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March 15, 2011

Wave Disk Engines could be 3.5 times More Fuel Efficient and should have 25 KW prototype by yearend

Michigan State University is developing a novel generator for use in hybrid automobile engines. Nearly 85 percent of automobile fuel is wasted. Only 15 percent of fuel is actually used for propulsion. The new generator will make better use of automobile fuel. It is projected that the generator will use 60 percent of fuel for propulsion, thus significantly reducing the percentage of fuel that is wasted. The generator is compact in size (about the size of a cooking pot), yet it will replace nearly 1,000 lbs. of engine, transmission, cooling system, emissions, and fluids. As a result, automobile companies will be able to produce lighter, more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. If successful, this project will significantly increase fuel consumption efficiency, reduce automobile emissions by up to 90 percent

Follow up on a 2009 article on Wave disc engines

New Scientist - Müller says the engine can be adapted to run on a variety of fuels, including hydrogen. Having built a small prototype, he hopes to have a 25-kilowatt version ready by the end of this year.

The ARPA-E 2 page fact sheet is where the 3.5 times fuel efficiency claim is made. $2,540,631 of funding from ARPA-E (US Department of Energy). Some have commenters have claimed about the credibility of this site for repeating this government claim. This site did not fund it. It was the US taxpayer via vetting from this agency for a University of Michigan (leading engine research institute - right by Detroit with a lot of history with cars and engines). If you have a problem with it take it up with the team managing ARPA-E. There are research risk but the theory does not pose problems.

Why ARPA-E Funding and Not Private Capital
• This is cutting-edge research with a research risk that private capital won’t accept.
• Mathematically difficult transient combustion technology is well situated for university researchers.
• Requires developing new low-cost, high rpm generators, which currently do not exist in automotive markets.
• Breakthrough automotive research is difficult to fund without committed large customers.



As the rotor spins, the channels allow an air-fuel mixture to enter via central inlet ports. The mixture would escape through the outlet ports in the walls of the surrounding chamber, but by now the rotor has turned to a position where the channels are not pointing at the outlets.

The resulting sudden build-up of pressure in the chamber generates a shock wave that travels inwards, compressing the air-fuel mixture as it does so. Just before the wave reaches the central inlet ports, these too are shut off by the turning of the rotor.

The compressed mixture is then ignited. By this time the rotor's channels are pointing towards the outlet ports again, releasing the hot exhaust. As the gas escapes at high speed, it pushes against the blade-like ridges inside the rotor, keeping it spinning and generating electricity.

The design does away with many of the components of a conventional engine, including pistons, camshaft and valves. This makes it much smaller and lighter than a conventional engine. A car fitted with the new engine could be up to 20 per cent lighter overall, Müller claims. By eliminating losses associated with mechanical components, it will also make cars more fuel-efficient, he says.


The Wave Disk Generator replaces the automotive internal combustion engine, radiator/water pump, fuel/air control, transmission, and generator found in today’s hybrid vehicles, resulting in a “hyper-efficient” serial hybrid vehicle that provides a 3.5 times improvement in fuel consumption efficiency.

Wave Disk Generator Consumer Benefits:

• Full-size vehicles with 500-mile driving range
• Compressed natural gas, hydrogen, gas or renewable fuels
• Elimination foreign oil dependence
• 30% lower vehicle costs
• 90% less CO2 emissions




(2006) A Review of Wave Rotor Technology and Its Applications (19 pages) Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power

The objective of this paper is to provide a succinct review of past and current research in developing wave rotor technology. This technology has shown unique capabilities to enhance the performance and operating characteristics of a variety of engines and machinery utilizing thermodynamic cycles. Although there have been a variety of applications in the past, this technology is not yet widely used and is barely known to engineers. Here, an attempt is made to summarize both the previously reported work in the literature and ongoing efforts around the world. The paper covers a wide range of wave rotor applications including the early attempts to use wave rotors, its successful commercialization as superchargers for car engines, research on gas turbine topping, and other developments. The review also pays close attention to more recent efforts: utilization of such devices in pressure-gain combustors, ultra-micro gas turbines, and water refrigeration systems, highlighting possible further efforts on this topic. Observations and lessons learnt from experimental studies, numerical simulations, analytical approaches, and other design and analysis tools are presented. DOI: 10.1115/1.2204628


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