Scuderi Group to build next-generation V-design split-cycle engine; basis for the air-hybrid version
14 December 2010
The Scuderi Group, developer of a split-cycle engine that divides the four strokes of the Otto cycle over a paired combination of one compression cylinder and one power cylinder (earlier post) has authorized the build of its second-generation engine, featuring a V design, and has filed patents on it.
The current-generation Scuderi research engine is naturally aspirated and uses an inline configuration. The V split-cycle engine improves thermodynamic efficiencies, supports turbocharging, and provides automotive engineers more design flexibility, Scuderi says. The V design is also the enabler for the hybridized version of the split-cycle engine.
In the basic Scuderi Engine intake air is compressed in the compression cylinder and transferred via a gas crossover passage to the power cylinder for combustion. The air-hybrid configuration adds a compressed air storage tank to the engine. (Earlier post.) In this configuration, recovered braking energy is stored as compressed air to support a range of driving modes and optimize vehicle efficiency.
[The] inline engine has been used to prove primarily the combustion process...it is not the engine, though that is going to be used to hybridize...the primary reason...is because the crossover passage—the connection ports between the two split cylinders, the compression cylinder and the expansion cylinder—is buried in the head of that inline engine, and by being buried in that cast head, it also has a lot of additional cooling passages that make it difficult for us to have access to the crossover passage itself and to add a valve in the crossover passage to turn it into a hybrid.
So the V-engine will give us more access to the crossover passage, it will allow us to build it in modular form and it will allow us to mount a tank to it so that we can convert it to an actual air-hybrid engine to verify the simulated results that we have been getting off the simulation of the air hybrid engine.—Stephen Scuderi, Scuderi Group Vice President and Patent Attorney
Simulation tests on the Scuderi V engine will begin January 2011, supporting other programs underway including the engine map and on-the-road vehicle simulations.
These latest patent filings bring the current Scuderi Group Patent Portfolio to include more than 476 patent applications filed and 154 issued in 50 countries.
The patents support technology advancements in the following areas: engine cylinder configuration; modular crossover passages; crossover passage manifolds and associated air reservoir valve assemblies; and thermal regulations systems. Designing the cylinders in a V-shape allows for air intake to flow more naturally, which improves volumetric pressures. There are additional benefits achieved by enhancing thermal controls in the crossover passages (Xovr), such as the ability to over boost and maintain consistent thermal efficiencies.
Scuderi says that its spilt-cycle Air-Hybrid V engine will be a cost-effective hybrid solution that does not compromise performance and can extend the driving range of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV).
Initial tests on the Scuderi V engine are expected to be completed within a year, following the engine map which is anticipated to be finalized in the second quarter of 2011. Scuderi Group also recently expanded its simulation program beyond the Chevy Cavalier, purchasing a brand new 2011 compact car produced in Japan. The vehicle will be tested for two months running a Scuderi engine to prove its performance under real-world driving conditions.
The new simulation project will augment the Air-Hybrid study that is being conducted on a 2005 Chevy Cavalier. Results will be presented during the SAE World Congress (12-14 April 2011) along with two technical papers: 1) “Scuderi Split Cycle Research Engine: Overview, Architecture and Operation” and 2) “Scuderi Split Cycle Fast Acting Valvetrain: Architecture and Development”.
So, they have leapfrogged over the inline engine straight to the turbocharged spilt-cycle Air-Hybrid V engine.
I suppose the filing more than 476 patent applications slowed the simulation efforts on the inline engine.
Posted by: ToppaTom | 14 December 2010 at 05:42 PM
This is an effort for cost-effective and efficient way for inertial balancing of the engine using only two cylinders, hence allowing modules of two cylinders in V form for smaller applications, as well as allowing certain modules to be shut down for friction reduction during cruise at low load. Additional advantage will be that hot cylinders will be on one side, while cold cylinders will be on the other side, eliminating the thermal expansion problem.
However, a V-4 will have irregular torque pulse in comparison with a conventional I-4, which may be tolerable when the engine is fired well after TDC instead of before TDC in conventional Otto engines.
Overall, good move. However, given the rapidly dropping prices of Lithium battery and the use of minimal electrical power train in a serial-parallel hybrid coupled with a 6-speed transmission as in the Kia Optima hybrid, the cost-reduction advantage of the Scuderi's air-hybrid version may not be much. Many electric motors do not require rare-earth magnets and can be built quite cheaply. Many simulations have shown that air-hybrid is much less efficient than full gas-electric hybrid.
Posted by: Roger Pham | 14 December 2010 at 07:08 PM
I'll believe this is more than vaporware (patentware?) when I see the results of actual road tests run with actual, physical cars powered by actual, physical split-cycle engines.
Posted by: Nick Lyons | 15 December 2010 at 11:19 AM
Patent land mine fields are harming and not helping the country. I hope the Congress will address this issue in their next session.
Posted by: SJC | 15 December 2010 at 03:09 PM
I know first hand and by observation, that patents can be very easily obtained for ideas that are totally unworthy (no advance in the state of the art and/or already common knowledge).
And I know industry avoids patent infringement if possible.
I am not sure (do you know?) how much difficulty a company like Ford would actually have fighting a patent for, say “a car driven by 2 electric motors with electronics that provided differential action equivalent to today’s stability augmentation” (an idea utterly obvious to just about anyone) by some small litigious group of lawyers.
I believe any patent can be contested after award, but at what "cost"?
Posted by: ToppaTom | 15 December 2010 at 04:09 PM
There are people that sit on patents just waiting for a time to bring legal action. They do not take it to market, they just extort. There are patents awarded for devices that will never work. They do not have to, they just need to be unique, useful and not violate any physical laws.
Posted by: SJC | 15 December 2010 at 04:41 PM
This all seems like beating a dead horse (ICE).
Posted by: danm | 16 December 2010 at 04:23 AM
Internal combustion will be with us a while longer. There are those that would say that if everyone just listened to them then everyone would be buying and driving an electric car real soon now. That is NOT highly probable and most rational people know this.
Posted by: SJC | 16 December 2010 at 10:35 AM
I question whether a concept that will never work can also be useful.
If a split-cycle engine can increase efficiency, I'm all for it. We will need range-extenders even with PHEVs, and the less fuel they need, the better.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 17 December 2010 at 08:02 AM
Of course, but a concept that will never work is just a scam.
Posted by: ToppaTom | 20 December 2010 at 06:57 AM
Perhaps never work should have been stated never work well enough to be commercially viable. If you look at the patents for engines, you see lots of complex drawings that would cost a fortune to produce. Those patents get in the way of simplifications that might make the idea commercially viable.
Posted by: SJC | 21 December 2010 at 12:53 PM