LiquidPiston receives $3M rapid innovation fund award by U.S. Army


LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI), has been awarded a $3M Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) award by the U.S. Army to develop an innovative ultra-portable 2kW diesel Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS), to be demonstrated initially to power the Howitzer M777 Digital Fire Control System, to address the Army’s need to extend mission duration, reduce fuel consumption, and reduce noise and heat signatures in powering digitized towed howitzers.

The RIF process is extremely selective, with only five percent of whitepapers ultimately being selected for the award.

“Military equipment, both tactical and non-tactical, is increasingly electrified and computerized, and there is a significant need for compact, efficient, and high-quality power generation,” saidEugene Conner, of the Army’s Program Manager’s Office for Towed Artillery Systems. “This effort is a potential solution to provide this vital capability at significantly reduced size and weight over presently available capabilities.”

The project team is led by LiquidPiston and also includes HDT Expeditionary Systems (HDT), a leading supplier of expeditionary military equipment including generators sets; and General Atomics (GA), a leading developer of military technology including battery and energy systems.

CAPS is a compact, lightweight, quiet, low-vibration and efficient hybrid- electric diesel generator set capable of supplying up to 2kW of electric power while running on Jet Propellant 8 (JP8) or diesel fuel. The CAPS Genset prototype objectives include less than 30 pounds (dry weight), 1.5 ft3 (bounding volume), less than 60db at 7 meters. This is a 75 percent reduction in generator weight compared to the MEP-501A, the current 2kW JP8 generator in use today, which weighs 124 pounds.

The CAPS hybrid electric 2kW diesel generator integrates a Lithium-ion Fault Tolerant (LiFT) battery technology developed by GA, which safely increases the CAPS’ power delivery quality, provides a “silent watch” capability, and optimizes the usage and life of the combustion engine. The 2kW CAPS generator, either as a standalone genset or as a hybrid electric power solution, is a capable solution for powering various military as well as non- military applications.

“We’re honored to receive this RIF award, with the opportunity to demonstrate the capability of our X- engine and HEHC technology to reduce the size and weight of military generators and greatly improve fuel efficiency in a compact portable package,” said Alexander Shkolnik, CEO and co- founder of LiquidPiston. “This demonstration will advance our technology’s readiness and demonstrate clear advantages for military as well as commercial and industrial customers.”

LiquidPiston previously developed the “X Mini” prototype, a 70cc SI engine operating LiquidPiston’s novel High Efficiency Hybrid thermodynamic Cycle (HEHC), which was demonstrated in a go-kart.

LiquidPiston was also recently awarded [] a contract by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop an ultra-efficient and compact 30kW diesel rotary X engine that fits in a ten inch box and weighs just 30 pounds, with fuel efficiency better than a heavy duty truck engine.

LPI’s technology advancements in military propulsion and auxiliary power innovations is further exemplified by LPI’s recognition as the winner of Lockheed Martin’s 2016 Sikorsky Innovation Challenge. The honor recognizes new technologies with the potential for significant impact on military and aerospace systems and customers.

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