Issue: Jun 2009

AI interview with Sal Scuderi, president of the Scuderi Group

In April this year, a model of the Scuderi Group’s split-cycle engine prototype was unveiled in Detroit, bringing the revolutionary, fuel-efficient and powerful engine a little bit closer to customers

by Lenny Case

INTERVIEW - In April this year, a model of the Scuderi Group’s split-cycle engine prototype was unveiled in Detroit, bringing the revolutionary, fuel-efficient and powerful engine a little bit closer to customers. The initial proof-of-concept Scuderi split-engine was shown to original equipment manufacturers, media and automotive executives at the Society of Automotive Engineers or SAE, 2009 World Congress, held in Detroit.

The engine cut-away was an exact duplicate of another prototype that is undergoing testing and analysis by Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Tex. “With the assembly of the naturally aspirated Scuderi Engine now complete, the Scuderi Group and its independent laboratory continue to work on the next prototypes. Completion of the turbocharged Scuderi Engine and the Scuderi Air-Hybrid are expected in 2010,” says Nick Scuderi, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Scuderi Group.

The company expects that by 2012, the first vehicle fitted with a Scuderi Engine will hit the roads. “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. 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,” said Lutz Deyerling, vice-president of European operations at the Scuderi Group in a recent interview to AI. 

Scuderi Vice President and Patent Attorney Stephen Scuderi gives a tutorial on the Scuderi Engine to an executive team from Honda R&D

The one-liter, naturally aspirated gasoline prototype is expected to
produce up to 80 percent fewer toxins than a typical internal combustion
engine. When fully developed with its turbocharged and Air-Hybrid
components, the engine is expected to achieve significant gains in fuel
efficiency - the most since the inception of the Otto cycle over 130
years ago.

The Scuderi Engine has a split-cycle design that divides the four strokes of a conventional combustion cycle over two paired cylinders – one intake/compression cylinder and one power/exhaust cylinder. By firing after top-dead center, it produces highly efficient, cleaner combustion with one cylinder and compressed air in the other. Unlike conventional engines that require two crankshaft revolutions to complete a single combustion cycle, the Scuderi Engine requires just one. Besides the improvements in efficiency and emissions, studies show that the Scuderi Engine is capable of producing more torque than conventional gasoline and diesel engines.

Speaking at the SAE 2009 World Congress, Sal Scuderi, president of the Scuderi Group said: “This is a very proud moment for our company as well as the Scuderi family. After over seven years of hard work, this unveiling marks the realization of our father's dream and his vision of the full potential this technology holds. We strongly encourage automakers to take advantage of the opportunity that the Scuderi Engine presents to make more fuel-efficient engines.”

Automotive Industries spoke to Sal Scuderi, president of the Scuderi Group.

AI: What was the reaction among OEMs and automotive engineers when you unveiled the Scuderi split-cycle prototype at this year’s SAE World Congress?
Extremely positive. Engineers from all the major automakers were in our booth and looked over the engine. It was great to finally give them a tour, so to speak, of our technology in action. And I could sense the engineering community, as a whole, was very pleased to finally get to see it.

AI: Are any companies close to finalizing a deal with the Scuderi Group for its split-cycle technology? If so, who? 

Some more than others. 

(Editors note: AI will be amongst the first to bring you this news as it breaks)

AI: When do you think the first vehicles using this technology will hit roads?
We anticipate, if everything goes as expected, that we could see a vehicle with the Scuderi Engine on the road in 2012.

AI: Please tell us a little about the turbocharged Scuderi Engine and the Scuderi Air-Hybrid. 

The next step in the development of the Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine is the turbocharged version. Because the crossover passage provides an opportunity to cool the intake air after it is compressed, the Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine has a very high resistance to pre-detonation (knock). This high resistance to knock potentially enables the Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine to boost or turbocharge to more than 2.5 bar absolute pressure. A conventional gasoline engine typically can boost to only 1.5 bar absolute before pre-detonation occurs. 

The result is a significantly higher brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) and torque level. In fact, the torque level of the Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine matches or exceeds most turbocharged diesel engines. However, a Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine can potentially obtain rated speeds of up to 6000 rpm. The combination of diesel like torque levels matched with gasoline like speed levels would result in a power density higher than any conventional engine available today. The Scuderi Split-Cycle Turbocharged Engine has a potential power rating at 6000 rpm of up to 135 hp per liter. 

So, the Scuderi Engine enables the industry to drastically downsize its engines (reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions) without compromising performance.
Regarding the the Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine, it provides a cost effective hybrid solution that does not compromise performance. Because the Scuderi Engine is really a dedicated compressor on one side and an engine on the other, it simply requires the addition of an air storage tank and some controls to convert it into a hybrid system that can recapture and store energy lost during the normal operation of the engine. 

Since the turbocharged version of the Split-cycle engine operates at 130 bar it will be able to store a significant amount of energy in its air tank. There are various driving strategies that can be employed to improve the overall reduction in fuel consumption. This includes engine shut off at idle, air-only driving, off-loading of the compression cylinder and regenerative braking.

AI: Do you expect the embattled automotive industry will see your green technologies as a potential life-saver? What are the challenges facing your company in the current environment? 

The automotive industry – right now – definitely sees the Scuderi Engine as a potential solution.

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