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A Novel Proposal of Dry Ice Engine

Akash Sahoo#1, Nirmal Mallick *2

Dept of Electronics and Instrumentation, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
Dept of Chemical Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
Rourkela, Orissa

Abstract—The possible proposal of using solid CO2 (dry ice) as

alternative fuel and limiting as well as decreasing CO2 levels
making it ZEV(zero emission vehicle) is our topic. Dry ice has the
same pressure generating capability as that of gasoline. So it can
be used as an alternative fuel in vehicles. CO2 from atmosphere
or from vehicle itself and convert it into dry ice using a hydraulic
air compressor. Then warm water is added to the required small
amount of dry ice which generates CO2 at high pressure which is
used to run the vehicle. It completes the cycle and increases he
efficiency of engine without causing any pollution.

Keywords— Alternative Fuels, Dry Ice Engine, Efficient engine,

Future Car, Hybrid vehicle, Zero Emission Vehicle(ZEV),
alternative fuel vehicles (AFV), advanced technology vehicle
(ATV). There are a number of alternative solutions to petrol /
I. INTRODUCTION ≠ Bio fuels : These are a good substitute to petrol, diesel
It has become more established and accepted by the but are difficult to prepare and sources are limited; so
industry as prices for primary fuels are steadily increasing, expensive. They are 15-20% more efficient fuels than gasoline
there is a need for cheap alternative fuel that does not adds up and can be used in diesel engines. They emit 50% less carbon
to the green house gases and cause global warming. Global monoxide and 78% less carbon dioxide than diesel and
Oil Consumption is responsible for 42% of the global contain no sulphur and also produce 75% less particulate
emissions of carbon dioxide, which is the main contributor to matter.
global warming. Government is also trying a lot in this field ≠ Solar : They convert solar energy to electrical energy using
organizing competitions, lower taxes for these vehicles etc. solar panels and then store it in battery and use it. There is
As oil price goes up and pollutions from automobiles make also the advantage involving efficiency, which relates to the
environmental problems, nowadays alternative fuel and fuel fact that all solar cars are able to produce their full rated
efficient vehicles are highlighted. The major automobile power at any speed and they cause no pollution. The power
manufacturers have spent much expenditure to develop output is low and it cannot be used at night or cloudy sky.
alternative fuel vehicles (AFV), advanced technology vehicle ≠ Electric Cars : They are ZEV. The cost per km is low,
(ATV) and governments make incentives that encourage but they have less power, the battery has to be changed every
consumer to purchase AFV and ATV. The reason for this is few years. They have been the most popular alternative to
because of limited oil resources, air pollution and small- diesel engines.
particle air pollution from conventional fuels and high cost. ≠ CNG (Compressed natural Gas): Natural /cooking gas is
stored in cylinder under high pressure. It goes to engine and it
burns generating pressure and force to run the vehicle.
≠ Other fuels: methanol, ethanol are not popular but are
mixed with petrol to increase efficiency due to their high
calorific value
Conversion of our transportation system to the use of
an alternative fuel is therefore desirable, but cost and
deficiency of alterative fuels have made it difficult to be
popular and be a substitute to petrol/ diesel.
Any good AFV should have the following points:
• It shouldn’t use convectional source such as petrol,
diesel, cooking gas, natural gas etc
• It should use alternative sources of energy like solar
power, wind power, bio diesel etc
• It shouldn’t be expensive.
• It could be made on a large scale and implemented as
a primary fuel.
• It must not cause any pollution or global warming
• It could be used to have features and performance of
a normal car


The dry ice engine has mainly three important parts:
• The dry ice generator Caillet’s gas liquefaction apparatus
• Pressure generating chamber
• Engine and rest other parts

