I remember an experimental engine (IIRC it was a SAAB engine) which was equiped with both water and fuel injectors. The water was NOT injected at the same time as the fuel, but instead after the normal 4th stroke, as an individual stroke. As the water entered the still hot combustion chamber, it quickly expanded into steam (there you go. STEAM!) which helped push the piston down and drive the engine. It was in other words a 6-stroke engine, but still identical to a standard engine. The injected water also helped cool the engine significantly.
I can't seem to find any info on the engine now, so there was probably some dealbreaked in the design...
The Dyer / Crower design is kind of conceptually interesting.
One thing I wonder is how high of an RPM the system would be able to scale to. If you look at a diesel, for instance, you are limited by (among other things) the fact that you have a finite amount of time in which to inject the fuel into the cylinder.
With the Crower system, you'd have this limitation plus a limitation imposed by the amount of time required for the atomized water to absorb heat and undergo phase-change into steam. I have no data here, but my assumption is that it takes longer for water to absorb heat and vaporize into steam than it does for diesel fuel to ignite and burn.
Might work on a series-only hybrid where the engine speed is fixed.
Some of Crower's justifications for the system kind of reek of pseudo-science. Like the weight-savings permitted by removing the "heavy" cooling system. How much does an average aluminum-and-plastic radiator weigh, 5 lbs maybe? Plus about 2 gallons of water, and another pound for the water pump. Compare that to a tank holding 10-15 gallons of water, plus the high-pressure injection pump, an extra set of injection hardware, etc.
Kind of seems like one of those things that, if it were actually worth something, would have been implemented into a functioning engine by now. Even if you buy into the "big oil and government suppressed the 300MPG carburetor" style of conspiracy theory, you'd have expected some mechanical engineering grad student to claim to have perfected the technology shortly before being murdered and his lab burned to the ground. Or better yet, a ME grad student in China to have actually built said design and had it appropriated by the government and put into mass production.
Nooo nononoooo I think the evil car manufacturers are covering this up, probably together with that secrete goverments that actually rule the earth.
Well, that's just the thing- if what we'll call the "Crower Cycle" engine actually worked as described, then both automakers AND big oil companies would be well to promote it, not repress it.
Automakers would benefit in several ways: This technology must cost far less to design and build than EV / Hybrid / Hydrogen technology, so there's more profit in it for them than the current crop of "alternative" vehicles. The first automaker to market with this design would dominate the market, and this would also provide immediate relief from government-imposed standards for fuel economy and average emissions.
Oil companies would also benefit, as the engine still requires plain ole' gasoline (or diesel) to operate. Thus, it would benefit the long-term stability of the oil companies, as opposed to electric / hydrogen technologies which threaten to disrupt them.
...but that is very clearly not the case, since the engine model hasn't made it into a single production vehicle.
There will be a revolution, I’m sure of it. Some manufacturer will crack it and provide us a reasonable (but oh sooo boring!) replacement for the petrol driven piston engine. I’m fairly sure it will not be a steam power Miata, sorry Feaflora.