BY TRACY HOUSE
It’s been around for centuries. It brought our country into the Industrial Revolution. And it’s about to make history. Steam.
TeamSteam USA will attempt to break the U.S. land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats (Utah) World Finals in October 2012, with their steam-powered car, the Cyclone Streamliner.
Nelson Hoyos, a two-time National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Champion and Bonneville record holder will be in the driver’s seat as he attempts to break the 148 mph record.
Chris Nelson, President of Cyclone Power Technologies, the company that designed and built the car, said they are hoping to exceed 200 mph. “Nelson won’t be happy with 149,” Chris said. The team has been invited by NASA to use the testing grounds at Cape Canaveral for initial testing in August.
The car will be powered by the unique Cyclone Engine, which was developed by Cyclone Power Technologies and invented by the company’s CEO and founder Harry Schoell. The engine is an external combustion engine, as opposed to the internal combustion engine used in vehicles today. This external combustion engine burns cleaner and more efficiently by using alternative fuel sources. “We use fuel to make steam and we do that in an external combustion chamber, outside the cylinders. We make steam and make it very hot at 1200 degrees F. We then pump the steam into the cylinders and that expands, and is what turns the crank shaft,” Chris said.
Implications for the external combustion engine and the power it generates is futuristic and a goal to use waste to create energy thus closing the cycle. “We should be using trash and other waste products more wisely,” Chris said. For example, smoke from chimneys and heat from tailpipes could be harnessed as a heat source to generate steam used to make power. The possibilities are far-reaching.
And hopefully, Salt Flats Racing will bring the technology and possibilities to light. “When we place our technology in that venue we’re able to meet with and discuss, and be taken seriously, by the large industry players. Every serious equipment manufacturer and automotive manufacturer has performance divisions,” Chris said. This exposure will highlight the technology and help to show the significant possibilities steam presents for cleaner and greener practices in the future. Cyclone also wants to use the Salt Flats race as a rallying point for a “grassroots” movement. “When people see this as possible, then they can create an upswell of movement and demand from the public,” he continues.
Waste energy recovery is a critical focus for our nation. Imagine using a banana peel, vegetable oil and other waste to generate energy for a house, meanwhile, keeping more waste out of the landfills and becoming less reliant on oil. Implementation is not far off─the technology already exists and will be put to the test this September as Nelson Hoyos of TeamSteam USA blows across the finish line in the spirit of clean energy!