EATR Robot Is A Vegetarian

In spite of articles (on other sites), the EATR robot is definitely a vegetarian. Cyclone Power Technologies, the maker of the Waste Heat Engine that powers the EATR robot, was forced to issue a press release:

"Despite the far-reaching reports that this includes “human bodies,” the public can be assured that the engine Cyclone (Cyclone Power Technologies Inc.) has developed to power the EATR runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips -- small, plant-based items for which RTI’s robotic technology is designed to forage. Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and is certainly not something sanctioned by DARPA, Cyclone or RTI."

Here's a bit more information about the engine that powers the EATR robot.


(Cyclone waste heat engine cycle diagram)

The Cyclone Engine is a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion engine, otherwise known as a “Schoell Cycle” engine. It creates mechanical energy by heating and cooling water in a closed-loop, piston-based engine system. The process looks like this:

HEAT PROCESS
1. Fuel is atomized and injected into the patented centrifugal combustion chamber (shown as lifted off the engine block for better viewing), where a spark ignites the fuel-air mixture into a flame that spins around the heat coils. Thermocouples (not pictured) control the duration of combustion to keep the heat in the combustion chamber at a constant temperature.

2. Water contained in the coils becomes super-heated steam (up to 1200°F) in as little as 5 seconds from start up which is (a) piped to the cylinders, (b) where it enters through a patent-pending valve system (not pictured). Note, valve timing mechanisms regulate how much steam enters the cylinders – the longer the cut-off the greater the torque and acceleration.

MECHANICAL PROCESS
3. Steam enters the six radial-configured cylinders under pressures up to 3200 psi to push the pistons down in sequence. Note, no motor oil is used – water is both the working fluid and engine lubricant. Also, because of the valve design, the engine starts without the need of a starter motor.

4. The rotating action of the pistons connected through a patent-pending spider bearing (not pictured) turns the crank shaft. Note, because the greatest amount of torque occurs at the first rotation, the shaft can be directly connected to a drive train without a transmission.

COOLING PROCESS
5. Steam escapes the cylinders through exhaust ports and (a) enters the patent-pending condensing unit where it turns back into water, and (b) collects in a sealed pan at the bottom of the condenser. Note, this is a closed-loop system – the water does not need to be replaced or topped-off.

6. Blowers spin fresh air around the condenser to speed the cooling process.

REGENERATIVE PROCESS
7. (a) Air which has been pre-heated from the condensing unit, (b) continues up to a second heat exchanger located in the exhaust port of the combustion chamber, further pre-heating the air used for combustion while also cooling the exhaust fumes (to about 320°F).

8. A high pressure pump (not pictured) pipes water from the collecting pan to the heat coils (a) via heat exchangers surrounding each of the cylinders (only one pictured), and then (b) to the center of the coils to start the heat cycle again.

So, despite earlier reports, the EATR robot would, indeed, be just the sort of chassis upon which to build an electric sheep.

Read more about how the Cyclone engine works; thanks to Moira for the additional resources. Also, take a look at this blog entry by one of the engineers who has worked on EATR - The Truth About EATR.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/18/2009)

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