DARPA is funding the development of LiquidPiston’s 30 kilowatt, 40hp X4 diesel engine. The “X” engine technology includes an optimized thermodynamic cycle and a new rotary engine architecture. The architecture involves only two moving parts, a shaft and a rotor which significantly reduces vibration, noise, and heat output, minimizing EMI signatures and the engine’s impact on internal components. The X engine is fuel-efficient, enabling 50% increases in flight endurance. Shephard News is reporting that DARPA has contracted an additional $2.5 million in funding for development.
LiquidPiston has received an additional $2.5 million funding from DARPA to continue development of its 30kW X4 rotary diesel engine prototype, the company announced on 19 June.
LiquidPiston received the contract after meeting the objectives for Phase I of the programme that was focused on the clean sheet design of the X4 and demonstrating the structural integrity of the new engine platform while operating under compression ignition of diesel fuel.
Phase II of the programme aims to demonstrate 30kW of power and reaching 45% net indicated fuel efficiency from the .75L X4 prototype. Phase II will also lay the foundation for future work. After the complete development of the fully packaged engine, the 30kW X4 engine is expected to weigh just 30lbs and fit into a 10-inch box, while achieving 45% brake thermal efficiency – approximately an order of magnitude smaller and lighter than traditional piston diesel engines and also 30% more efficient.
The efficient, lightweight and powerful rotary Diesel/JP-8 X4 engine will offer a power solution for direct and hybrid electric propulsion and power generation. Advanced and autonomous air, sea and ground vehicles could benefit from a new power platform which is compact, lightweight and burns heavy fuels efficiently. The technology could improve mission endurance and payload or increase the mobility of higher power electric generators.
Source: Shephard News