Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) World Congress in Detroit, touted as one of the premier conferences of automotive engineers, executives and suppliers in the world saw some innovative ideas and concepts being showcased and discussed. One of them piqued my interest and I started digging for more information.

Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. has developed what it calls a Cyclone Engine. It is described as an environmentally friendly and highly efficient external combustion, heat-regenerative engine. It’s a water-lubricated external combustion engine that uses steam to power automobiles, lawn mowers and stationary generators. The company claims that the engine is capable of running on any liquid or gaseous fuel, including ethanol, bio-diesel and propane.

Developed by the company’s President and CEO, Harry Schoell, the Cyclone Engine regenerates (or recycles) its heat, which allows it to run cleaner, cooler and more efficiently than traditional internal combustion engines. Charles J. Murray for Design News reports that according to Schoell, the engine doesn’t need a transmission, clutches, mufflers or catalytic converters. At the show, the company demonstrated a 100-hp version of the engine that weighed just 35 lbs. Schoell said the automotive version of the engine uses six cylinders.

The engine works by burning fuel in an external combustion chamber and sending its hot gases through three heat exchangers. The first of those three heat exchangers heats water to 1,100-1,200 deg F and raises the water’s pressure to 3,200 psi. The superheated water is subsequently injected into the cylinders where it expands by a factor of approximately 1,800, therefore generating rotary motion.

The engine is lubricated with de-ionized water instead of motor oil because it has no metal-to-metal bearings. Thus, it eliminates many subsystems like oil pumps, radiators, catalytic converters and fuel injectors. The Cyclone engines are expected to cost less to manufacture, operate and maintain and are highly scalable and sufficiently powerful for applications ranging from lawn equipment and small home generators, large stand-alone generators, to cars, trucks, buses, RVs, boats and ships, as well as earth moving equipment and locomotives.

Cyclone holds the U.S. patent, international patent applications, and exclusive commercial rights to the Cyclone Engine. But one sad thing is that no automaker has come forward to adopt this technology. Innovative technologies like these need outright support from major automakers that are now under pressure to make their technology green. Otherwise it would be an excellent opportunity lost to limit and prevent undue damage to our planet.

Source: Press Release, Design News

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