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what An internal combustion engine as “clean” one electric ? Seems to be a thing of science fiction, but a team of researchers from the Institute of Chemical Technology, a joint centre of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas ( CSIC ) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) has achieved a revolutionary new internal combustion engine generates no harmful gases or carbon dioxide. The engine, according to its designers, complies with the emissions projected for 2040 and stands out for its high efficiency. The first two prototypes will see the light in the next few months.

According to the own CSIC, the technology that has enabled this breakthrough is based on the use of a type of ceramic membrane developed by the researchers that removes all the polluting gases and harmful for the health and purée the CO2 before being emitted by the exhaust.

“These membranes, including in the engine of the vehicle,” explains José Manuel Serra , Institute of Chemical Technology – allow the selective separation of oxygen from air to produce the oxy-fuel. In this way, it generates a combustion gas, pure, composed of water and CO2 that can be captured in the interior of the own vehicle and store it, without quit expelled by the exhaust”.

In this way, the technology developed by the researchers would provide a motor with the same autonomy and capacity of refuelling of a conventional one, “but with the advantage -explains Luis Miguel García-Cuevas González , specialized in the study of heat engines – that is completely clean, without any polluting emissions or greenhouse effect, as happens with the electrical. In this way we offer to the sector a technology that combines the best of both engines, the electric and combustion”.

As explained by the researchers, after the combustion engines traditional generate a large quantity of nitrogen, and oxides of nitrogen in the exhaust. However, the new engine only produces CO2 and water, which can be spread very easily by simple condensation.

“That CO2 -continues García-Cuevas – compressed in the interior of the motor itself, and is stored in a pressure tank, which you can return as a by-product, either directly as pure CO2, high quality, at a service station, for subsequent industrial use. In this way, inside the vehicle we’d have in addition to the fuel tank, the other with the CO2 that is generated after the fuel has burned and that we can take advantage of”.

The technology being developed is directed mainly to manufacturers of large-sized vehicles for the transport of passengers and goods, both on land and sea, and aviation, up to a certain level of power. In addition, it could also be used to adapt existing diesel engines in specialty vehicles. “In the case of smaller vehicles -is aiming for his part, Francisco José Arnau – could apply also to abduct only part of the CO2 in the exhaust”.

Currently, and thanks to the funding of the Valencian Agency of the Innovation, the team of researchers is building two prototypes on a laboratory scale the new engine, which could revolutionize the automotive sector. According to José Ramón Serrano , another member of the team of researchers, “to have the positive evaluation and the funding of the Valencian Agency of the Innovation is able to bring the concept to levels of technological development high enough. With this, it will be possible to attract the attention of private investors who want to license the patent or to finance spin-offs to make a reality of these engines, that would change the paradigm of the fight against climate change from the point of view of transport”.

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