Video: Liquid Air Engine To Begin Trials Soon


Here’s a new one for you; an engine that can run on the stream produced by boiling liquid nitrogen. The Dearman Engine Company is set to begin trials this summer on a revolutionary zero emissions engine that uses liquid air as fuel. It’s a new idea on an old concept, and it has a tremendous amount of promise.

The liquid nitrogen, also known as liquid air, boils at very low temperatures, producing steam that can be harnessed to power an engine. While notoriously inefficient, these “heat engines” have been around for quite a long time. Peter Dearman decided to spent some time improving the efficiency of his heat engine, and recent trials are showing great promise.

The Dearman Engine Company teamed up with the Imperial College of London on a three-month test that recently concluded. The next step is to put the Dearman engine to work on a refrigerated truck, where it will provide both engine power and cooling, a double whammy in the name of efficiency. Liquid air storage has also made remarkable progress as well, and could even compete with the batteries in electric cars.

This won’t be the last we hear of Peter Dearman and his liquid air engine, I can tell you that much.

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Bob_Wallace

    From Wiki –

    “Liquid nitrogen is produced commercially from the cryogenic distillation of liquified air. An air compressor is used to compress filtered air to high pressure; the high-pressure gas is cooled back to ambient temperature, and allowed to expand to a low pressure. The expanding air cools greatly (the Joule–Thomson effect), and oxygen, nitrogen, and argon are separated by further stages of expansion and distillation.”

    My cleantech translator screams “Energy loss + energy loss + energy loss!!!”

    Love to see someone present the numbers for how much of a starting 100 kWh of electricity ends up as kinetic energy moving butt down the road.

    We know that with EVs about 67 of the 100 kWh becomes useful kinetic energy. With H2 FCEVs about half as much energy makes it to the road.

    I’m guessing that liquid nitrogen would be a lot like hydrogen fuel cell propulsion. Big energy losses creating, distributing and using the fuel. Significant infrastructure costs.

    Both energy loss and infrastructure cost would make the cost per mile non-competitive with EVs.

    • T Adkins

      It is claimed that 1 gallon liquid nitrogen can be bought for 10% the cost of one gallon of milk. I am not sure if it is meant to compete with EV in a cost per mile, but maybe competetive with petrol engines. The nitrogen engine should also be more efficient than a compressed air engine.

  • shecky vegas

    Well, at least you can avoid the embrittlement factor associated with hydrogen storage.