Hyundai to Commercialize a Diesel Hybrid Car Around 2011
California ARB Explores Amendments to Heavy-Duty Emissions Rule Based on Economic Situation; Directs Staff to Redo Tainted Report

Cyclone Power Technologies to Build Engine For Steam Car Land Speed Record Attempt

The Mark V engine. Click to enlarge.

Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. has been selected by the US Land Steam Record Team to provide the high performance racing engine for its streamliner vehicle, which will attempt to break the world land speed record for steam vehicles in Bonneville, UT, as early as next August.

The US Land Steam Record (USLSR) vehicle will be designed, constructed and driven by steam car veteran and team leader Chuk Williams. Cyclone will provide a modified Mark V external combustion automotive engine (earlier post). At 180 hp (134 kW) with 860 lb-ft (1,166 N·m) of starting torque, the Cyclone engine will attempt to propel the 21', 1,600-lb (726-kg) USLSR vehicle at speeds of more than 200 mph (322 km/h) on the seven-mile track at the Bonneville salt flats.

This is a great test of the power and performance of our all-fuel capable, earth friendly Mark V automotive engine. Given our current calculations, we expect to beat the standing land speed record by a comfortable margin with an engine that can ultimately be placed into everyday passenger vehicles.

—Cyclone CEO and engine inventor, Harry Schoell

Profile cross-section of the Mark V. Click to enlarge.

The Cyclone modifies the traditional Rankin cycle steam engine to deliver the use of super-critical pressure (3,200 psi) and super-heated steam (1,200° F)—normally found in high-efficiency electrical power plants—in an efficient, compact package suitable for a vehicle. The 6-cylinder radial Mark V engine features a calculated efficiency of 31.57%. (Earlier post.)

The current land speed record for steam vehicles, which is still subject to official confirmation by the Federation Internationale d’Automobile, is held by Team Inspiration of Great Britain. The British vehicle recorded speeds more than 148 mph (238 km/h) in August 2009, which broke the previous unofficial record of 145 mph (233 km/h) set in 1985 by Bob Barber, and the official FIA record of 127 mph (204 km/h) set in 1906 by Fred Marriott, an American driving a Stanley Steamer at Daytona Beach.

The project is being endorsed by the Steam Automobile Club of America. Other individuals associated with the team include former engineers at NASA, Lockheed Martin and MIT. Potential corporate sponsors may include providers of US grown biofuels to power the USLSR vehicle—the Cyclone Engine is capable of running on a variety of fuels, and the team has yet to choose one for the record attempt.



if they succeed it would give them a boost to make their engine credible. I am impressed how this small company have consistently deliver. Not like these scam of Scuderi and EESTOR who promise the moon and deliver nothing


You could use one of these to recuperate waste heat from a Capstone and then use an organic rankine to recover waste heat from this. Whether is is a radial or a steam turbine, it can be done.


I was wondering why not deliver "top hat" or so called "wet gas turbine" solution. In power generation business we know such wet gas turbines which use steam injection for cooling down exhaust gas and increase pressure. 10% el. generation efficiency and power gain. There are very few applications of that because of flue gas temperature is not enough for process steem generation and conventional gas turbines are good on that.

Would be interesting to consider water and ethanol mixture (ethanol without dewatering) and Capstone turbine in "wet mode".


I agree with Treehugger and wish this technology the best for all of us.


The power is there, but not the thermal efficiency. Cyclone is looking for waste heat applications, but it may be more like waste reheat. Even with the temperatures and pressures that they run, the thermal efficiency is still under 20%. They have a centrifugal condenser to save space, but an ORC condenser would recover some waste heat to create more power and condense as well.

Bob Carpenter

Steam engines will always suffer from long pre-heat start-ups and cold weather freezing of the working fluid.


31.6% efficiency isn't bad, but it doesn't come close to diesel performance.

On the other hand, this looks perfect for a bottoming cycle for either a gas turbine (something about 4 times as big as a Capstone) or a heavy-duty diesel.  Squeezing 134 HP out of the waste heat of a 500 HP diesel is an improvement which would attract a lot of attention.  Being able to start on the steam engine alone, leaving the diesel off, would also be good for operation in traffic.


31.6% seems lower than a diesel but they don't need a transmission than can help to get closer to the wheels efficiency of a diesel.

