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Alternative engines

Posted by Steamcarstartup 
Alternative engines
September 06, 2022 07:58AM
Well I'm sure I won't receive the best reception but here goes nothing.

I'm one of those hopeless steam enthusiasts who believes a modern steam car is possible. I know but hear me out.

I'm not saying we should build a steam car company and attempt to dethrone gas powered engines. But as we've seen with electric cars there's a resurgence in alternative engines. So I'm proposing this a steam car or steam hybrid that would be available for anyone who could afford one or an avid enthusiast who would like an alternative to $5 a gallon fuels.

Essentially so far i believe we could reengineer the doble (i know fantasizing but hear me out) We could easily drop the weight by half thus adding to mileage. Add a catalytic converter to the exhaust and then it could pass emissions. Or maybe use an electrical source for heat. The technology is all there I think its time we pulled together and sought to bring a niche steam car to the market. We could supplement company revenues with small engines i.e. steam lawn mower, tiller, tractor ect..

Gas cars are being banned in California. Electric cars are killing the grid. Not to mention the high cost of replacing a battery. So does anyone else think it could be done on a small scale production line. Not a steam car for the average American. But a steam car for the average enthusiast. Even poor mileage I could practically use a steam car for back and forth to work and fill up once a week. Or with the available torque i could pull a water trailer behind it.

I know a lot of you will say its impossible. But realistically if we consider that we wouldn't be in competition with anyone but ourselves and we only produce what we can to order. Could we bring a steam car back to the market? Or at least start looking into the manufacture of alternative engines. Like maybe a steam ICE hybrid... I digress but I'm open to suggestions and ideas. If anyone else thinks it can be done lets discuss details. Thanks.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2022 08:01AM by Steamcarstartup.
Re: Alternative engines
September 06, 2022 08:38AM
I think the cheapest way is to move out of California.

To make steam you still have to burn some kind of fuel.
Are they going to allow Diesel fuel?

How about a nice small nuclear powered steam generator.
California would banned them outright as well as most states.
Maybe they would band mother-in-law’s as well.

Re: Alternative engines
September 06, 2022 08:51AM

Welcome to the forum. Not sure why you are dis-positioned that people on this forum would not receive you well. I'm interested in talking about a steam hybrid car. I'm in the process of building a Stanley replica with many new ideas planned to go into it. Although not a hybrid, it does provide for a platform to try out some new ideas.

Note that a catalytic converter is a bad idea. I wouldn't re-engineer the Doble, just improve upon it. Don't be so quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

On one hand you suggest electric heat. Then you say a high cost to replace the car batteries. You need to focus on what is important to the success of a modern steam car. For you to inquire and my response actually helps me to focus the main points:

- multi fuels and easy conversion to the external burner. External combustion is inherently cleaner. Renewable fuels and options with various fuels provides flexibility. Burning hydrogen would be the cleanest method and is an easy application.
- the steam engine like the electric motor has max torque from a stall. This allows for the engine to be direct drive, no transmission.
- electric heat if coming from the braking energy like on a hybrid car...is a good idea. Even better if used to create hydrogen and burned to produce heat.

I've attached these concepts before...again to stimulate thought. Again, welcome and just trying to provide good thought interaction.

Re: Alternative engines
September 06, 2022 11:46AM
The problem with alternatively fueled vehicles is that we live in the 2020's, and California is planning to ban the sale of new ICE vehicles. As I recall, almost 20 other states have signed on to follow California's auto emission regulations. The Federal government appears to be fixated on banning ICE by the mid 2030s. This is all driven by carbon emissions. Given the lower overall efficiency of a steamer, it is a certainty that they would be even less likely to pass EPA standards, if they burn gasoline or diesel.

So, your problem with a steamer is EXACTLY the same as that for an ICE. You need to develop carbon-neutral fuels that are not at too severe a cost disadvantage. This is why there is ongoing research into hydrogen and synthetic fuels. The one advantage a steamer has is that you aren't worried about octane or cetane numbers -- and can therefore use a wider range of fuels.

Make no mistake about it, carbon emissions are now the driving force in the auto industry -- by government fiat. I work in powertrain development and this is simply a fact of life. It is driving the current trends in automotive design and is inescapable. So, in order to not put the cart in front of the horse, you need to work out an acceptable fuel before anything else.


