REAL clean energy

The project in a nutshell:

The energy crisis is a problem. Get ready for a whole new solution. The Ristau Motor is a machine designed to convert pressure created by low temperature spreads into useful electrical energy. The process to produce this energy is clean, sustainable and globally available. The goal of this project is to prepare, patent and package the Ristau Motor for production by any manufacturing facilities that want to be involved in solving the energy problem. The rest of the information posted below is simply  details.



Energy really is everywhere. It is light, sound and heat. It's potential and kinetic. Being surrounded by energy you would think there would be more ways to take that energy and turn it into something that can run your appliances, accessories, homes and vehicles.

For the past four years I have been developing a way to process low variations in thermal energy in a way that is commercially viable for energy production at a rate competitive with traditional sources like coal and oil.  

After dedicating my own time and finances in prototypes, testing, consultation, engineering and machining I have designed a product that can accomplish this as well as work in a wide variety of other applications. The success of this project could signal a significant change in the availability of electrical energy.

With all of the ridiculous fairy tale energy ideas out there you may be skeptical. I can assure you that the Ristau Motor does not defy any laws of the physical universe and my grasp of thermodynamics is secure. I've outlined the basic principles of the energy production process used by the Ristau Motor below.


What I have developed is essentially a new kind of engine. You've noticed that in a fit of narcissism I've named it the Ristau Motor. The Ristau motor itself comprises 2 out of 4 components required to produce electrical energy in a way that has not been possible so far except from very large temperature spreads such as standard Geothermal. Low temperature differential energy production with the Ristau Motor works as follows:


1) A heat collector heats a working gas (air) causing it to expand and create pressure.  The heat source can be ambient air temperature, focused solar, biomass, steam etc.

2) The pressure created by the heated gas causes a primary circulator (the Ristau Motor) to cycle. A portion of the mechanical energy is used to drive an electrical generator while the rest of the energy is used to cycle a re-circulator (another Ristau Motor explained further in step 4) which allows the process to be repeated.

3) After the working gas passes through the primary circulator, the processed gas vents into a heat sink (any colder body like ground temperature or a body of water) where it cools and contracts. 

4) A re-circulator (Ristau Motor) driven by the primary circulator (step 2) is used to put the cooler more dense gas back into the heat collector where it again expands driving another cycle.

The whole process is much like that of a sterling engine but instead of each phase taking place in a compact unit. Each phase is separate which enables it to take advantage of much larger volumes. Much larger volumes are needed in order to take advantage of much smaller spreads in temperature. Watching how a Stirling Engine cycles is a good way to conceptualize how the process works with a Ristau Motor in the above described system. As a matter of fact, Wikipedia has a good review of Stirling Engines that I highly recommend if you want to understand the process.  ( It includes animated processes and all of the same physics used by the Ristau Motor. It also relieves me of writing a 20 page physics review that might make your eyes glaze over.  

Many people, groups, and organizations have tried and are still trying to find a way to draw usable energy from low temperature spreads. Many of the concepts are based off of the Stirling or Carnot cycle as the Ristau Motor is. To date, the limiting factor has been the converter itself. The unit used to convert the energy inevitably takes more energy to operate than is available. Even the "Geothermal" heat pumps gaining popularity recently only reduce the amount of energy required to run them but do not actually produce energy.  That is not to say that there aren't massive amounts of energy available, it's just a matter of how it's processed. The significance of the second video below is that the Ristau Motor can cycle with as little as 0.5psi leaving any remainder available for useful energy production. In comparison that same amount of pressure would do nothing in the cylinders of a reciprocating engine! 



-The video above is the proof of concept version of the Ristau Motor itself.  The breakthrough here is that it can cycle under extremely low pressures which is what the video was made to illustrate. The Ristau motor is also capable of extremely high pressures, RPM and torque. 2 Ristau Motors and 2 heat exchangers are required to produce energy with low temperature spreads

-The noise in the video is primarily from the bottleneck at the air hose attachment and shouldn't occur in production models (the attachment is just for the demonstration). Additional background noise is from the compressor used to create the air pressure for the example. 

- The operating pressure was roughly 1psi rendering the pressure gauge useless. To show the low amount of pressure in the system I placed my hand over the exhaust port stopping the flow (you can see it is stopped because the timing belt stops).

- The shaft in the production design is substantially larger and the timing belt no longer exists. All other major working parts are the same.

- The slow RPM is due to the low pressure combined with the motors 3-liter capacity.

As for the Ristau Motor itself, you can see from the video that its outside appearance is similar to a regular reciprocating engine. It is housed in a block and has a drive shaft but that's where it's similarities end. Internally it has no pistons and it is configured in such a way that it will cycle continuously with simple air pressure like wind turns a windmill.  Unlike a windmill the air or working fluid is encapsulated allowing it to make use of all of the available pressure for energy production whereas a windmill or turbine allows much of the air to flow right by between the blades without it ever interacting with them, particularly at low RPM.  The Ristau Motor is roughly one cubic foot (Size can change based on application) and when outfitted with a generator and re-circulator is about the size of a home microwave which means it can be hidden in the crawlspace, attic or any other inconspicuous space.



