Ray O'Donnell's dream to make one of the world's most efficient engines

AWARD: Mr O'Donnell's design has already received world-wide acclaim, winning the Best Adjustable Stroke Crank Mechanisms Developer at last year's Corporate Vision's Small Business Awards.
AWARD: Mr O'Donnell's design has already received world-wide acclaim, winning the Best Adjustable Stroke Crank Mechanisms Developer at last year's Corporate Vision's Small Business Awards.

One of the many joys that are associated with a human being is the ability to use your smarts to think of an idea that could potentially improve the lives of countless people.

While there are many instances where ideas fail, Goolwa's Ray O'Donnell is hoping that his adjustable stroke crank mechanism design will revolutionise engines in the future.

Mr O'Donnell's design has already received world-wide acclaim, winning the Best Adjustable Stroke Crank Mechanisms Developer at last year's Corporate Vision's Small Business Awards.

It all started for the 78-year-old when he started working for General Motors as an apprentice electrician. It wasn't long before he started climbing the ladder, finding himself in the drawing office at 25.

"The bloke who looked after the drawing office out at Elizabeth passed away and I was the only person they could put in that place - by 32 I was the chief designer," Mr O'Donnell said.

Mr O'Donnell explained that the role saw him be in charge of all the designs for the equipment responsible for making cars.

However, after 24 years as chief designer at General Motors, he decided to retire at the age of 55.

"Once I retired, I started to figure out what I wanted to do, because I wasn't old. I then started to design stuff on the computer," he said.

WORK: Ray O'Donnell sitting at the computer where many of his ideas are stored away.

WORK: Ray O'Donnell sitting at the computer where many of his ideas are stored away.

With plenty of time on his hands, the 78-year-olds brain got to work on an engine design that could change the industry world-wide.

Mr O'Donnell said he spent countless hours on his unique design that looked at making compression ignition occur at the right point. He eventually patented his design in 2011 and created his own company, Varitech.

The design is "the next step in the piston engine", according to the Goolwa native - Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI).

He explained that his mechanism wouldn't just be of benefit to car engines, it would also positively impact any machine that had a crankshaft - from lawnmowers to ocean liners .

The goal for his design is to achieve "optimum efficiency". Currently, Mr O'Donnell believes that his design is roughly 20 per cent more efficient than the average engine.

"That means that you have 20 per cent savings on all fuel used in the world. We want to tell people in green energy that we have this machine that will run on 20 per cent less fuel," he said.

"It doesn't have to have petrol. Anything that will explode under compression will make it work - hydrogen is a good one."

While the idea is fantastic and offers plenty of promise, Mr O'Donnell said operating out of his Goolwa-based house on the pension creates a number of obstacles.

He explained that the design process has been undertaken without any donors, but said he would be open to any financial backers.

Potential financial support could be the difference between his dreams coming to fruition, and with years of hard work behind him, Mr O'Donnell believes he may be onto a winner.

To get in contact with Mr O'Donnell, please email: marketing@varitech-aust.com