There is immense scope for the development of heat engines that can directly convert solar and biochemical renewable sources of thermal energy to high-grade energy. Regenerative Stirling cycle heat engine with its performance criteria of highest thermal efficiency and high mean effective pressure is theoretically the best engine for small capacity reciprocating heat engine. However, the practical Stirling engine performance is far from the ideal. As an alternative, practical heat engines based on thermodynamic cycles (without regeneration) other than the Stirling cycle have been suggested. This paper deals with a new concept in the design of reciprocating heat engine working on modified Atkinson cycle. In the Atkinson cycle, expansion ratio being higher than compression ratio, the thermal efficiency is better than that of the standard Otto cycle. Heat engine design based on the suggested modified Atkinson cycle can be an alternative to the practical Stirling engine. In the conceptual mechanical design of the engine suggested here, apart from utilizing the principle of Atkinson cycle for achieving higher thermal efficiency, the mechanical configuration of the reciprocating engine ensures a high degree of inertial force balancing. This can result in reduced vibrations in the mountings of the power units.

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