A ROTARY ENGINE that is said to be more efficient and reliable than existing versions has been created by British firm Advanced Innovative Engineering (AIE). The Lichfield-based company demonstrated its 120bhp engine in a custom-built sports car at the recent Low Carbon Vehicle event at Millbrook proving ground. While only a couple of laps of the circuit were planned, the car eventually completed more than 20 without issue, confirming its potential. The 650S single-rotor engine is said to be half the size and weight of an equivalent four-cylinder piston engine and benefits from patented technology that includes a so-called Self-Pressurising-Air Rotor Cooling System. According to Al E boss Saleel Panthakkalakath, this solution addresses the major drawbacks of rotary engines, namely high wear, high oil consumption and poor fuel economy.
“Our system uses air to cool the rotor, and this cools the oil temperature, which in turn stops it from burning.” said Panthakkalakath. “It reduces oil usage significantly and means our engine’s coolant temperature is down to between 90 and 100deg C. which is in line with regular piston engines.”
The benefits include increased engine life, reduced fuel consumption and better overall performance. AIE says its engine is more efficient than any other production rotary engine. AIE managing director Nathan Bailey said of the engine’s public run: “It was definitely a milestone moment to watch our 650S make history as the first single-rotor engine to power a British sports car around the track. “AIE has proved that through advanced technology and precision engineering, rotary engines can deliver innovative solutions as lightweight, efficient powertrains within the automotive industry.”
The company said the unit is still in the early stages of its development and is yet to achieve optimal performance. AIE was unable to give any more information as to when it could make production. Aside from its potential as a car engine, this rotary technology could also be used as a range extender for EVs. AIE has just commenced a two-year project with Nissan to produce such a system forthee-NV200. The goal is to integrate an AIE range-extender engine into the production model.