Issue: Feb 2009

AI interview Lutz Deyerling, vice-president of European operations at the Scuderi Group

by Lenny Case

INTERVIEW - This spring, Scuderi is expected to conduct its final testing and analysis of its first split-cycle engine prototype. The Massachusetts-based Scuderi Group is expected to showcase a working model of the split-cycle engine in a series of trade fairs culminating with the Society of Automotive Engineers’ World Congress in Detroit in April and the Engine Expo in Germany in June.

The Scuderi Group has partnered with a number of global, engineering firms to work on its prototype – the first will be based on a gasoline engine. For Scuderi’s split-cycle engine design, the firm has teamed up with German automotive supply company Mahle Group, for the pistons, Swedish engine developer Cargine Engineering AB for the air-activated valves, Denver-based Gates Corporation for the belts, Germany-based Schaeffler Group KG for the valve train assembly and German firm Bosch Engineering GmbH for the development of the Scuderi Engine’s fuel injection system.

“Our numerous development partners have been a critical part of our success in designing the Scuderi Engine. Their expertise and technological innovation enable us to continually reach our development milestones,” said Sal Scuderi, president of the Scuderi Group.

Besides the turbo-charged and air-hybrid gasoline prototypes, Scuderi is also working on a prototype based on a diesel engine. “The cost savings, reduced emissions and performance increase makes the Scuderi Engine Technology the diesel engine design of the future. The diesel engine is the most energy efficient of all the internal combustion engines. This high efficiency results in good fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, diesel engines have proven reliability, durability and are better suited for carrying large heavy loads. However, diesel engines also have some significant drawbacks such as weight, noise, high emissions of NOx and particulate matter (soot), and high cost,” says the Scuderi Group.

In November, the Scuderi engine design was showcased at the Nagoya Eco Clean Car Fair in Japan. The Scuderi split-cycle engine changes the heart of the conventional engine by dividing (or splitting) the four strokes of the Otto cycle over a paired combination of one compression cylinder and one power cylinder. Gas is compressed in the compression cylinder and transferred to the power cylinder through a gas passage. The gas passage includes a set of uniquely timed valves, which maintain a precharged pressure through all four strokes of the cycle. Shortly after the piston in the power cylinder reaches its top dead center position, the gas is quickly transferred to the power cylinder and fired (or combusted) to produce the power stroke.

According to the company, the Scuderi engine, when fully developed, is expected to improve fuel efficiency in today’s gas and diesel engines by almost 25 to 50 per cent. It will cut NOx emissions by 80 per cent while at the same time offering considerably greater torque and power than traditional engines. Plus it is cost-effective as it requires minimal manufacturing and retooling costs due to the use of similar or common components. So while consumers would collectively save billions of dollars in fuel costs, emissions would be reduced by the hundreds of millions of tons per year.

The Scuderi engine has built-in supercharging capabilities that the company says, produces more power in a smaller package. Supercharging an engine is a way of increasing the amount of air, and therefore oxygen, pumped into an engine. The more oxygen, the more fuel that can be burned, and the more power generated. For example, a four cylinder supercharged engine can generate the power of a larger and heavier standard six cylinder engine. Usually, supercharging requires added equipment and increased cost – by up to thousands of dollars per engine. However, because of the Scuderi Split-Cycle design, supercharging is a simple matter of increasing the size of the compression cylinder.

The larger compression cylinder forces more air into the power cylinder and the engine becomes supercharged. Thus the Scuderi engine provides the advantages of supercharging at minimal cost and without additional equipment. This is not possible in a conventional engine where the compression and power strokes are all done in the same cylinder. Because of the built-in supercharging capabilities of the Scuderi engine, the need for turbochargers is eliminated. The cost of turbochargers alone can save thousands of dollars per system. Because the Scuderi engine fires only on half of its cylinders, only half of the fuel injectors are required. The cost of today’s high pressure injectors can amount to over 30 per cent of the base engine cost.

In December, the Scuderi Group announced the expansion of its European operations. Michael Eisenbeis was named director of European operations and his mandate is to support Lutz Deyerling, vice president of European operations. Eisenbeis’ duties include the coordination of all European activities as well as the preparations for a future IPO. Scuderi also moved to a new location in Frankfurt, opening new offices in the city center. 

“At the moment we are in discussions with 14 of 20 of the world's largest automotive manufacturers. Expanding our European headquarters in Frankfurt is perfect for steering our European business with the automotive industry as well as the financial community in preparation for the IPO,” said Deyerling. 

Automotive Industries spoke to Lutz Deyerling, vice-president of European operations at the Scuderi Group. 

AI: How close is the Scuderi Group to unveiling the split-cycle prototype? 

We are there. We will publicly unveil a cut-away model of our first prototype on April 20 on the exhibit floor of the SAE World Congress in Detroit. We will also be exhibiting it in June at the Engine Expo in Stuttgart. 

AI: Please give us a timeline as to when you think your technology will be commercially launched. 

We expect, if discussions continue as planned, that we may see the first vehicle with a Scuderi Engine in 2012. 

AI: Why did the Scuderi Group decide to expand its European operations at a time when the financial climate is gloomy? 

We simply needed more space to accommodate our operations in that region. Frankfurt is a very central base for us that enables more efficient outreach to our prospective licensees in the European and Indian regions. 

AI: What has the reaction in Europe been to your split-cycle engine?
Very positive. 

AI: Who are some of the companies looking to license your split-cycle engine technology? 

Due to the sensitive nature of these discussions we are not able to publicly name the OEMs we are talking to. However, we are in discussions with 14 of the world’s largest engine makers, most of whom are based in Germany, France, Japan, Italy, India, and the U.S. 

AI: What are some of the factors that make the Scuderi Engine a potential success in today’s automotive industry? 

Automakers are very attracted to our technology because it will give them the capability to produce more fuel-efficient and less toxic vehicles that the driving consumers are demanding, as well as meet future emissions standards sooner rather than later. And all at a minimal cost given that building our engine will not require any significant retooling of the production process.

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This news is great, something the car companies reinvent the industry, Amen
Marc , Margate, Florida USA

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