By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Energy
A new motor that utilizes shock wave technology takes fuel efficiency to a whole other level.
Researchers have built an engine that does away with pistons, crankshafts and valves. Heck, cars equipped with it wouldn't even need a transmission either.
But what gives the new motor an aura of potentially being truly revolutionary is that it utilizes shock wave technology, which takes fuel efficiency to a whole other level. While cars engine use about 15 percent of available fuel for propulsion, the Wave Disk Generator harnesses an impressive 60 percent. Such a vast improvement can translate to a 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions and a driving range of over 500 miles.
Developed by scientists at Michigan State University, the prototype may someday replace the internal combustion engine if it ever makes it to market. Compared to the familiar, but clunky 1,000-pound workhorse under the hood, the generator is about the the size of a cooking pot. And since the engine enables cars to operate sans transmission systems, cooling systems, emissions regulation or fluids, manufacturers can produce electric cars that are up to 30 percent lighter and require far less maintenance.
So how does it work? As fuel and air enter the chamber through central inlets, the wave-shaped rotor spins to trap the mixture inside. This causes pressure to build up to the point that it generates a shock wave, which compresses the mixture. Once ignited, the outlet opens, releasing a burst of hot exhaust gases that keeps the rotor blades spinning to generate electricity.
MSU, which unveiled the generator at the recent Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) conference, was awarded 2.5 millions dollars by the agency to further develop the technology. The next step for researchers is to scale the current model up to a larger 25-kilowatt prototype by the end of this year.
Here's a video that explains the technology:
(via New Scientist)
Photo: Michigan State University
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Mar 17, 2011
The video is down at this site, But you can watch it on you tube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uf_-IMgla34
I was invited by a NASA scientist about 6 years ago. He had developed a similar scroll engine that was powered by a solar thermal collector (Apricus evacuated tube collectors). They wanted to run an air conditioner using this technology. I am glad to see it is being further developed for utilization in a car. I am sure this will be used one day in cars along with some form of self generating electricity and storing energy in a different form of battery. FRANK, IF YOU ARE READING THIS, YOUR INVENTION IS TAKING SHAPE ULTIMATELY. YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED WHEN THIS COMES OUT IN THE MARKET. NORBERT -- PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS.
How about an update on car prototype ? We need this technology ASAP. Just think how often you would have to fill up if this was combined with Envia's new 300 mile range battery. What about any other applications such as home power ?
Pair these engines up with the motor in hub idea on the Sin-Lei Japanese car talked about on this newsletter, you could have a great power combination.
A potential to save the cost of fuel from being driven up dramatically as it becomes more scarce. This should also help to excellerate the electric car business if it can make them more capable of going longer ranges between charges. I look forward to seeing where this goes.
This research was made possible by Obama's stimulus funds. Can you say "buying the future, with our taxes" children?
Presumably these engines could be varied in size to get different power outputs or perhaps they could be ganged up with more than one rotor on a single shaft.
Thankfully this video is hosted by YouTube, as the SmartPlanet video servers don't work worth a damn... no video buffering, and no resume from stalled playback... one must re-start from the beginning. This is better, even though YouTube is far from perfect. The best option in either case would be to allow the consumer to actually _download_ the video in a more efficient container, such as MKV (Matroska) or Xvid AVI
Shockwaves are the best way to achieve efficient compression _of_anything_ as has long been known. Higher compression (and expansion) is the key to getting higher efficiency. That this turbine might reach 60% efficiency of thermal energy conversion is not putting it beyond Carnot efficiency, but such high pressure & high temperature combustion could lead to high levels of NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions IF the gasses remain very hot and very compressed for an extended time... which they won't! That's another beauty of this beast: the combustion and expansion in each chamber will be all over in a few microseconds. My only gripe at this stage is that this video needs to be subtitled, as he seems to switch to speaking German in a few spots. Even so, I *could* make out the power output figure he stated: "25 kilowatts", which equals 33 and one-half horsepower. Still plenty to get you down a level road at legal speed... even with the A/C on. [1 HP = 746 watts]
For example, I'd love to have a backup home generator based on mechanically simple and reliable technology like this. And yes, a 47hp engine on its own would be inadequate for most automobiles. But combined with hybrid technology, it would be. Since it runs most of the time at it's optimal output speed, it would spend most of its time charging a battery that would be called upon when more than 47hp is required, which it little of the time.
