World’s first liquid air engine operational

A new zero emission engine has been developed in the UK that potentially could save operators thousands of pounds in fuel costs and the environment millions of tonnes in emissions. The Dearman engine runs on liquid air (liquid nitrogen) and is on track to undertake full on-vehicle testing by summer this year. ‘Liquid air’ as a new zero emission energy vector sprang to national prominence in May 2013 with a report from the Centre for Low Carbon Futures (CLCF). It found that liquid air could reduce diesel consumption in buses or freight vehicles by 25% using a liquid air/diesel hybrid. The engine is the brainchild of British inventor, Peter Dearman, and has subsequently been developed in partnership with UK engineering consultancy, Ricardo, as well as a number of UK Universities including Leeds, Birmingham, Loughborough and Brighton.

The engine could be in production within two years. There is already a network of industrial gas plants across the UK producing liquid nitrogen, which the developers, the Dearman Engine Company, believe means there is no infrastructure barrier to rapid deployment. The technology completed its ‘shakedown’ testing milestone at the end of 2013 at Imperial College, London. It is now moving into a three month programme of tests and performance mapping. The developers confirm that the engine remains on track for integration and installation on a vehicle by MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) in the first half of this year.


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