Cyclone Power Technologies, Inc. has successfully performed combustion acceptability tests of crude oil recovered from the Gulf of Mexico with its heat-regenerative external combustion engine.

During the tests, Cyclone ignited a small amount of crude oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon accident through its combustion chamber fuel atomizers without any system modifications. The resulting heat (measured in BTUs) was sufficient to power Cyclone’s 100hp Mark V engine (earlier post), further demonstrating the flexibility of Cyclone’s compact steam engine to generate power from virtually any fuel source.

An unmanned surface vehicle that searches for spilled oil on the open seas or along coastlines is completely feasible. Potential missions include locating, collecting and reporting the position of small oil spills to a control center while getting its energy from skimmed oil so that it can continue its mission indefinitely.

— Dr. Robert Finkelstein, President of Robotic Technology, Inc.

Cyclone is currently working on a DARPA-sponsored Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project with Robotic Technology to develop an unmanned robotic vehicle that can harvest and fuel itself from land-based vegetative biomass. (Earlier post.)

The Gulf oil combustion test was performed in conjunction with Unified Fuels LLC of Foley, Alabama, a development partner of Cyclone. Unified’s proprietary waste-to-fuel systems utilize a form of distillation to create diesel or gasoline from biomass feedstock. In the current experiment, Unified was able to use the same process to separate crude oil recovered from a private beach in southern Alabama from sand, volatile organics and other non-organic impurities.

Living in the affected areas of the Gulf, we are especially concerned with the remediation and clean-up of the spilled oil. There are better ways of disposing of this substance than throwing it into landfills—recycling it for use in compact and portable power systems like Cyclone’s could be one very good alternative.

—Gary Champagne, CEO of United Fuels