A small startup company is developing a new kind of jet engine that has the promise of being smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient than current jet engines, and can significantly reduce the emissions from jet engines, as well. The new engine developed by R-Jet is called an orbiting combustor-nozzle (OCN) jet. OCN jets rotate the airflow through the engine in a vortex, rather than passing the air straight through as conventional jet engines do. Swirling the incoming air into a vortex allows for a more complete mixing of fuel and air, leading to more efficient and complete combustion of the fuel. The company states that the OCN jet can reduce fuel burn by at least 25% and reduce emissions by about 75%.
Because the OCN engine needs fewer blades and has fewer moving parts, it can be smaller than a conventional jet engine; an OCN jet could be half the size of a comparable power conventional jet engine. The lighter engine weight can also contribute to lighter weight structure for the aircraft, which, in turn, can further contribute to decreasing fuel demand.
At present, the company needs to find partners in order to further develop their engine design. In the meantime, R-Jet is looking to other opportunities in non-aircraft applications such as electrical generators to provide a platform with which to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the OCN jet design. Once aircraft builders see the viability of the design, the company hopes to find opportunities to use the engine in aircraft applications.
Previously on EcoGeek: Piston-Powered Airplanes More Fuel Efficient (But Is That Enough?)
image source: The Economist via R-Jet
written by TipThePlanet, October 09, 2010
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