let's get america steaming again!
In striving to develop non-polluting motor vehicles, research
and engineering seems to be concentrating on gasoline-electric hybrids. The dual power systems are interesting, but much more expensive to purchase. We need simpler and more reliable transportation that costs less, giving buyers more incentive to choose more efficient, petroleum-independant, and low-CO2 vehicles.
Why do automakers ignore the simple and almost obvious solution:
EXTERNAL combustion?The answer, of course, is that the oil companies want us to stay 'addicted' to gasoline, and automakers, with their huge investment in internal combustion, eagerly cooperate.
When fuel is burned in a steady flame, it burns quite completely and cleanly.
Steam power is an old technology, but it has important advantages. It requires only a heat source, a burner much like a home heater. The engine operates at a lower temperature than internal combustion, and its moving parts can operate at a much slower speed. When the vehicle is stopped, the engine need not idle at all. Since it produces very high torque at zero rpm, no transmission or clutch is needed. The engine itself will turn in reverse by merely adjusting a valve.
It is inherently much quieter than internal combustion.
Steam cars were both faster and longer-lasting than their i.c. counterparts.
Fred Marriott set a world speed record of 127.66 mph in 1906 in a specially built Stanley. In the following year he crashed while trying to improve on his record. He was traveling at an estimated 180 mph! The boiler did not explode. Fred lived to tell the tale.
The Doble cars produced between 1923 and 1930 weighing over 4000 pounds could accelerate from 0 to 75 mph in under 5 seconds, and could maintain a top speed of over 95 mph. The early Stanleys produced so much torque that they lifted the front wheels off the ground when the throttle was opened too quickly.
A Doble E14 produced in 1923 was driven over 600,000 miles requiring only normal maintenance (no more maintenance than i.c. autos.) Other Dobles are known to have traveled over 200,000 miles having only routine oil and tire changes.
The HYBRID concept would work much better with steam and electric. It would provide a simple solution to the one problem steam has: immediate cold starts. Otherwise one might have to wait 5 minutes before driving off at full power. There are other solutions, but a hybrid steam-electric may be the best.
Many fuels can be used, but pure GRAIN ALCOHOL would seem the ideal choice. Let's save the petroleum for lubrication and put our farmers back to work.
Experimenters have built steam cars on many occasions quite successfully. Nevertheless, automakers and corporations who could mass-produce such vehicles have ignored them.
PERHAPS WE NEED TO PRESSURE THEM...DEMAND TO KNOW WATT'S HAPPENING!
COMPRESSED AIR POWERAnother alternative has been developed into usable technology: compressed air. See the link below for details. Air works much like steam, but without the heat. It is a means of energy storage, much like battery-electric power, and due to a more efficient design it can have a greater range than electric and is faster to recharge. It can be used alone, or as part of a hybrid.
COMPRESSED AIR POWER: ANOTHER EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE!
ELECTRICcars not only work, they work too well! Produced to meet California standards, various electric-only models were so popular that the carmakers considered them a threat to their fuel-burning cars, and oil companies foresaw declining demand if they were sold nationwide. Incredibly, perfectly good, even new electrics were destroyed! Check out this site:
PlugInAmerica.com - Promoting Plug-in Cars for a Better America
SOME STEAMY LINKSSTEAM WORLD
>STANLEY STEAMERS.COM--great site for steam cars old and new--lots of pictures!
STEAM AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF AMERICA
ANOTHER BUILDER OF PRACTICAL MODERN STEAM CARS
Steam Auto Club of America-- ARCHIVES
the stanley museum
traction engines; steam powered farm tractors
MIKE BROWN STEAM ENGINES AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PRODUCTS
Thermodynamics of Steam
WHY SHOULD THIS POWER SOURCE BE HELD IN LOW ESTEEM?
i would like to hear from others who know steam technology and the politics involved
in ignoring it as a viable and non-polluting vehicular propulsion.
"WRITE THE RAT!
email your comments!