January 28, 2012

A liquid nitrogen powered engine could provide an energy storage alternative to batteries and fuel cells.   Such an engine is driven by the pressure created as liquid nitrogen (LN2) returns to its gas form and could provide a way of powering a vehicle with a longer range and faster refueling than a battery without producing any noxious tailpipe emissions.

In the UK there are now two groups working to get LN2 market ready.

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A zero emission powertrain looks more likely, following successful first round seed funding (which closed more than 30% oversubscribed) for engine technology developer Dearman Engine Company (DEC).

DEC has now started development work on its novel piston engine technology – which uses liquid air as the working fluid – working with UK engineering consultancy Ricardo UK and several UK academics.

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Using liquid air or nitrogen as an energy carrier, either to store electricity or as a vehicle fuel, isn’t a new idea, but creating a viable and efficient commercial technology to do this has been an elusive goal for many years…. The Dearman Engine Company is hoping the same technology could create an alternative to hydrogen, batteries or other low carbon vehicle drives with greater efficiency than has ever been achieved before.

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