The internal combustion engine gets a bad rap these days. With electric vehicle technology finally coming to market in meaningful ways, oil prices spiking, global warming looming, and "green" sentiments pervading American culture, motors driven by exploding carbon chains have become something of a pariah. But the truth is that we're stuck with the internal combustion engine, and the petroleum-derived fuels that power it, for the next couple of decades, at least. But that doesn't mean we can't still trim fuel consumption and reduce emissions across the board. Designers large and small are building wholly new engines and components that slash fuel requirements, waste less heat energy, and squeeze the most out of every BTU, every engine stroke, and every iota of chemical energy that physics will allow.
Indeed, the internal combustion engine is far from dead. In automotive design shops and university labs across the world the gasoline engine is experiencing something of a technological renaissance.
Electric cars haven’t killed the engine as we know it, yet. In fact, the century-old technology is getting stronger every year
By Lawrence UlrichPosted 05.06.2010 at 5:07 pm 30 Comments
With all the focus on hybrids and electric cars, you might assume that the internal combustion (IC) engine was headed for extinction. Yet more than 99 percent of the world's new cars still use one. That includes conventional hybrids, whose batteries and electric motors derive their energy entirely from gasoline. Even those automakers who are most bullish on alternative energy say that the IC engine will remain their primary propulsion system for decades.
And that's not necessarily bad news. Some IC powerplants achieve near-zero emissions of pollution-generating compounds (they will still emit carbon dioxide), while others can generate 600 horsepower more efficiently than ever. As governments begin regulating CO2 emissions, the latest trend sees automakers downsizing engines without losing the power and smoothness that drivers expect. Here, three intriguing approaches that will reach showrooms around the globe in the coming years.
By Tom ClynesPosted 07.03.2006 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
The potential is huge, but the transition to the much-ballyhooed hydrogen economy won't be easy. Pure hydrogen isn't a naturally occurring fuel, and today the cheapest way to make it is from oil or natural gas, which does nothing to offset CO2 emissions.