Generic fueled engine generates Electricity directly at > 50% efficiency

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Sandia Labs researcher creates the cutting edge of new engine technology.

    [xfloat=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Linear_Accerator_Engine_and_Alternator_Mockup.jpg[/xfloat]Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Sept. 30, 2008

    Linear Accelerator Engine and Generator/Alternator mockup.

    Peter Van Blarigan’s vision was to create highly efficient and low emissions advanced combustion engine not to turn a crankshaft but to make electricity directly. While working for Sandia National Labs - Engineering for Emerging Technologies, he produced advanced research papers on the Internal combustion based “Linear Accelerator”. From those papers, he and a small team of student researchers began to modify old pressure vessels to build a single-cycle experiment in order to investigate the unique combustion system. Within the next year comes a working prototype.

    "It's mechanically simple," Peter explains, "but 20 years ago, it probably couldn't have been built. Enabling aspects include advanced electrical controls, new magnet technology and today's emphasis on emissions."

    The Linear Accelerator uses a single piston in a cylinder that bounces between two combustion chambers. Permanent magnets attached to the piston generate electricity when they pass by the coils of an alternator centered on the cylinder.

    Since the piston can move freely, the compression ratio can be varied by how much energy is taken from the alternator -- the more energy removed, the less the piston travels toward either end of the cylinder. The result is electronic control of compression ratio.

    To power the Linear Accelerator with maximum thermal efficiency, fuel and air are completely mixed in advance. The mixture is compressed at each end of the cylinder enough to self-ignite without flame propagation similar to a Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) Combustion Engine that both Honda and GM are currently working on. The difference however is that during combustion, the cylinder volume remains essentially constant -- a key to its efficient conversion of thermal energy to mechanical work.

    Fuels

    Peter's group tested propane, natural gas, hydrogen, methanol, and light, easily vaporized hydrocarbons. He found that lean fuel mixtures at a high compression ratio of about 30:1 improved thermal efficiency by nearly 40 percent compared to the standard compression ratio (10:1) of spark-ignition engines. The results for propane and natural gas were about 56 percent indicated efficiency.

    Keeping the fuel mixture lean and homogeneous helped limit formation of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulates. Treating exhaust gases with a standard oxidation catalyst would control hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions.

    The balance of high thermal efficiency and relatively low emissions could make the concept an attractive alternative to diesel electrical power generation.

    Electrically driven automobile applications

    With current full hybrid and FCV’s automobiles running on electricity from an onboard battery, the Linear Accelerator would be a perfect match to power the next generation HEV without the expense of a full ICE drivetrain or expensive and delicate fuel cel stack in an FCV.

    Peter said he thinks the device offers improved engine durability because there is no crankshaft to add mechanical stress from piston side loading.

    Hurdles

    Peter says that one major concern is the sound of the engines: the fast explosions are very loud and will be difficult to muffle. The largest issue however is control. Because each fuel has a different compression, ignition and post burn properties, the generator itself must become an active part of the combustion chambers emissions control scheme. This problem has not been entirely explored as of this writing.

    Spinoffs

    [​IMG]
    Alternator section.​

    Advances in magnet technology also permitted creation of the Linear Accelerator concept, since dramatically stronger "rare earth" magnets of neodymium-iron-boron permit use of a reasonably small alternator. The General Motors spin-off company Magnaquench is working with Peter's team to develop an alternator using the company's permanent magnet expertise.

    Peter’s investigation of this new approach is being honored out of hundreds of submitted papers as the single most important contribution to the Society of Automotive Engineers in the fields of combustion, engines, and fuels for the year 1998. Peter will receive the Harry Lee Van Horning Award Oct. 26 at the annual SAE Fall International Fuels and Lubricants meeting.

    Rapid Combustion Electrical Generator - Peter Van Blarigan
     
  2. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Now that is cool. :thumbs_up:
     
  3. andy

    andy Well-Known Member

    For the year 1998???
     
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Andy:

    ___1998 was the first paper with follow ones afterwards. Next year is the working prototype hopefully.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne
     
  5. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Peter says that one major concern is the sound of the engines: the fast explosions are very loud and will be difficult to muffle.
    You could stick one of these in a motorbike. It would look like a BMW (opposed twin boxer motor) but sound like a Harley. ;) :flag:

    With efficiency that high, you'd be looking at better than 100 mpg, I would imagine.

    Harry
     
  6. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Very cool indeed!:cool: I want one...yesterday.:ctongue:
     
  7. FocusGuy77

    FocusGuy77 Guy with Focus

    The future IS now.
     
  8. Xringer

    Xringer Older Member

    "The General Motors spin-off company Magnaquench is working with Peter's team to develop an alternator using the company's permanent magnet expertise."


    Isn't Magnaquench the US company that China purchased and then moved to China??

    Maybe we'll be getting our new high tech power units from Walmart?
     
  9. abcdpeterson

    abcdpeterson Well-Known Member

    Yes that is cool!

    just the type of thing I enjoy learning about! handed the laptop to my youngest kid and said "I think this is interesting, tell me what you think"
    her reply: "that is cool"
     
  10. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Magnaquench story here: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=4757257

    It was too depressing to read all of it...:mad:

    Harry
     
  11. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    I thought the free-piston concept had been around for a while?
    .
    It probably wouldn't sound like a harley, more like a buzz-bomb..
    .
    _H*
     

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