Viewing entries posted in 2006

It's the technology

Posted on 16 June 2006 | 0 Comments

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HybridCarBlog, a great web site for hybrid news and analysis, has an interesting article about today's generation of hybrid cars. They are not saving the world from global warming, but driving innovation that will someday lead to technologies that will help address those environmental concerns. Hybrid Cars: It's the technology stupid
Ultimately, only innovation, particularly technological innovation, can help fight a problem like global warming, and Toyota is pushing the limits far more than any other auto company in this battle. One hybrid battery breakthrough could change the automobile landscape forever - that's why hybrid technology is so important.... The importance of hybrids is not about global warming nor foreign oil dependency. Today, the importance of hybrids is purely about technology. Today's hybrid technology won't end foreign oil dependency or CO2 emissions, but investing in today's hybrids will lead to the technology that can resolve these issues. When it comes to today's hybrid vehicles, it's ALL about the technology.
Read the whole article here.

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GM turns to their blog to rebut New York Times

Posted on 12 June 2006 | 0 Comments

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The Ban on `Rubbish’ in The New York Times By Brian Akre, GM Corporate Communications
I’ve spent much of the past week trying to get a letter to the editor published in The New York Times in response to the recent Tom Friedman rant (subscription required) against GM (see “Hyperbole and Defamation at The New York Times,” June 1). I failed. This is my story.
To read the whole post, click here. For some insight into GM's frustration, check out the email communications with the Times editors that they also posted on their blog. Here is a rebuttal column on GM's enviro policies from the San Jose Mercury News, Actually, GM is working hard on energy independence
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently suggested that by capping fuel prices at $1.99 for buyers of certain vehicles, General Motors was acting more like ``a crack dealer looking to keep his addicts on a tight leash.'' He then claimed that ``the sooner this company gets taken over by Toyota, the better off our country will be.'' Does the introduction of the Prius and other hybrids warrant the claim that a Toyota-managed GM would halt the building of SUVs and trucks? A quick review of the facts indicates otherwise.
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Internal combustion engines will dominate the automotive market for decades to come

Posted on 12 June 2006 | 0 Comments

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Autoblog has a story on hydrogen fuel cells that demonstrates why advances to the internal combustion engine are critically important, Hydrogen fuel cells are the wave of the future - just not the near future
Senior researchers from automakers around the world agree that internal combustion engines will dominate the automotive market for decades to come, even though hydrogen fuel cells are becoming an attractive replacement technology.
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Have you seen the Scuderi Air Hybrid Video?

Posted on 7 June 2006 | 0 Comments

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If you are interested in the Scuderi Air Hybird engine, check out the video that is posted on the company's home page. The Scuderi Air Hybrid Engine: A Simple Solution Empowering a Hybrid Revolution

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Bank of America offers employess $$ to buy hybrids

Posted on 7 June 2006 | 0 Comments

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Boston Herald BofA giving workers $3,000 in incentives to buy hybrid autos By Jerry Kronenberg Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Bank of America plans to roll out a roughly $60 million initiative today to promote hybrid-vehicle purchases by its employees, giving workers who buy the eco-friendly cars special $3,000 credits. Gov. Mitt Romney and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional chief will join BofA officials at the bank’s Boston headquarters for a special ceremony to unveil the program. Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the governor “supports providing individuals with incentives to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles.” BofA declined to release advance details of its plans. However, sources familiar with the effort say the bank will offer credits to some 20,000 employees in Greater Boston, Los Angeles and the company’s Charlotte, N.C., home town.
Read the whole article here.

