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Hetex Engines Inc
Hetex Engines Inc (albeit under a different name) was founded in 1974 for the mission of applying physics to the Otto engine to improve its efficiency. A point ignored by most of the 950 engine companies in the world is that the modern Otto dumps over half of its fuel energy (in the form of gases at over 100
psia and 3,000 degrees F) straight out through its exhaust valves and away with its exhaust. A few engines now include turbo-chargers to capture a small percentage of this energy for gainful purpose (compressing the inducted charge) so as to reduce the waste from 55% to perhaps 52% This is still poor. The fact is, though, that fixing the Otto is just not easy. After dutiful study, a means was developed to capture 70 to 80% of the exhaust heat in a small (exhaust valve sized) heat exchanger from which it is returned, a few milliseconds later, to an optimum point of the gas cycle. As a result, the waste gas from the engine is now exhausted from the engine at much lower temperature while the (already compressed) working gases enter the combustion chamber at a considerably elevated temperature. A prototype of the engine was built that confirmed that recuperation works, and temperature transfers were obtained up to 600 degrees F from the exhaust back to the inducted, compressed charge. In other words, the exhaust was reduced by a measured 600 F degrees in temperature while the compressed charge that entered the combustion chamber was raised in temperature by (a calculated) 600 degrees F. By physics, the temperatures have to be close to the same since the mass of the gases losing and gaining heat is nearly equal and their specific heats also close to equal. The resulting recuperative engine cycle, called a Hx (tm -'Wix') engine should be loved by mechanical engineers because it is expected to raise the gasoline engine to an overall efficiency in automotive use of 27 to 30%. The next step was to invent a method to convert existing engine designs to the new recuperative cycle. With a stroke of luck, it now appears that a new family of engines will be possible which have fewer parts, cost the same or less than present engines, and which burn lower cost fuel and less of it. Other advantages accruing from the Hx(tm) Engine are that the underhood temperature is reduced, the exhaust and muffler system is cooler, and the exhaust contains less acoustic energy and noise thus allowing the muffler to be smaller, lighter, and less expensive. Heat flow to the radiator is also lower, so the radiator can be smaller and less costly. The higher charge temperature prior to fuel injection has been found to ignite a wider and also leaner range of fuel-to-air ratios. This permits the power output to be varied by varying the amount of fuel injected, thus enabling power to be controlled over a moderate range before resorting to throttling of the inducted air flow. The result is that throttling losses, another energy loss well known in the Otto, can be reduced. The Diesel, incidentally, also has this advantage over the Otto. It should be pointed out that the Diesel offers major competition to the Hetex recuperative engine. A Diesel, however, weighs roughly twice as much as an Otto engine of the same HP, and costs two to three times as much. This occurs because a Diesel operates at approximately twice the peak gas pressures found in an Otto. The cost is also higher because Diesels have high pressure (now up to 25,000 psi) fuel injection into each cylinder, and the injectors are made to high precision and are costly. Another drawback of the Diesel is that it has a restricted range of operating rpm, typically limited to about 3 to 1. An automotive Otto, by comparison, can generally run well over an rpm range of 5 or 6 to 1 (eg between 1,000 and 6,000 rpm. This is called flexibility and is important to the modern motorist. Engine patents fully available to Hetex Engines Inc include US6,314,625, US6,340,013, and US6,321,699. The privately owned company was operated in New York, for 3 years, in Texas for 18 years, and has operated in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1996.
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