So this guy in England has built himself a Sterling engine in his basement. Lacking the equipment that might be found in a better laboratory (or...in any laboratory), he has decided to determine the efficiency of the electrical generator he attached to his engine by using a kitchen scale, a weight, some string, a tachometer, and a power drill.
You can see the Stirling engine itself in glorious operation here.
The engine is built from scavenged car parts (and some quite beautiful machined parts, which he apparently machined himself).
Science note: A Stirling engine is a heat engine design that has been around for a couple of centuries, is as efficient as an engine can be, and can be made out of Coke cans, in extremis.
Secret Message to TV Tropes: There is no FTL in Afterlife Blues. As Emory says on page 27, it's impossible to travel faster than light so the denizens of the fictional world travel to alternate universes instead and settle colonies there. They often will make new gates to different alternate universes from previously-settled places, and they must travel slower-than-light between the gates - which is why New Abilene is two months from Earth. (When Brody links that idea with the fact that he's talking to Franklin, who supposedly is back helping to run things on Earth, his brain is going to break.)
OK, back on the field!