LiquidPiston In Small Generator Contract With U.S. Army

15 December 2020

LiquidPiston, Inc., the Connecticut-based developer of advanced rotary diesel and multifuel internal combustion engines, today announced the award of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the United States Army to develop its X-Engine platform to power Small Tactical Power Generators ranging from 2.0 to 5 kW.

The contract comes on the heels of the company delivering a prototype Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS) for field-testing to the U.S. Army PM for Towed Artillery Systems.

“We are excited to be showcasing our X-Engine’s capabilities and benefits in small tactical power generators after recently showcasing the technology’s effectiveness in Unmanned Aerial System propulsion applications,” said Alec Shkolnik, CEO and co-founder of LiquidPiston. “It’s a game changer. The Small Tactical Power Generators will be just one fifth the size and weight of today’s currently fielded generators, and can increase fuel efficiency by up to 30% thanks to our patented thermodynamic cycle, while being optimized to run on heavy fuel including JP8. The scalable nature of the X-Engine will enable LiquidPiston to grow and tailor our ground power platform to meet the changing needs of the U.S. Army as well as commercial partners.”

LiquidPiston’s X-Engine is a rotary engine that operates using the company’s High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) technology that has three combustion events per revolution, which LiquidPiston said provides significantly enhanced power density. At the same time, the engine has a minimal number of moving parts, including the rotor (the primary work-producing component) and an eccentric shaft. Aside from ancillary parts such as injectors, fuel pumps and oil pumps, there are no other additional moving parts, the company said. The engine is designed to be scalable, with a “X-Mini” version used in the Small Tactical Generators.

The Small Tactical Power Generators operate on easily sourced military fuels, like jet fuel, JP8, or diesel. The system’s advanced power management and controls enable optimal X-Engine run-time and battery charging, resulting in longer life and increased fuel efficiency for longer military missions, LiquidPiston said.

LiquidPiston said its Small Tactical Power Generators provide more than an 80% reduction in weight and an almost 70% reduction in size when compared to the generators currently in use. Smart electronics that enable hybrid electric configurations is an added plus of LiquidPiston’s generators, the company said.

LiquidPiston CAPS
Another version of the X-Engine is being used to power the prototype Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS) for the U.S. Army.

The Small Tactical Power Generator platform can be used by the Army for a broad array of war fighter needs from camp support to communications systems to computerized weaponry. For example, CAPS, the 2.0 kW diesel prototype genset LiquidPiston delivered to the Army PM for Towed Artillery Systems, is being tested to power the M777 Howitzer’s Digital Fire Control System to address the Army’s need to extend mission duration and effectiveness by increasing logistics capacity for ammunition and other critical supplies by reducing fuel consumption and the volume and weight currently taken up by larger generators.  The CAPS system, when combined with a 6T Li-ion battery, provides up to five hours of silent operation for each hour of generator operation, LiquidPiston said.

“Initial testing of the CAPS generator with the M777 Howitzer to power the Digital Fire Control System was successful,” said Christopher Hatch, deputy program manager, U.S. Army PM for Towed Artillery Systems.  “The hybrid electric option will be increasingly important as military equipment, both tactical and non-tactical, continue to be electrified and computerized, and there is a growing need for compact, efficient, and high-quality dc as well as ac electric power generation. At just 1.5 cu. ft. and 41 lb., and demonstrated capability to run and operate on Jet A/JP fuel with rapid starting capability, the CAPS system offers a substantial increase in capability to the Army.”



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