A revolutionary new engine has demonstrated efficiency improvements of up to 37% over a traditional engine. Environmental technology developer Lontra announced the results of its DTI backed development of the Lindsey Engine ™, and indicated that even greater energy savings may be possible.
The latest phase of the engine’s development work, undertaken with leading engine developer Mahle Powertrain (formerly Cosworth Technology), has identified benefits of the design and quantified performance and efficiency. Mahle has determined that part-load efficiency is up to 37% greater than a traditional engine and even unoptimised, full-load efficiency is improved by 2.7%. The Mahle research concludes the novel rotary design has a high power density of 75kw/l, indicating a high performance engine with high efficiency.
Hugh Blaxill, Chief Development Engineer, Mahle Powertrain: “'Mahle Powertrain applied its extensive internal combustion engine knowledge and tools to carry out this initial assessment of the Lindsey Engine ™. We have been surprised and pleased at the positive nature of the results. More work needs to be done but we have identified some useful features of this novel design.“
NOx emissions are lower than standard engines, and there are specific benefits with hydrogen and other alternative fuels. There are particular benefits for the initial target market of Combined Heat and Power, where the patented engine’s capacity to vary the heat and power ratio in real time is a strong advantage. High power density, small packaging, low noise and overall efficiency are advantages in other markets such as Gen-Set, 2-stroke replacement and auto. The design also has significant potential as a compressor.
Simon Hombersley, Lontra’s Business Development Director: “Mahle has been cautious in its work, reporting only what it can prove beyond doubt, and basing work on the most conservative assumptions. The very positive results from this rigorous methodology have given Lontra the confidence to invest in the next phase of development of the Lindsey Engine ™, the compressor and expander.”
In further work, Lontra has also interpreted the data, identifying some exciting further theoretical improvements. Mahle’s results are based on an unoptimised Lindsey Engine ™. Lontra is conservatively estimating an increase in 5% in efficiency through optimisation and tuning. Mahle’s figures assume that comparison engines are theoretically running stoichiometrically. But in reality, engines are run slightly ‘rich’ at full load, using more fuel than required to cool the valves etc. This reduces efficiency. The Lindsey Engine ™ can run stoichiometrically at full load, increasing efficiency further over traditional engines.
Steve Lindsey, Lontra Technical Director and designer of the engine: “It is realistic to assume that Mahle’s cautious efficiency figures will be improved on through optimisation, with the efficiency increasing to around 20% increase over traditional engines, running rich, at full load. Our previous theoretical assumptions have been proven in this phase of detailed development work, and we anticipate our cautious assumptions of further efficiency increases will be proven in subsequent phases.”
Lontra, which is supported by Imperial Innovations under the Carbon Trust’s Incubator Scheme, plans exploitation of the Lindsey Engine ™ through licensing and joint-venture. Development work to date has been part-funded by the DTI, through a Research Grant.
Minister for Industry and the Regions Alan Michael said: "I'm delighted that our support has helped this innovative and environment-friendly technology. These positive results are a welcome boost and could prove significant as we look to improve energy efficiency across the UK."
Simon Hombersley: “We’re wary of exaggeration. Precision, accuracy, exacting standards and rigorous methodology make a successful technology, not hype. But these results confirm the very exciting potential of the Lindsey Engine ™ in both our initial target CHP markets and the billion pound markets beyond.”