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Model Stirling engine, with external heat from a spirit lamp (bottom right) applied to the outside of the glass displacer cylinder.
Newcomen's engine, a precursor of the steam engine, with the boiler heated from beneath
Sectioned steam locomotive. Although the fire is within an enclosed firebox, this is still an external combustion engine, as the exhaust gas and the steam working fluid are kept separate.

An external combustion engine (EC engine) is a heat engine where an (internal) working fluid is heated by combustion in an external source, through the engine wall or a heat exchanger. The fluid then, by expanding and acting on the mechanism of the engine, produces motion and usable work.[1] The fluid is then cooled, compressed and reused (closed cycle), or (less commonly) dumped, and cool fluid pulled in (open cycle air engine).

Combustion[edit]

"Combustion" refers to burning fuel with an oxidizer, to supply the heat. Engines of similar (or even identical) configuration and operation may use a supply of heat from other sources such as nuclear, solar, geothermal or exothermic reactions not involving combustion; but are not then strictly classed as external combustion engines, but as external thermal engines.

Working fluid[edit]

The working fluid can be of any composition and the system may be single phase (liquid only or gas only) or dual phase (liquid/gas).

Single phase[edit]

Gas is used in a Stirling engine. Single-phase liquid may sometimes be used.[clarification needed]

Dual phase[edit]

Steam, as in a steam engine, is another option. In the case of the steam engine, or the Organic Rankine cycle the fluid changes phases between liquid and gas.

See also[edit]

References[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/External_combustion_engine — Please support Wikipedia.
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4 news items

 
CNNMoney
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 10:15:00 -0700

Invented by company founder and Chairman Harry Schoell, the patented Cyclone Engine is an eco-friendly external combustion engine, ingeniously designed to achieve high thermal efficiencies through a compact heat-regenerative process, and to run on ...

azcentral.com

azcentral.com
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 22:28:20 -0700

A steam car uses an external combustion engine — an 18-inch burner for pressurized gasoline brings water up to a boil and creates enough high-pressure steam to power the pistons. It was this technology that drove both the steam car's allure and its ...
 
CNNMoney
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 09:41:15 -0700

Invented by company founder and Chairman Harry Schoell, the patented Cyclone Engine is an eco-friendly external combustion engine, ingeniously designed to achieve high thermal efficiencies through a compact heat-regenerative process, and to run on ...
 
Marketwired (press release)
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:56:15 -0700

Invented by company founder and CTO Harry Schoell, the patented Cyclone Engine is an eco-friendly external combustion engine, ingeniously designed to achieve high thermal efficiencies through a compact heat-regenerative process, and to run on virtually ...
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