California based rotary engine manufacturer, Freedom Motors, has developed a version of its Rotapower® engine that can use contaminated biogas to generate electricity.
According to the company, combustion engines are generally categorised by the total displacement of the engine with industrial engines typically producing around 3 HP for every 100cc of displacement and high performance automotive engines around 7 HP for every 100cc.
However, the Wankel-type engine is considered to have twice the displacement of a four-stroke piston engine of the same nominal displacement. The Rotapower engine is claimed to produce 7 HP for every 100cc in an industrial configuration and up to 15 HP for every 100cc in a high performance configuration.
The company explained that while most of the current increase in methane emissions is coming from biogas generated from man-made sources such as landfills, if the methane content is too low or the hydrogen sulphide or silica contaminants are too high, the biogas may not be usable in a piston or microturbine engine and is instead is often flared or released to the atmosphere.
The Rotapower rotary engine, which is used in the Moller’s ‘flying car’, is claimed to be resistant to hydrogen sulfide and silica, the primary contaminants in biogas. It is also said to be able to run on biogas with a lower methane content than its piston engine counterpart or at a fraction of the cost of a microturbine.
Freedom Motors is currently undertaking a fund-raising program and reaching out to potential industry partners to bring the solution to the world market.
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