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What is a Cyclone Engine?

By Dakota Davis
Updated May 23, 2024
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The Cyclone engine is a high efficiency, compact, and powerful external combustion engine that can run on traditional fuels or biofuels. Created by Cyclone Power Technologies, it is also called a "Schoell Cycle" engine after inventor Henry Schoell. Incorporating a process of heat regeneration, it is touted as a 21st century update to the traditional Rankine cycle steam engine.

This engine has received several awards. It won the Society of Automotive Engineers' AEI Tech Award in 2006 and again in 2008. In 2008, it also won Popular Science Magazine’s Invention of the Year Award.

The engine is comprised of a condenser, a steam generator, and a main engine with valves, cylinders, pistons, and other components. It uses water as both a working fluid and a lubricant, in a closed-loop piston-based system. In an external combustion chamber, water is heated and expands into steam, which creates mechanical energy and powers the engine by moving the pistons. Cooling air then moves through a condenser, is heated in an exhaust heat exchanger, and exits into the furnace in a regeneration cycle that increases the engine's efficiency and compactness.

A one-piece unit with fewer parts and no complicated systems, the Cyclone engine is smaller, lighter, and less expensive to manufacture and maintain than other kinds of engines. An innovative design allows it to operate without the use of motor oil or an oil pump. It also requires no transmission or transmission fluid and runs without the need for an exhaust system muffler, a catalytic converter, or a separate cooling system.

There are multiple environmental benefits of the Cyclone engine. It can run on nearly any kind of liquid or gaseous fuel, from traditional gasoline to palm oil, cottonseed oil, and even chicken fat. Biofuel can be used without the need for fossil fuels to be mixed in, making it a truly carbon-neutral alternative. The Cyclone engine allows for a longer burn time, which burns up more carbon particles and pollutants and results in fewer emissions. It also burns at a temperature lower than the point at which nitrogen dioxide gases is created.

The ways in which the Cyclone engine may be used seem to be unlimited. As development continues, it is speculated it will suitable for use in everything from small generators and garden equipment to cars, trucks, trains, large ships, and more. It may even be able to replace internal combustion engines for applications like transportation and power generation.

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Discussion Comments
By Vincenzo — On Dec 27, 2014

@Melonlity -- Settle down a bit. I do agree that we will have something in the future, but the cyclone engine may or may not be it. We have heard similar claims about electric engines and hydrogen engines, too, and the technology for those is still being developed.

In the meantime, we have some incredibly efficient gasoline engines that are powering our vehicles (such as motors that generate over 300 horsepower yet get 30 miles per gallon on the Interstate).

The point is we still have a long way to go to developing the next generation of engines and (hopefully) weaning ourselves off fossil fuels, but we do have some things to tide us over until the next, big thing is found.

By Melonlity — On Dec 26, 2014

If you want to know what the future of transportation is, keep following the development of the cyclone engine. When we are talking about something that can use alternative fuels, this is it. When we are talking about something that is environmentally safe, this is it.

Let us just hope that the development of this technology comes quickly. We need some solutions to our energy and environmental problems in a hurry and these engines offer some real promise.

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