Richard is a Justmeans staff writer for the Energy and Emissions category. He is a recent graduate of Western Carolina University in North Carolina where he studied History and Professional Writing. With an interest in the development and application of the latest computer, energy, and fuel technologies, he believes that the world must strive, with the help of these services, to better our societi...
A Violent Reaction for Greener Propulsion
Last week I wrote an article that briefly went over an engine designed by Swedish researchers that would utilize compressed air in order to run more efficiently. Now, another idea that also uses a form of compression has popped up that also seeks to create a greener, more efficient engine, but with one major change: the goal of this engine is to take the compression and unleash it into the engine itself to create the force needed to generate power.
Dr. Norbert Müller, an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Michigan State University in East Lansing, believes that the most efficient engine possible is one that uses shockwaves to compress air and fuel inside of an engine. In order to back up his theory, Dr. Müller designed a prototype that would allow him to better explain how his engine design works. The engine itself features a rotor that continually spins and releases a mixture of air and fuel into area surrounding the rotor. The engine is then designed to allow this air-fuel mixture to build up in pressure until it is released in the form of a shockwave that compresses the blend and ignites it before sending it along to create more pressure that would continue to push the rotor. As this reaction occurs time and time again, the engine itself is capable of generating electricity thanks to the incredible amount of force being created.
According to Müller, an engine of this design would allow a car to be lighter, thanks to the fact that most engine components would no longer be needed, and highly fuel efficient. He also believes that an engine like this could be designed to run on a variety of fuel types like hydrogen.
Recently, Dr. Müller had the chance to present his prototype to the Department of Energy, but still has plans to develop a larger, more powerful prototype in the future. If he is able to generate enough interest in his design, it is possible that these lighter engines could be installed in vehicles in the future to make them greener and more fuel efficient.
Photo Credit: Nathan Bittinger