A rotary engine concept, which was proposed over 50 years ago, has finally been brought to life by a company which has invested $18 million and 13 years on development.

In 1960, Felix Wankel suggested an alternative engine design which uses one or more triangle rotors that follow elliptical orbits within a peanut-shaped chamber instead of pistons.

Wankel’s idea would ensure his engine was faster and more powerful, however, it would also inadvertently suffer from reliability issues and have very poor fuel economy.

So LiquidPiston, the company working on the project, decided to iron out the issues and create a version with used a peanut-shaped rotor in a triangular chamber instead of a triangle in a peanut.

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A typical 30 kilowatt-hour generator weighs around 450kg and above, while the new LiquidPiston ‘X-Mini’ engine is able to generate the same about of power while weighing less than 180kg.

The engine is currently being tested in go-karts and it may not be long until the ‘X-Mini’ is fitted in electric vehicles and other forms of transport.

If you are a technician, let us know what you think of this, potentially revolutionary, tech!

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