Monday, July 23, 2007

Liquid Piston

Inventor Nik Shkolnik and his son, MIT grad student Alexander Shkolnik, are developing technology that aims to improve the internal combustion engine’s fuel efficiency by 250%, according to a release. And their startup, LiquidPiston, just raised $1.25 million in its first venture capital investment round led by Adams Capital Mangement and Northwater Capital.

These funds add to an existing $70,000 Phase I grant from the Army Small Business Innovation Research program. LiquidPiston was also a runner up in MIT’s recent $100K Entrepreneurship competition. While the release notes that the technology will increase efficiency up to 250% and could make it possible for gasoline-powered cars to get 100 mpg, the website notes that the engine, compared to Otto or Diesel engines of similar power specifications, will:

* significantly improve engine efficiency, reaching 50%
* reduce NOx emissions by 70%
* reduce CO2 emissions by 50%
I don't have an educated opinion on its feasibility, but if it can improve the fuel efficiency of ICE by even 50%, this would be a breakthrough technology. Hybrids only improve gas mileage by around 25%, so this would have a much larger impact. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will work out.

via earth2tech


Anonymous said...

It's all about trying to use all that heat energy that is normally lost as a result of combustion. The modern engine is extremely efficient at burning the gasoline completely, so this gizmo doesn't pretend to do that. I must say, this gizmo has been around for several years now and nobody's been interested - that tells nme the engine is simply not practical.
I'd say that the development of batteries has come along far enough to stop wasting money trying to make fossil fuel engines
more efficient. This I consider a waste of time and money much better spent on electric technology.

Fat Knowledge said...


I too am looking forward to the day when we can have electric vehicles that run on batteries.

But, I am not as optimistic as you that this day has already come. Looking at the Tesla Roadster the estimates of battery costs on the car are $20,000 or more.

Until the day that a battery is available that can give a car a 100 mile range and cost less than $5000, I think the ICE vehicles will be the dominant form of transportation. And as such, I think it is still worthwhile to try and improve the efficiencies of ICEs as much as possible.

But, I hope there is also lots of research being conducted on how to improve batteries as I think battery powered EVs will eventually take the market.

Anonymous said...

Compressed air is the way to go.
if the air is preheated with say a small wood burner then the range can be extended greatly.

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