Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. has successfully completed its biomass-to-power engine system for Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) under its Statement of Work, and has delivered the renewable power system to the University of Maryland to be coupled with RTI’s autonomous robotic platform in a series hybrid power system. (Earlier post.)
Cyclone’s prototype biomass-to-power generator is a self-contained, compact system that utilizes its waste heat engine (WHE) to produce power from plant-based biomass combustion. RTI is currently developing the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR), under a Phase II SBIR project sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
At the heart of the 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 18 hp of mechanical power. An attached combustion chamber produces up to 600 °F of steam to run the WHE at peak performance. An alternator then converts mechanical energy from the engine into as much as 10 kW of usable electricity to power electronics or recharge batteries. A more powerful version of the WHE is expected to be used in future field prototypes of the EATR.
The EATR’s ultimate mission includes long range military reconnaissance without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling.
We are very pleased with the performance of Cyclone’s biomass-to-power system, and now look forward to adding it to our intelligent robotic platform in completion of our Phase II contract award from DARPA.
—Dr. Robert Finklestein, President of RTI
The robotic system being developed by RTI with Cyclone’s portable biomass-to-power plant has numerous potential commercial applications outside military purposes, such as in border patrol, agriculture, forestry, natural disaster clean-up and recovery, and power generation in industrial or large-scale farming and logging settings.