I have toyed around with the same idea, only much simpler(don't have BMW's bucks to play with). As we all know the catalitic converter on our cars doesn't improve performance just reduces emissions by burning up most of the fuel our engine didn't use. It also produces lots of heat, up to 725 degrees celsius. Place a generator in the catalist, run the steam produced to a small, geared down, Tesla disc turbine with belt drive to the crankshaft pulley on your engine and you would have yourself a fantastic supercharger. The good news is friction losses would be minimal and hp gains all profit.
Jeff, this is exactly what we were talking about yesterday. The efficiency of catalytic combustion is far higher than coventional combustion. It's been around for a long time and no one has done anything with it. Let's hope the Japanese throw some mega-bucks at it and then it will become affordable.
Jeff & John,
Don't want to intrude on a private conversation but has anyone done any experimentation on using a catalyst as a burner for steam generation? I know there has been some experimentation with ceramic felts. Imagine boiler efficency if you had a ceramic felt burner and your boiler tubes were inserted in a catalyst?