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Aux steam engine

Extra heat turned into just enough power to run system
  [vote for,

Just use your existing coolant passages as a low pressure boiler and run a small piston steam engine off the pressure built up. Run the exhaust from the steam engine thru the existing radiator and replace the existing water pump with a piston pump of similar volume that runs off of the steam engine. No free ride here. All we are doing is using the differencial temperatures between the engine and the radiator to run a closed circuit steam engine. And then using the steam engine to turn the water pump. Seems to be a win-win because it relieves the engine from running the water pump, ~2HP? (wild guess probably inaccurate) and lowers the load on the radiator because any heat turned into work, won't make it there. Minimal extra parts, so it will fit in a car and you might even be able to get a little extra power to run the radiator fan.
MisterQED, Oct 19 2007

Check this one out Another_20energy_20...m_20for_20the_20ICE
and all the links. Its not exactly the same, but it's pretty similar. [bleh, Oct 19 2007]


       //2HP? (wild guess probably inaccurate)// Do you have a tame guess that is more accurate?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 19 2007

       i think this has been done before, but I cant remember. Welcome to the bakery.   

       A stirling engine would work better, but still not well enough for this to be feasible. I don't think a low pressure steam system would cycle the water (antifreeze) fast enough to be effective as a coolant. Also, it'd get pretty hot before any cooling happened, since the whole engine would have to get up to the boiling point of your coolant before any pressure would be built up.
bleh, Oct 19 2007

       From what I remember about Stirling Engines, they work well, but don't have a lot of torque and have a hard time getting started. They're used as power generators for Large boats where noise is an issue, since they run almost silently (compared to an ICE) and in that application, they run continuously. Also, the fluid in the engine would be being sloshed around so much in a car that I don't think it would be very efficient what with the stirling needing to keep hot in one place and cold in another.\   

       Minutes later:   

       I just checked my reference (Air Engines by Theodor Finkelstein and Allan J Organ 2001 John Wiley and Sons )   

       and as Stirling himself noted :" the engine would work very well without cooling when starting up, the power tended to drop when the upper ends of the displacer cylinders became hot. This suggested the use of a separate cooler."   

       so as the stirling engine warms up, you'd need a cooler for your coolant system.   

       But all that is beside the point since the idea here is for a steam based coolant system.
bleh, Oct 19 2007

       You could additionally create another steam engine to pump all the water that will be required for this steam engine into its boiler! They could become increasingly smaller, and fill all the extra nooks and crannies in the engine compartment.   


       ah, a closed system. nevermind. the bmw turbosteamer is pretty interesting. a little too complex for my taste. i'd rather bring global warming on ten years early then have a car that confuses me.
mylodon, Oct 19 2007

       When I submitted this I was worried people would see it as some kind of crazy perpetual motion machine, which it isn't. The idea was to create a simple bolt on device that could be placed on any automobile to create enough gain to make it worth while, like a K&N filter which can get you a couple of HP and they seem to sell lots of them. A typical gas engine is only 20% efficient, so it takes 500HP of gasoline to make 100HP for a small car. The most of the other 400HP goes out the exhaust, but some goes out the radiator as excess heat caused by friction or heat losses to combustion chambers. Making a wild guess I say 80% goes out the exhaust and 20% goes to the radiator, which puts 40HP of heat to be cooled by the radiator. Sterling engines are cool, very efficient but HUGE. I saw plans for a 5HP Sterling engine on the web that wouldn’t even fit in an engine compartment if the engine was removed. A 5HP high pressure steam engine is the size of shoebox. My design uses lower pressure but also needs less power, so should be of similar size. Turbines are a good idea, but are problematic if the steam is allowed to condense (blade erosion) and also turbines are expensive. Efficiency isn’t really an issue as we really only need a couple of HP to run the water pump, so if my system is only 10% efficient, it will still work perfectly. It will turn 4HP into usable energy and vent the remaining 36HP to the radiator. The only time it won’t work is when the engine coolant isn’t up to temp and that is the time it isn’t necessary. To have 4 extra HP available across the entire torque band would be HUGE advantage in a small engine.
MisterQED, Oct 25 2007

       Look up the BMW turbosteamer.
acurafan07, Oct 25 2007

       You give low pressure steam sytems too much credit.   

       Also if you're interested, look up some independent testing on K*&N filters.
Texticle, Oct 25 2007


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