The Cyclone Engine is a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion engine, otherwise known as a “Schoell Cycle” engine. It creates mechanical energy by heating and cooling water in a closed-loop, piston-based engine system. The process looks like this:
1. Fuel is atomized and injected into the patented centrifugal combustion chamber (shown as lifted off the engine block for better viewing), where a spark ignites the fuel-air mixture into a flame that spins around the heat coils. Thermocouples (not pictured) control the duration of combustion to keep the heat in the combustion chamber at a constant temperature.
2. Water contained in the coils becomes super-heated steam (up to 1200°F) in as little as 5 seconds from start up which is (a) piped to the cylinders, (b) where it enters through a patent-pending valve system (not pictured). Note, valve timing mechanisms regulate how much steam enters the cylinders – the longer the cut-off the greater the torque and acceleration.
3. Steam enters the six radial-configured cylinders under pressures up to 3200 psi to push the pistons down in sequence. Note, no motor oil is used – water is both the working fluid and engine lubricant. Also, because of the valve design, the engine starts without the need of a starter motor.
4. The rotating action of the pistons connected through a patent-pending spider bearing (not pictured) turns the crank shaft. Note, because the greatest amount of torque occurs at the first rotation, the shaft can be directly connected to a drive train without a transmission.
5. Steam escapes the cylinders through exhaust ports and (a) enters the patent-pending condensing unit where it turns back into water, and (b) collects in a sealed pan at the bottom of the condenser. Note, this is a closed-loop system – the water does not need to be replaced or topped-off.
6. Blowers spin fresh air around the condenser to speed the cooling process.
7. (a) Air which has been pre-heated from the condensing unit, (b) continues up to a second heat exchanger located in the exhaust port of the combustion chamber, further pre-heating the air used for combustion while also cooling the exhaust fumes (to about 320°F).
8. A high pressure pump (not pictured) pipes water from the collecting pan to the heat coils (a) via heat exchangers surrounding each of the cylinders (only one pictured), and then (b) to the center of the coils to start the heat cycle again.
Reason 1: All-fuel
A traditional gas or diesel powered internal combustion engine ignites fuel under high pressure inside its cylinders – a explosive process that requires precise fuel to air ratios. The Cyclone Engine is dramatically different. It burns its fuel in an external combustion chamber. Heat from this process is used to turn water into steam, which is what powers the engine. (See: How it Works)
Because of the way we burn fuel – in an external combustion chamber under atmospheric pressure — we have incredible flexibility as to the fuel we use. In combustion tests we have used fuels derived from orange peels, palm oil, cottonseed oil, algae, used motor oil and fryer grease, as well as traditional fossil fuels … none of which required any modification to our engine. We have also burned propane, butane, natural gas and even powdered coal.
What does this mean? Well, imagine having the choice to run your car on gasoline one day and 100% pure biodiesel the next, or even a mixture of the two. The Cyclone Engine can provide consumers with the power to use fuels that are less expensive, more plentiful and locally produced. This is better for our economy, national security and global environment.
Additionally, we have built engines that don’t burn any fuel at all. Instead, we can recycle the heat from other sources such as ovens, furnaces, exhaust pipes or even solar collectors – thermal energy that would otherwise be wasted into the environment. Our Waste Heat Engine harvests this external heat to produce mechanical energy which, in turn, can run an electric generator.
Reason 2: Earth-friendly
Several aspects of the Cyclone make it more eco-friendly than internal combustion engines.
- Fuel Choice: The Cyclone Engine can run on 100% biofuels (i.e., it does not require a 15% or less mixture with fossil fuels), and these new sources can provide true carbon-neutral alternatives to fossil fuels.
- Longer Burn Time: The Cyclone Engine’s patented cyclonic combustion chamber allows for a longer burn time, which means that more carbon particles are incinerated before being exhausted.
- Lower Burn Temps: The Cyclone Engine burns its fuel at low temperatures (about 2200°F), which is below the temperature at which most harmful NOx gases are created.
- Cooler Exhaust: Exhausted gases run through a heat exchanger before leaving the engine, lowering the temperature at release to about 350 degrees … hundreds of degrees lower than internal combustion exhaust.
- No Motor Oil: Water (de-ionized) is the Cyclone Engine’s sole lubricating fluid, which means there is no waste oil to change, dispose or leak into the ground.
- Quieter Run: Internal combustion engines have an explosion that emits supersonic sound waves out the exhaust valves to the atmosphere, requiring a muffler system. The Cyclone’s exhaust is virtually noise-free.
