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1. (WO2015157813) THERMAL ENGINE WITH ENERGY MODULATION MECHANISM
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Claims

[Claim 1] An apparatus for extracting thermal energy including:

at least one expander for extracting thermal energy from thermal expansion of a working medium in one or more cylinders of the at least one expander;

at least one compressor for compressing the working medium after the expansion; and a force modulation unit connecting the at least one expander to the at least one compressor, the force modulation unit being adapted to modulate non- constant force from the at least one expander into a substantially constant force.

[Claim 2] An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the at least one expander and the at least one compressor work alternately via the force modulation unit.

[Claim 3] An apparatus according to claims 1 or 2, wherein the force modulating unit includes two conversion gears, each conversion gear having at least one epicyclic gear.

[Claim 4] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the force modulating unit further includes a lever connecting the two conversion gears.

[Claim 5] An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the lever constrains a sun gear axis and a planetary gear axis of each epicyclic gear within a swinging plane.

[Claim 6] An apparatus according to claim 5, wherein fulcrum of the lever is constrained by the swinging plane, the fulcrum being freely slideable along the lever in between the planetary gear axes of the conversion gears for pivotal control.

[Claim 7] An apparatus according to claims 5 or 6, wherein expansion force from the at least one expander acts on the lever via the epicyclic gears of each conversion gear, through the planetary shaft axis constrained by the swinging plane, perpendicularly against the lever in real time when it is swinging around its sun gear.

[Claim 8] An apparatus according to any one of claims 4 to 7, wherein the lever is adapted to

modulate gas expansion force or gas compression force through a dynamic leverage ratio control in a range of smaller than infinitive and bigger than inversely infinitive. [Claim 9] An apparatus according to any one of claims 6 to 8, wherein the fulcrum of the lever is dynamically controlled by a stepper motor.

[Claim 10] An apparatus according to any one of claims 4 to 9, wherein each conversion gear acts on the lever alternately for each cycle of expansion and/or compression.

[Claim 11] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein energy level in a first

conversion gear resulting from thermal expansion is offset by energy level in a second conversion gear using the dynamic leverage control of the lever, with a constant surplus output during each cycle.

[Claim 12] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein a deficiency in thermal expansion pressure is compensated by thermal radiation from an external heat source. [Claim 13] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 12, wherein compression entropy can be reduced by thermal radiation towards low temperature uncompressed working medium.

[Claim 14] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein the apparatus further includes at least one cryogenic expander.

[Claim 15] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the at least one cryogenic expander is used to cool temperature of the working medium between end of thermal expansion and intake of working medium by the compressor.

[Claim 16] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein working medium ejected by the at least one cryogenic expander is used to cool temperature of the working medium between end of thermal expansion and intake of working medium by the at least one compressor.

[Claim 17] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 16, wherein working medium ejected by the at least one cryogenic expander is used to control temperature of high pressure working medium before intake by the at least one expander.

[Claim 18] An apparatus according to any one of claims 3 to 17, wherein piston displacement in one side of the at least one expander due to working medium expansion, is converted into rotary motion by the epicyclic gear of each conversion gear in the force modulation unit. [Claim 19] An apparatus according to any one of claims 4 to 18, wherein the lever, through its fulcrum, delivers a reversal and leveraged action force to overcome compression force, ejection of working medium after expansion and a net output force that is constant for the cycle. [Claim 20] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 19, wherein the apparatus further

includes a torque coupling mechanism for coupling torque force from the rotary motion provided by each conversion gear.

[Claim 21] An apparatus according to claim 20, wherein the torque coupling mechanism includes two epicyclic gears adapted to selectively collect the torque force provided by the two epicyclic gears of the conversion gears.

[Claim 22] An apparatus according to claims 20 or 21, wherein the apparatus further incudes a

differential unit adapted to combine two torque forces collected by the torque coupling mechanism into one directional torque output.

[Claim 23] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 22, wherein the apparatus further

includes a continuously variable transmission unit adapted to change an output ratio. [Claim 24] An apparatus according to claim 23, wherein the continuously variable transmission unit includes a first axis and a second axis within a plane and perpendicular to one another, the first axis having an input master friction wheel and slave friction wheel rotating around it due to another pair of friction wheels sandwiching the master and slave wheels with pressure while rotating around the second axis to allow the master and slave rotating at equal or variable velocities.

[Claim 25] An apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 24, wherein the apparatus further

includes a gear train controlled valve assembly for controlling working medium flow of the at least one expander and/or the cryogenic expander.

[Claim 26] An apparatus according to claim 25, wherein the apparatus further includes a second gear train controlled valve assembly for controlling input of working medium intake of the at least one compressor.

[Claim 27] An apparatus according to claims 25 or 26, wherein the gear train controlled valve assembly is controlled by a stepper motor.