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  • Oil-Spill Hunter-Gatherer
    Posted by Graham Warwick 3:36 PM on Jul 20, 2010

    An unmanned surface vessel that can search for oil spills while using the crude oil it discovers for power. That's the idea behind a test conducted by Cyclone Power Technologies, which showed its external combustion engine could, without modification, burn crude oil recovered from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Cyclone is developing a steam engine with an external combustion system that can generate power from almost any fuel source. The company is working with Robotic Technologies under a DARPA project to develop an unmanned ground vehicle that can perform extended surveillance missions by harvesting vegetation to refuel itself.

    The latest test used a small amount of spilled crude recovered from a beach in southern Alabama and separated from sand and other impurities by Unified Fuels. The test proved the crude could be ignited through the combustion-chamber fuel atomizers without modification, generating enough heat to power Cyclone's 100hp Mark V engine.

    Tags: awt, environment, unmanned

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