All these benefits are achieved without costly and complicated exhaust-tempering equipment such as catalytic converters. Clean, cool and quiet is the very nature of the Cyclone Engine.
Algae fuel is an attractive choice for the Cyclone engine as it requires little or no refining to burn clean and efficiently compared to other fuels and will be a renewable source of energy for years to come.
Reason 3: High Efficiencies
The Cyclone Engine is a highly efficient external combustion engine, with thermal efficiencies nearing the top diesel engines on the market today. Higher efficiency means less fuel required to produce the same work.
We achieve these high efficiencies through several processes:
Heat Regeneration – The design innovations of the Cyclone Engine significantly reduce the heat losses in a process called heat regeneration. Such innovations include:
- Vapor exiting the piston ports is used to pre-heat water entering the main heat exchanger
- Combustion intake air is pre-heated in two stages by:
a. Passing over the steam-cooling condenser, and then
b. Passing through the exhaust port heat exchanger
Cylinder with Heat Regeneration: the Cyclone Engine captures otherwise wasted heat from the cylinders to pre-heat the working fluid (water) before returning to the combustion chamber.
In the manner of a business management model where profitability can be increased by trimming costs, the efficiency of the Cyclone Engine is cumulatively increased by actively addressing sources of heat losses through innovative design improvements.
These improvements (among others) differentiate our engine from Rankine Cycle engines of the past; and therefore, we have re-designated and patented it as a Schoell Cycle engine.
Super-Critical Fluid – Pressures in the range of 3200 psi with temperatures of about 1200°F cause super-critical vapor to act as a fluid. Maintaining the super-critical pressure in the centrifuge process eliminates heat spikes that can occur during other less efficient types of super-critical processes. At these higher temperatures and pressures, the super-critical ‘fluid’ carries more heat energy to the motor it powers.
The Cyclone Engine is a piston engine with a special valve mechanism allowing it to operate at fluid pressures, thereby gaining multi- advantages: greater simplicity, reliability and enhanced power. All supercritical fluid is contained within the system of the engine combustion chamber, which adds to the safety of the engine.
High Compression – High pressures allow the cubic capacity of the engine to be small in relation to the horsepower developed. Gas internal combustion engines generally develop one horsepower per 1.5 cubic inches of displacement, whereas the Cyclone can develop 2.5 horsepower per cubic inch.
Reason 4: Lower Cost
The Cyclone Engine is a one-piece unit that travels without an “entourage” of complicated components. Eliminating these subsystems reduces cost, size and weight, while increasing overall efficiency and reliability of the engine. For instance, the Cyclone Engine needs:
- No catalytic converter or muffler
- No oil pump or motor oil
- No transmission or transmission fluid
Overall, the Cyclone Engine has fewer parts to manufacture, assemble and, ultimately, break-down or wear-out. Its components are made of inexpensive, non-exotic materials. As a result, we expect the cost of manufacturing and maintaining the Cyclone Engine will be less expensive than conventional gasoline or diesel engines of comparable power output.
Yes, we said no transmission.
A 350/lb Cyclone Engine of 38-cu/inch displacement develops over 850ft/lbs of starting torque (which is more than necessary to eliminate the transmission). Transpose the decimal to 380 cu/inches and you will appreciate the implications of this technology when a manufacturer scales the Cyclone to a size suitable for heavy road transport. The starting torque of the Cyclone Engine is higher than an electric motor of comparable size, but similar in respect that neither requires a transmission, just a simple forward neutral and reverse lever is required
Because of the All-Fuel, Earth-Friendly nature of our engine, in addition to its cost benefits and scalability, we believe the Cyclone Engine is perfectly suited to replace internal combustion engines in virtually all transportation, power generation, equipment and other important applications.
Some of the markets that we believe present viable business opportunities for the Cyclone Engine technology include:
5-20 kW Portable & Auxiliary Power*
Trucks & Busses
50-100 kW Small Commercial*
Mining & Lifting Waste Heat Cogeneration*
Ships & Locomotives 1+ MW Power Plants Lawn & Garden*
Military & Defense*
* currently in development and/or under license
Engines in Development
We currently have the following Cyclone Engines in Development:
Mark II 18 HP Portable/auxiliary power, marine power, light equipment
Mark V 100 HP Automotive, marine propulsion, power generation, off-road equipment, industrial co-generation, specialty applications
Mark VI 330 HP Heavy land and sea transport, power plant, heavy equipment
WHE 15 HP Waste Heat Engine: Mini-cogeneration, residential solar, biomass combustion.
Solar I 5 HP Industrial solar thermal; mini-power generation