Sounds pretty amazing to me. According to Carnot the efficiency of an ideal engine is 1 - Tc/Th. Where Tc is the exhaust temperature and Th is the burning temperature (this is somewhat simplified). The temperatures are absolute (i.e. Kelvin scale in the metric system). The Wave Engine according to some designs operates at a peak temperature of 1070°K with an exhaust at 300°K (room temperature roughly). So what is the ideal efficiency for such an engine? 1 - (300/1070) multiplied by 100 to get percent. And the answer is almost 72%. So a practical realization giving 60% efficiency is not unreasonable. That is about 83% of ideal. Not bad. In fact very good.
Some geeks (not as geeky as me) have a few words to say.
Mueller envisions his wave disc motor powering a generator, making it an ultra-light ultra-efficient hybrid electric vehicle. That’s a lot of ultras, but Mueller says he has the numbers to back it up. The wave disc apparently uses 60% of its fuel for propulsion, compared to 15% of fuel used for propulsion in conventional engines. And because the wave disc powered cars would be much lighter — perhaps 20% lighter — the fuel efficiency is even greater.Well I checked the math and it doesn't look out of the question. Some folks from Warsaw, Poland and Zurich, Switzerland [pdf] have checked the math with computerized flow simulations and think it looks pretty good. The concept goes back to at least 1906. So it is not a new idea. What is new is this particular realization. And of course we have computers for simulation and automated milling machines to make prototypes and small production volumes. Things not available in 1906.
This all might seem very pie-in-the-sky, and that’s quite understandable. However, Mueller’s team has received $2.5 million in federal dollars from the Advanced Research Projects Administration – Energy (ARPA-E), which will be put towards creating a 25kw engine perhaps as early as next year. According to Mueller, that’s enough power to run an SUV.
I’m hoping Mueller’s checked his math on this, because I am very excited to have a car running on something as efficient as it is elegant.
Of course the engine is just the beginning. Once that is proved you have to design the whole hybrid drive train. And then you have to wrap an automobile around it. I don't expect to see them on the market as a production vehicle for about ten years. Unless some really big money (or the Japanese) get behind it.
Some more places to visit to get a handle on the technology:
Cross Posted at Classical Values