Monday, July 29, 2013

5:23 AM

How it Works: Imagine a Subaru Boxer engine with the pistons in the middle facing each other and a pair of crankshafts on the outsides. Weird, huh? Well it's actually a fairly old design first seen in World War II aircraft engines. The layout allows for the removal of the cylinder head with its myriad components and weight penalty. The innovation here is a combination of a sleeve-valve system and a blended thermodynamic cycle called the Cleeve cycle. By carefully controlling the operation of the sleeve valve, it can offer the functionality of either Otto or Diesel cycle, depending on the operating conditions and the fuel available.

Claimed Benefits: By optimizing an old engine design and teaching it some new tricks, Pinnacle claims fuel-efficiency improvements of 30 to 50 percent and the aforementioned fuel flexibility. It also halves the total number of expensive ignition and injection components, compared to a normal boxer engine, since two pistons share a common bore. The close control of the thermal cycle also, the company says, reduced emissions. Owing to its modular design, it's relatively simple to build into larger, multicylinder engines.

Status: Pinnacle has been working with Silicon Valley venture capital firms to find the funding for further development. Recently they signed a deal with an undisclosed Asian scooter manufacturer to use the engine in a product slated for production in 2013.

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