Gasoline and Diesel motors run on steamgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
My older brother, A WWII vet, While serving in China and the Phillipines, remembers seeing old Ford and Dodge trucks and autos being driven by steam. They had makeshift fireboxes and boilers. The steam was introduced through the valves and it drove the pistons. Any good mechanics out there who can figure out how to do it?
-- Bill Solorzano (email@example.com), May 18, 1998
"My older brother, A WWII vet, While serving in China and the Phillipines, remembers seeing old Ford and Dodge trucks and autos being driven by steam. They had makeshift fireboxes and boilers. The steam was introduced through the valves and it drove the pistons. Any good mechanics out there who can figure out how to do it?"
About 20 years ago, I read an article in Mother Earth News about how to convert a gasoline engine to run on *wood*. According to the article, this was done in Germany during wartime, when fuel was scarce.
In short, you take a steel tank, fill it with wood, seal it, and run a hose to your carburetor. Then, you build a fire under it. The heat bakes off the volatiles, which then go into the engine through the hose. There was more to it, but that's the gist of it.
-- Ron Schwarz (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 18, 1998.
You seem to be talking about two different things here: (a) Running a petrol or diesel engine on steam, AND (b) running same engine on a combustable gas. While I know nothing about (a) steam, I have seen photos of converted WWII cars with great big rubber or canvas bladders covering their whole roof. The bladders were filled with methane gas or anything else they could produce that would burn. I gather you have to tweak the carburettor. (I hope I spelled that right.) Some Chinese peasant farmers in remote or poor areas have a system of combining human and pig feces into fermenting digesters where the stuff composts and gives off methane gas. They even use it for cooking, but the article I read said the cook has to light the ring burner real quick or the smell knocks everyone back! (grin)
-- David Harvey (email@example.com), May 18, 1998.
Your older brother was seeing a wood-gas generator in action, Bill. My mother spoke of seeing similar vehicles in England during the war. Essentially, wood is placed inside a wood-fired oven -- the firebox and boiler your brother saw. The wood gives off volatile gases that are used to fuel a modified internal combustion engine, just as i.c. engines can be modified to burn propane or natural gas. And yes, Mother Earth News had a series of articles about wood-gas fueled vehicles during the energy crisis years of the mid-late 1970s. One story spoke of an inventor who traveled cross-country with a wood-gas pickup truck, with the generating unit mounted behind the cab.
As for steam-powered i.c. engines, I can't see how it would work. Where would the condensate go? What would happen when water vapor leaked past the piston rings and contaminated the oil sump? Anyone have any ideas?
-- J.D. Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1998.
My Grandfather has told me of tractors that used to run on Kerosene and at some point water (in the form of steam) was injected to push the pistons also. The best choice for an alternative fuel would be ethanol alcohol which can also be mixed with water. The water serves to stretch the fuel because it is miscible with the alcohol and once it become super-heated the steam aids in pushing the piston also, effectively turning the device into a hybrid steam engine. Ethanol is also a good choice because it is non-toxic - (unlike methanol which race cars use)and can be produced from a variety of widely available materials such as newspaper or cardboard. Cellulose is composed of complex chains which when broken down into simple sugars can be fermented and distilled into ethanol, the wonder fuel. The main by-product of burning ethanol is water, so in theory you could make a cup of tea from the fluid running from your exhaust pipe.
-- Jeffrey Phelps (email@example.com), May 23, 1998.