Title:
Electrically fired steam locomotive
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An electrically fired steam locomotive includes a first unit and a second unit interconnected to the first unit. A steam boiler is in the first unit, and has an economizer tank and a superheater. The economizer tank holds a predetermined water supply. An electric furnace is in the first unit proximate the steam boiler. The electric furnace provides heat to the steam boiler to produce steam. A direct current battery system is in the first unit located beneath the electric furnace. A water tank is in the second unit. The water tank is configured to supply water to the steam boiler. A boiler feed pump and a steam condenser are in the second unit. A steam driven generator is in the second unit. Steam that is superheated by the superheater provides power to move the locomotive and to cause the generator to generate electricity to energize the electric furnace.



Inventors:
Pandey, Alok (Charleston, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/544733
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
10/10/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F23B30/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MCCARRY JR, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An electrically fired steam locomotive, comprising: a first unit; a second unit interconnected to the first unit; a steam boiler disposed in the first unit, the steam boiler having an economizer tank and a superheater, the economizer tank holding a predetermined water supply; an electric furnace disposed in the first unit proximate the steam boiler, the electric furnace providing heat to the steam boiler to produce steam; a direct current battery system in the first unit located beneath the electric furnace; a water tank disposed in the second unit, the water tank being configured to supply water to the steam boiler; a boiler feed pump disposed in the second unit; a steam condenser disposed in the second unit; and a steam driven generator disposed in the second unit; wherein steam superheated by the superheater provides power to move the locomotive and to cause the generator to generate electricity to energize the electric furnace.

2. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, further comprising means for communication with an external electrical power supply, the means being in communication with said electric furnace.

3. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, further comprising programmable control means for regulating pressure of the steam produced by the steam boiler.

4. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, further comprising programmable control means for regulating temperature of the steam produced by the steam boiler.

5. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, further comprising a coupling joining said steam condenser and said steam boiler, whereby excess steam from said condenser is selectively recyclable to said steam boiler.

6. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, further comprising a cooling pump for selectively driving water from said water tank to said steam condenser to cool steam within said steam condenser.

7. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, wherein said steam driven generator generates alternating current electricity.

8. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 7, further comprising at least one transformer in communication with said steam driven generator and said direct current battery system.

9. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, further comprising means for recharging said direct current battery system.

10. The electrically fired steam locomotive as recited in claim 1, further comprising: means for communication with an external electrical power supply, the external power supply communication means being in communication with said electric furnace; and means for recharging said direct current battery system, the recharging means being in communication with the external power supply communication said means.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/724,974, filed Oct. 11, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to steam locomotives and, more particularly, to an electrically fired steam locomotive.

2. Description of the Related Art

Steam locomotives are old and well known. Typically, steam locomotives are powered through the use of coal. The coal is normally supplied to a firebox through a fire hole in a fire door. The burning coal in the firebox heats a boiler that boils water into steam. The steam generates enormous pressure in the boiler. In most steam locomotives, the steam is superheated with a superheater before it is used.

Electric locomotives are also old and well known. Normally, electric locomotives include electric motors mounted in the locomotive that are powered remotely through the use of central electric generating stations. These electric generating stations transform power from coal fields or from waterfalls into electric energy through the use of electric generators. The electrical energy. is then transmitted to the locomotive by electrical connections overhead or through the rails. When the electrical energy is received, the electrical energy is transformed into mechanical energy at the wheel axles to provide a torque to the wheels and to drive the locomotive and any attached train cars. Some locomotives combine the use of electrical energy and coal fired energy to power the locomotive. These electric generating stations transform power from coal fields or from waterfalls into electrical energy through the use of electric generators. There are presently no locomotives that combine the use of electrical energy and steam engines that use no source of power other than electrical power to power the locomotives. In view of the declining coal resources, a need exists for an electrically powered steam locomotive according to the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is an electrically fired steam locomotive. The electrically fired steam locomotive includes a first unit and a second unit interconnected to the first unit. A steam boiler is in the first unit, and has an economizer tank and a superheater. The economizer tank holds a predetermined water supply. An electric furnace is in the first unit proximate the steam boiler. The electric furnace provides heat to the steam boiler to produce steam. A direct current battery system for lights, and not to power the electric furnace, is in the first unit and located beneath the electric furnace. A water tank is in the second unit. The water tank is configured to supply water to the steam boiler. A boiler feed pump and a steam condenser are in the second unit. A steam driven generator is in the second unit. Steam that is superheated by the superheater provides power to move the locomotive and to cause the generator to generate electricity to energize the electric furnace.

