Steam engine conversion for small IC engine

Posted by jerry on February 10th, 2007 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Motorcycling, Steam, Technology

There have been a number of projects over the years to convert internal combustion engines (petrol engines) to work on steam, either for vehicles or, more widely, for small generators.

Some use a bash valve, welded onto the piston of a small two-stroke motor, such as this steam conversion of a Motobecane moped.

Steam moped

But Lynx Steam Engines discuss in detail how to convert a small four-stroke motor to work on steam or compressed air, to run electricity generators, mowers ec – perhaps even small karts. Their approach is a good one, keeping it simple, and making minimal modifications. This one requires modification to the cam by smoothing the cams to round, and adding a valve lift lobe to the correct timing (90 degrees between inlet and exhaust) by adding round-headed screws 90 degrees apart on the cam. And there is some discussion on the site on making a steam generator that complies with various laws on pressure vessels (best to get it made by a certified boilermaker) to produce a near silent engine that won’t disturb the neighbours. These would not be self-starting motors, but seem like a good beginners project using off-the-shelf components.

Steam mower engine

The 90 degree valve timing is consistent with the model steam engines I have previous tried making, and seems to be a good standard – with teh main variation being in the cut-off or ‘dwell’ of the valves – ie how long they stay open once opened. The beauty of this design is it uses low temparature, low pressure saturated steam, making it no more dangerous than a kettle, and able to operate without having to worry about separating the oil from the steam when you re-use it.

I also like the way Lynx engines have put their concept into practices as an apporpriate technology project to power a coffee producing firm in Nigeria, using waste biomass as fuel, rather than expensive petrol.



Comment by Azhar Ayub

Dear sir

I like to run a small generator 5KW on steam engine,which is run by compressed air.

This system will give power to small homes

Can you help me to make it.

I will use solar energy to produce
compressed air,which will be stored
in a big compressed air tank.

Best regards

Azhar Ayub
Managing Director
Energen,Energy Generation

Posted on September 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Comment by markus timmer

this is great, STEAM. boys and girls, but let keep one thing in mind, simple, my grandfather used a steam engine to do a lot of different tasks. But he always told me how simple the technology was. We are going to need this simple technology again, soon. its all about the BASIC concept and maximizing output, I am going to build one as simple as possible that will run my hobbie farm, I would like to hear from those who already do. markus {steam dude}Timmer

Posted on February 23, 2009 at 11:54 am

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