UK Defense Ministry Testing Opposed Piston Engine Concept


Cox Powertrain

We last covered the opposed piston engine concept back in 2011 (almost exactly 2 years ago). It was just a concept we covered then, but now? Now there’s a runner – and the British military is putting it through its paces as I type this.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) has confirmed that it will continuing funding development of this new diesel outboard for the Royal Navy’s rigid inflatable boats. Currently under development by Cox Powertrain, the prototype marine engine concept uses opposed pistons to minimize thermal losses and help shift the Navy away from using gasoline on the water.

The opposed piston engine is part of a policy recently adopted by NATO countries for converting to heavy oil wherever possible, allowing member countries to simplify logistics and reduce the use of petroleum gasoline at sea. Naval forces currently need a wide variety of fuels to operate – from heavy diesel to avgas and gasoline – these different fuels mean different supply lines and a logistical nightmare during a large deployment, that might see a warship on station without any petrol for the boats. Worse, gasoline is notoriously dangerous to use at sea, with an ever-present hazard of fire or explosion below decks much greater with gasoline than with diesel.

The concept uses opposed pistons, which means that the super-charged. two-stroke 3.6-liter motor has eight pistons housed in four cylinders but no cylinder “head”. Instead, each cylinder uses a centrally-placed injector and a set of paired pistons compresses the air/fuel mix in between them. A “Scotch Yoke” crankshaft converts the reciprocating movement of the pistons into rotary motion. The Cox engine, in this configuration, delivers some 350 bhp from a package that is about half the size of an equivalent, conventional diesel.

Source: Gizmag.

About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

  • Shades of the Detroit Diesels used in buses in the 20th century! First conclusion they have jumped to: WWIII will be oil powered. 2nd: That China’s new pollution free liquid fuel from Thorium LFTR reactors (see U tube videos) won’t dominate. 3rd: Mass produced, armed, unmanned drones won’t dominate entirely, obviating the need for heavy land and sea travel methods. Days of romantic chivalry are dead my friends! Death will come silently from the skies, and possibly at the had of an 89 pound Asian female in a bunker far away! China has Space Station(s) and for a fact: China manufactured whole sub-assemblies, electronics, in the Hercules Aircraft delivered to Canada recently and sold to us at “Made in U.S.A.” prices! moreover: We expect much of the F-35’s we paid “Made in U.S.A.” Prices for recently to actually be sub-contracted to Chinese factories – thus giving the Chinese the full capability to extrapolate technologies to unmanned drones or better! Like the “All American” Harley Davidson motor cycles, mostly sub contracted to Chinese factories now (some 70% Asian made) the world has changed, illusions remain and fools chase them but in the new reality, even U.S. made drones were brought down from the skies by Asians in Iran unharmed and complete, and the U.S. military still can’t explain that one!
    2 stroke diesels are very environmentally unfriendly, hard as hell to start, and not really very fuel efficient. Seek Asian designers, like the Honda folks that build very good 4 stroke marine engines?

    • So, you’re like … Some sort of crazy racist person who has a problem with small women?

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