Reflux Engine Concept

When Gas reached almost 4 dollars a gallon I started thinking about how to make a more efficient engine and drive train for cars. I don't intend to protect my intellectual property on this but rather put it out to see if somebody wants to do something with it. Email me for a diagrammatic flow chart. The pressures and horse powers are speculative and I'm only guessing. That is not the important part. The reflux idea is what I'm trying to convey.

Here is what I came up with:

Berg Reflux Engine System

This system would be more efficient than typical internal combustion engines. The reflux design conserves heat that normally would be radiated, lost with the exhaust, or wasted in the friction of moving parts of the drive train, and converts it into air pressure to be used to produce kinetic energy at the wheels via air motors.
All the moving parts of this engine system are contained inside a pressurized and insulated high pressure tank to assure that no heat is lost. The heat of combustion, friction and compression are all retained in the vessel at several times atmospheric pressure. Fresh outside air is taken in by the 1st stage compressor which keeps the pressure tank at a set high pressure, perhaps 5 to 10 times atmospheric pressure. The compressed fresh air cools the engine before entering the engine’s air intake. The air, already warmed after cooling the engine is used in the combustion process which produces both exhaust and the kinetic energy to run two mechanically connected but separate compressors. The second stage compressor compresses the engine exhaust [This is the reflux part] which is then fed directly to the air motors located near the drive wheels that drive the car. As the hot compressed air is used up in the air motors adiabatic cooling occurs which keeps the air motors from overheating. The air motors must be staged to take advantage of the decreasing pressure. The exhaust reenters the atmosphere at a temperature slightly warmer than when it entered the air intake port.
A smaller engine can be used because by running it in an atmosphere that is several times richer in oxygen, it acts like a supercharger which produces as much horsepower as a larger engine. A smaller engine will be less expensive than a larger engine. The double compressors are simpler than a drive train consisting of a series of mechanical parts and therefore less expensive to produce.
Because of the supercharging effect of the enriched atmosphere a 10 horsepower engine, for example, may be expected to produce [double the horsepower]*. The added efficiency of the closed system may [double or triple]* the amount of kinetic energy one would expect from a gasoline engine, so one would have the equivalent of a [40 to 60]* horsepower engine the same size as a 10 HP engine. The weight of the drive train is reduced which means a smaller frame, lighter suspension etc for an overall lighter car, which in turn requires less horsepower to run it. * [this is a guess]
When the car is garaged it would need to be plugged in to a 110 outlet which will pump up the pressure vessel to working pressure, because the pressure will decrease as the engine cools. This will keep the car ready to drive rather than requiring a long warm up period.
Robert S. Berg February 18, 2009


Science Advisor
Gold Member
Capturing and using waste heat from an engine is a good idea, but capturing heat by surrounding the entire engine with a pressure vessel is a terrible way to do it. Radiated heat from the engine block is relatively small compared to other heat losses; I would recommend trying to take power from the engine coolant or exhaust, both of which are the largest losses of energy in an internal combustion engine.

BMW's turbosteamer concept is an example of capturing waste heat from the exhaust, and the prototype was shown to net a significant increase in efficiency of the engine.
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EDIT: Didn't look at the diagram carefully enough.

Wonder why its going to be another decade before they plan to release this. It doesn't seem like there's anything that advanced about this tech.
This is a pictorial version of my concept. Fresh air is pumped into the pressurized compartment. The compressed air cools the engine. Part of the compressed air then enters the fuel/air injection system to run the engine. The rest of the compressed air (now warmed by cooling the engine) combined with the engine exhaust is then compressed by the second stage compressor and sent to the air motors at the wheels. If the incoming compressed air is moved through the engine compartment it would cool the engine as it picks up heat. Balancing the system so it will cool the engine enough is the difficult part. It would take some kind of computer and an array of sensors to manage the system. Can this work? What have I not considered?

Bob Berg

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