The 31.6% is achieved on a small engine it would be better on a 300HP for a truck. But to get beyond 40% they need to reheat the steam and have a 2nd expansion stage, otherwise you can't get beyond like 36%


Reminiscent of the 18th century but it is not a painting.

Let's concentrate on 96+% efficient e-motors and try to make them 99+% efficient.

Let's replace, water, steam, various not so clean heat sources with plain, simple, clean electricity.

So simple and so adequate.



Great 96% from renewable like wind etc.
But transmission, battery loses realistically in the portable application bettering single diesel is all challenge.

I have a use for an ~ 20KW firefighting pump. This may run on firewood. Used once or twice a year (hopefully only on test. I don't want diesel or petrol as it degrades and will compromise starting. I dont particularly want battery as the ransmission line may go out, otherwise the standing costs are high.

One of these cyclones could stand without degradation, be tested seasonally in preperation.
I would pick up flamable waste as preparation requires and test at that time.

We would likely have 'fire restriction and permit ' procedures in place during these times. A secure fuel bunker / safety bunker would be adjunct.

I know that the application is a bit obscure but.

Also combined heat and power apps sound useful.


"...calculated efficiency of 31.57%"

That is calculated, the actual thermal efficiency I saw in one of the spec sheets on their web site was more like 17%. It may have not been the same model, but like the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

It is also a fairly complex engine and has to be built strong to handle the pressures and temperatures. I would say there are some good applications for this design, but high fuel economy as a stand alone power plant may not be one of those.


The high efficiency applies to a radial piston version, this is a modified (with a rankine cycle) turbine and runs at very high 650oC temperature.

No comparison is fair.

Fuel dragsters consume ~ the equivalent to a 747 jumbo jet!



Don't forget the loss in the battery that doesn't return 100% and the efficiency of making and transporting electricity that is barely 40% and you are below 30%.

So let's be realistic a bit, 95% efficient emotor requires rear earth permanent magnets, and there is not enough rear earth material on earth to build 80 millions car a year, neither there is enough lithium to build enough battery.

This is a extremely clean engine that is fully multifuel, can be build cheaply, can power ultra-clean truck and boats, instead of the dirty diesel that they use today.



Could you please change your nickname. You do have no engineering background since you are talking about unrealistic diesel efficiencies for auto applications.


You're concerned with "efficiency"? Diesel is $20 per million BTUs...this engine runs on powdered biomass, or charcoal briquettes if you like, which can be produced for $3 per million BTUs LOCALLY. Factor that into your efficiency calculation.

richard schumacher

Hmm, let's see: how many million BTU of biomass can I grow in my back yard each year?


"Hmm, let's see: how many million BTU of biomass can I grow in my back yard each year?"

More than the diesel you grow in your back yard.



One variant of the Cummins B5.9 is rated at 203.2 g/kWh @ 2000 RPM.  That is a brake thermal efficiency of about 37% in an engine too small for a heavy truck; larger engines tend to be more efficient, up to 52% for the Wartsila-Sulzer monster for container ships.

You may now kiss my a**.

Johnh:  I've read that the energy capture rate of a one-acre woodlot comes to about 500 watts.  That's 3.2 horsepower-hours a day in an engine of 20% efficiency.  It doesn't look like it will get you far.


I was reffering to e-motors efficiency (in wheel?), excluding losses from e-storage units, chargers, transmission lines, electrical power generation plants etc.

Of course, if one starts with 15% to 25% efficent solar panels, the total efficency will be very low. However, sun energy as such is free, clean and sustainable.

If you start with very high efficiency large hydro plants, the total efficiency, (including the 8% to 14% transmission loss) will be much higher. Here too, water energy is free, clean and sustainable 24/7.

Efficiency from (free) renewable clean energy sources such as sun, wind, waves, geothermal and hydro does not have the same impact as other systems using expensive (not so clean) agriculture products, biomass, oil, coal or NG.

In the long run, it would be wise to progressively switch to clean, sustainable, free energy sources, even if the system efficiency is lower and direct cost is slightly higher.


No need for rare earth magnets, this inductive design gets up to 93% efficiency.


