Why the Rotary Engine Is Perfect for Hydrogen Fuel


Why the Rotary Engine Is Perfect for Hydrogen Fuel

The Wankel rotary engine is an engineer’s dream. Smaller, lighter and simpler than any piston engine, the spinning-triangle design can crank out major power from a tiny package with a minimum of moving parts.


But there are major drawbacks. A Wankel engine doesn’t burn fuel nearly as cleanly or efficiently as a piston engine. That leads to dirty emissions—a problem that’s compounded by the way the engine burns its lubricating oil. The technical challenges of the rotary engine eventually led every major automaker except Mazda to abandon the design. Even now, Mazda doesn’t currently build a rotary-powered vehicle, but we’ve been assured time and time again that this will change, and soon.


Here’s the interesting thing: Most of the Wankel’s drawbacks turn into advantages with one simple change. All you have to do is swap fuels, from gasoline to hydrogen.


For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.

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