Background Of The Invention

This invention relates to closed reciprocating engines, i.e., ones which do not require an air supply and do not emit exhaust gases, and more particularly to such engines which use inert gases as fuel. It also concerns such inert gas fuels and apparatus for preparing same.

Currently available internal combustion engines suffer from several disadvantages. They are inefficient in their utilisation of the energy present in their fuels. The fuel itself is generally a petroleum derivative with an ever-increasing price and sometimes limited availability. The burning of such fuel normally results in pollutants which are emitted into the atmosphere. These engines require oxygen and, therefore, are particularly unsuitable in environments, such as underwater or outer space, in which gaseous oxygen is relatively unavailable. Present internal combustion engines are, furthermore, relatively complex with a great number of moving parts. Larger units, such as fossil-fuel electric power plants, escape some of the disadvantages of the present internal combustion engine, but not, inter alia, those of pollution, price of fuel and availability of fuel.

Several alternative energy sources have been proposed, such as the sun (through direct solar power devices), nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Due to the lack of public acceptance, cost, other pollutants, technical problems, and/or lack of development, these sources have not wholly solved the problem. Moreover, the preparation of fuel for nuclear fission and nuclear fusion reactors has heretofore been a complicated process requiring expensive apparatus.

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