The LIBRALATO rotary engine is a potential breakthrough technology, an eco-engine for the 21st century, with a new thermodynamic cycle and very different mechanical dynamics than is the case with conventional internal combustion engines.
The project will investigate the design potential of the LIBRALATO engine through an iterative cycle of simulation and modeling, prototype construction and test bed evaluation. The main claims made about the LIBRALATO engine are:
- Only 4 principal moving parts: leading rotor, following rotor, sliding connecting vane, rotating exhaust port - dynamically balanced with exceptionally low vibration.
- New Libralato thermodynamic cycle based on gas exchange between three chamber interfaces.
- Predicted 9% absolute efficiency increase (30% CO2 reduction relative to 30% efficient gasoline engine and 22% reduction relative to 40% efficient diesel engine).
- Predicted 4% thermal efficiency increase due to asymmetrical compression and expansion volumes.
- Predicted 5% mechanical efficiency increase due to rotary design - torque transferred directly to output shaft.
- Predicted to exceed Euro 6 emission standards due to longer and more complete combustion phase, homogeneous type fuel air mixing, complete scavenge of residual exhaust gas and lower demand on after treatment.
- Predicted 50% size and weight reduction due to rotary design (similar to Wankel).
- Predicted 30% reduction in cost due to: reduced mass, elination of con-rods, crankshafts, valve trains, camshafts etc and reduced manufacturing tolerances.
- Predicted 50% reduction in noise due to rotary design and low velocity exhaust gas.
The consortium comprises 2 academic partners and 6 industrial partners plus an Industrial Advisory Group (Deutz AG, SMTC UK, JCB, Mahindra and BAE Systems) providing a balance of research expertise, SME business innovation skills and commercial exploitation capability.
Revolutionary new engine tested
Scientists are testing a new type of car engine that is smaller, more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly than conventional internal combustion engines.
The Libralato engine was invented and patented more than 20 years ago, but has never been built and tested. It is a rotary engine that could address growing demand for a light, low-emissions engine for light passenger vehicles.
Funded by the EU, the 'Libralato engine prototype' (http://www.libralato.co.uk (LIBRALATO)) project aims to test the Libralato engine concept by building and testing a series of simulations, models and prototype engines.
Project members started by constructing a 25 kW prototype engine based on the original design. Thermal and mechanical analyses of this prototype revealed the engine would function better at lower power.
A 15 kW prototype with several rotors (to provide equivalent power output) has been designed and tested using modelling software. This design is more efficient and promises to be more stable in the long term. Researchers have also designed an engine management system using commercially available controllers. The software changes required for engine management have also been completed and tested successfully.
Based on simulations of the 15 kW engine, LIBRALATO researchers predict a 50 % reduction in size, weight and cost when compared to an equivalent internal combustion engine. They also expect reductions in emissions and improved efficiency overall.