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New OCN Jet Engine Sips 25% Less Fuel and Outputs 75% Less Greenhouse Gases


An Israeli firm called R-Jet Engineering has designed a new jet engine that could lower the fuel consumption by 25%. Just like current jet engines are twice as efficient compared to those built in the 1960s, this one, if applied on commercial airplanes, could offer significant savings in fuel and greenhouse gases.

The principle of jet engines is the same, though: a compressor at the front sucks in air and compresses it, and then guides it onto static blades, which diffuse it, to allow for a better ignition when it is mixed with fuel and ignited in the combustion chamber.

The hot gases resulted from burning the fuel, besides pushing the aircraft forward, also drive a second turbine, connected through a shaft to the compressor at the front of the engine, thus allowing it to turn and provide uninterrupted functioning.

R-Jet’s approach uses an orbiting combustion nozzle (OCN) that turns with the compressor and injects air into the combustion chamber as a vortex. Blades that rotate on the inner casing of the combustor keep the vortex alive, and their swirling motion mixes the air and fuel to yield a better combustion. Then, the second turbine remains the same, returning part of the thrust to the input, to draw more air.

Dr. David Lior, the man behind R-Jet Engineering, says his engine can be built more cheaply because it uses fewer components and has half the size of a conventional jet engine having the same power. Besides taking up 25% less fuel, the engine’s improved ignition would cut carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide by three quarters.

Of course, just like with any new revolutionary design, this one won’t be implemented in passenger aircraft very soon. It will first have to prove its efficiency in electricity generators, then unmanned aircraft and only after that some manufacturer will decide if it’s worth and safe to implement it into human-driven airplanes.

Personally, I see great potential in electric motors, but in the aircraft field, because of the huge energy needed, it will take a while before the first electric flights will also be considered safe and worth implementing. Until then we’ll have to rely on and invent better engines that use less fuel and emit less greenhouse gases.

[via the economist]

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