Modern design means steam comeback?

I ran across this fascinating little bit of technology on a program on Science TV and the concept is really fascinating me! This is a radial-engine design that runs on steam by a company called Cyclone Power Technologies.

The Cyclone Engine is a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion, otherwise known as a “Schoell Cycle” engine. In short, the Cyclone is a 21st century, high efficiency, compact and powerful steam engine.

The Cyclone Engine is capable of running on virtually any fuel (or combination of fuels) including today’s promising new bio fuels, while emitting far fewer pollutants than traditional gas or diesel powered internal combustion engines.

The design uses a closed-loop steam system that is heated by a fuel source burned in an external combustion chamber. Unlike internal-combustion engines, such as those in our cars these days, the fuel is burned at atmospheric pressures so the fuel burns more completely and more cleanly. Additionally, virtually any fuel source that can be burned can be used and you can change from 1 fuel type to another without modification to the engine.

Even more intriguing is the notion that the engine can work off of waste heat generated by other processes – trash incineration, metal forging, etc. – and be used to generate electricity. And to add 1 more trick to the bag, the heat exchanger that provides the steam can be heated using focused solar energy to produce electricity with no emissions or traditional fuel source whatsoever.

This is a technology that’s very, very promising and I look forward to hearing more about it.