Tiny single-piston hydrogen engine repackages internal combustion
Israel's Aquarius Engines this week gave the world a first look at the tiny hydrogen engine it hopes can supplant gas engine-generators and hydrogen fuel cells in future electrified vehicles. Weighing just 22 lb (10 kg), the simple engine uses a single moving piston to develop power. Beyond vehicles, Aquarius is developing the engine for use as an off-grid micro-generator.
First created in 2014, Aquarius' efficient single-piston linear engine has a single central cylinder in which the piston moves between two engine heads. In previous iterations, Aquarius used more conventional fossil fuels to create combustion, but now it's turning attention to emissions-slashing hydrogen. The company says Austrian engineering firm AVL-Schrick recently completed third-party testing, verifying that a modified version of the engine can operate purely on hydrogen.
"It was always our dream at Aquarius Engines to breathe oxygen into hydrogen technology as the fuel of the future," explains Aquarius chairman Gal Fridman. "From initial tests, it appears that our hydrogen engine, that doesn't require costly hydrogen fuel-cells, could be the affordable, green and sustainable answer to the challenges faced by global transport and remote energy production."
Beyond being small, lightweight and easy to transport, Aquarius' engine design is very simple and low-maintenance, employing just 20 total parts, of which only the single piston moves. It does not even require oil for lubrication, according to the company. The video below shows how the parts come together into a whole.
Aquarius' fossil fuel engine-generators are currently undergoing field testing in North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. In January of this year, Aquarius announced completion of phase-one testing performed in conjunction with Finnish telecom giant Nokia. The parties are conducting ongoing testing on Aquarius micro-generators and remote management software.
Nokia hopes to install the Aquarius generators at remote communications towers, relying on Aquarius' accompanying software to monitor the output and efficiency of the generators from miles away. During phase two, Nokia and Aquarius are testing the micro-generators at pilot sites in Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Poland and Singapore.
The potential for using cleaner-burning hydrogen as the fuel adds to the Aquarius engine's attractiveness, particularly in markets already striving to embrace hydrogen fuel solutions, such as Japan. Aquarius has recently created strategic partnerships with Japanese auto parts companies TPR and Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co. Ltd.
Source: Aquarius Engines