The primary design of the Ristau Motor is for use in a network similar to wind farms or solar arrays where multiple units piggyback together to produce large amounts of energy which supply the overall grid. The average user shouldn't notice anything different at home with the exception of a lower power bill. When being used as part of an energy farm the system of heat exchangers and Ristau Motors will be much less intrusive on the landscape than wind turbines or solar panels. The majority of the system is below the grounds surface and above-ground heat exchangers can be incorporated into buildings or landscape with great flexibility in size and appearance. The below ground heat exchangers will be deep enough to allow almost any other land uses to continue as if nothing were there. The energy producing capacity of the Ristau Motor is in direct proportion to the size of the heat exchangers and the heat variations they are exposed to. Even though the system is designed to work as part of a grid, each system can be stand-alone as well which makes it a great option for remote locations or people that simply want to be energy independent. The space available in the average suburban yard is enough to supply the home with energy without encroaching on the usable space. It is a closed system with no intake or exhaust. The benefit of a closed system is that its environmental impact is limited to transferring heat from the outside environment to a ground source making energy in the process and then draws it back out again later in the process.  This system will work when there is no wind to turn windmills and when there is no sunshine to power solar panels as long as there is an adequate spread in the temperature between the heat collector and the heat sink.

 Now that I've outlined the concept, let me define the project itself:

The Project

The project I propose is a one-year project involving the following steps:

1) Obtain a PPA (provisional patent application) which allows me to share further details of the invention with you and various specialists. The PPA also starts the clock on a one-year window from the time a PPA is filed to the time a full patent request must be filed.  The year window is the reason I will not be filing a PPA until after funding is secured. 

2) Run as many tests on the Ristau Motor as possible to identify any weak points and document actual real-world performance. This translates to making and then breaking a lot of units by over pressurizing, overheating, over cooling, torque, impact, etc.  Sometimes the units will be rebuild-able but occasional catastrophic failure is expected.  

3) Make any needed modifications to be able to present the most robust production-ready unit possible.

I've negotiated for borrowed machine shop space, borrowed land for beta testing and will be using professionals like engineers and machinists on a piece by piece contract basis.

The above price assumes all destructive tests being performed only once.

Any additional funding would be put to good use. An over-funding wish list would include dedicated shop space with additional equipment, additional testing, a full time engineer and additional skilled labor

At the end of this project any manufacturer with an interest from small to large will have access to a turn key ready-to-make product.


You might be thinking "that's all fine and good, but what happens AFTER the project"?

Ultimately I would like for anybody with an interest  to be able to manufacture the Ristau Motor, from small machine shops to corporate giants. My intention is to make the production of the units as close to "open-source" as possible which will be the most beneficial to the most people in the shortest amount of time. Competition ensures the lowest price and best availability. I'm against selling the patent to any one corporation because the obligation of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. Once the focus changes from how much energy can be produced to how much money can be produced, the objective of inexpensive clean energy is lost. As a company Ristau LLC will continue with development as well as exploration into different applications. Ristau LLC will also function as quality management to ensure consistency between manufacturers.  

This is a big undertaking but important and useful to a lot of people these days. Without funding it just sits and waits regardless of where the always-present energy crisis leads.  I, for one, would like to start digging our way out of it. I'm hoping you have the same opinion and would like to be part of it!

Project By


Judson Ristau

A little bit about the inventor:

You can hire smart people, put together teams and facilities, make the conditions and environment ideal for creativity, but you can't actually buy invention. Edison didn't put together a committee to invent the light bulb, the Wright brothers weren't on the board of "Guys that build bikes that would rather be flying" and I'm pretty sure Franklin's little kite flying fiasco wouldn't have been approved by a review panel. In that same tradition, I was simply driving down the road on an average workday in 2008 when I heard a radio host say "Energy is everywhere, all you have to do is go out and get it". That sounded reasonable to me.

The invention of the Ristau Motor isn't completely out of left field. I did begin college as an engineering major but graduated with my business degree instead. I switched for two reasons; the first being that I couldn't find an engineering school that also offered sports scholarships and the second was that I'm much more of a designer than a number cruncher. Ironically, I now have to pay an engineer to crunch the numbers for me.
I have always been creative and very mechanically inclined. I've designed a variety items ranging from a different kind of shoe sole, a contact lens case, multiple web sites, so on and so forth. Growing up I enjoyed projects such as building recumbent bicycles, restoring cars and any number of other weekend challenges. Today I'm a consummate DIY kind of guy. Typically my opinion is that if I can't do it myself, there's a good chance it can't be done. It turns out that this opinion is more of a guideline than a rule. I'm currently working with a small number of people on this project and relying heavily on my engineer to cross check my work.
I have been working on the Ristau Motor since its conception in 2008. Low temperature variations are globally available and yet no one has figured out how to harness them as an energy source. In 2011 I started Ristau LLC. to be dedicated to the design, development and testing of the Ristau Motor. What began as a series of experiments with fragile and low yield prototypes has evolved into a robust unit with applications extending well beyond its original design. Now it's just a matter of getting it into the hands of producers so that it can be put to use.

Outside of my energy pursuit I'm an adjuster for an insurance company. I live in a little house in the middle of a medium town with a dog that is constantly trying to destroy all of my shoes and power tools. What else is there to tell?

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