An energy technology incubator, ClarianLabs in Seattle, has published a patent for a device called the Rotary Piston Generator (RPG) which the company hopes will challenge the idea of what batteries are, and how they’re used, especially in vehicles.
The RPG is a mechanical rather than chemical approach to portable energy storage. Its energy capacity is potentially ten times greater than a typical battery, company representatives wrote in an email exchange with TechCrunch. That depends on the kind of fuel it uses— the invention is essentially a very tiny, highly efficient engine.
ClarianLabs’ published patent shows the RPG contains: “induction armature that rotates around a fixed shaft inside a rotary piston.” As they rotate relative to one another, the parts generate electricity (kind of like a diesel engine).
The RPG doesn’t require a separate generator, starter or gearbox. It can ostensibly run on a variety of fuels, including: gasoline, kerosene, propane, natural gas, ethanol, methanol or hydrogen.
ClarianLabs is pre-revenue, with 5 employees. The company previously won GE’s Consumer Innovation Award in the 2010 Ecomagination Challenge, for its SmartBox Solar module design, which is a “plug-n-play” solar concept for the home. Basically, it’s a small solar panel you can plug your appliances into directly.
According to Chad Maglaque, president of ClarianLabs (and ClarianPower):
“We’re a technology developer and licensor, akin to a Dolby or a Dyson for cleantech. This is a very early stage technology. We are now looking for a partner to develop [it] — like the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy, an automobile or aerospace manufacturer. We think a natural for this would be in electric vehicles as a lightweight, compact range extender, something akin to a bike rack that you clip on or put in your trunk for a weekend trip.”
There isn’t any data that demonstrates this thing works, yet.
[Ed's note: It's always exciting to see new ideas to deliver more efficient portable power. While we can't highlight every patent published, I selected this one because the company has a track record of winning awards and recognition on the cleantech competition circuit from judges in the field who know what's commercially viable, better than I do.]
The General Electric Company, or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in the State of New York. In 2009, Forbes ranked GE as the world’s largest company. The company has 304,000 employees around the world. GE is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. GE has...
Clarian Labs is a Seattle technology incubator focused on developing the latest in energy-saving technologies, comitted to long-term sustainability and security. Clarian is the winner of GE’s Consumer Innovation Award in the 2010 Ecomagination Challenge, a global search to find and fund the most innovative clean technologies. Clarian’s SmartBox Solar(tm) module was selected from more than 3,000 entries for its feasibility and potential impact by GE and venture capital leaders.