Thursday, February 21, 2008

IC Engine Lovers and Environmentalists Re-joice!

It was brought to my attention today that The Scuderi Group, LLC out of West Springfield, MA has "Solved the Rubik's Cube of Engineering," according to their website.

What they are referencing is the fact that Internal Combustion (IC) Engines using current technology operate at 33% efficiency, only using 1/3 of the available energy in each gallon of fuel that could be used to power the vehicle.

What they've done is develop a technology using a split cycle where there are two cylinders: one for the compression stroke, and one for the power stroke. The compression cylinder can use air from a storage tank linked to the cylinders, which creates the same effect as using a supercharger. This system increases efficiency to 40% and also lowers the toxic emissions generated by up to 80%. Independent tests show it also has higher power, torque, and efficiency ratings under full load than standard turbocharged engines.

Click Here for a video demonstration on how it works.

What does this mean for industry, the environment and our dependence on foreign oil?

The Scuderi website does an excellent job of addressing this pressing issue by providing some statistics:

- A 10% efficiency improvement in vehicle performance would save over $10 billion and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 140 million tons per year.

- A 20% efficiency improvement could reduce foreign oil used today by 1/3.

- Environmentalists claim that increasing the average vehicle mileage to 40 mpg would save more oil than we get from Persian Gulf imports, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and California offshore drilling combined.

What does this mean for Local Motors?

Being a small company that can operate without the bureaucracy of the large auto manufacturers, we plan to incorporate a few core competencies to gain competitive advantage. One of those advantages will be the ability to get to market quickly and do so with innovative technology and manufacturing techniques.

New technology that isn't too far a departure from existing engine technology, but far more efficient could be something we can incorporate into our designs with our limited budget (relative to the "Big Three") and time line and still deliver a game changing product that speaks to the heart of the customer, in particular, the potential customer that loves the ability to go fast, have power on hand but doesn't want to compromise that by using an alternative power source. I for one, can't stand the thought of living a life where Prius-like vehicles have replaced the high horsepower, high torque, spirited autos in order to help the environment, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

There has to be a way to have both, and this could very well be it.

By the way, this technology can be used in all forms of transportation using an engine with pistons, which leads us towards our goal of sustainability in methods of mobility and mobility systems.


Dannykim8379 said...

That needs to be the LM engine. Holy Mackerel!

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