Special Notice – Corona Update
- In light of Covid-19, LiquidPiston is taking appropriate steps with respect to maintaining employee health and reducing risk of contagion within the company, while also attempting to maintain full productivity. We are monitoring the situation each day with guidance from the local, state and federal governments, and adjusting our plans and activities accordingly. Some employees have begun working from home, and most of our conferences and in-person customer meetings have been cancelled and transitioned to virtual meetings where possible.
LPI Update to Investors
Dear LiquidPiston Investor,
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the end of the 1st Quarter – a lot of activity for the Company during the past 3 months.
Highlights since our last update (December 2019) include:
- Product Development Update:
- While most of our team has been busy on customer programs (conceptual design efforts, see below), there are two other key developments that have been enacted:
- Several of our concepts have pointed to potentially operating the X engine in a 2‑stroke configuration, rather than as a 4-stroke. This means the engine would fire 6 times per rotor revolution (each of the 2 lobes of the rotor would go through the gas exchange / compression / fire / expansion phases, as it passes into each of the 3 chambers of the engine). The X engine has unique capabilities to operate as a 2 stroke, potentially exceeding capabilities of typical 2-stroke piston engines. I will provide more details of this with time, but for now wanted to share the exciting news that we adapted our X‑mini engine to demonstrate 2-stroke operability, and were able to achieve up to 85% improvement in indicated cycle firing power. The engine was far from optimized (it was a rapid experiment just to prove to ourselves and our partners that 2-stroke is feasible), but it demonstrated a clear pathway to get 50%+ more power from our engine cores. The engine was run for over an hour with no hardware issues resulting from the 2-stroke operation.
- We’ve developed a suite of software tools to assist in the rapid concept development of X-engines. This software tool is used to quickly size and scale single and multi-rotor X-engines for various applications. We’ve taken and automated what used to be 4 months of work for an entire design team to just a week, which serves our core business strategy of serving multiple design efforts toward various applications and licensing the technology.
- Commercial Update:
We’ve been working on several feasibility / pilot programs funded by partners, looking at how the X Engine technology scales and could be adapted for partner-specific applications.
- We completed a project with a major aerospace company for auxiliary power application. The program went well, and the LPI technology was shown to provide a major benefit over existing turbine-based technology, offering very significant fuel savings. That partner is now evaluating go-forward options. We are continuing discussions with their technical team on near-term and long-term next steps, while their management deliberates on strategy and funding decisions.
- We are also finishing up a second aerospace concept study, in the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) propulsion space. We are engaging in initial discussions toward a potential Phase II project, potentially involving a 3rd party manufacturing partner.
- We continue to explore manufacturing, licensing and distribution partnerships to commercialize the 2kWe hybrid generator (“CAPS” generator) and derivatives. The Army is anticipating a major modernization effort of its fleet of 25,000 two and three kW generators, and the LPI generator may be a good fit for this. The generator needs to be matured in both technology and manufacturing readiness, and LPI is seeking funding and partnerships to help bridge to the Army requirements expected in 2022.
Note: We have strict Non-Disclosure Agreements in place, so we are necessarily restricted from disclosing partner names and project details.
C. US Government Activity:
Our involvement with the US DoD, particularly multiple program offices within the US Army is ramping up and we are getting good visibility from our CAPS project and participation in the Army xTechSearch 3.0 competition. (https://www.arl.army.mil/xtechsearch/competition.html#xtech3).
Current status of US Government proposals and projects:
- We are an Award Winner ($140K cash prizes) and finalist in the US Army xTechSearch 3.0 competition. Through the event, we have participated in the XTechSearch accelerator program events, meeting with industry and government leaders in Austin, Boston, and Washington DC. The Finals of the competition were slated to be held at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, AL this week, but this event has been postponed due to the Corona virus. For the competition, we demonstrated our UAS using our X-Mini Engine on Jet fuel in a parallel hybrid-electric configuration (see video from the last update). In recent testing, we further demonstrated capability of in-flight engine-stop and restart, while the vehicle cruised on electric-only (“quiet”) power. To our knowledge, this is an industry-first capability for UAVs on Jet fuel.
- We have been notified of selection for award of a US Army SBIR contract for the preliminary design of a Hybrid-Electric X-Engine (HEXE) Propulsion System for UAS applications. This work builds on the above referenced UAV work, increasing the system capability to demonstrate VTOL capability, and ultimately providing a rugged UAV propulsion system to support Army UAVs. It starts as a $100K Phase I, and has the potential to evolve to a $1M Phase II program.
- We have several other proposals and whitepapers being evaluated by multiple divisions within the Army, the Air Force, and 1 with the DOE, ranging from portable ground generators to aircraft auxiliary power to hybrid electric propulsion for manned aircraft.
D. Fundraising Update:
- As you know - LiquidPiston embarked on a crowdfunding campaign with StartEngine in January, which was extraordinarily successful. We raised the maximum allowed under Reg CF ($1.07M) in just 9 hours, which was probably a record for the industry. This gratifying as it indicates that a lot of people are following the Company and believe in our mission of disrupting the combustion engine as we know it - with significantly reduced size, weight, reduction in fuel consumption, resulting CO2 impact as well as other greenhouse gases. We were also fortunate to have been evaluated by and featured by Neil Patel and the Angels and Entrepreneurs Network: https://angelsandentrepreneurs.com
- As numerous individuals continue to contact us directly inquiring about the possibility of investing in the Company, we are currently accepting accredited investors for direct investment (minimum $25K). If interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any follow-up questions.
Thank you again for your support as LiquidPiston moves into the next phase of productization, industrialization and company-building.
Alec Shkolnik, PhD
President and CEO