Right now, almost every automaker is working towards an electric future. We will have to wait years, but that does not prevent manufacturers from introducing new EVs while slowly ending the development of internal combustion engines.
However, the internal combustion engine could still have a future, even if it will be different from what we know today. Astron Aerospace introduced the Omega 1, a revolutionary engine with a very special design.
Divide and simplify
The Omega 1 is designed to run on a variety of fuels. He is compact and powerful and aims to produce very little or no emissions. It lacks a staggered crankshaft, reciprocating pistons and eccentric shaft, just like a Wankel rotary engine. However, the design of the Omega 1 circumvents at least one problem with Wankel engines – exhaust overlap.
The Omega 1 design features a pair of chambers with a pre-chamber separating the cold intake air from the hot exhaust gases. There are four rotors mounted on two shafts, which work in pairs, dividing the phases of the cycle: the one at the front takes care of l’admission and some compression (the first two phases of a normal four-stroke engine, the “cleanest”), while the one at the back takes care of the combustion and of the exhaust – the last two phases, which suffer from post-combustion polluting emissions.
The stacked rotors are linked by synchronizers so that they spin in opposite directions but at the same speed. According to Astron, the design of the Omega 1 does not suffer from the same problems with joints and welds as conventional motors, because it is a single block with far fewer moving and decomposable parts.
Glimmer of hope ?
The design of the motor allows several to be stacked, which increases efficiency. The standard Omega 1 engine weighs just 10 kg and can produce 160 horsepower and 230 Nm of torque. The company claims to have a working prototype. So the internal combustion engine might not be dead after all.
But then, will it be revolutionary enough to prevent the extinction of internal combustion engines? Certainly not as we know it today, complete with connecting rods, valves and pistons, but it could still have important applications in the electrified future ahead of us.
After all, the infrastructure still has to catch up with the total electrical conversion, and it will take a long time to get everything ready. Systems such as the Omega 1 would help significantly reduce emissions starting today, until the infrastructure for an emissions-free future is firmly in place.