Japan’s Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Company (MES) has acquired the intellectual property rights to RWE npower’s ‘Isoengine’ research and development project.

The Isoengine uses a unique integrated power cycle in which combustion air is compressed ‘isothermally’ using water sprays, reducing the work of compression. The cool high pressure air from the compressor is pre-heated prior to combustion using exhaust heat and other low-grade heat that is normally wasted in conventional engines. The fuel is then burned in the pre-heated compressed air at approximately constant pressure in the combustion cylinders.

The Isoengine, which has three identical combustion cylinders for each compression cylinder, offers electricity generators the means to match the efficiency of large-scale combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) in small-scale distributed power applications. The intellectual property comprises eleven patents and a body of knowledge developed by RWE npower over the last 12 years.

If successfully developed, the Isoengine will offer an efficiency of up to 12% above today’s best-in-class diesel engines of similar capacity. RWE npower had already forged a partnership with MES in 2003 to accelerate the project development.

Under the terms of the sale, RWE npower will continue to work with MES for up to two years to ensure seamless transfer of knowledge. Financial terms were not disclosed.