||A cross-sectional view of the FPLA.
Credit: Qingfeng Li
(Click image to enlarge)
an advance toward introduction of an amazing new kind of internal
combustion engine, researchers in China are reporting development and
use of a new and more accurate computer model to assess performance of the
so-called free-piston linear alternator (FPLA). Their study of the
FPLA, which could provide a low-emission, fuel efficient engine for
future hybrid electric vehicles, is scheduled for the Sept. 17 issue of
ACS’ Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.
Qingfeng Li and colleagues point out that the FPLA has only one moving
part and is an engine designed to generate electricity. In the device,
a piston in a cylinder shuttles between two combustion chambers.
on the piston generate electricity by passing through the coils of an
alternator centered on the cylinder. The engine can burn a variety of
fuels, including natural gas and hydrogen, and seems ideal use in a future world of climate change and possible fossil fuel shortages, they suggest.
Their report describes development of a better computer model to
evaluate performance of the FPLA and guide engineers in construction of
the engine. Results of their initial simulations showed that the FPLA
three times faster than other internal combustion engines and burns
fuel in ways that minimize air pollution. “It is an environmentally
friendly power source for the future,” the report concludes. — AD
News release from The American Chemical Society on September 10, 2008.