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A steamed-cleaned engine: Leave it to a Florida-based marine designer to develop a water-lubricated Rankine-cycle, closed-loop steam engine that runs on almost any fuel.



Harry Schoell, a marine designer in Pompano Beach Pompano Beach (pŏm`pənō), city (1990 pop. 72,411), Broward co., SE Fla., on the Atlantic coast and the Intracoastal Waterway; inc. 1908. It is a resort city with ocean beaches, excellent fishing, and a harness-racing track. , FL, and inventor of the Cyclone engine (www.cyclonepower.com) describes his new engine design this way: "It's not dirty. It's very clean. It gets washed frequently." That's because the Cyclone is a Rankine-cycle engine, which means it is related to a steam engine, and uses a continuous cycle of liquid vaporization vaporization, change of a liquid or solid substance to a gas or vapor. There is fundamentally no difference between the terms gas and vapor, but gas is used commonly to describe a substance that appears in the gaseous state under standard conditions of  and condensation in a sealed container to create power. Though Rankine-cycle engines have been designed for experimental use in automobiles, mostly to reduce pollution, they never made a mark in the automobile industry automobile industry, the business of producing and selling self-powered vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, farm equipment, and other commercial vehicles.  due to the problems associated with lubricating an external combustion engine An external combustion engine (EC engine) is a heat engine where an internal working fluid is heated, often from an external source, through the engine wall or a heat exchanger.  without having the water and oil mix. Those worries may be over. The Cyclone doesn't use oil for lubrication lubrication, introduction of a substance between the contact surfaces of moving parts to reduce friction and to dissipate heat. A lubricant may be oil, grease, graphite, or any substance—gas, liquid, semisolid, or solid—that permits free action of .

"In the marine industry," says Schoell, "we use a lot of water-lubricated parts. A water bearing, done properly, is quite slippery." What these bearings have not been, until recently, is capable of operating for any length of time in a steam environment. Specially formulated PEEK (poly-ether-ether-ketone) bearings capable of standing up to high temperature super-critical steam are used in the Cyclone. "With the primary heat exchange system running at 1,200[degrees]F," says Schoell, "the steam density would have been too low for the heat exchanger heat exchanger

Any of several devices that transfer heat from a hot to a cold fluid. In many engineering applications, one fluid needs to be heated and another cooled, a requirement economically accomplished by a heat exchanger.
 to be efficient." Increasing the pressure of the steam to 3,200 lb/[in.sup.2] took care of this problem by making it act like a liquid and not a gas.

The primary components of the engine include a condenser condenser

Device for reducing a gas or vapour to a liquid. Condensers are used in power plants to condense exhaust steam from turbines and in refrigeration plants to condense refrigerant vapours, such as ammonia and Freons.
, steam generator A steam generator is a device used to boil water to create steam. It may refer to:
  • Boiler, a closed vessel in which water is heated under pressure
  • Steam generator (nuclear power), a heat exchanger in a pressurized water reactor equipped nuclear power plant
 and the requisite valves, cylinders, pistons, pushrods, main bearing, cams, and camshaft. Ambient air enters the engine through the intake blower, which circulates it through the condenser. According to Schoell, the flat-plate condenser "looks like a set of stacked record albums where air goes around the outside of the discs while the vapor on the inside is spun." It is then directed through heat exchangers, and the air is pre-heated, enters the steam generator, and is mixed with atomized fuel that is also spun in the centrifuge centrifuge (sĕn`trəfyj), device using centrifugal force to separate two or more substances of different density, e.g., two liquids or a liquid and a solid. . Schoell claims this "causes the heavy elements to stay to the outer wall until they are burned up, much like in a self-cleaning oven." He also says the fuel spray runs only when the engine needs to replenish the heat contained in the super-critical steam. At stoplights, the engine would run on residual heat in the system.

The power output is controlled by a rocker arm and cam design that opens and closes a needle valve in the head. This introduces high-pressure, high-temperature steam into the cylinder and provides the expansion force necessary to drive the pistons. Because it relies on the expansion of the fluid and not the expansive capacity of the fuel to create power, the Cyclone engine is fuel independent. It can run on almost any liquid or gaseous fuel. "We should do a better job on hydrogen than an internal combustion engine Internal combustion engine

A prime mover, the fuel for which is burned within the engine, as contrasted to a steam engine, for example, in which fuel is burned in a separate furnace.
," says Schoell, "because it has a lot of heat (BTUs), but not a lot of expansion."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As Schoell describes it, the preferred thing would be for a large manufacturer to buy the rights to the engine and develop it further. While he waits for that to happen, development continues apace, with a licensing agreement in place to develop the smaller version for an electric generator set. It may take years for the 38-in.[.sup.3], 330-lb, radially-opposed six-cylinder Mark V version to use its 700 lb-ft of starting torque, 100 hp, and 134 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm to power a car or truck, but Schoell isn't worried. He's been at this for 30 years.

By Christopher A. Sawyer, Executive Editor
COPYRIGHT 2006 Gardner Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:The INDUSTRY; Harry Schoell
Author:Sawyer, Christopher A.
Publication:Automotive Design & Production
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Words:608
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