by Kip Hanson
Windsor developers deliver engines with twice the power and half the weight of traditional designs
Vengeance Power Inc., Windsor ON, has come up with a new engine design that promises to revolutionize low rpm, high torque engines
by leveraging the best attributes of steam turbines, internal combustion, and Wankel rotary designs. Says vice president Jessie Laba, “we have a product with a superior power-to-weight ratio. Because it greatly multiplies available torque, we can deliver more work than any other engine out there and use the least amount of pressure from combustion gasses, steam, compressed air, and even hydraulic fluid.”
New Brunswick inventor Charles C. Barnes patented the rotary vane pump more than 100 years ago. Since then, variations on his design have been used successfully in everything from hydraulic systems to superchargers. By modifying the vane pump’s simple design, Vengeance has created a “major contender for all other competing technologies for use in anything that requires spinning an output shaft.”
This isn’t just the next best lawnmower engine (although it could be). According to the company, the Vengeance Power Engine has twice the power, half the weight, at half the cost of equal displacement piston engines. It’s a switch hitter, and can be easily converted from air to hydraulics, compressor or pump, and will take most any power source and convert it into rotary motion. Gasoline, propane, hydrogen, alcohol – these are just a few of the fuels that will burn with a Vengeance. Steam, compressed air, and most any expanding gas will also drive the engine, turning previously impossible applications into feasible alternatives.
“We can take what was once unusable waste heat and, using the same process that runs your refrigerator, drive the expansion chambers in our engine,” explains Laba. “With just the slightest pressure, we can do a lot of work. Gas turbines can’t do that, screw compressors can’t do that, and traditional rotary engines can’t do that – the pressures are just too low for them to operate, and even if they could, they’d have to spin at ridiculous rpms to generate any torque.” Vengeance Power is so sure of the technology that its laying down this challenge: “We have not seen an engine of similar displacement anywhere in the world that can deliver over 800 ft lb of torque at stall from only 100 psi. We challenge anyone to provide an engine that can deliver that amount of torque from such a low pressure.”
People are beginning to notice. Vengeance Power was chosen as the favorite new engine design at the 2009 SAE World Congress. At the September 2012 Innovation Challenge Competition, Vengeance won the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) award. And General Dynamics is allowing Vengeance to mount its engine on an Abrams tank to test the viability of power generation by recovering energy from high temperature turbine exhaust. Says Laba, “upon successful testing, the engine will be integrated inside the tank. In the future they plan to make it the primary power plant which will allow the tank to burn any fuel.”
Vengeance Power will also be using its engine as part of a new ORC system (Organic Rankine Cycle), used to convert heat as low as 60Â°C to virtually free power says Laba. “We’re in discussion with an Alberta power generation company who wants to install units on the ends of their natural gas turbines, to capture the waste heat. It’s a huge market, and it’s growing.”
Laba attributes part of the company’s success to good CAD software. Vengeance has been using Delcam software for over 18 years, and Laba says he likes its simplicity and lightweight computer footprint. “Delcam is a very innovative company, always looking at ways to improve ira oftware,” says Laba. “As part of our design process, we use the latest release of its PowerSHAPE product. Design changes are very quick, and we can go through many iterations and scenarios without compromising the core design philosophy. As an example, we can completely redesign a different-sized engine from scratch to CNC-ready in weeks as opposed to months.”
Want to buy a Vengeance Power Engine? You probably won’t be using one to power your lake home or vintage Studebaker. Laba says he expects the first commercial versions to cost upwards of $80K, for an engine capable of 100 to 250 kilowatts of power. “Compare this to a turbine and you’ll spend at least twice that for something in this caliber.” Despite this, Laba expects that once Vengeance gets into full-scale production, engine costs should drop substantially.
In business, timing is everything. It looks like Vengeance is jumping in with the accuracy of an Olympic high diver. “There are very few players right now, but that’s changing. General Electric, Siemens, and even Caterpillar are getting involved. We’re right in there with the big boys.”
Considering the high cost of power today and the global concern over renewable resources, Vengeance Power is poised to take the coal of Barnes’ rotary vane pump and turn it into diamond. Happy turning, Vengeance. SMT
Kip Hanson is a contributing editor.