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LiquidPiston UAV Wankel Engines Get a Power Boost

This enhanced Wankel design offers improved thermal efficiency and higher power output per unit of burned fuel, as well as reduced fuel consumption per hour.  

Wankel photos by Lucien Miller, CEO of; photo editing and captions by Tom Atwood, executive director of The National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF), © 2018.  The NREF team has posted full coverage of the Denver Xponential 2018 conference and trade show -- click here to see over 400 exhibits!

In a June 28 press release, Liquid Piston notes that it has already raised $18 million in funding, and that DARPA has just added $2.5 million (bringing DARPA’s total investment to $6 million) to continue development of its 30kW X4 rotary diesel engine prototype.  The engine design has major benefits to offer.  “For the military, LiquidPiston’s propulsion can also reduce UAV engine heat signature and minimizing vibration impact on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment,” says the company. LiquidPiston believes the new design will help drone manufacturers increase flight endurance by more than 50%. Moreover, the engine's small size will likely enable miniaturized portable power generators.