Sunday, April 12, 2009


The official speed record for a steam-powered car is 205.5 km/h (127.7 mph), set in 1906 by the Stanley Rocket. Stanley Steamers used conventional liquid fuels to fire their boilers.

The British Steam Car team aims to better the record, in the process increasing public interest in more environmentally friendly forms of transportation:
A hydrocarbon fuelled internal combustion engine such as a petrol or diesel engine is inherently “dirty” by virtue of its operation. All hydrocarbon fuels produce carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and water vapor (H2O) as byproducts of combustion.
And the fuel used by the British Steam Car? It takes a bit of looking around the site to find it – good old reliable hydrocarbon LPG. And here I was hoping it was nuclear-powered.

Update: According to New Scientist the car is powered not by LPG but by water:
The car itself is 8.5 metres long and weighs 3 tonnes. It is powered by demineralised water, which is pumped into a dozen 250-kilowatt boilers - equivalent to about 1200 electric kettles. These provide steam to a 268-kilowatt turbine that drives the rear wheels.
Wonder how much energy it took to demineralise the water?

Editing note: The record was set in 1906, not 1903. Corrected.


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