Cyclone Power Technologies Inc., the developer of the external combustion Waste Heat Engine (WHE), has formed a separate division called WHE/Generation to market and manufacture WHE systems for applications such as small-scale cogeneration, solar thermal electricity production, biomass combustion, and engines for auxiliary power units for trucks and RVs.
The WHE engine runs on waste heat emanating from an external source, such as the exhaust from an internal (or external) combustion engine, or the direct burning of biomass (i.e., processing garbage into methane would not be required). The WHE is also designed to run efficiently on solar heat without the installation of costly photovoltaic panels.
The compact, lightweight WHE is a six-cylinder steam engine capable of running on waste heat as low as 225 °F (107 °C) and pressure as low as 25 psi (172 kPa). The engine achieves maximum efficiencies at about 600 °F (316 °C) and steam pressure of 200 psi (1.4 MPa), at which point one WHE can generate about 16 hp (12 kW), 30 lb-ft (41 Nm) of torque, and a little over 10 kW of electrical output.
Due to its patent-pending valve mechanism and radial spider bearings, which allow for efficient piston movement, the WHE will self-start immediately upon the introduction of steam to the cylinders. This makes the engine well suited for passive or secondary energy production like cogeneration or solar thermal applications.
Over the following months, the new WHE/Generation division will launch a new consumer-oriented web site, and contract with manufacturers and installers to handle forecasted sales of these systems.
The first beta WHE system will be installed at Bent Glass Design in Hatboro, PA. This system will harness waste heat from the customer’s glass manufacturing furnaces, and is expected to produce enough electricity to light their 65,000 ft2 facility while providing a quick payback (possibly within two or three years).