Thermal Efficiency of 51.6%

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We are expecting to run our first demonstrator engine in February assuming we do not experience further supplier delays and we are VERY excited about this. But we have always known that there are some deficiencies with this first design and we still had some engineering challenges in front of us. So while the engineering team in Long Beach has been hard at work getting the first engine up and running, John Clarke, the inventor of the CCI, has been thinking about what the next generation will look like. I really wish I could be specific here, but I’ve got to keep the details under wraps. The results, however, are that we have been able to use more reliable technology in critical areas, improve geometry in other areas, and give ourselves even more degrees of freedom to tweak in controlling the balance of performance, fuel economy and emissions in the engine.

Our latest simulations show a thermal efficiency of 51.6% for a normally aspirated CCI engine. Compare this to 27% for a gasoline car engine or 42% for a Volkswagen TDI engine.

Even better compare it to the engines in the class-8 tractor-trailers that are hauling 80,000 pounds of all the stuff we need for our lives down the highways. Typically those trucks get 6 miles per gallon (or even less!). These trucks already use the most efficient engines current technology can make. If you replace those engines with a CCI, each truck would save about 7,000 gallons of fuel per year, or 14 billion gallons of fuel per year for the whole US market, saving fleets and owner operators $43.7 billion per year.

Now I have to compare this to our “new architecture” engine competitors such as Ecomotors and Achates Power. They are not doing anything new thermodynamically since what was run to ground in the 1930’s. Sure, they have better fuel injection systems and CFD analysis available to them so MAYBE they can meet emissions… MAYBE, but they cannot hope to make any significant improvements in thermal efficiency over a Junkers engine, about 40%. They have a power density improvement, and that’s great, we have it too. But if you cannot improve the fundamental efficiency of the engine, is the incremental benefit really that attractive to the large transportation markets? Are these just UAV engines?

Below are some of the parts for our demonstrator that have been made so far including the crank case, gears and one of the two crankshafts. Look how short the throw is on the crank!

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