Steam engines are mechanical devices, which change energy that is present in steam in to mechanical force. The pressure in steam contains a lot of potential energy that is stored in form of pressure. When tapped, this form of energy can be used to power various types of industrial machinery as well as steamships and steam locomotive trains. The conventional car as we know it today is not associated with steam energy, however in the past, there have been attempts by inventors to power automobiles using steam energy. It is important to note that the first ever documented account of a self propelled automobile was a military tractor that was powered by steam.

This vehicle, which was commissioned by French Engineer Nicolas Cugnot, and began its work as a French Army artillery carrier in 1769. The vehicle had a steam engine boiler attached to it and had to stop at frequent intervals to build up steam. The viability of steam engines to power cars still has potential in modern times; nonetheless the idea has not gained headway. The strength of steam to power cars is practical as it has great ability to produce mechanical energy from raw heat without necessarily being particular about the source that is producing the heat. This is contrary to gasoline powered cars, which require the intricate process of internal combustion to power its engine. Considering this, it is clear that steam can power a car using not only simple effective technology but also without polluting the environment.

Due to the fact that oxygen is unrestricted in the steam engine’s processes, steam combustion tends to burn more efficiently and is safer to the environment than gasoline powered vehicles. Steam locomotives were a popular mode of transport which lost out to electrical and diesel powered trains in the mid 20th century. The locomotives were efficient but were considered to exceed smoke emission regulations, which is not a valid considering the visible and invisible pollution from gasoline vehicles. Just like the locomotives, early steam cars lost ground due to the invention of the electric starter and transmission. Another reason was the mass production of conventional gasoline vehicles which the market readily accepted.

Modern steam cars can be manufactured if proper legislation is put in place to ensure infrastructure and training institutions to cater for this form of technology. The most evident advantage of steam vehicle technology is reduced emission of harmful gases into the environment. The steam car would also help reduce noise pollution levels since its engine is not as noisy as one using internal combustion. Today, there exists the technical know how to invent a modern efficient steam car, the steam engine culture will have to be revived and made credible to consumers. The revival of team cars has also been compounded by the introduction of other energy efficient vehicles such as hydrogen, electric and solar powered cars. Steam car enthusiasts feel that this technology has been greatly overlooked and needs more and more mainstream attention.

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