- Pinnacle Engines is working on an engine that "will be up to 50% more efficient than today's power plants,"
- EcoMotors, "a Detroit area start-up backed by Khosla Ventures(1) and Bill Gates," and
- Achates Power of San Diego
In addition I recently read that both the Engine Research Group of University of Wisconsin-Madison is working on dual fuel engines to achieve high efficiencies and low emissions. An example of dual fuel is engine uses 90% gasoline on high load (acceleration), 90% diesel on low load (cruise) and 100% diesel at idle. Fuel efficiency improved 20% to 25% or large engines for trucks and heavy equipment.
At the same time and the Oak Ridge National Lab is conducting similar experiments using 1.9 liter Euro spec GM diesel engines with good results.
These are all positive and telling signs that the "classic" engine and the automobile are nowhere near their "dawn" days.
(1) Vinod Koshla, of Khosla Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. His profile in The Economist is worth reading. I liked this quote of his: “ENVIRONMENTALISTS are fiddling while Rome burns. They get in the way with silly stuff like asking people to walk more, drive less. That is an increment of 1-2% change. We need 1,000% change if billions of people in China and India are to enjoy a Western, energy-rich lifestyle.” Forget today’s green technologies like electric cars, wind turbines, solar cells and smart grids. None meets what Mr Khosla calls the “Chindia price.”