Meet the LiquidPiston X2: Your next engine

Dan Seitz Contributing Writer, Tech

Even the best engines we’ve built kind of suck from an energy standpoint. Your average combustion engine wastes anything from 30 to 99% of the energy it produces. We’ve improved them over the years, of course: Just ask anybody driving a car from the late ’90s. But they generally suck.

liquidpiston 0 221x214 Meet the LiquidPiston X2: Your next engine

LiquidPiston

So LiquidPiston went back to the drawing board and built a new type of engine.

In some ways, it’s a very old technology, namely a rotary engine. But it’s different from other rotary engines in a lot of ways. A quick physics lesson: Your engine powers itself by mixing fuel and air, igniting that, and using the resulting explosion to generate energy. Most engines keep that at a low compression, but the X2 keeps the fuel/air mixture tightly compresses, squeezing much more energy out of each drop. This also makes it a much quieter design and, obviously, it pollutes a lot less.

It’s also a lot simpler than most engines: The current X2 prototype has three moving parts and 13 components.

Despite the appeal, it’s not going to be put into cars just yet; it’s only got 40 horsepower. Instead LiquidPiston wants to use it for robots, backup generators, and auxiliary power units for diesel vehicles. But don’t be surprised if in a few years, you’ll see these turning up everywhere.

LiquidPiston [Official Site]

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