The Wave Disk Engine could revolutionize the way we power our automobiles, and the Department of Energy awarded this design $2.5 million in Federal funding.
For details about exactly how the Wave Disk Engine works, check out my previous post about it. Developed by Michigan State University researchers, it’s the size of a cooking pot and can burn just about any kind of fuel. It does so in a way that shaves weight from the vehicle and is up to 3.5 times more efficient than an ICE engine, meaning better fuel efficiency and up to 90% less CO2. Spinning at high speeds sends a shockwave through the device, igniting air and whatever fuel happens to be used. Simple, light, cheap, and effective.
However, it will not directly replace an engine or transmission setup, but rather it could work as a range-extender for plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Wave Disk spins very fast, generating a lot of energy from a very small package that could dramatically lower the weight of hybrid vehicles while improving the fuel efficiency. For example, a Chevy Volt typically gets around 36 MPG in charge-sustaining mode, but with a Wave Disk engine, it could get closer to 100 MPG while in charge-sustaining mode (this is just an example and I’ve heard nothing about a Wave Disk Volt…would be cool though.)
Wave Disk engine designs could shave upwards of 1,000 pounds in engine and transmission equipment too, meaning lighter, more nimble plug-ins that can make up for the extra battery weight they must carry. While $2.5 million may not sound like a lot, a unit large enough to power an automobile battery pack could cost as little as $500, so there’s a lot of room for experimentation here, or so it would seem. I’ll keep watching for more updates as they come.
Source: Edmunds Auto Observer
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.