Remember the revolutionary “Rotary Engine” with which MAZDA Automotive toyed so unsuccessfully? They launched their first rotary-powered autos back in 1967 using the revolutionary new non-reciprocating (non-conventional) power plant invented in the early 1950s by German engineer Felix Wankel.
The engine was truly unique: It had very few moving parts when compared to the conventional piston-engined autos of the day: It was not just simpler in design, but much smaller, lighter per horsepower output, and smoother in operation, BUT more costly and inefficient in respect to fuel economy than the conventional engines with which it competed. There were so many issues with the Rotary Engine over its years of production, that Mazda, in 2012, dropped its use altogether in its production lineup.
But, today, the entire future of the basic rotary engine appears to be showing amazing new possibilities altogether, the direct result of a relatively new R & D firm located in Bloomfield, Connecticut called LIQUIDPISTON. Its new Rotary hybrid cycle engine is called the “X-Mini.” Its new rotary X-Mini engine employs a patented Thermodynamic Cycle. Instead of the hundreds of parts involved in producing power in a conventional piston engine, the X-Mini has only two (2) principal moving parts. LiquidPiston boasts 10 times more power-to-weight ratio with a 30% greater overall efficiency when compared to conventional piston engines.
The engine is capable of using a variety of different fuels, including modern Jet A (aviation) or JB-8 fuel, ordinary diesel, as well as other grades of popular gasoline. In short, this reinvented Wankel rotary has apparently overcome the many problems of its predecessors. It employs what LIQUIDPISTON calls “compression ignition,” which is how standard diesel engines obtain their power . . . without the need for spark plugs. The company has moved through three (3) prototypes of its unique engine, all proof-of-principle motors, models 1X, 2X, and 4X. These models have been made in two horse-power rated configurations: 40 and 70 HP.
The firm is proud of its ability to obtain a 1.5 HP per Pound ratio, which is remarkable by any measure. since typical general aviation aircraft powerplants are only seen as obtaining 0.68 HP per Pound ratios. – – – or, in another way of perceiving the difference: LIquidPiston’s X-Minis are more than twice as powerful per pound of engine weight than are their conventionally powered piston competitors. The U. S. Army has already awarded a contract to the young company for power supply units for some of the artillery weapons (see the below photo).
Clearly, the below video shows how the Army and Marine Corps might also see fit to use the LiquidPiston-powered new hybrid (Rotary AND Electric powered) drones.
The below short video (4:04 minutes) shows LIQUIDPISTON’s new Rotary powered Drone in Flight. Remember to open the video to full or hi-resolution size by clicking the small Full Size icon in the lower right of the image.