At this point, nearly all automakers are working toward a battery-electric future. There are still years to go, but that’s not stopping automakers from introducing new electric vehicles while slowly ending internal combustion engine (ICE) development. However, ICE might have a future, even if it will be different from what we know today. Astron Aerospace introduced the Omega 1, a revolutionary engine with a wild design.
The Omega 1, which is designed to run on a variety of fuels, is compact and powerful with the aim of producing very little or no emissions. It lacks a staggered crankshaft, reciprocating pistons and an eccentric shaft, as does a Wankel rotary engine. However, the Omega 1’s design circumvents at least one problem with Wankel engines – exhaust overlap.
The Omega’s unique design features a pair of chambers with a pre-chamber separating the cold intake air from the hot exhaust gases. The Omega uses four rotors mounted on two shafts, working in pairs. The front pair handles intake and compression while the other handles combustion and exhaust. The stacked rotors are coupled to synchronizing gears, so they spin in the opposite direction at the same speed. Astron also claims that the Omega’s design doesn’t suffer from the same sealing issues and is a fully linear unit.
The design of the motor allows someone to stack several of them, which increases efficiency. The standard Omega 1 engine weighs just 35 pounds and can produce 160 horsepower (119 kilowatts) and 170 pound-feet (230 Newton-meters) of torque. The company claims to have a working prototype, so maybe the internal combustion engine isn’t dead after all.
Will this be enough of an evolution to keep ICE alive? Probably not as we know it today, but there could still be applications in our electrified future where ICE could still play a role. Developing countries will struggle with electric vehicles without massive investment in infrastructure, and those people will have to move in the meantime. This engine could help reduce emissions significantly today while this infrastructure is being built.