// Steam-electric hybrid auto
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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Steam-electric hybrid auto

    External Combustion of fuel with forced-air draft produces less pollution and what is produced is more easily controlled. EC can use any liquid or gaseous fuel so it is the ultimate in multi-fuel use. Ideally we would use biofuels so that the CO2 emissions would simply be recycled in growing crops to make biofuels. [Biofuels are another subject.] EC does not require highly refined fuels and could use ethanol, vegetable oil, propane, natural gas, methane,furnace fuel oil, kerosene, liquified coal, synthetic fuels and even hydrogen whenever it becomes practical.

    The engine best suited to EC is the steam engine, but as direct power to the wheels it has drawbacks, 1. a wait of at least 30 seconds before the car can move, 2. you can't "gun it" and 3. the water can freeze. By using the steam engine to run an alternator to charge batteries which power reversible electric motors at each wheel the car could move immediately and you could "gun it". By using electric heat strips there would be no problem with freezing.

    Forced air burners are efficient. Water tube boilers do not explode and make a lot of steam in a small size. There are tested and proven designs for steam engines which can be made lighter using modern alloys. Steam engines have fewer moving parts to wear out or break down, so they should last longer than IC engines. A 1930 Doble 2 cylinder compound uniflow engine has gone over 600,000 mi. with only regular maintenance.

    Since the car would have an electric motor at each wheel there would be no transmission, differential or CV joints. This would compensate for any extra weight involved in the EC components. The motor/wheel unit would move to steer and a computer would replace the differential by varying the speed of each wheel. The same computer would control all engine and power functions.

    The computer would automatically start the steam engine/alternator to maintain battery charge and stop it when at proper charge. When parked in a parking lot in freezing weather the heat strips would use electricity and the steam engine would be automatically started to charge the batteries. However if there were an electric outlet available, such as when in your own driveway, the car would have a cord to plug in and save fuel.

    There is waste heat from the burner exhaust and from the spent steam which can be converted using thermo-electrics into extra electricity to increase the efficiency of the system. Regenerative braking is also a possible option for increasing efficiency.

    I have had contacts with steam-power buffs. They refuse to consider anything but direct steam drive. Internal combustion people say steam is dangerous, boilers explode and the engines are obsolete. [All false.] They refuse to open their minds too. I hope to find some who will consider this idea, think of improvements and actually build a steam-electric car. Except for size all the designs for the burners, boilers and engines exist and need only a good machine shop. The other components are already being made and could be bought, even the controls and computer. The thermo-electrics may also be available. The high efficiency electric motors are for sale.

    If I had money, a machine shop and did not have two left thumbs I would build one. I have hopes that someone out there might be inspired to do this. If so, let me know.

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  3. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    I have been thinking quite a bit in the last couple of years on steam power. I have also considered in some detail the steam electric hybrid car. In fact, when I first considered the idea of a modern steam car, the most practical approach that surfaced in my mind was the steam electric parallel hybrid.

    I actually have formal training in steam thermodynamics. I have a perspective on steam power that most people don't have. I recognize that all current methods used to power automobiles have inherent limitations that steam power does not have. The main problem with steam is that nobody has been willing to put in the research and the dollars toward it to fully develop its potential. However, there is one company that has developed a very promising steam engine. Even in its infancy it is demostrating efficiencies approaching the Diesel engine at greater than 30%. There is no oil lubrication of the cylinders... water condensation of the steam within the cylinders provides the lubrication. POWER TO WEIGHT is more than twice that of standard gasoline fueled automotive engines. With this technology, the hybrid approach is totally unnecessary, and would be counterproductive. However, if I were to personally attempt to construct a steam car with the performance of an average car on the road today, then I would go with the hybrid approach.


  4. #3

    I think it's quite foolish

    I think it's quite foolish that steam power isn't used. But then again, it would destroy/change the way everything runs now. How much would it cost to put together a workshop for making an engine, as well as building one? (estimate)

  5. #4

    I can't imagine with the

    I can't imagine with the advances in technology that some one has not imagined or contrived a hybrid steam/electric vehicle. The idea of the whole thing is to eliminate dependance upon the gasoline pump at the high priced, greedy monopolistic fuel sellers.
    (Arabs for one.)

  6. #5

    I am in complete agreement

    I am in complete agreement of your conclusion that external combustion steam-electric would be the wisest choice for future transportation motors. Dependence on fossil fuels is bad news on many levels - it's just this sort of new direction we must take to assure our future generations will have a life of relative comfort as we have enjoyed during this Age of Oil.

    I also have a very small home machine shop and I need work.

    I do, however, believe in lowest-cost and lowest-tech solutions. The Cyclone engine is a work of art, but we can be rougher about this. While my view doesn't comply with traditional profit-making corporate methods, I do think it could allow more folks to own, maintain and repair their engines. In particular, I've heard that IC engines have been re-purposed, as it were, to be steam-driven. Sounds feasible, low-cost and many parts become available at commodity prices ... that's the way I'm leaning in my thoughts.

    A smattering of science and engineering education and experience would serve me and any possible partners well in pursuit of successful development of such a noble project. It can be done; there are no engineering or materials breakthroughs necessary. I would love to hear from anyone serious in getting started on this.

    Thanks for putting this subject up!!

  7. #6

    I have been wanting to do

    I have been wanting to do this for a very long time ( about 2 years)

    I am a computer engineer and always wanted to drive a steam car such as a stanley steamer.

    I do not know where to start really, but would definitely love to build/drive one!

  8. #7

    If you use the same

    If you use the same principle as the current diesel locomotives. Using a fuel fed motor (steam) to drive a dc generator then by converting the dc to independant motors on each wheel via a batter storage system. You can also use a solar skin to feed into this battery bank. Just a thought for you home designers...If the companys and government no longer work for the people it's time for the people to design and build their own and drive them wild. Imagine a vehicle that doesn't have to pay fuel tax! Wouldn't that drive the polititians mad because they can't tax it....

  9. #8

    Let's get back to the

    Let's get back to the Cyclone Engine. This engine does not need to idle so there is really no reason for the Hybrid way of thinking. There is no reason to carry all those heavy batteries around all the time. The pistons do not move while at a stop light the fuel is released intermitently just to keep the combustion chamber at the right temperature. Plus, with the torque being so high at low RPM you can gun the engine right from the start. External combustion engines are great off the line and the Cyclone is supposed to start up very fast, I read that it takes 15 seconds from cold start to working temp and that is not bad. All and all from what I know the Cyclone might be the answer to many of our problems.

  10. #9

    Hello, I know little to

    Hello, I know little to nothing about basic mechanics. However, I am compelled to learn quickly. Can anyone direct me towards an ultra-light water pipe boiler that is completly electric, or possibly give me some pointers on how to construct one. For a model (initially) aircraft I need the lightest components available. I do not wish to use any type of fuel burner, just a super light electric heating element... Can anyone make suggestions for me.

  11. #10

    The antispam questions..

    The antispam questions.. Does this mean Ive just summoned a demon or something?

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