Project Synopsis

Provide independent engineering evaluation and refinement in support of the development of a novel heat engine concept.

Project Summary


The client, an energy systems technology licensor, had developed a new concept for a heat engine (metacritical cycle) and needed an independent review of the prior work, as well as assistance in improving on the original system design.  Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted for the project and assigned the following project responsibilities:

  • Identified potential working fluids that would work in either the original concept or in the later alternate approaches.  Physical data from literature and vendors was collected.
  • Searched the existing literature and patents for useful information to evaluate and classify the heat engine design.
  • Examined PROCESS' licensed commercial process simulation software’s (CHEMCAD’s) thermophysical package models for predicting chemical and physical property data for working fluids for use in the heat engine.
  • Developed process simulations for five (5) heat engine variants with multiple working fluids. These simulations were used to calculate mass and energy balances for the systems.
  • Developed spreadsheet methodologies for calculating physical properties and work for certain heat engine variants.
  • Derived thermodynamic relationships to explain simulation results and improve future designs.
  • Suggested improvements to increase heat engine work output based on the simulation results and theoretical considerations.
  • Documented results and explanatory papers through the project and submitted a final report on the findings to the client.

The results indicated that past advice the client received missed an important factor in the original heat engine design that significantly reduced the work output. This study prevented significant wasted effort and cost in obtaining a patent on a flawed technology and pointed to potential improvements that could lead to an effective energy cycle based on the metacritical cycle.

Industry Type

  • Novel Technology Development

Utilized Skills

  • Independent process engineering evaluation
  • Technology licensor process development support

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