The internal combustion engine has, for better or worse, been a standard that has won out over alternative forms of power for cars ever since they were invented. Researchers at Michigan State University, however, have developed a new engine that needs no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, fuel compression, cooling systems or fluids. Yes, it still uses a fuel like gasoline, but profoundly more efficiently.
Their so-called Wave Disk Generator could greatly improve the efficiency of gas-electric hybrid automobiles and potentially decrease auto emissions up to 90 percent when compared with conventional combustion engines.
The engine has a rotor that’s equipped with wave-like channels that trap and mix oxygen and fuel as the rotor spins. These central inlets are blocked off, building pressure within the chamber, causing a shock wave that ignites the compressed air and fuel to transmit energy.
The Wave Disk Generator uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion; standard car engines use just 15 percent. As a result, the generator is 3.5 times more fuel efficient than typical combustion engines.
Researchers estimate the new model could shave almost 1,000 pounds off a car’s weight currently taken up by conventional engine systems.