A start-up company from the US has developed a spectacular turbo engine. The machine should be suitable for use as a driver for cars, ships, and airplanes.
To begin with, our cover photo’s interpretation of what’s swept over the top: it’s a Jaguar C-X75, first built with turbo drive, then Formula 1 tech, and finally without it at all. Turbo is the keyword for a spectacular new engine concept from an American startup.
Disc instead of piston
The core idea of the compressor turbo rotary piston engine (exact technical classification is hard…) is to drive a hollow drive shaft via two independent double discs. The first pair of discs act as a compressor for the intake air, while the double-disc 2 is responsible for the combustion and therefore the actual work.
For this purpose, a groove and a pin rounded on one side are installed on each counter-rotating disc. The groove is the compression chamber or combustion chamber, and the pin acts as a kind of piston that compresses the intake and combustion mixture. If you only know train stations at this point: take a look at the photo gallery or video below to inspire you, the idea behind it is very simple.
Boost pressure up to 14 bar
Astron promises a range of advantages over conventional piston engines. Starting from boost pressure, which rarely exceeds 1 bar in a conventional car engine, the Astron turbo engine compresses the intake air up to 14 bar. This extremely high boost pressure is designed to ensure that no additional sealing measures are required compared to piston rings in standard engines – there is no “time” for the intake and combustion mixture to escape from the dust. This in turn reduces friction compared to piston engines, lowers fuel consumption, and broadly opposes the Wankel engine’s biggest design flaw.
Generally speaking, the friction or power loss inside the engine is greatly reduced compared to a reciprocating engine. No valve train, no crankshaft, and no connecting rod. Instead of pumping oil through the engine or using coolant to work, the turbo engine is cooled by the airflow around the engine and the hollow shaft. There are only the discs, Astron calls them synchronizing gears, and the machine’s bearings must be supplied with lubricant. Furthermore, since no oil can enter the combustion chamber, emission values are reduced.
Due to the construction, it is not necessary to deflect the force by means of different components; when the burner rotates, the drive shaft rotates at a synchronous speed. And at quite an astonishing speed. If 1,000 rpm idle is still at a fairly civilian level, things get colorful: the machine should spin up to 25,000 rpm, with each revolution representing one combustion process – meaning the Astron Omega 1 counts as a two-stroke engine, it just doesn’t Oil feathers.
Not every revolution has to fill a duty cycle: the control of the injection timer and ignition should not cause any combustion process to run for several revolutions at low load, which could result in firing only once every 50 revolutions, Astron baptizes “skip fire” technology. This is roughly comparable to cylinder deactivation in modern piston engines, and thanks to its design, the Omega 1 resumes operation immediately when performance is needed, without any delay.
162 hp and only 15 kg
The weight of the machine is very low thanks to a simpler design and fewer components than a standard car engine – Astron talks about the complexity of a simple lawn mower engine. A standard module with 162 DIN hp and 230 Nm of torque should only weigh 15 kg since every moped engine is heavier. It gets even better: In mass production, the entire product should sell for around $1,000.
Sound too good to be true? Kinda yes: So far, the Astron Omega 1 exists only as a computer simulation, no working prototype yet. But Astron literally wants to aim higher, as a performance-enhancing variant will be used in the aircraft. For understandable reasons, extreme reliability is required there, so the components used are made of higher quality materials such as titanium instead of aluminum, but the cost should be a fraction of the cost of a normal aircraft turbine.
According to Astron, the entire product has been patented in all major world markets. Now is the time to put the plan into action and build a real working example for testing. We stay tuned.
A 15kg engine with 162 hp – not only car and motorcycle manufacturers will be lining up for this, but countless other applications from marine propulsion to generators would be ideal for this power pack. But, unfortunately, as of now, the project only exists on computers. Many key questions remain unanswered, from consumption to contaminant value and stability to actual mass production prices. But we’re used to spectacular announcements from the Stromer area by now, so why not give an interesting internal combustion engine concept a chance to change?