in Munich. He worked as a mechanic and parts designer for two years at the Sulzer Machine Works of Winterthur in Switzerland, and in 1880, he returned to Paris (after having been expelled during the Franco Prussion War in 1870) and began his engineering career in earnest. He joined the Linde Refrigeration Enterprises and worked as a refrigerator engineer, where he focused his talents on motorised power…Where the future began to take shape.
In 1885, Rudolf established his first laboratory-shop in Paris and began his 13-year quest to create and develop his high efficiency internal-combustion engine, and moved to the Berlin branch to continue his search in 1890. A year later, he took out his first patents—for machines to make clear ice, and worked out the theoretical basis for a constant temperature (isothermic) engine throughout the remainder of the decade, while he also worked on an ammonia vapor engine and (less rigorously) on a solar-powered engine as well. By 1892, he received a patent for his high-compression engine that could auto-ignite fuel without a sparking system, and on August 10, 1893 at the Augsburg Machine Works, Diesel’s prime model, which was composed of only a 10-foot iron cylinder with a flywheel at its base, operated on its own power for the first time.
In 1900 it’s put forward that the British Navy was highly impressed by this engine that could run on peanut or vegetable oil, and promised a theoretical efficiency of 70%, as compared to the thermal efficiency of only 10% for the steam driven engines that powered the navy at the time. Since the rising volumes of refined of petroleum was producing large amounts of a suitable oil byproduct, “diesel fuel” was always synonymous with fossil fuels. In fact it wasn’t until much recent concerns about oil reserves and rising prices, that Rudolph Diesels original intent came to fruition, and provided Society the means to burn vegetable oils, or other forms of “Bio-Diesel in his powerful and seemingly timeless invention.
“The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it” and that “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time.” – Rudolf Diesel 1912
One of Diesel’s key motivations to invent his high-efficiency engine (readily adaptable in size and utilizing locally available fuels) was to help relieve the burdens of the independent Artisan class of laborers and Craftsmen, who struggled to survive against the competition of large-scale industries that had virtually monopolized the predominant, over sized, expensive, and fuel-wasting power of the steam engine. Later (in 1903) he published a book called Solidarismus: Natuürliche wirtschaftliche Erloösung des Menschen (Solidarism: The Natural Economic Salvation of Man), in which he called for, among other things, worker-run factories. So, we can clearly see Diesels pre-occupation with social values and freedoms.
Prepare for War
Meanwhile, By 1913 the world was again gearing up for conflict, and the British Navy was running into serious safety issues with its petrol-powered submarine engines that required hot exhaust conduits, and created fuel fumes that were just a spark away from triggering a nautical disaster. While at the same time Rudolph Diesel was allegedly profoundly disturbed by the German Navy’s adoption of diesel engines for it’s own submarines. Concurrently, coal fired steamers were being converted to oil to try alleviate the concerns of spontaneous onboard coal-fires which often broke out deep in the coal bunkers under the enormous weight of the fuel (as is suspected to have played a part in the Titanic Disaster the year before in 1912 ) Oil fired steam engines also provided slightly quicker response time due to the much more flexible fueling methods offered by oil, over laborious challenges of coal transfer.
It’s also speculated however that the British Navy was obtaining funds to modernise it’s fleet through the Rothschild Empire with the proviso that they converted engines to use Middle East oil sources, which were owned through the same interests that were offering loans to the Admiralty. It seems that the British were being held over oil barrels owned by Bankers, much as they may have been during their forced purchase of the Suez Canal in 1875 to prevent an empire divided by a French owned shipping bottleneck.
In September of 1913…Rudolf Diesel boarded the Dresden in Antwerp Belgium, for a trip to London where he was to discuss the lucrative contractual terms for further refinements to his designs that would optimize them for marine application. After buying a bag of oranges, and requesting to be awoken at 6:15 AM, he retired for the evening, and was never seen alive again. His floating corpse was recovered 10 days later, with no signs of the contract that he was seen to be carrying on his person.
Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858-1913)
Few men have left as far reaching a legacy as Rudolf Diesel. His engines — heavier and more expensive to build per horsepower than gasoline engines, but much more durable and cheaper to operate—made rapid inroads in shipping in the 1920s, heavy-duty trucking and construction equipment in the 1930s, railroads in the 1950s, and began to gain ground in passenger automobiles following the energy crises of the 1970s. They are literally the engines that have driven industry and commerce through the 20th Century.
Today we’re seeing a renewed interest in the Bio-Fuels that were first employed by Diesel as a means to enable local energy to be grown by Farmers. Although hemp production was effectively killed The diesel technology that he spawned continues to be refined, and we are seeing impressive new strides being made in Diesel Locomotives, that could once again help revolutionize Transit and Transportation in a world that needs to replace gasoline engines as the dominant form of mechanical energy.
Glimpse into the Future !
Diesel technology is evolving and adapting itself again…This time to offer an even cleaner, renewable power source for the Future.
Learn More Here
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