Could a Revolutionary New Engine Solve All of the World’s Transportation Concerns?

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engine
Courtesy of Andrew Taylor (Flickr CC0)

When I was a much younger man, most automobiles had six cylinders. A desire for more power brought a demand for eight-cylinder engines. Some big pickup trucks began to provide 12-cylinder engines. In the “heyday” of muscle cars, the amount of gas used by our toys was of little importance. I remember that most vehicles averaged between 15 and 17 mpg.

We heard nothing about how the use of fossil fuels was damaging the environment, and climate change would become a reality.

In the early 1970’s everything changed. Greed by the petroleum industry forced gas rationing, and prices were raised significantly. Today big oil is price gouging consumers once again.

However, a solution to all of the world’s transportation and energy problems may be coming soon from Israel.

Aquarius Engines, based in Israel, has developed a revolutionary engine. It weighs as little as 22 pounds and has a single moving part. After extensive testing in Italy, a large telecommunications company, Teconoelettra, made a large purchase of generators from Aquarius.

engine
Courtesy of Don Harder (Flickr CC0)

Aquarius Engines has developed and produced a tiny 10kg linear engine for generating electricity, with an internal combustion mechanism. Unlike large traditional engines, the Aquarius Engine only has one moving part and converts fuel into electricity without the use of oil. Due to its size and lightweight, the engine has high mechanical efficiency that allows for low emissions and low pollution.

Aquarius estimates claim that one fill-up of a 13-gallon tank in an automobile will last about five weeks

So, how does it work? The device is called a “free piston engine.”

A free piston engine is the internal combustion engine in which the crankshaft from a normal I C engine used in vehicles is removed and the mechanical work is obtained just by the reciprocating movement of the piston or by some other means. Generation of power is the main purpose of these kinds of pistons that can be obtained by any means either by the exhaust gas pressure that can be used to drive the turbine or through the linear motion of the piston that can be used as an air compressor for pneumatic power or by coupling the linear alternator with the moving piston to generate electricity, according to Mechanical Booster.

The ”why” a free piston engine was researched and developed is related to numerous needs and potential uses. Not only will everything from transportation vehicles to generators with a much-needed large capacity reduce pollution to a barely measurable volume, but they will also require smaller space. Maintenance will be reduced significantly. Of great importance is that the free-piston engine developed by Aquarius will operate with the use of gasoline, oil, hydrogen, and even cooking oil.

Major vehicle manufacturing companies have taken a close look at the free-piston engine, and although billions of dollars to retool their plants that produce today’s vehicles would be necessary, the long-range forecast for profits would far outweigh making these changes.

One fact, a long-forgotten invention, but relevant to this new engine also happened in the 1970s. The “rotary engine” had been developed in the 1960s but received little interest from car makers. However, after the price hikes of the early 1970s interest was renewed.

To this day, no one is positive about why the rotary engine plans disappeared. As you might imagine, there were questions about whether or not the petroleum industry and/or the automobile manufacturers were involved, but they remain unanswered.

The largest three automobile manufacturers in the United States are currently engaged in the production of all-electric vehicles. They range from smaller vehicles to large pickups and SUVs. This brings a question: “Will automakers add this new technology which would offer an alternative to all-electric cars and trucks?” What do you think?

By James Turnage

Sources:

Mechanical Booster: How Free Piston Engine Works?
PR Newswire: Aquarius Engines Receives €5M Purchase Order For Innovative Generators

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Andrew Taylor’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Don Harder’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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