Re: Alternative engines
September 07, 2022 09:34AM
A quick story that might be interesting...I was recently at the NYS Fair in Syracuse NY. I went to the NYSERDA (new york state energy research & development authority) booth to ask about energy rebates for going Geothermal at my house. The immediate question was what do you use for heat right now? My response is I burn natural gas. Since I already have a clean burning system, I would not be able to get any rebates.

There is a lesson learned from this experience. That is NYS is interested in clean energy and not so much on efficiency nor renewable fuel options.

The other rebates that were offered and advertised is the electric car rebate. One can get up to $2,000 off the purchase of an electric car that has a 200+ mile range. $1,000 of a range of 40 - 199 miles. $500 of a range of under 40 miles. And the most interesting is a $500 for an electric car with MSRP less than $42,000. Lesson here is that range is the incentive.

Last thing that was super hot was the urgency to install electric solar power on your roof. Serious incentives for this and not for you to invest into the solar farm. Lesson is to have distributed electric power and not rely on the grid so much.

So let me summarize what this experience tells me regarding the idea of producing a steam car to compete in the market:
- what ever the hybrid steam car uses for fuel, it must be really clean burning. This is priority one.
- the range of the steam car needs to be around the 400 mile mark. This is twice the incentive range mentioned above.
- this is a tricky one, to have the fuel or energy source at home or at your house. Electricity seams to be the main contender for this. However, this should spark some interesting discussions?

Let us imagine a steam car in existence that is parked in your driveway. How will it be fueled or better question is how will the car be charged for commuting or for trips? From locomotive history, switcher steam engines were charged with steam from a stationary steam plant. There is significant capacity with a volume of water at the phase change point on a T-S diagram. This means the development of a thermal battery as apposed to an electric battery. I think most everyone already has a hot water tank in their house that stores, you guessed it, hot water.

How about if we take a 400 mile trip? The thermal battery will only get you maybe ~50 miles. So now the car gets significantly more complicated for it needs to carry water, generate heat for making steam and would need to condense the steam after the traction effort to conserve the water along with recouping brake energy like the electric car.

I want to address the 400 mile trip but need to go back to the home energy steam plant that can thermally charge the car. With PV solar, the electricity is pretty good for the home. It can be used to heat, cook and hot water. However, I would suggest a conversion of my natural gas, condensing furnace to hydrogen. This way I don't need to invest in a pricey heat pump system. I can produce hydrogen from the PV panels and store it right at my house. I can instantly produce the hydrogen and burn it to produce heat. No need to store it in this situation.

Now to address the 400 mile trip. I would suggest the use of hydrogen to burn and produce heat. Perhaps there might be a breakthrough in atomic hydrogen burner...controversial at this point. What would be better, to carry hydrogen tanks or carry electric batteries to produce the hydrogen instantly for burning or both? Keep in mind the recouping of braking energy. Let us not dwell on the cold winter temperatures in NYS, especially where I live, at this point.

While you think about that question, please enjoy some steam bike concepts.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/26/2022 09:37AM by Rick.H.

Re: Alternative engines
September 07, 2022 10:43AM
Before you look at solar for your roof: Call your insurance agent/company and be sure you can get insurance.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2022 07:06PM by Scott Finegan.
Re: Alternative engines
September 11, 2022 05:22PM
I'm talking to someone right now about that very thing.
I'll know within 90 days if there will be steam cars on the road again in the future.
Lots of hurdles.
Re: Alternative engines
September 13, 2022 07:48AM
So I provide some steam consulting on occasion to help out with the development of new and exciting steam car developments. I helped design an Ofeldt to go into a later model Stanley Car and helping guide a Team who wishes to set the new Steam Land Speed Record (LSR).

I'm actually gearing up to produce new and exciting version(s) of the Ofeldt. I have a standing offer to make the boiler (steam generator) for that LSR Team. I'm interested to talk with anyone else who would like to develop a steam car.

So far, I have jumped over several hurdles.

To keep things exciting, attached another motorcycle concept using the twin clam boiler along with some other development pictures. The Clam is an air preheater. This boiler would use spiral fire tubes. The bike is a hybrid, note the electric generator incorporated to proved heat regenerating braking.

Re: Alternative engines
September 15, 2022 08:03AM
Rick, nice tubes! That is similar to the latest concept I had using a water tube surrounding a baffled fire tube where the baffling prevents the heat from passing too rapidly through the tubing. The outer water tube would be similar and would use forced recirculation for better efficiency. That was what my brother and I were working on before he had his strokes
I'll try to get drawings up to show what we had in mind.
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