Ricardo’s CryoPower cryogenic split-cycle engine concept is predicted to have a thermal efficiency of 60 per cent – significantly more fuel efficient than current engine technology.
Now a new progress feasibility prove-out of this concept through design, analysis and rig-based testing of critical sub-systems has been initiated funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
If successful, according to Ricardo, the research “will help ultimately” to deliver an engine with the potential to transform the environmental performance of long haul trucks and other heavy vehicles
According to Ricardo, heavy duty vehicles, such as long haul trucks, represent a significant challenge in terms of the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
Rather than merely refine the existing four stroke diesel, Ricardo claims its cryogenic split-cycle engine concept aims to “redefine the engine and its combustion process” through the use of a “recuperated split-cycle with isothermal compression”.
Based on a concept investigated by Ricardo for power generation purposes in the 1990s, the split-cycle engine for heavy vehicle use was the subject of the TSB supported ‘CoolR’ feasibility project, commenced in 2011, in which Ricardo partnered with the University of Brighton.
In the latest CryoPower engine project, these partners are joined by high temperature heat exchanger specialist Hiflux Ltd, as well as “a confidential advisory panel” drawn from the heavy duty engines and vehicles sector.
During the work of this new project – which aims to investigate, analyse and de-risk the crucial aspects of the CryoPower engine concept – the partners will focus on system definition, technical risks and route to market, combustion system component development and thermal analysis, and recuperator development.
At the end of the project, a clear development pathway for the concept will be established whereby risks and opportunities are established and further work towards the ultimate commercialization of the concept planned.
“The need for fundamentally new powertrain solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of heavy duty road transportation is widely accepted, not least because the electrification approaches currently being demonstrated for passenger cars are inappropriate for this scale of vehicle,” noted Ricardo chief technology and innovation officer Professor Neville Jackson. “By fundamentally readdressing the underlying thermodynamics of the internal combustion engine in a manner not seen for many decades, we believe that the Ricardo CryoPower split-cycle cryogenic injection combustion concept offers the prospect of very significant improvements in thermal efficiency and hence reduced carbon dioxide emissions. This will help to provide a further step towards the commercialization of an extremely promising and game-changing technology for the economically crucial heavy vehicle sector.” ∎
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