Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have prototyped a potential game-changing, gasoline-burning engine that requires no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, lubricants or cooling systems. The so-called Wave Disk Generator (WDG) could substantially improve the efficiency of hybrid vehicles and potentially decrease CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent compared to conventional internal combustion engines (ICE), says the team at MSU.
The WDG has a rotor with channels that trap and mix oxygen and fuel as it spins. These central inlets are blocked off, building pressure within the chamber. This causes a shock wave that ignites the compressed air and fuel, resulting in energy. The research team claims that the WDG uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion, thus significantly reducing the percentage of wasted gas. As a result, the generator is said to be 3.5 times more fuel efficient than a typical ICE.
The WDG's compact dimensions (it's the same size as a frying pan) would allow it to fit into the tightest of confines and its weight is claimed to be hundreds of pounds less than a conventional engine.
Last week, the prototype was presented to the Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is backing MSU's Engine Research Laboratory with $2.5 million in funding. Hit the jump to catch video of Norbert Mueller, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MSU, describing the WDG. Hat tip to Phil!