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Friday, June 17, 2016

A Four Pound Engine Set to Replace Fourty Pound Engines

The LiquidPiston X-mini is in testing but they hope to get get it down to 3 lbs and up to 5 hp

Connecticut-based startup LiquidPiston announced today that they have built a small, compact engine that is powerful enough to drive a go-kart. Their X-mini engine weighs just 4 pounds and has three moving parts, and yet can produce 3 horsepower, enough to replace the default 40-pound piston engine that normally powers the go-kart.


LiquidPiston says that their X-mini is still in a testing phase, and they hope to get the weight down to 3 pounds and the power up to 5 hp. (The 40-pound piston engine produces about 6.5 hp.) In the meantime, their little engine already packs a punch, as you can see in the video below.

LiquidPiston announced last year that they received a $1 million DARPA grant to develop their X-mini engine, and it appears that they've succeeded. The 4-pound, 3-hp engine is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet it can power everything from vehicles to generators to drones. The X-mini uses LiquidPiston's proprietary rotary engine design and thermodynamic cycle which offer vast improvements over both a traditional Wankel rotary engine and common piston engines.

LiquidPiston says the X-mini can run on Jet Propellant 8, the military's fuel of choice, making it an ideal candidate for all sorts of military applications. For instance, the X-mini is small and light enough to power a UAV, it can be part of a generator that can be carried in a backpack, or it can even be used to power military robotics. According to Alec Shkolnik, LiquidPiston's co-founder and president, "[DARPA] is kinda agnostic as to the actual application … they have so many different applications that need power."

Shkolnik said that the X-mini is still early in testing, and they have only just built their first working prototype, but he's hopeful that the engine could see a commercial release sometime in the next few years. When that happens, the X-mini could find its way into lawnmowers, emergency generators, and even small vehicles like mopeds.

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4-Pound Rotary Engine Replacing a 40-Pound Engine