Is the combustion engine as we know it dead? Depending on whom you ask, yes, yes it is. The Scuderi Group has developed a split-cycle combustion engine that runs on propane and utilizes compressed air storage to achieve up to 75% thermal efficiency, and they’ve signed a letter of intent to build four generators for the San Juan police department.
Scuderi’s split-cycle engine divides the four-strokes of a typical combustion engine between two-paired piston, one doing the intake and compression cycles, the other doing the power and exhaust cycles. This lets the Scuderi engine do more work on less fuel, and the Massachusetts-based company was said to be in talks with major automakers about licensing the design.
But no such automotive deal has materialized yet; rather, the Scuderi Group has signed on to produce propane-powered split-cycle generators with compressed air storage capabilities. The compressed air can be stored in a large tank to run the engine without any fuel, and is filled either from alternative power sources or during off-peak hours, when prices are low.
The LPG-air hybrid generators will be used by members of the San Juan, Puerto Rico police department, and the first one is expected to come online 18 months from now. That might help quiet some of the haters…or it could just throw fuel onto the fire.
Source: Green Car Congress