Conventional gasoline engines are terribly inefficient things. Only 13% of the energy of the fuel actually moves the car. 62% is lost in the engine as waste heat, and driveline losses, accessories, and idling also reduce the efficiency.
Transonic Combustion is planning to build automobile engines with improved efficiency obtained through heating and pressurizing gasoline before injecting it into the combustion chamber. "This puts it into a supercritical state that allows for very fast and clean combustion, which in turn decreases the amount of fuel needed to propel a vehicle," according to MIT Technology Review. A transonic test vehicle achieved 64 MPG in highway driving, compared to a 48 MPG hybrid Prius, and running at a steady cruising speed of 50 mph, the test vehicle achieved 98 MPG.
Like diesel and HCCI, the Transonic Combustion technology operates without needing a spark plug. Timing software also further enhances the operating efficiency of the system. Transonic injection is being developed for use with gasoline engines at present, but will also be compatible with advanced low carbon footprint bio-fuels in the future. Transonic expects its system will be comparable in cost to other current high-end fuel injection systems.
Because of the higher operating pressure, the longevity and durability of the engine will be important considerations the company will need to address. The company plans to build its production facility in 2013 and expects to be building engines for production vehicles in 2014.
written by Anna, March 17, 2010
written by Phil Bangs, March 19, 2010
written by cleantuesday, March 29, 2010
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