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Wards Auto: Scuderi Unveils Advanced Air-Hybrid Engine Concept

Posted on 31 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Scuderi Unveils Advanced Air-Hybrid Engine Concept By Mike Sutton WardsAuto.com, May 25, 2006
DETROIT – The Scuderi Group, proprietors of advanced engine technology and developers of the Scuderi split-cycle engine, takes the wraps off its new Air-Hybrid split-cycle powerplant here at a recent industry conference here. Touted as the “first hybrid system that makes sense,” the air hybrid concept uses the West Springfield, MA-based company’s advanced engine design to compress and store excess engine intake air in much the same fashion a hybrid/electric vehicle (HEV) stores energy in batteries.
And what is an air hyrbid?
At the heart of the Air-Hybrid is Scuderi’s patented split-cycle engine, a unique design concept dating back to 1914 that divides a 4-cycle internal combustion engine’s individual strokes of operation into opposing cylinders – one side for intake and compression, the other for power and exhaust. Connecting the cylinders is a pressurized crossover passage that transfers the compressed intake air from the compression cylinder to the power cylinder. Unique disc-type check valves, adapted from air-compressor design, control the airflow from the compression cylinder, allowing nearly all of the pressurized gas to be utilized before the next intake cycle begins. Camshaft-driven poppet valves control airflow in and out of the power cylinder and prevent the combustion process from “backtracking” into the crossover chamber, the company says. The hybrid element of the engine begins in this crossover chamber, where a separate valve controls the flow of excess air into an external storage tank. The tank is pressurized to a similar degree as the combustion chamber gases – about 735 psi (50 bar) – and has a volume of about 1L per each of the engine’s cylinders, says company President Sal Scuderi. Once the tank is charged, the air supply can be used in several ways. In low-load situations, the compression cylinder can be disabled, allowing the power side of the engine to be fed with stored compressed air from the tank. The company says this greatly enhances efficiency by eliminating the power losses of the engine’s compression cylinder. Conversely, the power cylinder can be switched off during coasting and braking, thereby allowing the compression cylinder to act as a built-in engine brake. Regenerative braking also occurs, as the compression cylinder’s intake air is routed into the storage tank to replenish any compressed air that has been depleted. During regular cruising, the system also can vary the distribution of the intake air to both supply the power cylinder and fill the storage tank. An added benefit of the design, Scuderi says, is the on-board supply of compressed air itself. The charged air could be used to start the engine if the battery runs low, operate air brakes, inflate tires and operate air tools – features that would have considerable value for commercial trucking and military applications. In addition, the compressed air could be used to power a pneumatic valve system for the power cylinder, enabling a completely camless design and further improving efficiency. The company says adding the Air-Hybrid feature to the split-cycle engine requires only a “few hundred dollars” of additional investment, compared with thousands for typical hybrid-electric powertrains.

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Motor Trend Magazine profiles the Scuderi Air Hybrid Engine

