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Summary:

Venture capitalists are pouring money into alternative fuels and new sources of energy to power our gasoline-guzzling automobiles. But what about a technology that could remake the good old internal combustion engine? Inventor Nik Shkolnik and his son, MIT grad student Alexander Shkolnik, are developing technology […]

Venture capitalists are pouring money into alternative fuels and new sources of energy to power our gasoline-guzzling automobiles. But what about a technology that could remake the good old internal combustion engine?

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%

If LiquidPiston can actually gain traction and its engine technology can deliver those stats, the technology could do a lot with our current car infrastructure. While everyone is waiting for biofuels and electric vehicles to finally come online, investment in doing more with what we have now, can’t be a bad thing.

By Adena DeMonte

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  1. Yawn….

    Atkinson cycle engines produced today (Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid) reach 30% efficiency. If plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) can be made to work (this is likely), then the efficiency of the I.C. engine they contain is a secondary consideration (cost would be the primary consideration).

    On the other hand, if PHEVs cannot be made to work, then an efficiency improvement of this sort for gasoline engines will do little to address our energy problems anyway.

    NOx and CO2 emissions are easily reduced by using methane as a fuel, which, by the way, can be economically produced from renewable sources as well.

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  2. That’s interesting, thanks for the link. I recently posted about the Loremo diesel car that is slated to be released in 2009. If I am doing my math correctly, which is a big if these days ;), then this thing can get 157 mpg.
    http://gopaultech.com/2007/06/loremo-fuel-efficient-diesel-car/

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