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Internal combustion engines have not seen any fundamental technology breakthroughs in over 100 years. Large, bulky and inefficient engines are common, and they tend to use a significant amount of fuel in their operation. Modern diesel engines in particular are cumbersome, fuel inefficient and, in many cases, excessively loud. LiquidPiston X-Engines deliver increased range and reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional gasoline and diesel-powered designs, while also providing a size and weight advantage over most of its competitors. Investing in this exciting technology can help move it toward its goal of transforming application markets that will require more efficient use of fossil fuels while transitioning to biofuels and increased electrification.
LiquidPiston has addressed these legacy internal combustion engine (ICE) limitations by inventing a new optimized thermodynamic cycle and a rotary engine platform. A thermodynamic cycle determines how much of the energy contained in the fuel can be converted into useful work output, with the balance being wasted as heat. LP’s proprietary thermodynamic cycle, dubbed the High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) has a maximum theoretical thermal efficiency that is approximately 30 percent greater than the maximum theoretical thermal efficiency of the Otto (gasoline) and diesel cycles, which have been in use since the late 1800s. With a much higher thermal efficiency limit to work with, LP has proven that its X-Engine can achieve higher fuel efficiencies than piston engines of the same displacement or horsepower rating.
There is a major global push toward vehicle electrification, especially in the automotive space. This brings performance and noise reduction benefits, but with the addition of large, heavy batteries that need to be carried and recharged. The energy density of fossil fuels is still 40 times that of today’s best batteries, so it makes economic and performance sense in many applications to get the benefits of electric propulsion, but with a much smaller battery that can be charged during vehicle operation by a small on-board range extender, which burns fuel to drive an electric generator.
In essence, the vehicle carries fuel that’s more energy dense than the battery to be converted into electric power. Plus, refueling is enabled by the current gasoline/diesel fuel distribution system, which is widely deployed today. LP has focused and continues to focus on advanced combustion, engine platform design, and engine operation innovations, with over 60 patents granted and pending. The innovations include an elegant compact design featuring only two major moving parts: the shaft and the rotor. The X-Engine rotary architectural simplicity reduces the parts count and amount of metal used, quieter operation due to the absence of pistons and valves, and much lower vibration compared to piston engines.
Investments in the LP engine development will contribute to its continued evolution and application design-ins. Currently, the company is focusing on military and aerospace environments, but they plan to enter industrial, commercial and automotive markets later. If you’re interested in engine technology and its varied application and progress, cheering them on and contributing to the growth of LiquidPiston could be satisfying to you.
You can support LiquidPiston engines and their work by becoming an investor. As LP pursues their current engagements with multiple agencies of the US Department of Defense, they also will be moving toward serving industrial and commercial power generation marine, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and automotive hybrid electric propulsion markets.
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