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Cyclone Power to run patented steam engine in land speed record attempt

Lest you think the steam engine for automobiles is dead, think again. Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. already has a compact, heat regenerative, external combustion engine that has been developed to achieve high thermal efficiencies and power-to-weight ratio. First things first, though. How about a land speed record?

Cyclone Power Technologies, the owner of this technology, is already developing a 6 cylinder, 336lbs, 95HP engine capable of producing up to 860 ft.lbs. of torque at starting, sufficient for powering a full sized passenger automobile. See their website for technical images like the one shown and greater details with videos.

That land speed reference, though, was not a misprint. The team is developing a specially designed USLSR Engine as a non-condensing variation of the Mark V automotive engine, offering 180 HP by utilizing a double combustion chamber system. The run for the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats is expected to occur in August, 2011. The current record for a steam vehicle is 148.308 MPH which was achieved in 2009.

Of course, the engine will be modified further to power a streamlined vehicle capable of 200+ MPH. The vehicle, designed by Chuk Williams, is being built to far surpass the existing Land Steam Record. The team expects this vehicle will be inducted into the history books as the new Land Speed record holder for Steam Vehicles. The marriage between the Cyclone Engine and the Williams streamliner design is expected to be a winning combination. There is a separate website for the racer called Streamliner .

What is an ECE?

Especially note that the Cyclone is not an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine but an ECE (External Combustion Engine). Invented by Harry Schoell, the engine operates on a Rankine cycle, and uses multiple heat recapturing processes off its cylinders, exhaust manifold and condenser to achieve thermal efficiencies reported at over 30%.

The Cyclone Engine uses water as both its working fluid and lubricant, and can operate at super-critical pressures and temperatures, which Cyclone claims to result in greater power output relative to its size.

According to the company website, the Cyclone is capable of running on virtually any liquid or gaseous fuel, including 100% biofuels.

Awards for vision

It is not common knowledge that steam engines are cleaner than current automotive engines and can run on 100% biofuels. Could it one day power your automobile and maybe even replace that co-called, dirty generator engine in the Chevy Volt? Some visionaries think so.

Automobiles are not the only application for this company’s technology. Their engines can run portable and large generators using bio-diesels, syngas, and waste fuel products that other systems are incapable of accepting. It emits fewer greenhouse gasses, because its combustion operates at temperatures and pressures below where many gasses like NOx are formed.

For the record, the patented Cyclone Engine has won numerous awards, including the Popular Science 2008 Invention of the Year, and the Society of Automotive Engineers' AEI Tech Award in 2006 and 2008.