Steam Engine Driven by IC Engine Waste Heat

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Sponsor: Ron Voisin Consulting

Date: Spring 2010

Requirements:
The team must develop a computational model that predicts the performance of a combined cycle engine using physical (eg. bore size, stroke length) properties of the Otto and steam cycles. The model must predict the performance of the component Otto and steam cycles within 5% of measured values. The parameters used to benchmark the Otto cycle model are power output, exhaust temperature, and exhaust mass flow rate. A model for a counter-flow heat exchanger using the engine specifications as inputs should provide values for the design variables of length, diameter, number of loops.The heat exchanger must be strong enough to withstand the high pressure, yet needs to be thin enough for optimal heat transfer. The heat exchanger also needs to be light enough and small enough such that it does not affect the performance of the machine it powers.

Problem:
To develop a computational model for a combined cycle that uses waste heat from an IC engine to power an auxiliary steam engine.

Solution:
The computational model was developed in three separate sections: an Otto cycle, a Rankine cycle, and a heat exchanger model. These three models were developed in parallel using MATLAB, and then combined later in a fuel economy study. The fuel economy study from the combined model gave us the most important results for this project. The results from the fuel economy case study were promising. The Honda Civic showed a 14 mpg gain over the production model, and the Dodge Ram had an 8 mpg increase over the production model. The fuel economy gains from this setup are comparable to current production hybrid models while reducing products with harmful manufacturing, such as the batteries in a Prius. These results indicate that this concept merits further consideration.

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