Advertisement

Cyclone Steam Engine Pushes Closer To Land Speed Record

Follow Nelson

Simplified diagram of the Cyclone steam engine

Simplified diagram of the Cyclone steam engine

Enlarge Photo

Steam engines. For most of us, they conjure images of horseless buggies, paddle ships and classic locomotives, but soon they may be setting new speed records and hitting new benchmarks for efficiency--potentially in passenger cars.

Cyclone Power Technologies today announced it has completed and shipped a full scale model of the engine being built for the U.S. Land Steam Record Team. At 180 horsepower and peak torque of 850 pound-feet--at 1 rpm--the engine promises to deliver a steam-powered speed record with a marriage of old and new technology. Being the powertrain nerds we are, we took a closer look at the system.

Defined by Cyclone as a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion engine, the Cyclone Engine uses a six-piston radial layout to extract power from supercritical steam. Supercritical steam is water heated to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, existing in a phase state that's not really a liquid or a gas, but can behave like both. The supercritical steam is contained within a tubular coil system and then released into the cylinders, compressing the pistons and rotating the crank shaft through a unique spider bearing. Once the steam has done its job, it enters the cooling phase to return to its liquid state before heading back up to be superheated again. Water also serves as the lubricant for the system, eliminating the need for oil or oil changes.

Heat for the whole process is created in an atmospheric pressure combustion chamber, meaning almost any fuel can be used, without producing many of the harmful by-products of high-pressure internal combustion engines, such as oxides of nitrogen. Because the fuel circulates in the combustion chamber until it's all consumed, and much of heat generated is contained within the closed-loop system, Cyclone says their engine can convert up to 46 percent of the fuel energy into torque, a figure about 15 percent higher than the most efficient internal combustion engines, including diesels.

The Cyclone engine packaged in a passenger car format

The Cyclone engine packaged in a passenger car format

Enlarge Photo
There are other advantages to the technology as well, from a packaging standpoint. Weighing in at just about 200 pounds, it's lightweight and relatively compact, especially when you consider that the engine requires no gearbox due to the high initial torque. Torque slowly decreases as engine speed increases, though the prototype engine being developed for the steam-powered speed run still produces 262 pound-feet at 3,600 rpm.

It's an elegant way to extract power from fuel and deliver it to the ground, and it's a way Cyclone hopes to eventually push into the passenger car segment. Its ability to run on almost any fuel, high efficiency and low emissions mean it may well be even better suited to the task of propelling the cars of the 21st Century than rusty coal-fired boilers were to building the infrastructure of the 19th Century.

Check out the video below for a quick explanation of the engine tech from the man behind it, Harry Schoell. And when you're done, head over to the U.S. Land Steam Record Team's site to learn more about their attempt to break the 148-mph record.

[Cyclone Power Technologies]

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (16)
  1. I would add a steam box to the system. A steam box is a high pressure insulated tank which can store energy for quick power bursts. It would cut fuel consumption considerably and allow for a smaller steam generator and condensor.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. Awesome!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Gears steal energy. Plus the added weight of the transmission would make the thing LESS efficient. The same reason they don't gear electric motors. They have enough torque from 1 RPM to get the car moving. 2 steam engines like this would be great in semi-trucks. 1 running all the time and both kick in to accelerate and up hill. Wonder what the MPG would be on this engine.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  4. "The MAN S80ME-C7 low speed diesel engines use 155 gram fuel per kWh for an overall energy conversion efficiency of 54.4%, which is the highest conversion of fuel into power by any internal or external combustion engine.[1]" - wikipedia
    Hybrid turbine + steam secondary stage combos can go higher though.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  5. The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) is a prototype military reconnaissance 'bot that could keep going and going, except that it's not dependent on long-lasting batteries. The robot would instead use a waste heat engine developed by Cyclone Power Technologies to continually fuel itself on plants and other biomass from the surrounding environment.Pressures in the range of 3,200 psi with temperatures of about 1,200° F cause super-critical vapor to act as a fluid. Maintaining the super-critical pressure, in the centrifuge process, eliminates the turbulence, backpressure events, and heat spikes that can occur during other less efficient types of super-critical processes.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. I don't think a steambox would be as efficient as you think when talking about the super heated steam to 1200 degrees, this isn't a locomotive.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. Why not hook it to a generator in a series hybrid? Wouldn't matter what the power curve looks like, heck it'd probably be quieter than any other kind of generator. You wouldn't need to worry about how long it takes the steam engine to get up to power either.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  8. This inventor has been making all the claims about this engine for 10 years. There is not one Cyclone engine in the hands of an independent tester.
    This is a Pink Sheet stock for a very good reason!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  9. What a great time for this fabulous technology. How lucky we all are to see these engines....and to help save the planet!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  10. I just finished checking this company out. This is what I found.
    1.The company stock has been going steadily down for over a year.
    2. The company and its licenseies have never produced a product for the public.
    3..Cyclone has 1 Billion authorized shares.
    4. They produce a PR about once a week.
    5. This is a penny Pink Sheet stock.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  11. Water as a lubricant?
    I got a question. What is the engine made out of so it doesn't rust? Titanium?
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  12. Has not been independently tested by anyone,that anyone is aware of, nor do I know of any public demonstration wherein the engine actually performed some work.
    Valid points that should be addressed by the company.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  13. 1.The clyclone Steam Engine Pushes to Record Speed is: 148 Miles Per Hour too!!!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  14. Where's the video gone?
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  15. I have read that the Cyclone Power Generator can produce 55KWH. Why not use that to generate electricity in the car and couple it with protean electric motor, or an pinwheel electric motor? A quick search on the web showed that the standard electric car would use 20 kwH when it is cruising at 60 mph. One would not need a drive train or a transmission at all.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

     
  16. sorry, I meant to type "in wheel" electric motor. IN fact I did type that , but since I didn't leave a space between the words the auto correct changed it.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement

Take Us With You!

 
Advertisement

Research New Cars

Go!


 
© 2014 MotorAuthority. All Rights Reserved. MotorAuthority is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC. Send us feedback.