What happens when a gas turbine and an internal combustion engine intersect?
“Here is another radical alternative to the traditional combustion engine,” writes long-time Slashdot reader Inzkeeper. “Check out the Astron Aerospace H2 Starfire Omega 1… ICE engine in turbo configuration.”
The company reportedly “claims it is a viable alternative to electric vehicles.” maximum speed:
Astron has shown off a 3D rendering of its engine which helps to understand this very complex new engine in all its glory. They’ve also shown off a working prototype that gives us a glimpse at how the engine will work… The company claims it weighs an absolutely staggering 35 pounds but produces horsepower in the region of 160 and around 170 pound-feet of torque. These are crazy numbers. Omega 1 has a claimed efficiency of 60 percent, which is ridiculous if true since piston engines rarely reach 40 percent efficiency. Furthermore, Omega 1 can run on any type of combustible fuel, which means hydrogen can be easily used to reduce emissions to near-zero negligibility.
HotCars He adds, “According to Astron Aerospace, the engine stalls at 1,000 rpm and redlines at an incredible 25,000 rpm – much higher than all other rotary engines we’ve seen. This is thanks to the circular motion, rather than the Overhead movement used in Reuleaux triangle rotors.”
The great thing about this engine is that it is stackable, meaning two of them will produce 320 hp and 340 lb-ft, three will produce 480 hp and 510 lb-ft, etc… Astron Aerospace also stated that due to the design, the engine is easily scalable for applications Others – eg, marine engines. According to them and one of their renders, the larger version can easily reach 4,500 horsepower…
(I) Not only is it more efficient than an equivalent piston engine – 80% compared to just 34% – but the engine is also smaller and lighter. This translates to better fuel economy and an overall lighter vehicle. The engine is also air-cooled, which means there are no additional radiators or other cooling systems required to keep the engine running. Air cooling may seem a bit old-fashioned, but in this case it simplifies the entire package. Maintenance of such an engine would also be minimal, with Astron Aerospace claiming an additional 60,000 miles of use compared to a typical piston engine before maintenance is needed.
The drawback of this engine is that it has not been thoroughly tested in real-world conditions. Astron Aerospace had patented the engine and had a working prototype, but could not find any investors to begin large-scale testing and production. The engine needs to be worked hard to clear up any potential weak points and new materials must be used to deal with internal stresses and wear.