Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine
Although the Prius configuration is viewed as the hybrid design, at least two other hybrid design types exist, either in prototype, or on the drawing board. The Prius, of course, recaptures braking energy, converting it into electricity that recharges a battery bank. That recaptured energy can later be used for forward propulsion, via electric motors. The USEPA design variation on this concept, now undergoing prototype testing in a UPS truck, converts braking energy into hydraulic fluid pressure, which in turn can be used to propel the vehicle via flywheel. A third hybrid type, a sort of para-hybrid engine type really, has recently entered the hybrid scene. Get ready for the air guitar…er, sorry, Air-Hybrid . The air hybrid captures braking energy, and also the energy of engine exhaust, in the form of compressed air. This air pressure is used directly to make the compression cycle of an engine's piston more efficient. Recap: instead of storing recaptured energy as pressurized hydraulic fluid or as electricity in a battery, the air-hybrid stores pressurized gases that are used directly in engine operation,(reminding us of the Air Car). It is expected that the Scuderi Group’s Air-Hybrid prototype gasoline and diesel engines, when completed by late 2007, will improve fuel efficiency by almost one third, and emit 80 percent less toxic emissions. The air-hybrid will for the most part use components already found in today’s engines.
Note of caution. We've read the press releases, the news stories, and the air hybrid blog in full; but, we're still not sure if we got it right in describing the air hybrid. If anyone else has a better interpretation your insights are certainly welcome.