In the meantime, many of us have come to terms with the final end of the internal combustion engine. With the rapid advances in electric drives and battery technology in recent years, it seems E-Auto to belong to the future, especially as the topic of hydrogen hardly plays a role anymore.
Nevertheless, the internal combustion engine will certainly be around for a few more years – even after the vast majority of car manufacturers have phased it out. Now the company is showing a new engine concept Astron Aerospacehow the combustion engine could possibly have a future.
With the so-called Omega 1, there are no cylinders or connecting rods, this engine rotates instead of pitching. You could describe it as a mixture of turbine, compressor and Wankel. Felix Wankel once dreamed of a direct rotary movement to generate power and improve efficiency.
This is the case with the Omega 1, and its developers point out that the NOx emissions are very low. Unlike the Wankel engine, the Astron engine does not have any exhaust gas problems because there is a spatial separation between the cold and hot mixture. This means that there is no overlap, and you don’t need any complex sealing strips as with the Wankel engine.
The Astron Omega 1 has a unique design. Astron has divided the four strokes of a four-stroke engine into two independent chambers, with an antechamber in between. Two primary shafts are stacked vertically and coupled with synchronization gears so that they rotate in opposite directions at the same speed.
Four rotors are mounted on the two shafts and run in two pairs, one at the front end for the intake and compression strokes and the other at the rear end for the combustion and exhaust strokes. A rotary valve and an antechamber are located between the two sets of rotors.
If, like me, you think this engine resembles a Wankel engine, you’re right. Rotary valves were once the first invention that Felix Wankel scored with at NSU, where they were used in motorcycles. However, Astron claims that its new motor has no sealing issues and is a fully linear unit.
For those of you who aren’t engineers, myself included, it can all be quite difficult to visualize. To help you, Astron Aerospace created this extremely detailed video (above) showing how it all comes together and how the whole system works. It’s really impressive. In addition, due to its compact design, the Omega 1 can be built in different sizes to suit a variety of applications.
There are very few pumping losses as the motor is air cooled via airflow around and through the motor and only the timing gears and bearings need to be lubricated. This has the added benefit of keeping oil out of the combustion chamber, resulting in reduced emissions.
Let’s let Astron speak for himself:
“A large improvement in combustion and overall efficiency comes from forced air charging at 200-300 psi pressure. Normal superchargers only increase combustion pressure by 6-35 psi. The Omega 1 supercharger is vastly superior to this and is an integral part of the combustion process.
Overall efficiency is also improved by our motor’s “skip-fire” capability. For example, the engine may fire at every revolution while a vehicle is accelerating, but at cruising speed on an airplane, on a highway, etc., the engine only fires when needed (every 5, 10, 50 revolutions, or whatever is required) and can idle at high speed with very little fuel consumption.
Then, when conditions change and power is needed, the computer increases the firing rate for near-instantaneous power with very little throttle lag. This can be tuned for maximum efficiency, maximum power, or a combination thereof, depending on the desired application.
The Omega 1 engine is the first engine with an active linear power transmission. When the Omega 1 motor spins, all power is transmitted through the single rotating driveshaft. There are no offset crankshafts, no reciprocating pistons, and no eccentric shaft (like a Wankel engine).
The incredibly simple design of the Omega I engine allows the engine to operate with approximately the same number of internal parts as a typical single cylinder reciprocating engine used in lawn care and other outdoor equipment. The expected wear characteristics of the engine will potentially drive the run time between overhauls into the 6 digits (expected to be 100,000 hours and more) with very simple, inexpensive and inexpensive maintenance between overhaul cycles.
Matthew Riley, inventor of the Omega 1, is no stranger to patent protection. His latest invention, the Omega-1 engine, is protected by multiple patent applications, provisional applications and pending patent grants. Astron has almost all patents pending both domestically and internationally. This includes China, Korea, India and other areas where cars and airplanes are manufactured.”
According to Astron Aerospace, the Omega 1 in its current form weighs just 15.9 kilograms and generates an impressive output of 160 hp and torque of 230 Newton meters. The idle speed is 1,000 rpm and the maximum speed is 25,000 rpm.
Astron says it has developed a working prototype and claims it can run on a variety of fuels with very low emissions.
As in the past with the Wankel and its “discs”, the Astron motor can also be expanded at will. A two-engine configuration can be seen on the company’s homepage. It weighs almost 31.8 kilograms and has 320 hp plus 460 Newton meters of maximum torque.
No doubt it will be interesting to see how such a small engine with so much power becomes a reality. If Astron Aerospace’s technology reaches mass production, it could transform not just mobility, but energy use in general.
Of course, all of the numbers in this article are just Astron Aerospace claims that have not yet been tested in the field. So it’s probably best to wait and see what becomes of the supposed miracle engine. Since we’ve talked so much about the Wankel engine, its future lies with Mazda as a compact range extender for the MX-30 electric car.