Work is now under way on building the prototype. The goal is to achieve a specific power of 3.28kW/kg (2hp/lb), with a successful test in this quarter expected to lead to the development and fabrication of a flight weight version of the air-cooled engine, which is called Enduro-core and will use diesel.
The P&W Wankel is combining the small and large stator rotors on to a single shaft to help improve efficiency.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne a contract, with a value up to $1 million, to design an engine for the Transformer (TX), a vertical take-off and landing, road-worthy concept study vehicle. The engine design will use technology from the EnduroCORE™ engine developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
The EnduroCORE engine is a durable, lightweight, high-performance diesel engine designed to support applications ranging from propulsion to power generation. It is mechanically simple for reliability, scalable to support a wide-range of critical missions, and has demonstrated quiet operation in testing. The EnduroCORE engine is also a full-compression, full-expansion, diesel-cycle engine, which makes its fuel consumption comparable to diesel piston engines. High rotating speeds enable a high power-to-weight ratio comparable to gas turbines.
The TX vehicle, still in its conceptual phase, will be designed to carry up to four people. It will be capable of vertical takeoff and landing and traveling up to 250 nautical miles without having to refuel. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will work with the two DARPA prime contractors to develop a conceptual design of an engine for TX vehicles that could be developed and available by 2015.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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