What do you call a spark ignition engine that runs on JP8, the military’s standard fuel for jets and most everything else? You call it Patriot. Even better, in a pinch, this engine runs on gasoline, JP5 or regular highway diesel!
Polaris Industries produces ATVs for the military, specialized gasoline powered models for the troops way out in the badlands. They have just completed first production and received orders for the MV800, their newest, top of the line military ATV and the first military machine to use the Patriot engine. As I was reading the specs to see what this engine was all about I was a little confused when it started discussing all of the fuels you could run in this unit. What exactly is this thing?
It turns out it was developed in conjunction with the Orbital Corporation of Australia, a firm that does a lot of engine R&D for other companies. Going through their website is interesting in itself when you see all of the neat engine technologies they have their hands in. Their Direct Injector is the key here, which directly injects fuel with low pressure air into the combustion chamber instead of the port. The Polaris MV800 military ATV is the first product to utilize their 4 stroke injector.
The technical description sounds similar to HCCI, the homogenous charge process that has been getting a lot of technical press recently and Orbital says it operates in a similar fashion under high loads. Under light loads, it can “run very lean (in some cases total engine operation is carried out without the use of an air intake throttle).” Hmm …
Although the Patriot engine is designed for JP8, it can run in emergency mode with all of the other fuels I mentioned above. Try that in your average diesel or gasoline engine. That’s a prescription for disaster. In this engine, though, no diesel, no problem, fill it up with gasoline or whatever is handy, or vice versa.
This is very cool technology. The internal combustion engine looks like it still has a lot of life left in it, especially with ideas like this. Very neat!