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Steam Power

A cut-away view of the prototype HydroICE engine, with cotton batten indicating how steam ...

OK, first things first – stop picturing a car with solar panels connected to its engine. What Missouri-based inventors Matt Bellue and Ben Cooper are working on is something a little different than that. They want to take an internal combustion engine, and run it on water and solar-heated oil instead of gasoline. That engine could then be hooked up to a generator, to provide clean electricity. While that may sound a little iffy to some, Bellue and Cooper have already built a small-scale prototype.  Read More

Locomotive 3463, the 75 year-old test bed locomotive for CSR's Project 130

You might think that a coal-burning locomotive built in 1937 had nothing left to offer the modern rail industry, short of being a nice museum piece. In the case of Locomotive 3463, however, that appears to be far from true – now in the hands of engineers from the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR), it is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive. It won’t be electric, however. Instead, it will run on steam generated by the burning of biocoal.  Read More

Team Steam USA's campaign to break the land speed record for steam-powered vehicles has re...

Team Steam USA's campaign to break the land speed record for steam-powered vehicles has received a shot in the arm, having been granted the use of construction molds from the 450-mph (724-km/h)-busting twin-turbo V8 engine-powered Speed Demon streamliner.  Read More

 Principle of the microscopic engine (Diagram: University of Stuttgart)

It sounds implausible, yet scientists have managed to create a functioning engine, analogous to a Stirling engine, just three micrometers wide and made of a single particle. The minuscule engine was created by Clemens Bechinger and Valentin Blickle at the University of Stuttgart, and though it has its quirks, the pair have apparently demonstrated the engine's ability to do work.  Read More

The LSR Streamliner, once complete, will be used in an attempt on the land speed record fo...

Steam-engined vehicles are quaint, retro and obsolete ... right? Well, maybe not. The current land speed record for a steam-powered vehicle currently sits at 148 mph (238 kph), set by the British car Inspiration team in 2009. Now, Chuk Williams’ U.S. Land Steam Record (USLSR) Team is hoping to steal that title in its LSR Streamliner, powered by a heat-regenerative external combustion Cyclone engine – an engine that could someday find common use in production automobiles.  Read More

Two PureCycle® geothermal power system units in operation at Chena Hot Springs Resort, Ala...

March 7, 2008 Raser Technologies has committed to two new geothermal projects, bringing its total project count to seven and representing 70-75 megawatts (MW) of power projects initiated since April 2007.  Read More

Energy Island sketch

January 29, 2008 Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion uses the temperature difference between surface and deep-sea water to generate electricity – and though it has an efficiency of just 1-3% - researchers believe an OTEC power plant could deliver up to 250MW of clean power, equivalent to one eighth of a large nuclear power plant, or one quarter of an average fossil fuel power plant. Architect and engineer Dominic Michaelis and his son Alex, along with Trevor Cooper-Chadwick of Southampton University are developing the concept with plans of putting the theory to the test on an unprecedented scale by building a floating, hexagonal Energy Island that will harness energy from OTEC, as well as from winds, sea currents, waves, and the sun.  Read More

Ausra's Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector

December 18, 2007 The sunshine-rich state of Nevada is set to be home to the first US manufacturing plant for solar thermal power systems. The 130,000-square-foot, highly automated manufacturing and distribution center will produce the reflectors, towers and absorber tubes needed to create and run solar thermal plants, doubling worldwide output of key components for Ausra Inc’s solar thermal power plant technology and creating “green collar” jobs in the process.  Read More

Jake Von Slatt's Steampunk LCD and keyboard.

July 18, 2007 The sleek, white, minimalist theme that dominates modern design speaks volumes about the age we live in. Plain, clean furniture and devices are deliberately sterile and devoid of any sort of character, in a nod to the fact that they'll be obsolete, broken or replaced within a few short years anyway. The Steampunk movement looks back fondly to the early 1900s when steam was the technology of the day and new devices were celebrated with beautiful and ornate wood and brass craftsmanship, giving a feel of permanence, durability and preciousness that's missing from today's designs. A couple of designers have teamed up to muse on what the personal computer might look like if it hadn't been denied its "Golden Age." We found their resulting artworks, as well as the underlying principles and construction methods, quite inspirational.  Read More

The British Steam Car is aiming for a 200mph land speed record.

June 21, 2007 Acting as a champion for alternative fuels and engine design, the group behind the British Steam Car Challenge has a lofty goal in its sights; a record-breaking 150mph run on British soil, followed by a 200mph run on the Bonneville salt flats of Utah. Steam engines run on external combustion, meaning they're not fuel specific like internal combustion engines. The steam-powered streamliner will run a 12,000rpm turbine engine producing 225kw of power.  Read More

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