A. Dry Ice Generator:

Dry Ice generator: This part of the car is mainly used for the
storage and formation of dry ice. It is has two parts- a
hydraulic compressor and the other part has to store dry ice
under pressure. This hydraulic compressors
is kept at the back of the car. It has an inlet valve for taking in
CO2 from atmosphere or from vehicle emission. The air Portable dry ice maker: It can produce
1 pound block of ice in as little as 60 seconds
compressor is based on Cailletet's gas liquefying compressor
which runs without electricity. Cailletet succeeded in
producing droplets of liquid oxygen in 1877 but by a different
method from that used by Raoul Pictet. He used the Joule-
Thomson effect. The oxygen was compressed while being
cooled. The compressed gas was then allowed to expand
rapidly, cooling it even more. The result was the production of
small droplets of liquid oxygen. It has the ability to generate
pressure of 900-1000 atms but only 80 atms is required to
make dry ice. We use weight of car as force for the
CO2 has a critical temperature of 31.10C which is higher, so
it can converted into dry ice below this temperature. It
converts to dry ice at pressure of 73 atms. Inside it carbon
dioxide gas is compressed to turn into liquid Liquefied
carbon dioxide lower is then allowed to expand suddenly to
atmospheric pressure. Part of the liquid sublimates, This portable Hydraulic air compressor based on Pasal’s law
can compress air with a force of 20 tonnes and lift
causing the remainder to freeze into finely divided CO 2
snowflakes. Finally the snow is compressed by a hydraulic
press into convenient dry ice blocks or pellets as required. B. Pressure Generator:
Then the dry ice is transferred in little quantities to pressure It is based on the principle that dry ice when gets converted
generating chamber. It is based on principle that when air is to gas CO2 generates a lot of pressure which can be used as
compressed and then allowed to escape it can be compressed mechanical force. In IC Engines lot of heat goes as a waste.
much more. Then the dry ice formed is stored. The piston is moved by pressure generated during combustion
of fuel.
controlling the amount of dry ice in pressure generating
chamber and the volume of the chamber.
In the existing vehicles this process can be done in situ i.e.
dry ice gets converted into CO2 gas inside the part of engine
itself. We can determine the amount of dry ice required to
generate such pressure inside the engine by the following
From the Ideal gas Equation we know that PV=nRT.
Pressure required for the car to run is 2000KPa. Assuming
temperature to be 273K because of warm water, we get the
following results.
We know that the radius of the piston is 5cm=0.05m and
the ignition chamber is 30cm in length at max at the
These are co2 cartridges used in guns to power shots the bullets; the
CO2 under high pressure propels the bullet out of the gun at high
speds [source: discovery channel] Comparison of Petrol vs. Dry ice efficiency:
Molecular mass of petrol=114 amu. Assuming an injection
of 5gm of petrol to IC chamber and temperature after ignition
to be 1200K and volume to be 250ml, pressure = n×R×T/V =

=17 atms.
And for 5 gms of dry ice this number comes out to be 10.18
atms. So efficiency of dry ice is 60% as compared to petrol
which is great for an cheap alternative source fuel.

C. Working of the Engine :

The pressure generated is huge .When water is added to dry ice in

bottle it gets converted to CO2 gas quickly and escapes at high
pressure and bursts the bottle if closed with a loud sound. [source:
At 100 km/h in 5th gear car is close to 2400 rpm or 2400/60
= 40 revolutions per second. Because it’s a 4 cylinder 4 stroke
engine, it will be producing 2 power strokes every revolution,
so that’s 80 power strokes per second. At a steady cruising
speed of 100 km/h, it is likely to be covering 10 km/litre or, in
other words, using 10 litres/100 km. Therefore, our fuel burn
rate is 10 litres per hour or 10/3600 = 0.00278 litres per
second = 2.78 mL/sec. Now, this 2.78 mL is shared between
the 80 power strokes of the engine per second. So, for each
power stroke of the engine while we are cruising at 100 km/h, CO2 gas ruches into in chamber at high pressure (blue color) and moves
piston down and in the compression stroke it goes out from the exhaust valve.
the fuel injection system is delivering 2.78/80 = 0.03472 mL
into each cylinder. [2]
In dry ice engine this is the second stage of working of the
engine. The dry ice formed is transferred in small quantities to
this section and small amount (double the mass of dry ice) of
warm water is added to it. It quickly then gets converted into
gas CO2 and the chamber is closed and pressure is maintained
in a small volume. There is a safety valve and an outlet valve
for the gases to go to engine under pressure. When the outlet
valve opens the gas CO2 at high pressure gushes into the
engine. The piston volume is kept closed and the pressure
moves the piston down. The pressure required to move the
piston is generally 15-20 atm. This pressure can be got by
Some times there has to dry ice added to maintain the required

This project if implemented shall change the face of energy
wants in all countries. We shall restore this planet earth from
global warming and reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Mankind has travelled through many heights. He has solved
many problems.
Four cylinder Engine in which CO2 get divided and they work in cycles. Global Warming and CO2 emissions have been the major
problems of 21st century. We all wish best luck to the
scientists, researchers and people good luck to fight this
This Project shall be a small step towards that direction. I
pray to God for it success.
We started with foolish ideas, rejecting many but then got
one, tried it with all our hopes, hard work and made the above
We wish we could get some fresh air in our cities which we
enjoyed during our childhood.
Working of an IC Engine With all these we all end this project writing but this is only
the beginning- tip of the iceberg.
The working of engine is almost same as that of IC engines,
but in this case instead of pressure generated due to
combustion there is change of state from solid dry ice to ACKNOWLEDGMENT
gaseous CO2. We know that solid occupy very less space. 1 We are very grateful to Prof Alok Sathpathy for his
mole of dry ice i.e. 44 gms can produce 22.4 litres of CO2and guidance and able help that we could complete this paper. We
can generate pressure of nearly 80 atms in 250 ml container. are also grateful to Prof S. Murugan, Prof S.K. Sarangi
The input valve is opened and CO2 comes into at very high (Director) for their help We are also thankful to our friends
pressure. This pressure multiplied with area of the piston gives and other people for their help.
force. This force move the piston downward at high speed
(expansion stroke) and when it returns back exhaust valve is REFERENCES
opened and the CO2 gas goes out. The CO2 is then collected
again at the dry making part and this process continues on. [1]