Scuderi signs up UK PR team

February 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been following the progress of the Scuderi split-cycle engine for a while now and the Massachussetts-based R&D company appears to be gearing up for a media onslaught this side of the Atlantic.

The Scuderi Cycle engine is, says the company, the most revolutionary advancement in engine technology since the Otto Cycle 130 years ago. It’s a two-cylinder principle with one cylinder handling intake and compression, and the other power and exhaust, made possible by the firing ‘after top dead centre’ – a bit of a Holy Grail of a process only now made possible by modern electronic combustion controls.

The petrol engine emits up to 80% less nitrous oxides, has torque levels of a comparable diesel, efficiency gains of up to 10% in naturally-aspirated form, 15-20% with turbocharger, and 25-50% with an air hybrid component (an air tank to store waste energy). Oh, and it’s suitable for any piston-driven application – cars, generators, aircraft, ships, rail locomotives…

I interviewed VP Stephen Scuderi last autumn (’09), and he said that the first licensing agreement was expected shortly, and production within three to five years.

So what’s the problem? Credibility. Now, I love a leftfield solution, but there’s an immense amount of scepticism that this engine will actually work. Feedback from friendly powertrain engineers suggests that it’s over-complicated, that no-one’s yet managed to get firing after top-dead centre quite right, and ‘if it really was any good, we’d all be working on it’. And in the current economic climate¬† it’d be a brave manufacturer who’d take the risk of investing in something so unproven, so out-there.

The hiring of a UK PR operation suggests that something’s afoot, however: probably the announcement of the first licensing/supply agreement. This is going to be interesting.

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