Posted on 23 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Motor Trend Magazine's June 2006 Technologue column focused on BMW's Turbosteamer and Scuderi's Air Hybrid Engine. The editor, Frank Markus, has just posted an extended Q&A online that provides a terrific overview of the engine. Motor Trend Magazine Q&A on Scuderi Air Hybrid Engine Scuderi Split-Cycle Hybrid Engine First a recap of the basics: The engine employs pistons and connecting rods turning a crankshaft, just like 99.9 percent of the engines on the road, but here half of them breathe in and compress the air, while the other pistons combust and exhaust the mixture. The basic engine's overall efficiency is estimated at 43 percent (up from about 33 percent for ordinary engines), with a compressed-air hyrbrid system boosting that to over 50 percent. Why split the cycles? The primary benefit is that now the cylinder designs can be optimized for the two fairly different tasks of compressing and combusting. How do the compression and combustion cylinders differ? By altering the bore and stroke slightly, it's possible to have very different compression and expansion ratios--one of the holy grails of engine performance and efficiency. The compression cylinders can have very high compression, because there is never any fuel in them to detonate. A larger bore also permits a natural supercharging effect of compressing a larger volume of air than the combustion chamber displaces. (Air pressures of up to 725 psi have been suggested.) A longer stroke on the combustion cylinder extracts more power from the charge. In this way, the Split-Cycle concept mimics the Miller-cycle. How does the air get from one cylinder to the other?There's a short passageway connecting the cylinders. A conventional cam-actuated valve admits air to the combustion chamber, but a pressure-activated disk-type valve (picture a heavy-duty version of the reed-valves in your Briggs & Stratton) admits air into the passageway from the compression chamber and prevents it from leaking back into the intake cylinder. When and where is the fuel injected? Fuel is injected directly into the cylinder just as the valve opens. The highly-compressed air whooshes in so quickly and atomizes the injected fuel so thoroughly that the spark is fired to ignite it 11 to 15 degrees after top-dead-center, even when running lean mixtures for increased efficiency. How on earth can the flame burn completely with such late ignition? Conventional wisdom holds that, particularly at higher engine speeds, the spark must be advanced to light the mixture well in advance of top-dead-center in order to have enough time to fully burn the mixture before the bottom of the piston's stroke. Scuderi's modeling suggests that the high air pressures and turbulence serve to atomize the fuel so thoroughly that the mixture burns in about half the time it takes in a conventional engine. What about emissions? Lighting the mixture while the piston is still compressing it creates extreme heat and pressures that cause the formation of NOx, which ordinary engines combat by recirculating exhaust gasses and using a three-way catalyst. By lighting the mixture when the piston is already moving down, the flame front actually cools as it propagates, reducing the production of NOx in the cylinder by a claimed 80%. It's not low enough to meet current standards, but it requires less aftertreatment and no exhaust-gas recirculation is needed. What about friction? Another benefit of splitting the cycles is that each side of the engine only loads the crank heavily in one direction (up for the compression side, and down for the power side). This means that the cylinders can be offset from the crank so that power is being transferred to the crank (or from the crank to the compression piston) at the two points when the connecting rod is vertical. There is little or no side-load on the piston at these points, which typically occur at the very top and bottom of the stroke in engines that center their cylinders over the crank, and no work happens at top and bottom dead center. How does splitting the cycle and offsetting the cylinders affect engine balance? The forces at work in the Split-Cycle engine are slightly different than those of a typical engine of similar cylinder count, but the fact that most of the cylinders are moving in the same direction most of the time actually simplifies the task of balancing somewhat. Conventional crankshaft counterweights and balance shafts are expected to manage the balancing act. How does the hybridization work? Simple: Take your foot off the gas and the fuel is shut off. The compression pistons continue to pressurize air, but valves admit the air to a storage tank before the valve opens to the power cylinders. Get back on the gas, and an electronically-controlled pressure-activated disc valve on the inlet side of the compressor cylinder opens so there is no load on that piston. Air is supplied to the power cylinders from the storage tank, increasing thermal efficiency to 70 percent while the compression pistons are offline. There is also talk of using the stored air to operate pneumatic valvetrain with infinitely variable timing and lift, but that's a phase-II or later innovation. So where do the savings come from? Computer modeling conducted by the Southwest Research Institute suggest that, relative to a conventional engine (of 33.2% thermal efficiency), the Split-Cycle gains 5 percentage points from the faster burn rate, 2 percentage points from using ceramic linings to retain heat in the power cylinders, 1 percentage point from running lean without needing a three-way catalyst, and another 1.4 percentage points due to the unique piston motions. That brings the un-hybridized engine to 42.6 % thermal efficiency. The hybrid hasn't been thoroughly modeled yet, but another 10 points or so are expected. Isn't this just another crackpot odd-ball engine with no real future? The Department of Defense doesn't seem to think so. Maybe it was simple pork-barrel politics as usual, but Scuderi has just been awarded $1.2 million to further the development of its engine based largely on the Southwest Research Institute's findings. The fact that the engine can be produced on conventional tooling and mated to normal transmissions also bodes well for its chances of eventual production. What about cost? It's way too early to tell, but savings from less expensive catalysts might offset the cost of ceramic cylinder linings, and it would seem likely that the disc valves could be produced for the same or less money than another camshaft or two and a series of poppet valves. But we'll obviously have to keep a close eye on this aspect of the project. Stay tuned...

