What is a Camless Engine, and Why Should You Care?

So as not to bore the car fanatics, I will keep the following description brief.

A camshaft is found in a car engine that enables the opening and closing of valves as the engine rotates to enable combustion — bringing in the fuel (intake valve) and expelling what’s left after combustion (exhaust valve).

I have embedded a video below illustrating the purpose of a camshaft.

The important thing to know about a camshaft is that it cannot operate on valves or cylinders independently of the others. The rotation of the engine moves the camshaft through the same motion every time. As a result, a camshaft creates efficiency limitations.

Enter the camless engine!

Instead of a camshaft, the new Freevalve engine uses pneumatic actuators to independently control each set of valves for each cylinder. This allows for enormous flexibility, including the ability to dynamically control the number of cylinders in use.

As a result, the technology, right off the bat, will improve power and torque by 30%, and increase fuel efficiency by 50%. That’s huge! The new engine is also smaller — truly incredible.

There is even talk about being able to use such engines to run multiple types of fuel, such as diesel and gas in the same engine, though this would require a separate tank and system for each.

The only drawback to the engine so far is that the pneumatic system that will control the valves may be more susceptible to damage than a camshaft. This could be a big problem as camshafts are currently extremely reliable, standing the test of time. However, we have to start somewhere and the benefits will surely outweigh the costs if the pneumatic system can be built in a robust manner.

You can learn more about the new cam-less engine here. I, for one, am very excited.


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