21Geo seeks to disrupt machinery with the Precise Motion Technology (PMT) and begin a new era of energy efficiency. 21Geo foresees saving 10% of electrical energy worldwide and improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines by 20%. There are thousands of industrial processes that could also see similar efficiency gains. Those gains directly reduce CO2 emissions and other pollutants. Success would impact global warming on a par with wind energy. While it sounds boastful and might be dismissed as unrealistic, it’s important to state the objective otherwise the technology risks being dismissed as a novelty. The justification for this statement is detailed below.
PMT offers more flexibility and capability than any other mechanism. It is through this capability that the efficiency gains will be made. The flexibility enables designers to “do things right” where only approximations are currently practiced. Part of doing-things-right is not only providing energy-efficient solutions but also offering them at a lower upfront cost. Case studies on the website illustrate these practices.
The PMT is the first new mechanism in a long while. Its competitors, current mechanisms, are amazingly static technology. Nothing has changed. Gear, cams, linkages, and bearings are the mainstays of mechanisms and they have been for hundreds of years, if not thousands.
Using old stuff is fine if you get a good outcome. But we don’t.
Twenty percent of a car’s energy is dissipated in the drive train. Every time the exhaust valve is opened in an engine, half of the energy dissipates. Compressors are also very inefficient – and 40% of worldwide electricity goes into them for HVAC and refrigeration. All of these devices are pretty much the same as they were 30 years ago. And all of them use antiquated mechanical paradigms.
An example high-efficiency engine is Atkinson Engine, which adds a few linkages to the crankcase to harvest more energy and can achieve 40% better efficiency. The original patents for the Atkinson Engine are over 100 years old. Even with the push for greater gas mileage, adoption of the Atkinson Engine has been anemic. Only a few models use them.
Why? One explanation has to do with a fundamental mathematical mismatch. The engine is a continuous process and linkages add a discrete variable to the optimization – leading to a better approximation and not to an optimal solution. And the best optimization for efficiency might cause problems elsewhere. Maybe the engine loses durability or energy density or some other metric. Split the difference, and something else happens. It’s like the child’s game “whack-a-mole” where you strike one mole and another mole pops up. The Atkinson engines likely die due to a thousand compromises.
Continuous processes need to be optimized with continuous variables.
The track record of efficiency projects parallels the mathematical mismatch explanation. There are half a dozen active projects that add additional linkages to the crankcase to achieve better efficiency. There were dozens of others before those. This has been going on for generations. It’s safe to say that if adding a linkage could deliver better efficiency than it would have. The engineers have been brilliant, but they didn’t have the tools to solve the problem. Efficiency has been elusive.
Elusive no more
There is now a new tool. The PMT offers more flexibility than any other mechanical paradigm. If you introduce it to your problem, you get three continuous degrees of freedom. Matching a continuous degree of freedom against a continuous process makes sense. And PMT gives three continuous degrees of freedom. With that, you can fully optimize your problem against multiple criteria.
Constant torque for an engine exemplifies how PMT achieves a better outcome. The current method is to use more cylinders. Four to six, or a V8. Expanding the cylinders also means expanding the cams, valves, pistons, etc. In contrast, PMT generates constant torque by programming the path of the piston such that its velocity is proportional to the inverse of the force curve. Each cylinder produces constant torque during the power stroke. If you’re already using a PMT , you get it for free. The cost outcome is striking. Also, note that it’s possible to get efficiency to optimize engine with constant torque. That would be nearly impossible with linkages.
The case studies on the website show unique solutions for efficiency problems. The combination of features cannot be replicated by other means. Although it’s just a start, the PMT already shows promise to deliver on the generations-old efficiency problems.