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Summary:

The cleantech investor that’s been spreading his chips across a dozen or so biofuel startups over the past year, Vinod Khosla, has lately been focused on those aimed at making traditional engines more efficient — with or without alternative fuels. Earlier this week it was efficient […]

TrasonicThe cleantech investor that’s been spreading his chips across a dozen or so biofuel startups over the past year, Vinod Khosla, has lately been focused on those aimed at making traditional engines more efficient — with or without alternative fuels. Earlier this week it was efficient diesel engine makers EcoMotors, and today Khosla Ventures says it has made an additional investment in Transonic Combustion, a startup working on high-efficiency combustion engines.

Vinod Khosla himself will take a seat on the board of directors. The increase in his firm’s investment makes it Transonic’s largest preferred shareholder. The financials for the investment increase were not disclosed and the details of its rounds in 2007 were also not disclosed. (Gee, thanks for being so transparent.) But the move represents Khosla’s continuing need to diversify its alternative transportation portfolio beyond biofuels.

While Khosla could find the Exxon of the biofuel world one day, making today’s engines more efficient could be a much safer bet. Compared with biofuels, it doesn’t require nearly as much change in either infrastructure or the actions of consumers, and is far less dependent on subsidies. The new engine tech can also work in conjunction with alt fuels, so it makes for good synergy. And with the recent raising of the CAFE standards, automakers will be looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their entire fleets, gasoline guzzlers and all.

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  1. Sequoia-Backed Achates Fuels Cleaner Diesel « Earth2Tech Thursday, January 24, 2008

    [...] portfolio. This includes investments in EcoMotors, which is working on a 100 mpg diesel engine, and Transonic Combustion, which is working on an more efficient combustion [...]

  2. Green energy is definitely the best solution in most cases. Technology like solar energy, wind power, fuel cells, zaps electric vehicles, EV hybrids, etc have come so far recently. Green energy even costs way less than oil and gas in many cases.

  3. NxtGen Raises $15.4M to Clean Diesel Engines « Earth2Tech Thursday, October 30, 2008

    [...] on solutions. Khosla Ventures has at least two investments in startups working on better engines. Vinod Khosla himself sits on Transonic Combustion’s board and has invested in EcoMotors, a startup that says it can create a diesel engine that gets 100 mpg [...]

  4. NxtGen Raises $15.4M to Clean Diesel Engines | Alternative Energy News Thursday, October 30, 2008

    [...] on solutions. Khosla Ventures has at least two investments in startups working on better engines. Vinod Khosla himself sits on Transonic Combustion’s board and has invested in EcoMotors, a startup that says it can create a diesel engine that gets 100 mpg [...]

  5. More VC Funding for Khosla-Backed Transonic Combustion Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    [...] and Saints Capital also participated in the round. The Camarillio, Calif.-based startup, which tends to be tight-lipped on many details of its business deals, will use the money to move its system closer to [...]

  6. Achates Power Raises $19.2M for Efficient Engines Monday, January 11, 2010

    [...] (working on a two-stroke diesel engine said to deliver fuel economy of 100 MPG) and Transonic Combustion, which is developing high efficiency combustion [...]

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