A technician working on the test cell. Photo courtesy of Motiv.
Last month in Long Beach, Motiv Engines fired up what might be the “first fundamental improvement to the internal combustion engine since 1933,” says Edward O’Malley, CEO of Motiv. Not only could this be the first fundamental improvement, but Motiv engineers believe their new engine might be the most efficient engine in the world.
After three years of work, the Compact Compression Ignition Engine ran for the first time ever on November 14. The CCI Engine is a dual compression, dual expansion engine that uses an alternative architecture, high compression ratio and more efficient thermodynamc cycle in order to achieve more favorable engine characteristics.
Motiv’s Chief Scientist John Clarke invented the CCI while he was working for Caterpillar and now has all the rights to develop and market the engine through Motiv. The CCI is expected to be twice as efficient as most car engines; it will also be capable of using multiple different kinds of fuels.
By using a more efficient thermodynamic cycle–similar to a jet engine–the developed CCI uses pistons as opposed to turbines. The results of this are that the engine is a quarter the size of a conventional diesel engine of the same power, has a brake thermal efficiency of 52 percent, suffers from close to zero vibration and is much quieter.
O’Malley says that the potential for the CCI is virtually limitless, as any engine that can benefit from being smaller, lighter and more efficient can utilize this technology.
Motiv Engines–a Reno, Nevada, based LLC–partnered with the Long Beach based Alvin Lowi and Associates to bring the CCI to fruition. Their relationship formed when Clarke was working with Caterpillar alongside Alvin Low and Associates for another experimental engine.
“This is a great milestone for us on the way to our goal of redefining what is possible in power generation and transportation. The ability of this technology to reduce costs and emissions while making the goal of energy independence achievable sooner and easier than ever thought possible is very exciting,” said O’Malley.
But O’Malley does not underestimate the degree of difficulty of improving upon the internal combustion engine. “Countless billions of dollars and many great minds have been working on the problem over the last 80 years. This kind of technology development is very difficult.”