BMW's Turbosteamer

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by Chuck, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    BMW is working on a steam turbine that is fueled on the ICE's excess heat to deliver a 15% gain in economy and power. It could reach production within a decade.

    An interesting question is would this work well on an either a diesel or VTEC gas engine? They both generate less heat because they are more efficient.

    Not sure, but the best ICE probably does not exceed 40% efficiency. Sounds like there is a lot of heat potential to untap even in a diesel.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2006
  2. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    I saw this a month or so ago. We had a good chat about it at work. And a good laugh.

    While steam is a great media of energy traznsferance. Its a pain in the arse to work with if you have no experiance with it. Like the common motorist.

    I do have some exp. working with steam. I sell boilers, controls, heat exchangers, flash units, regulators, vents, vacume breakers, condsate pumps, traps and all sorts of deviecs. I also maintain, repair, trouble shoot and operate such systems.

    I see massive problems with the heat exchangers warping from the constant heat up and cool down cycles. Also alot of vent/vacume breakers failing. Also this is going to need to be a high pressure system to do any good at all. Low pressure systems require huge quanitys/volumes of steam with large scale pipeing to make turbins and such effective. High pressure systems will use the smaller pipe and have higher velocitys or steam in the pipe. Then there are the leaking problems and refilling of the system with the water chemistry haveing to be right. They will leak,,,, you can bet on it. Get the Ph, disovled soilds and a few other paramiters off and the tiny system will foul out in a matter of hours. Another issue steam systems dont deal well with is shock. They hate shock. They dont like thermal shock and dont do well with external shock and vibrations. Also steam turbins are very picky beast in there own right. Steam recpical engines have another set of issues to be delt with.

    I wouldnt have any problems mainting such a system. But I just dont think BMW dealers are going to be happy with haveing to have basicly a steam lic. mechanic on the property to service them. Not to mention who will BMW have to make the components for the system? BOSH!!! Please they cant make coils, ignition parts, seat, window and door lock motors right.

    I wish them good luck and Im sure they are being very conservity in there lab work and numbers. But I dont see this ever going mainstream at all. The iron laws and pyshics of steam just are not good for a auto.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Psy:

    ___Good points all around. Terry and I were discussing the BMW Steam setup last night in chat as there is a good write up in the April issue of C&D. Terry sent me the scanned particulars and I passed along a link from a Dec. news item announcing the system.

    ___Anyway, the BMW steamer is recovering in the neighborhood of ~ 15 HP with the entire array of heat recovery HW (~ 200 #’s worth!) for what appears to be a low quality steam output. What is the point? A straight up turbo will do all of that although making use of the Turbo’s output is really only good for increasing performance at higher boost. Even with BMW’s work on the combination unit, they are talking 5 - 10 years out before deployment! The price of a pack will be so low by that time that this will be yet another one of those “Grab the headlines while we can because we don’t have anything left in the vault” type pronouncements imho.

    ___Along similar lines, think back to the EPA’s Dr. Gray and the hydraulic based Taurus Hybrid Ford and himself were involved in developing. It was cheap as can be with maybe an $800 expenditure at mass production pricing. Regen braking that instead of running current back into a massively parallel, cel based pack, you would press up an accumulator via HP pump. You receive a tremendous amount of work on the return but can you imagine a few hundred to thousands of #’s of hydraulic pressure across seals in car driving over 10 + years let alone what we subject them to day in and day out? May as well place the oil absorbent pads on the garage floor the first time we drove it into our garage … Not much can beat electricity in its ability to be converted and how clean it is when doing so vs. energy conversion via steam or hydraulics.

    ___Working in one of those big electrical generation plants using steam to make the turbine go roundy roundy, the low quality Steam available from this system at low loads would be a nightmare to control. Not only its chemistry as you posted but to produce a worthwhile amount of work. In the article Chuck linked, we see the power and torque numbers which in the bigger scheme of things amount to squat vs. the fuel consumed to drive one of the overweight and overly complicated Beemer Steamer’s down the road. I wish them luck but the advanced mechanical engineering applications of tomorrows automobiles are probably going to go the way of the Edsel given where Toyota, Ford, GM, and Honda appear to be heading with more and more reliance on electrical sub and major systems for everything from entertainment to propulsion.

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2006
  4. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    I failed to mention that to avoid a leak or explosion, steam engines will probably be heavier.
  5. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    New Article Sheds More Light on Turbosteamer

    Tim at GH posted this article >

    The quote that caught my eye is "the turbosteamer gets 20% better FE at 75mph....BMW notes hybrids offer no benefit at highway cruising...."

    HSD, IMA, turbosteamer - all have their pros and cons. If someone could make a very strong engine block and still keep it light, it would really help the turbosteamer concept.

    In my dream car, it would be a diesel/electric with a turbosteamer. Yes, I know it would be one complex machine.
  6. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    10% - 15 % increase is better than none.

    How hot can steam get to before evaporating?
  7. AZBrandon

    AZBrandon Guest

    I still like the electric turbine system a lot better. TIGERS exhaust turbine It's basically the turbine section of a turbocharger with sort of an inverse relationship wastegate for the exhaust flow.

    For anyone familiar with turbocharging, normally you have a large turbine with a small wastegate and the wastegate normally remains closed, so 100% of exhaust gasses go through the turbo until there is sufficiently high enough exhaust flow to run whatever the desired manifold boost is, say, 0.8 bar of pressure. Then the wastegate opens up and bleeds off a small percentage of exhaust flow to regulate boost pressure. Like Xcel mentioned, that's mainly designed for heavy throttle improvements, not light throttle cruising and accelleration.

    With the TIGERS system listed above, it's sort of the reverse; it uses a turbine small enough that it can spin up to full speed at very low exhaust flow and then have a very high capacity wastegate so that at heavy throttle and high RPM the majority of exhaust flow bypasses the turbine entirely - opposite of what you have in a turbo. By doing so, it can provide a constant electrical assistance at ordinary freeway and highway speeds based on recapturing some of the otherwise lost energy of the exhaust gasses.

    Given that turbocharging has been reliable in aircraft and everything from 1-liter gasoline to 18-liter diesel engines for decades and decades, plus the lack of a separate fluid system of any kind, I'd say it's many, many times more likely we'll see the TIGERS system catch on before we ever see steam catch on for automobiles.

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