Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. and Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) have entered into a Teaming Agreement to advance the development and commercialization of Cyclone’s vegetative biomass-to-power engine system as it can be applied to advanced robotic platforms. (Earlier post.)
Cyclone’s prototype biomass-to-power generator is a self-contained, compact system that utilizes the company’s waste heat engine (WHE) to produce power from plant-based biomass combustion for use in a series hybrid subsystem in RTI’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR). RTI is currently developing EATR under a Phase II SBIR project sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that will locate, harvest and process for the engine suitable vegetation in the environment to accomplish a variety of military missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling.
There are also numerous commercial applications for such an intelligent biomass-to-power system in border patrol, agriculture, forestry, natural disaster clean-up and recovery, and power generation in industrial or large-scale farming and logging settings.
At the core of Cyclone’s current biomass-to-power system for the proof-of-concept EATR is the patent-pending WHE, a six-cylinder Rankine cycle external heat engine capable of generating up to 15 hp of mechanical power. An attached vegetative biomass combustion chamber produces up to 600 °F of heat to run the WHE at peak performance. An alternator or generator then converts mechanical energy from the engine into as much as 10 kW of usable electricity. The entire system, including engine, heat exchangers, burner, electrical alternator/generator, and fuel hopper is mounted on a pallet for portability.
A higher horsepower, more compact version of the engine system is planned for the Phase III Commercialization of the EATR, to be placed within a prototype EATR vehicle.