Achates Power was awarded $2 million in funding from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for the development of a Highly-efficient Opposed-Piston Engine (HOPE) for Hybrid Vehicles. (Earlier post.) Achates Power has partnered with the University of Michigan and Nissan Motor Company., Ltd. for the project.
The project builds on the successful development of the OP Engine and expands our research and development into the hybrid and range-extender market. The inherent balance and power characteristics of the OP Engine makes it an ideal powertrain in a hybrid solution, providing vehicle manufacturers a cost-effective solution to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.—Fabien Redon, Chief Technical Officer, Achates Power
The HOPE project will develop a unique single-cylinder OP Engine design with the goal to minimize energy losses typical in conventional internal combustion engines.
A motor-generator integrated on each engine crankshaft will provide independent control to each piston and eliminate all torque transmitted across the mechanical crankshaft connection, thus reducing engine size, mass, cost, friction, and noise.
The application of high-bandwidth power electronics will further improve engine efficiency through the real-time control of the piston motion and combustion process.
I am excited to design and optimize the controls that will free this opposed-piston engine from the mechanical constraints of the crank and gear mechanism through the electric motors; it is like breaking the shackles and unleashing its true potential. Along with the freedom, though comes the responsibility of highly precise control and coordination of the piston motions to maximize efficiency and ensure a smoother operation.—Anna G. Stefanopoulou, Energy Institute Director and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
The University of Michigan Energy Institute will contribute engineering resources and talent in the design and testing of the Highly-efficient Opposed-Piston Engine for Hybrid Vehicles, the project will look to leverage Nissan Motor Company., Ltd. experience in hybrid engine development.