BSCC's WLSR Has A Challenge On The Horizon With The USLSR
World land speed records are a cherished and fragile thing. Take the world land speed record (WLSR) for a steam-powered vehicle as an example.
|Fred Marriott in the seat of the steam powered vehicle built by the Stanley Brothers to an amazing speed of 127.659 mph (1906). The sanctioning body for international land speed records at the time was the FIA. Land speed records were measured across a marked mile in a single direction and a single pass. The time was recorded and the record determination was made from the calculations of that time. Image Credit: birthplaceofspeed2006|
The official record was originally set by the folks that created the Stanley Steamer (127.659 mph), with a specialized racer in 1906, where it sat on a shelf, only to be challenged once, unofficially in the mid-eighties at Bonneville with an adapted public transportation Lear steam engine (145.607 mph), until last summer (August 26th, 2009). The British Steam Car Challenge (BSCC) broke the WLSR for a steam-powered vehicle with a custom multiple (12) boiler engine settled into a British Racing Green Bonneville style racer, and after over five years of testing and development, attained a two pass speed over a measured kilometer of 148.308 mph (set by the chief test driver, Don Wales) on Rogers Dry Lake bed on Edwards Air Force Base.
This is a little like waving a red flag in front of a fighting bull ... having a well financed aristocratic effort from across the pond snatch an American WLSR out from under the nose of Americans on American soil. Fact is, the BSCC wanted to attempt to set the record at Bonneville but believed the more secluded, controlled, and custom made surroundings of Edwards AFB helped the effort attain their speed without the distractions of Speed Week on the famed salt flats in Utah.
Well, the bull has responded in the form of an American challenge, formed under the name - United States Land Steam Record (USLSR), featuring two unique cornerstones that just may make this thing happen. An engine that had its first successful test at the end of last year (that's right, just a couple, three months ago), and a lifelong, seriously trained steam-power enthusiast. The challenge is set for Bonneville Speed Week 2011.
|Cyclone Power Technologies, the owner of this technology, is developing a 6 cylinder, 336lbs, 95HP engine capable of producing up to 860 ft.lbs. of torque at starting, sufficient for powering a full sized passenger automobile. The specially designed USLSR Engine is a non-condensing variation of the Mark V automotive engine offering 180 HP by utilizing a double combustion chamber system. The Cyclone Engine is a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion, otherwise known as a “Schoell Cycle” engine. In short, the Cyclone is a 21st century, high efficiency, compact and powerful steam engine. The Cyclone Engine is capable of running on virtually any fuel (or combination of fuels) including today’s promising new bio fuels, while emitting far fewer pollutants than traditional gas or diesel powered internal combustion engines. Image Credit: Cyclone Power Technologies|
This excerpted and edited from WIRED -
U.S. Team Hopes to Bring Steam Car Record Home
By Keith Barry, Email Author - February 23, 2010
Six months after the British Steam Car Team shattered the record for steam powered vehicles, an American team has emerged with the goal of beating 148.308 mph and bringing the title back home. Using an engine from Cyclone Power Technologies, steam car enthusiast Chuk — that’s not a typo — Williams is creating a lightweight vehicle he plans to pilot across Bonneville Salt Flats in an attempt to top Team Steam.
The U.S. Land Speed Record vehicle, known as Streamliner, will be 21 feet long and weigh about 1,600 pounds. That’s about one-quarter what the British car weighed, which Williams says makes the Streamliner easier to deal with.
Williams is building the vehicle in his home workshop, but has just a rough mockup and so he sent a picture of his current steam car (above) instead.
He’s been playing with the technology for about five years. “Things are designed and I have quite a few of the parts that I’ve purchased, and I’m working on the frame right now,” he said of the new car.
He’s getting some help from fellow steam car aficionados, many of whom are also engineers. But it’s a small operation, a far cry from the big team behind Britain’s car. “We’re coming from a totally different point of view,” he said. “I just want to go out there and go fast, and I like building these vehicles and the development.” The engine, specially built for the job, is a heat-regenerative external combustion engine that weighs less than 200 lbs, puts out 180 horsepower and has a maximum starting torque of 850 foot pounds and 262 foot pounds at 3,600 RPM.
Williams says the engine is extremely efficient, and with some development he hopes steam engines will become a viable alternative to petroleum-powered internal combustion. “They’ll burn almost any fuel – not even just liquid, but waste products,” he said.
“In addition to being able to build it, the payoff is driving it and setting a record,” he [Chuk Williams] said. “The only thing that causes me hesitation is the heat, because it’s very hot in Bonneville and the vehicle is very small, and you have to wear a fire suit and a helmet.
The speed is just exhilarating, but having to wear all those protective clothing in 110 degree weather is what concerns me.”
See you all in Utah at the salt flats in August ... during Bonneville Speed Week 2011!
... notes from The EDJE
TAGS: BSCC, Charles Burnett III, Chuk Williams, Cyclone Power Technologies, Don Wales, Mark V, Rankine Cycle, Steam-Powered, The EDJE, USLSR, WLSR, World Land Speed Record