That orb-y, Deathstar-looking thing with the dual carburetors sticking out of it up there? It’s a Hüttlin spherical engine, and it may be one of the most efficient internal-combustion engine designs ever built.
Unveiled at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, this latest version of
The Hüttlin engine made its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011 (again: this is NOT a news blog), surrounded by other “green” tech exhibitions, and attracted a fair bit of attention with its “shiny, globular design”. That design is part of what makes the Hüttlin such a model of efficiency, allowing the engine to be built using about 60 components, compared to over 200 in an “typical” 4-cyl. And, according to How Stuff Works, “the Hüttlin achieves more than 30 percent efficiency (in other words, less than 70 percent of the power it produces is squandered to heat, noise and wasted friction), which, of course, means the engine will use less fuel, and will also give off fewer environment-harming emissions. Traditional engines, by comparison, achieve only about 20 percent efficiency.”
All good stuff, of course – but what interests me (your favorite blogger, I’m sure) is this latest twist (spin?) on the spherical engine saga …
… do you see it?
It’s not obvious, but if you look at it just the right way you’ll see that this latest Hüttlin (mounted on an engine dyno) is burning natural gas, taking the spherical design one step closer to clean-burning perfection.
You can get a clearer picture of how the spherical engine works from the video, below, released in 2007 (back when the motor was just a concept) by Peraves, makers of the innovative Monotracer enclosed motorcycles that have been X-Prize winners and “the car of the future” for the last 20-odd years.
There’s no snark in that, by the way – I want one desperately!
Anyway. Video (down there).
Peraves (the company most likely to put the Hüttlin into series production) hopes the positive buzz surrounding the spherical engine – especially now that it’s proven itself on several fuels – will lead smaller carmakers like Russia’s Yo and Tesla to use the Hüttlin in their extended-range vehicle projects in the future.
You can find out more about the Hüttlin over at How Stuff Works, where my good friend Cherise LaPine talks specs, design, and more.