An external electrical power source, such as an AC power unit available in the railroad yard, a third rail, or overhead wires, provides the initial power to operate an electric furnace in the locomotive. The electric furnace heats the water in the locomotive's boiler to form superheated steam. The major portion of the superheated steam is piped to drive the locomotive wheels, and the balance is piped to the steam generator that converts the steam to electricity through the use of turbines. The steam generator provides adequate electrical power for continuing the operation of the electric furnace and ancillary devices, such as the locomotive's and train's light systems, the regeneration of storage batteries, a computer system, a cabin camera, an air compressor-air braking system, and a telecommunication system. The locomotive receives additional electrical energy from a remote electrical generating station(s) through electrical cabling or through the rails of the railway.

These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an electrically fired steam locomotive according to the present invention, shown traveling down a track with optional catenary and overhead wires.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an electrically fired steam locomotive according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a top view the electrically fired steam locomotive shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a front view of the electrically fired steam locomotive of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a side view of a second unit of an electrically fired steam locomotive according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the second unit of FIG. 5.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is an electrically fired steam locomotive. The invention disclosed herein is, of course, susceptible of embodiment in many different forms. Shown in the drawings and described herein below in detail are preferred embodiments of the invention. It is to be understood, however, that the present disclosure is an exemplification of the principles of the invention and does not limit the invention to the illustrated embodiments.

Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an electrically fired steam locomotive 100 traveling along a track through mountainous terrain. The electrically fired steam locomotive 100 includes a first unit 200 and a second unit 300. Other train cars may be connected to the second unit 300. The locomotive 100 is electrically interconnected with a remote electrical generating station through the use of flexible conductors 280 and 290, (e.g. a pantograph) and electrical cabling 400 that is periodically supported by supporting elements 410. As shown in FIG. 2, the first unit 200 has a streamlined outer cover 212 and a forward cab 214. The outer cover 212 can be made of a durable material, such as a lightweight metal alloy. Some lightweight metal alloys include an aluminum base alloy, a titanium base alloy, a nickel base super alloy, a cobalt base super alloy, etc.

A pilot or leading truck 216, holding six wheels 218 (three on a side) supports the cab 214 of the first unit 200. Four pairs of driving wheels 220 support the midportion of the locomotive 100. Three pairs of wheels 222 held by a trailing truck 224 support the rear end of the locomotive 100. This wheel arrangement is known as a 6-8-6 type. The cover has flaps 226 on either side to partially cover the driving wheels 220 to reduce air resistance while the locomotive 100 is underway. The electrically fired steam locomotive 100 shown in FIGS. 1-6 is merely one example of an electrically fired steam locomotive according to the present invention. It is the full intent of the inventor that the electrically fired steam locomotive teachings herein described may be applied to any other desired configurations of locomotives.

The forward end narrows to a snout 228 having a ditch light 230 on each side. The pilot 214 has a windshield 232, above which is positioned a halogen headlight 234 on the cover 212. Inside the pilot 214 proximate to the headlight 234, a hidden video camera 236 can be positioned to record occurrences at remote locations, such as any trespassing of the railroad tracks and the cross roads by animals, persons or vehicles, and can be viewed on a separate monitor by operators of the locomotive 100. A computer system 238 including a processor is located in the pilot 214 and monitors and regulates the steam pressures and temperatures at various points in the recycling system and the furnace temperature. The processor can be programmed to start the steam production to prepare the locomotive 100 for duty.

The boiler 240 is heated by an electric furnace 242. While the locomotive 100 is stationed at a train yard or train station, the local electrical power can be utilized. Once underway, electrical energy is received from remote electrical generating station(s) and is also produced on the locomotive 100. The boiler 240 can have an economizer 244 and a superheater 246. The economizer 244 has a water tank, which supplies steam to the superheater 246. The superheater 246 has coiled piping that absorbs further heat in the boiler 240 to cause superheating of the steam. Temperatures on the order of about 600° C., and an initial pressure of about 5,000 psig can be achieved at this stage. Safety valves are positioned in the fluid piping system at conventional points. A part of the output steam passes to the driving pistons 248, one on each side, which propel the driving wheels 220. The balance of the produced steam is passed through the coupling 250 to the steam driven generator or turbine 352 (shown in FIGS. 5 and 6). There can be a plurality of generators in the event of a breakdown of one. The maintenance of the required balance in proportioning the amount of steam produced to drive the locomotive 100 and to supply the generator or turbine 252 is performed automatically by the computer system 238 while underway.

Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, boiler feed water is passed to the boiler 240 from the water tank 354 in the second unit 300 to the first unit 200 by the boiler feed coupling 358. The second unit 300 has a pilot or leading truck 316 and a trailing truck 324 with eight wheels 318, 322 each. Excess steam from the condenser 360 can be recycled to the boiler 240 by the coupling 374 for preheating the boiler water. Around 25,000 gallons of water can be carried in the tank 354. The steam driven generator 352 produces alternating current (AC) electricity, e.g., in 60 cps in a range between 0 and 1300 volts, for firing the transformer/generator for the electric furnace 242 by passing the electricity back through the electrical line coupling 359. The superheated steam passing through the generator 352 can be partially diverted for reheating the water flowing to the boiler 240. The exhausted steam from the generator 352 passes to the steam condenser 360 and is cooled with recycled water in coiled piping fed by pump 362 with water from the water tank 354. The water tank 354 can be replenished by utilizing the water supply port 364, located on top of second unit 300, at a train stop.

The locomotive 100 has a steam whistle 266 located on top of first unit 200. A set of direct current (DC) storage batteries 268 are positioned below the electric furnace 242 to supply additional electricity. Transformers are in place for conversion of AC current from the generator 352 to energize the storage batteries 268 and to convert the battery current for use to fire the furnace 242. The electrical power derived from the generator 352 and the storage batteries 268 can power the electrical system in the following cars. The first unit 200 and second unit 300 can operate by pulling passenger cars and freight cars with car couplers, and can supply compressed air produced by the air compressor located in the second unit 300 through air hoses. Conservation of heat in the piped system and around the boiler and water tank can be improved by adequate insulation.

It can be seen that the present invention permits the operation of an electrically fired steam driven locomotive 100 powered by an onboard steam driven generator and regulated by a computer system and the operators. There is no need for extra motors on axles.

An integral part of the electrically fired steam locomotive is the onboard telecommunications system that permits the operators of the locomotive 100 to have advance warning of occurrences at remote locations, such as track problems or the like. Other warning systems for detecting and automatically stopping the train when the system detects an adverse situation, such as an obstacle on the tracks proximate the train, can also be used. The electrical energy produced by the remote electrical generating station(s) electrically interconnected to the locomotive 100 is used to recharge the storage batteries 268 in the first unit 200 of the locomotive 100. The power generated by the storage batteries 268 drives the locomotive 100 and any trailing train cars.

Consider that the resistance against which the locomotive 100 moves along a railway at a particular velocity of V feet per second is R. The rate at which energy is expended by the locomotive 100 is RV This is the rate at which energy needs to be supplied to the locomotive 100 after deducting all losses due to transmission from the source of power. The rate at which work is done on a particular axle of the locomotive can be measured by the product of the torque or turning moment exerted on the axle by the steam generator (which is electrically fired, in the above), and the angular velocity of the axle in radians per second. Train resistance includes journal friction and friction of engine machinery, wind resistance, resistance due to gradients, resistance due to miscellaneous causes, resistance due to acceleration, and resistance due to curves.

In summary, an electrically fired steam locomotive according to the present invention includes a first unit and a second unit interconnected to the first unit. A steam boiler is in the first unit. The steam boiler has an economizer tank and a superheater. The economizer tank holds a predetermined water supply. An electric furnace is in the first unit proximate the steam boiler. The electric furnace provides heat-to the steam boiler to produce steam. A direct current battery system is in the first unit located beneath the electric furnace. A water tank is in the second unit. The water tank is configured to supply water to the steam boiler. A boiler feed pump is in the second unit. A steam condenser is in the second unit. A steam driven generator is in the second unit. Steam that is superheated by the superheater provides power to move the locomotive and to cause the generator to generate electricity to energize the electric furnace.

An external electrical power source, such as an AC power source available in the railroad yard, a third electrified rail, or overhead wires, provides the initial power to operate an electric furnace in the locomotive. The electric furnace heats the water in the locomotive's boiler to form superheated steam. The major portion of the superheated steam is piped to drive the locomotive wheels, and the balance is piped to a steam generator, which converts the steam to electricity by means of turbines. The steam generator provides adequate electrical power for continuing the operation of the electric furnace and ancillary devices, such as the locomotive's and train's light systems, the regeneration of storage batteries, a computer system, a cabin camera, an air compressor-air braking system, and a telecommunication system. The locomotive receives additional electrical energy from a remote electrical generating station(s) through electrical cabling or through the rails of the railway.

While the invention has been described with reference to its preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teaching of the invention without departing from its essential teachings.