Hybrid engines aren't the only way to improve fuel efficiency. Scuderi Group unveiled a cutaway of its Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine prototype at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2009 World Congress in Detroit. The new design is the first major change in engine dynamics since its creation 130 years ago, says Bill Wren, representative for the family-run start-up.
Most conventional internal combustion engines operate using the Otto Cycle. The Otto Cycle uses four strokes of a piston--intake, compression, power, and exhaust--that fire in quick succession using two revolutions of the crank shaft to complete the cycle. This process is only 30 percent efficient, which means you get only 30 percent the energy contained in a gallon of gasoline.
In the Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine, the four strokes are divided over two paired cylinders--one intake/compression cylinder and one power/exhaust cylinder. On a conventional engine, the combustion occurs as the piston is going up. But in the Split-Cycle engine, the piston pair fires after top-dead center, and combustion occurs as the pistons comes down, producing more efficient, cleaner combustion with one cylinder pair and compressed air in the other. … Read more