@"Johnh: I've read that the energy capture rate of a one-acre woodlot comes to about 500 watts. That's 3.2 horsepower-hours a day in an engine of 20% efficiency. It doesn't look like it will get you far"

Redo your calculations, it really isn't that mysterious:
Biomass typically contains about 16 million BTUs per ton, the US has 175 million acres of degraded, unused farmland that could be used for 'low input high diversity' prairie grasses at 4 tons per acre, several new studies show Miscanthus can yield 20 tons per acre on degraded land with very little input, Agave will yield 30 tons per acre per year on arid, highly degraded soils according to research done in Mexico. Even a wetland will produce 16-20 TPY of cattails sustainably, there are 90 M acres of those.

In short the US has potentially well over 1 billion acres that could be used for perennial energy crops that could produce a good 50 quads at less than 50% utilization and half the high end of the potential yields.

An external combustion engine of 25 HP using powdered biomass would drive a 15 KW genset as a range extender for the BEVs. There's some info on the Cyclone website that suggests about 200,000 BTUH for an engine of that size. So roughly then the 3 trillion mile requirement for all US personal travel would take about 10 quads of biomass powder. It could be produced on 150 million acres of BLM being destroyed by cattle.

Incidentally the biomass crops would sequester about a half ton of carbon per acre in their root systems. So with carbon credits alone it would pay $13 billion in subsidies toward such a system. It would also avoid about 140 billions of gasoline use, accounting for 20% of the trade deficit for crude oil, another $60 B.



Thank you for your detailed explanation. The billion ton study says that biomass from farms and forests can go quite a ways towards reducing imported oil. Combine that with 100 million marginal acres of switchgrass and we are on our way to biofuel PHEVs.


I (rightly or wrongly) believed that the world was progressively doing away with liquid fuel, with very few exceptions like commercial and millitary aircraft.

All those million hectares will be required to grow food for the many more billions of us coming soon.

Roger Pham

For city trucks or delivery trucks, a diesel-cyclone steam hybrid can significantly improve overall efficiency. The combined torque of the diesel engine and the cyclone engine can do away with the complicated transmission, thus saving significant weight and cost of the complicated transmission that can go toward paying for the cyclone engine. The Cyclone may have its own diesel-fuel burner, beside recuperating the waste exhaust heat from the diesel engine, thereby significantly adding to the overall power rating of the truck. Big trucks are very sluggish vehicles that often slow down traffics, so, any additional power is very much welcomed.

The combination of diesel engine-cyclone steam hybrid combined cycle (exhaust heat recuperation) may raise the overall thermal efficiency of the hybrid truck to as much as 55%, vs. just about 25% for diesel truck in city-cycle, or 30% for cyclone steam engine. This combination may be much cheaper and yet more efficient than diesel-electric hybrid.



Don't mean to wrong foot you.
The operating word is "Appropriate" in the micro sense.

Unquestionably liquid fuels have a terrible legacy that we may have only seen the tip.

The grid is not getting off lightly although the further from the end user the less responsibility we see.

So the answer is collective influence leading to regulation.
Persuasion and directing public opinion controls the atmospherics.

Although it is never possible to put the milk or genie back in the bottle, or use any direct mind control to achieve rational behaviour, the work of dedicated people pulling in the right direction will bring change. Maybe not fast enough, maybe not in our lifetime, but if there were an easy way?

This is how wicked dilemmas can be worked on.
In for the long haul means keeping the body alive and keeping a sense of direction.(bit like life really)

Everyone will make mistakes or see that there were other options that may have led to a better or quicker solution.

The curly question for individuals that crops up often is what to do when ideas that we are philosophically opposed to come across the desk?

I like to think that as an 'educator' or someone that claims any level of authority, that recognition should be given in to creativity and good ideas on the same scale as for the preferred option.

This will always still be sympathetic to our own belief system, sometimes because we (I) get enthused so the language changes. Also there may be advantages beyond the stated that is recognised or implied or achieved in some future application.

The undesirable technologies under review will always be criticised harshly. Extra criticism and experience will come to play so the mind is unlikely to be imaginative and open to the possibilities.

So while no one is ever impartial, we should remember the purpose of authority is primarily to inform and assist decision making, people will take your ideas on board more easily if they respect your efforts to inform fully as opposed to selectively.

Good friends are open to 'criticism' (sometimes this has life and death consequences) That doesn't mean they are good at either giving it or accepting it.

That's a higher skill.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)