New Engine Technology From Scuderi - 30 Percent More Efficient?

May 21, 2009

Yesterday we reported on progress General Motors is making with their HCCI engine technology. The story reminded me of my wanderings through Cobo Center during the recent SAE 2009 World Congress (an annual gathering of engineers bent on making the world a more efficient and advanced place).

There, I came upon the Scuderi Group booth. I immediately stopped because I had lingered in their display back in 2007 to study their split-cycle engine concept. At that point, all the company had was an animated video showed how the engine might work. Mathematical formulas provided the theoretical foundation for concept. Their formulations indicated a potential for an engine that is 30-percent more efficient that today's internal combustion engines.

Scuderi Engine Diagram split the four cycles of an Otto engine into two cylinders.

Scuderi Engine Diagram split the four cycles of an Otto engine into two cylinders.

Enlarge Photo

At SAE 2009, the company had a full-size cutaway version of the engine, and a working prototype will be tested early this summer. Some seven years in the making, progress continues and the company projects that the Scuderi Cycle offers the potential to be 30-percent more efficient than current internal combustion engines, while offering a type of re-gen braking and natural supercharging.

Generally, the concept of the Scuderi Cycle is easy to understand. It splits the four cycles of a typical Otto-cycle engine between two cylinders. Intake and compression strokes are handled in one cylinder while power and exhaust strokes happen in a second cylinder. Most of the gains in efficiency come from the extreme compression of the intake charge (upwards of 200 bar or 2900 psi).

In an interview with Stephen Scuderi, the son of the inventor, future tests will benchmark the feasibility of the new combustion cycle. "Once we prove that it works, we plan on licensing the technology to engine manufacturers to develop for their specific applications," Scuderi said. According to company sources, the Scuderi group is discussing their technology with 14 different engine manufacturers. The engine should work well for any typical engine application, including all aspects of the transportation sector as well as fixed-location uses for applications like generators.

According to Scuderi, production versions could run on gasoline, diesel and other fuels. The company also sees great promise for turbocharging the design. According to the company, the projected torque characteristics of the engine will be similar to a diesel engine, with excellent low-speed power.

As for their hope for 30-percent better economy, we'll bring you reports of Scuderi's successes or failures later this year after the initial testing of the working engine.

More information on the Scuderi Group (and some captivating videos) can be found at

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