Scientists at Samara National Research University in Russia are developing a cryogenic engine that will use liquid nitrogen or LNG.

The engine could be used in the future to power environmentally friendly vehicles in specially protected natural areas, as well as special purpose unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can remain invisible to infrared tracking devices as they will leave no thermal traces in the sky, the university said in a statement.

The work is carried out within the scope of the laboratory for cryogenic technology started at the Samara University.

“The main task of this laboratory is to study the prospects of using cold energy, that is, the energy stored in cryogenic substances and products,” Dmitry Uglanov, Thermal Engines and Scientific Director for the laboratory for cryogenic technology said.

“The laboratory has started developing a cryogenic engine, and currently a series of tests is underway on one of the main elements of the newly developed engine – a cryogenic fuel storage system.”

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Source: Samara National Research University

The storage system, developed by the Samara scientists, is based on a specially designed cryogenic tank equipped with various sensors and valves.

“This storage system has an original design protected by invention patents. This cylinder is unique in that usually such containers are designed to store either high-pressure gases or cryogenic working bodies in liquid state,” Uglanov said.

“Our development enables storing working substances in either liquid or gaseous state, depending on the task for this system, and makes it possible to control its regasification time and achieve the needed parameters of the working body.”

According to Uglanov, developing such a cryogenic engine will take three to four years.

Among the main advantages of such an engine are its environmental friendliness, as well as various special purpose applications.

A cryogenic-fuelled drone will leave no thermal trail in the sky and remain untraceable by infrared sensors at night, unlike aircraft that use combustion engines or electric motors to create thrust.