What Happens When You Cross a Gas Turbine With an Internal Combustion Engine?

“Here’s another radical replacement for the traditional internal combustion engine,” writes longtime Slashdot reader Inzkeeper. “Take a look Astron Aerospace H2 Starfire Omega 1… an ICE engine with a turbine configuration.”

The company “claims to be a viable alternative to electric cars,” reports Maximum speed:

Astron have shown a 3D rendering of their engine which helps to understand this highly complex new engine in all its glory. They also showed off a working prototype that gives us an idea of ​​how the engine could potentially function… The company claims that weighs an absolutely mind-blowing 35 pounds, but produces horsepower in the region of 160 and about 170 pound feet of torque. Those are insane numbers. The Omega 1 boasts a claimed efficiency of 60 percent, which is absurd if true, given that reciprocating engines rarely reach 40 percent efficiency. Additionally, the Omega 1 can run on any type of combustible fuel, meaning that hydrogen can easily be used to reduce emissions so close to zero that it’s negligible.
HotCars adds that “According to Astron Aerospace, the engine idles at 1,000 rpm and redlines at a whopping 25,000 rpm — much taller than any other rotary machine we’ve seen. This is due to the circular motion rather than the epitrochoidal motion used for Reuleaux’s rotating triangles.”

The great thing about this engine is that it’s stackable, meaning two of them will produce 320bhp. 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 other applications – such as marine engines. According to them and one of their renders, a larger version could easily reach 4,500 hp.

[I]t is not only more efficient than the equivalent piston engine—80% compared to just 34%—but the engine is also much smaller and lighter. This means better fuel economy and a lighter car overall. The the engine is also air-cooled, meaning there are no additional radiators or other cooling systems needed to keep the engine running. Air cooling might sound a bit old-fashioned, but in this case it simplifies the whole package. Maintenance on such an engine would also be minimal, with Astron Aerospace claiming 60,000 miles of additional use over a typical piston engine before maintenance is required.

The downside of this engine is that it has not yet been thoroughly tested in real-world conditions. Astron Aerospace has patented the engine and has a working prototype, but has not found investors to begin mass testing and production. The engine must be worked hard to iron out any potential weak points and new materials must be used to handle the internal stresses and wear.

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