The subject of steam powered cars was a source of much contention in
this thread, with people declaring that they couldn’t have been any good, or the major automakers would have been looking at them. Well, it appears that BMW now is.
Using an innovative concept, BMW Group Research and Engineering has succeeded in harnessing the biggest and as yet untapped source of energy in the car: Heat. Combining an innovative drive assist with a 1.8 liter BMW four-cylinder engine on the test rig reduced consumption by up to 15 percent while generating nearly 14 additional horsepower. At the same time, up to 15 lb-ft more torque was measured. This increased power and efficiency comes free of charge. The reason is that the energy is derived exclusively from the waste heat present in the exhaust gases and cooling system and doesn’t cost you a single drop of fuel. The research project meets all the conditions espoused by the philosophy of BMW Efficient Dynamics – lower emissions and consumption combined with more dynamic driving and performance.
I wonder if they’re running things like the alternator and AC off of it?
Here’s a similar idea to BMW’s that dates from 1924.
The main idea of the Still engine is to increase overall efficiency by using the hot Diesel exhaust to boil water, which then drives a steam engine, which is combined with the Diesel, sharing the cylinder.
Yay for thermodynamics! I hope using the heat of the exhaust becomes standard.