Could have started as emergency home power generator units to demo the engine and build funds for larger projects.
While that video was uploaded to YouTube back in October 2009, the researchers have completed their prototype, unveiled it at an ARPA-E conference last week, and have already been awarded the $2.5 million funding. @marvinlee: Herrman and Nguyen's article awkwardly restated the researchers' claim concerning weight: "The generator ... will replace nearly 1,000 lbs. of engine, transmission, cooling system, emissions, and fluids" (see project's PDF on arpa-e.energy.gov site).
The audio was poor, but I think he said that unit would generate 35KW, impressive, if true. This equates to about 47 HP. If increased size would get more output, this means you need the equivalent of about 8 of these to fully power an auto with a/c, fewer if using hybrid technology. The real savings is in the conversion ratio! Full changeover could save more than half of our fuel usage.
I hoped to see it run... guess that was too much to hope for. It would indeed be a great thing to have an engine so efficient that it wouldn't need a cooling system, but it looks like all they have are theories at this point. A lot of engine designs have been tried over the years. I'm sure that someday we'll actually have something better than a reciprocating piston engine, and maybe this is it, but it's hard to believe that some automobile company hasn't already tried it, or something very similar. Contrary to popular belief, they do experiment. Chrysler worked on gas turbine engines for years, and could never solve the emissions problem. This engine, too, may produce unacceptable levels of NOx. I'm not trying to be negative, though: I'd love to see it work out. The Otto cycle was a breakthrough in 1876, and the improvements to it have been great, but it's been 135 years since we've had a true breakthrough. Maybe we're due.
I agree to IMWeira. I have to see it working before I believe in it. If we can get higher efficiency than Carnot we would indeed have perpetual motion. Anyway. 60% is lower than Carnot efficiency in a regular combustion engine. Could be possible in theory. But even Stirling engines have problems to get close to this.
...in fact, most of the stuff we see at SmartPlanet is, at best, theoretical or are "funding needs news releases". But every good idea has to start somewhere...
Contrary to the report, car powerplants are not 1000 pounds, nor are they clunky. Instead, engines are in the range of 500 pounds, maybe 700 if the transmission is included, and typically are long-lived, smooth, and quiet. Better powerplants may well come, but not on the basis of misrepresenting modern engine technology.
What's happening to all these new engine inventions? Two cylinder engines, Hydrogen powered engines and now this one. Get them out into the market and lets see which one works the best.
Seals necessary for compression on this system are likely to be its weakest point - burning out rather quickly. Look for short engine life. Almost everything suggested from Mueller is on a theoretical basis. Making the process and materials preform in the theoretically projected and a pragmatic way has always been the downfall of these really high efficiency engines and is likely to be on this one as well. The scary part of this news release is that its coming before there have been many real world tests. If those tests had been done and were successful - there would be contracts already in place. Likely this is a funding needs news release. Even so, I'm glad someone is still trying to build a better internal combustion mouse trap.
...and I see the conspiracy theorists are already trolling. If anything kills this, it won't be "big oil" or the usual-suspect-list bugaboos; it will be technical or economic infeasibility or regulatory incompatibility. What this appears to be is a highly efficient turbine engine, which have been tried in cars before. Historically for these kinds of engines, the advantages have been low moving-part count. But the big disadvantages have marginal economy, low torque, noise and heat dissipation. If they can beat those problems, combined with existing hybrid technology this could be a genuine winner, although I wouldn't expect to see it in mainstream cars for another decade.
I congratulate MSU and Norbert Mueller on their conscientious work which has brought us a breakthrough in drastically reducing our Foreign Oil Dependence! I have been hoping for such a breakthrough for many years. Could it run successfully on hydrogen - I hope?
One of the fuel companies, or some faceless multinational conglomerate will snap this up in no time. :-(
Can you imaging what the performance of the Prius could become? Both more fuel efficient when charging and more power when accelerating.
Great idea I think. However special interests and lobbyists will quash it in no time flat. No profit from this new invention, bye bye !!
Holy cow! If this lives up to its promises it could be huge. It would be great for aircraft engines. I didn't see anything about what kind of fuel it uses though.
The Internet also came from "buying the future, with our taxes" children ? As well as the MRI machine Telemetry in hospitals both from NASA