At this point, nearly every automaker is working toward a battery-electric future. It’s still years away, but that’s not slowing down automakers from introducing new EVs while slowly ending development for internal combustion engines (ICE). However, ICE might have a future, though it will look different from what we know today. Astron Aerospace has introduced the Omega 1, a revolutionary engine with a wild design.

The Omega 1, which is designed to work with a variety of fuels, is compact and powerful with the goal to produce very low or no emissions. It lacks an offset crankshaft, reciprocating pistons, and eccentric shaft, just like a Wankel rotary engine. However, the Omega 1’s design circumvents at least one issue with Wankel engines – exhausts gas overlap.

The Omega’s one design has a pair of chambers with a pre-chamber separating cold intake air from hot exhaust gas. The Omega uses four rotors mounted on two shafts, running in pairs. The front pair handles intake and compression while the other handles the combustion and exhaust. The stacked rotors are coupled with synchronization gears, so they rotate in the opposite direction at the same speed. Astron also says the Omega’s design doesn’t suffer the same sealing problems, and it’s an entirely linear unit.

The engine’s design allows someone to stack multiple ones together, increasing the output. The standard Omega 1 engine weighs just 35 pounds and can produce 160 horsepower (119 kilowatts) and 170 pound-feet (230 Newton-meters) of torque. The company claims it has a working prototype, so maybe the internal combustion engine isn’t dead after all. 

Will it be enough of an evolution to keep ICE alive? Probably not as we know it today, but there could still be applications in our electrified future where ICE might still play a part. Developing countries will struggle with electric vehicles without massive infrastructure investment, and those people will need to get around in the meantime. This engine could help greatly reduce emissions today while that infrastructure is being built.

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