Automotive

The revolutionary wave disc generator combustion engine

The revolutionary wave disc ge...
The heart of the wave generator motor
The heart of the wave generator motor
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The wave disc principle
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The wave disc principle
Dr. Norbert Müller with a prototype disc
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Dr. Norbert Müller with a prototype disc
A machined prototype disc
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A machined prototype disc
The heart of the wave generator motor
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The heart of the wave generator motor
An earlier design schematic
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An earlier design schematic

The mid-term future for fuel efficient vehicles with useful range is likely a hybrid solution of electric motors powered by batteries, topped up by a fuel-burning generator. Dr. Norbert Müller at Michigan State, backed by $2.5 million from the US Government, aims to make that last part of the equation a much more compact and efficient proposition with a revolutionary new form of combustion engine.

The culmination of years of research, the latest version is in the form of a spinning metal disc with precisely-calculated radial channels. Fuel/air mixture enters via the central hub and travels outwards. As the disc spins the channel exit becomes closed off causing a back-shock. Because the inlet port is now closed off to the channel this causes compression (like a piston) and the fuel/air mixture is then ignited. The expansion of the explosion powers the wheel, opening the channel once more to the inlet and outlet ports. The exhaust gas is ejected and fuel/air is sucked in to repeat the process - at very high speed naturally.

This elegant design does away with many of the moving parts and circulatory systems of conventional combustion engines that lower their fuel-use efficiency, typically 15%. Dr. Müller is obtaining efficiencies of 60% with the wave disc design and of course the weight of the engine is greatly reduced.

"Our goal is to enable hyper-efficient hybrid vehicles to meet consumer needs for a 500mile driving range, lower vehicle prices, full-size utility, improved highway performance and very low operating costs," says Müller. "The WDG (Wave Disc Generator) also can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 95% in comparison to modern internal combustion engine vehicles."

While the team's focus is very much on automotive use, for obvious reasons, there is clearly potential for the creation of very compact and efficient electricity generators that would sell in vast numbers across the world. For the moment however this all still in the research phase and we have to take the team's claims of potential emissions reduction on trust.

A "car-sized" 25 kW (33.5 hp) version of the working prototype is due by the end of the year with further funding required after February 2012. We hope Dr. Müller and his team get the money they need to bring this elegant solution to a pressing need to market as soon as possible.

55 comments
Bill Bennett
two things will happen, one Norbert is right and the oil and car lobbyists will come out and bury it, two, Norbert is right and just the oil companies lobbyists will bury it in our wonderful senate and congress, like our mass transit system, see the world today in your chevrolet, whom do you think is paying for that, yep you and me, where did it come from? yep IQ test
Bill Bennett
just like they did last century, remember all the light rail infrastructure torn out in the late mid of the last century, hmm, why did that happen? so you would by a Chevy or a Ford
mrhuckfin
I've seen this before on Youtube and find it VERY intriguing and would very much like to see this hit the market. While I agree it could all get covered up and buried I personally think the car companies and oil companies would have nothing to do with it? They need to sell product and having something like this available would really get them on the map again, but I do think it would be the Government or Governments of the world that would stop it as they have no interest in us being free to travel about expensively and at will, they're the reason fuel prices are high and why there are chocking regulations on every aspect of our lifes! If this never comes to light look to the political leaders as to why.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Interesting design with claims of huge potential, but if its so simple, why isn\'t there a running prototype demonstrated? Lets build one, hook it up to a dyno and get some real test data to back these claims up! ...or, maybe its just claims and nothing else? Dr. Mueller: follow the path of Revetec, who had a concept, built it, tested it, refined it and now has real-world data to present to manufacturers of their design. It may not be as \"revolutionary\" as yours, but its *earned* its cred.
Slowburn
I\'m not going to believe this thing works until I see it.
Blixdevil
Seriously Gizmag? This video is nearly TWO YEARS OLD!!!! I have read about this engine before, and I think it was actually from a previous GIZMAG ARTICLE. This is the second article today that appears to have been recycled. What the heck? Anyhow, MzunguMkubwa is right, let's see a working prototype. The video simply discuses the benefits of such efficiency. Yeah thanks, we understand that - tell us about the damn engine!
PeetEngineer
Atlas Motor Works ducted blade rotary engine is more advanced than this, patented by the late Steve Johnson. I don\'t see how this design can achieve effective compression, so it\'s effectively just a turbine wheel. That\'s been done.
VoiceofReason
I\'ve been seeing videos of this for at least 2 years now. You\'d think with a 2.5 million grant, he could afford to get a prototype CNC\'d instead of running around with a plastic toy!
Lloyd Foley
Cool !
Jzvetter
This sounds very dubious, if the fuel/air is compressed by a wave, will this wave scale to larger compartments? is it in the nature of the \'wave walls\' that turns your explosion into a wave in the cclockwise direction and torque in the clockwise? I think this is different than a mazda rotary, because there isn\'t gearing containing the explosion. it seems to me that this is more like a high pressure steam turbine and can be sealed similarly. 100% effeciency is impossible, the newest powerplants operate at 60%, so i believe the 60% claim feels exaggerated. when they return claiming 25% i\'ll believe it.