Does anyone know if a rocket steam engine is feasible? Has anyone ever tried it? I was thinking that if it is feasible, then it might offer an alternative way to power a small locomotive in a sustainable way, when paired with wood coppiced from something like blackthorn. Does anyone know or have thoughts/opinions about this?
Considering that railways often have to brush out the sides of their track beds anyway, there would be ample space to grow coppice wood right beside the track. The present locomotives are diesel engines that power electrical engines. It's possible that this could be done with a rocket, but it would require a continuous feed, I would think. It might be possible to do it with woodgas, from a retort type rocket system. From what I understand, the railways are planning to head toward total electric this century, but the cost of the transition will nearly bankrupt the corporations. It is likely a better option to turn to renewable fuel, then trying to set up with full electrical power. Good idea, but I would skip the steam and go with the rocket powering the retort to create biogas which powers the engine generating the electricity of the existing tech.
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Lenn, I work in coal and gas fired power plants that produce steam to power turbines. and I think it is very doable. But heating water to steam is very dangerous business and would need to have a lot of safety equipment built into the system. Water quality is key, relief valves are essential. Lots of variables to control. So yes it can be done but who ever does it had better know what they are doing!