Norwegian politician praises CraftEngine
Nikolai Astrup, a Norwegian politician representing the Conservative Party, speaks enthusiastically about the CraftEngine following a recent visit to Viking Heat Engines in Kristiansand.
"Viking Heat Engines has developed a very exciting product that has a big potential, both nationally and internationally," he says.
Astrup, who sits on the Norwegian parliament's Standing Committee on Energy and Environment, believes CraftEngine’s biggest potential will be to convert industrial waste heat into electricity and heat, a technology he believes will be crucial to solve the world’s energy crisis.
Nikolai Astrup with colleague Svein Haberg
"We know the world will require a lot more energy in the years to come and our challenge will be to find better and cheaper ways to harness and distribute the energy sources we already use today," he says. "I believe CraftEngine has the potential to be part of the solution and that’s why it’s important that Viking Heat Engines succeeds with its technology.
"The challenge now is to get the machine tested on a large scale and eventually start mass-producing it. Getting to that point would be very exciting," he adds.
Astrup’s visit to Viking Heat Engines was part of a one-day tour he made to Sørlandet, the southern most part of Norway, to learn more about the innovative projects in the region and to see first-hand how companies, such as Viking Heat Engines, benefit from government-funded loan programs.
"It was extremely exciting to see the high level of knowledge and innovation that exists in the energy and environmental sector in these parts of the country," he says. "It was overall a very educational day and the visit to Viking Heat Engines was one of the highlights."
AVL gears up for production of first field test units
The preparations for the production of the 15 field test units are underway and everything is going to plan, according to AVL in Germany.
All the parts have been ordered and the testing of the first demo unit is due to start at the end of August.
Andreas Muck, Project Manager at AVL, is looking forward to when his team can start the testing of the first engine and he's also a bit anxious to see how it will perform once it has been assembled.
"We have more or less built a completely new design in order to get more power out of the engine and there’s always risks associated with going with something entirely new," he says. "But we are pretty confident that we will meet the efficiency target."
Another major change to the previous engine, or Prototype B, is the use of a new working fluid. The previous design ran on pentane but, due to new and stricter environmental regulations, AVL is now using fluids typically seen in refrigerator systems.
"We have no experience with these fluids, but in theory everything should work fine," he says.
Once the first engine is up and running, AVL plans to build a new engine every week. The first ten units will be shipped to Viking Heat Engines’ test partners in various parts of the world. Another five will remain at AVL and undergo rigorous tests for the next six months or so.
"The lifespan of a car engine is usually 4,000 hours," Muck says. "The CraftEngine in comparison has a lifespan of 40,000 hours and it’s therefore vital that the test units run for some time to give ourselves a higher safety margin for the future."
To make sure the engines will last this long, Muck and his team will carry out dynamic optimization tests. These tests are all about optimizing the machine for the different heat sources in order to get as much electricity and heat out of them as possible. The units will also undergo durability tests similar to those used by the automotive industry today.
"In the automotive industry, we add a much higher load onto the piston than it would normally endure," Muck says. "If the piston survives these hard tests, we know the engine will last a lifetime."
Muck is eager to start the tests and generally very excited about the project, a feeling he shares with the rest of his team. "The CraftEngine has so much potential and if the test units run well and we get the pricing right, there’s a huge market out there for us to explore," he says.
New appointments to strengthen team
Viking Heat Engines has recruited two new people and begun the process of building a strong organization for the future.
From June 1, Trond Bjerkan will take on the new position as Technical Director and be responsible for project coordination at the company.
John Bernander, Managing Director at Viking Heat Engines, says: "Bjerkan has worked for Viking Development Group for the last five years. He brings a wealth of experience that’s crucial for the development phase that we’re in and, not least, for managing the portfolio of the field tests that we have established with various partners and their technical organizations, both at home and abroad."
On August 1, Henrik Hassel will join the team initially for a project period to evaluate and refine Viking Heat Engines’ market strategy and the company’s market approach.
Hassel has a degree in International Business from the European Business School in London, a BA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and has worked in Hong Kong, Ningbo and Suzhou in China, creating new sales channels and successful collaborations between Chinese and Norwegian companies.
"I’m very happy to have Henrik on the team," Bernander says. "He brings youth, understanding of global marketing and a profound understanding of China and Asian markets to the team.
"As we’re about to launch a series of field test units, I feel the time has come to strengthen the organization in order to bring the CraftEngine successfully to the market, and the above key people will assist me in that process."