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Back to the Future: Scuderi Revolutionizes Engine Design

Posted on 19 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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The May issue of Automotive Design & Production Magazine has written a profile of the Scuderi Air Hybrid Engine. Automotive Design & Production Overview Formed in 1934 and focuses on the automotive industry from design to delivery. Editorial objective is to provide readers involved in all tiers of the automotive industry with insightful information on automotive product and process development and execution. Each issue focuses on the automobile from design through delivery with regular features on design, engineering, production, management, information technology and materials. Automotive Design & Production is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.autofieldguide.com. Back to the Future: Scuderi Revolutionizes Engine Design
Could an engine design with roots that go back to 1914 revolutionize the way that vehicles are powered in the future? The people at Scuderi Group (www.scuderigroup.com; Springfield, MA) think so. They’ve developed an air-hybrid engine that, unlike traditional internal combustion engines, features a split-cycle configuration. Although the split-cycle design has been continually dismissed for the past 90 years as having inherent problems when it comes to volumetric and thermal efficiency, Scuderi says it has eliminated those issues, thanks to several breakthroughs. Chief among them: A unique disc-valve design that handles both the inlet and outlet valves of the compression cylinder, allowing trapped gases to be removed from the cylinder, which improves volumetric efficiency, while spark plug firing has been configured to occur after top dead center for improved thermal performance. This portion of the system is what Scuderi calls its silver bullet: “The key breakthrough here is the ability to fire after top dead center and still maintain overall pressure,” says Stephen Scuderi. Pressure is also a key factor in improving split-cycle efficiency. Scuderi says its design is able to achieve compression cylinder pressures equal to that of a conventional internal-combustion engine during the combustion cycle, thus creating large amounts of turbulence for improved atomization of the fuel/air mix. This results in a flame speed rate more than two times faster than a conventional engine.
For the complete article, click here.

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Patents in hybrid technology

Posted on 19 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Study of hybrid technology patents shows Asia in the lead
Recent research by intellectual property management consultancy CPA into patenting trends in hybrid powertrain technology shows that Asia is leading the way; over the past five years, Asia Pacific companies have been driving innovation though European companies are now increasing investment, particularly so European manufacturers who sell into the USA – as with BMW’s joint R&D programme with GM and DaimlerChrysler. US companies themselves are also now challenging Asia Pacific’s market dominance, with Ford and Visteon investing in hybrid R&D. Christian Bunke, IP consultant at CPA, says: “We found several examples of cross-company collaboration to get hybrid products to market and yet, while there is a strong growth in the industry, our research also indicates a lack of specialised components.” CPA’s patent analysis showed the world’s top ten most active companies in hybrid technology development, as measured by their number of patent ‘families’ registered since 1991, puts Toyota at the top with 641 patents, followed by Nissan with 477 and Honda registering 319 patent groupings.
The Scuderi Group has taken many precautions to ensure the strength, scope, validity and ability to license its intellectual property. Its patent portfolio provides protection for the Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine technology worldwide for at least the next 20 years. The Scuderi Group patent portfolio currently consists of: Seven issued U.S. patents, Five U.S. patents pending Five international patents pending, in over 45 countries. Representing over 100 individual claims

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Scuderi Air Hybird Engine Profiled in Automotive Engineering International

Posted on 19 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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The Scuderi Air Hybrid Engine was featured in the May issue of Automotive Engineering International, a publication of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Sal Scuderi spoke to reporter David Alexander at the recent SAE show in Detroit. This article provides an excellent technical overview of the Scuderi Air Hybrid Engine and shows why this engine is such an amazing engineering accomplishment. The Scuderi article starts on page 5, you can read the full article by clicking here. Automotive Engineering International Overview Circulation 88,000 Established in 1917 and written for domestic and international manufacturers of self-propelled vehicle systems, producers of automotive parts, components and materials, automotive design engineers and technical managers. Focuses on current, global information on automotive industry developments, from technological breakthroughs to acquisitions and mergers to Internet sites. Includes features on Asian business trends, manufacturing solutions and regulatory and legislative information. Automotive Engineering International is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.aei-online.org.

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