The Next Generation Hybrid
After re-engineering a 100-year-old design, Scuderi has now added a new twist to their Split-Cycle engine. It now sports a small holding tank between the 2 chambers which is used to store compressed air. This chamber allows the motor to run in either standard mode or a high-efficiency mode.
While in normal operating mode, the first cylinder brings air into the chamber. After the air is compressed, it is forced to the firing chamber via a small channel build into the block. While moving through the channel, some of the compressed air is forced into the small holding tank. The rest of the air is then forced into the other chamber where it is combusted and then forced out of the motor during the exhaust stage. The process is repeated till the chamber is full.
Once the storage tank is full, the motor can be switched into high-efficiency mode. This utilizes the compressed air in the tank to initiate combustion. Doing so eliminates the losses of compression normally exhibited. It also uses less of the air-fuel mixture so fuel mileage is sports a noticeable increase.
Another benefit uses the weight of the vehicle to continue building pressure during braking, known as Regenerative Braking. The firing cylinder is turned off while the car remains engaged with the motor. This makes the compression cylinder continue storing air in the holding tank to use later. It also helps to slow the car down by producing back pressure in the cylinder.
The design is also compatible with a turbocharger. By recovering energy normally lost from the exhaust, air is forced into the compression chamber, rather than sucked in. By doing so, the engine does not have to work as hard which frees up energy and makes for smoother operation. The turbo configuration is ideal for stationary applications such as generators.
The most impressive part about this new engine is the ability to use the compressed air for more than just motor operation. It can be tapped into via a valve on the top of the motor and used to run air tools or cam-less valves. It can also be used to inflate tires and even aid in starting the vehicle in the case of a dead battery.
As gas prices go up and EPA standards become stricter, people are looking for more and more ways to improve fuel mileage and reduce emissions. The Split-Cycle Air Hybrid motor has proven its ability to meet and exceed these new demands. With so much to offer this new engine could easily rise to the top of the automotive industry and rewrite how we look at tomorrow's automobiles.