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Ricardo forms alliance with XRDi and NW UAV for UAV heavy-fuel engine solutions; Mechanically Compressed Direct Injection

Ricardo, Inc., the US subsidiary of Ricardo plc, has formed a strategic business alliance with XRD Inc. (XRDi) and NW UAV to design, develop and manufacture a family of heavy-fuel engine solutions for unmanned systems.

Branded Wolverine, the new engine line combines Ricardo’s engineering expertise with XRDi’s propriety Mechanically Compressed Direct Injection (MCDI) combustion technology and NW UAV’s advanced manufacturing capabilities. The Wolverine engine line ranges in size from 3 to more than 50 horsepower with the potential to significantly reduce the logistics footprint by utilizing many common parts.

XRDi’s MCDI combines air and fuel using a small compressor that is attached to each cylinder and injects the mixture into the combustion chamber through a delivery valve which finely atomizes the liquid to allow low evaporation types of fuels to ignite even at low temperatures. The MCDI system also provides a high level of stratification of the charge through the delivery valve mechanism to eliminate detonation.

MCDI allows two-stroke engines to run on multi-fuels with improved fuel consumption and lower emissions, and has been tested in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Federal Aviation Regulation Part 33 (airworthiness standards, aircraft engines).

The Wolverine engines, currently under consideration for several military programs, meet the US Army’s “One Fuel Forward” initiative and will be manufactured by NW UAV, one of the largest UAV engine manufacturers in the United States.

Ricardo is already accepting orders for the Wolverine engine and anticipates announcing its first order within weeks. Ricardo first launched the Wolverine family of engines in May 2010, with the unveiling of the Wolverine3, a 3.1 horsepower engine. Less than six months later, Ricardo announced the Wolverine3 successfully powered a small tactical UAV in October 2010 at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada National Security Site. (Earlier post.)


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