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50% Efficiency Boost From New Fuel Injection System

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the only-four-years-out dept.

Earth 379

chudnall notes a Technology Review story on a new gas engine injection system that promises increased efficiency of up to 50%. "The key is heating and pressurizing gasoline before injecting it into the combustion chamber, says Mike Rocke, Transonic's vice president of business development. This puts it into a supercritical state that allows for very fast and clean combustion, which in turn decreases the amount of fuel needed to propel a vehicle. The company also treats the gasoline with a catalyst that 'activates' it, partially oxidizing it to enhance combustion."

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Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412354)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

If you post before this (0, Redundant)

Xiph (723935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412368)

then you haven't read the damn article!

Get back to it!
It's not just a concept, they have a prototype too.
their test vehicle got 64 miles/gallon, that's around 27km/l

Re:If you post before this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412398)

Nice try, but we call it 3.7 liters / 100km ;)

Re:If you post before this (3, Funny)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412478)

That's almost a full US Gallon. You could drive 100km on a jug of milk.... Well if you could run a car on milk. That would give new meaning to milking it for all it's worth.

Re:If you post before this (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412870)

I drink three gallons of milk on my way into work each morning...

Re:If you post before this (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412938)

You could drive 100km on a jug of milk

I once went over 200km with a gallon of milk.

I think it was bad by the time I got home cuz the wife was real mad.

Re:If you post before this (1)

kliklik (322798) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412430)

or 3.7 l/100km

I'm sceptical (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412504)

Actually, by the end of TFA (which I'll assume _you_ have read before making a RTFA demand of others) they get even more generous with the claims, and say it gets 98 MPG at 50 mph. (I.e., in a range where, sorry, but it's not _that_ aerodynamic.) I.e., basically 2.4l per 100 km on the highway.

I'm sceptical of anything which proposes to simply double the amount of energy extracted from that gasoline, because, well, physics is physics. The efficiency of the cycle is capped the hard way by the max and ambient temperature difference, and short of inventing an engine which runs at thousands of degrees, the alternative would be that conventional engines were spewing out half the gas unburned. Which just isn't the case.

Re:I'm sceptical (2, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412652)

there's plenty of safety risks in partially oxidizing the gasoline prior to injection for combustion, too. That's like asking for a higher risk of gas fire from a frontal collision.

Re:I'm sceptical (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412824)

Y'know, I don't really have a hard time believing that it could get 100mpg at 50mph... 50mph isn't *that* fast, for one, and for two, there's cars on the market today which are able to get 70mpg at those speeds. Even my 3-year old Chev aveo is able to pull about 50mpg at those speeds if I do it right. (arrow-straight, flat road, a/c off, windows closed, manual transmission) And I'm not talking about EPA posted results, I'm talking about real-world testing that I've done in my own car with me driving.

There's even an amatuer sport of sorts that comes from this, called hypermiling [wikipedia.org] . Some of the better hypermilers are able to get over 100mpg out of a car like mine, and the world record is over 200mpg out of a Honda Insight. So no, 100mpg out of a production car isn't that astonishing or out to lunch to me.

Re:I'm sceptical (5, Informative)

Kotten (1416929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412838)

I'm sceptical of anything which proposes to simply double the amount of energy extracted...

They claimed 50% increase of efficiency.

...the alternative would be that conventional engines were spewing out half the gas unburned. Which just isn't the case.

The efficiency of combustion engines are ~20% so you could say that more than half is lost (80% actually). An increase with 50% would but it in the 30% range which seems reasonable to me.

Re:I'm sceptical (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412896)

Is this an acceptable place to rant about the silly l/100km efficiency measurement? Why not use km/l? This numbers are still in a usable range, and it avoids use of an arbitrary or non-standard constant (100). What measurement do you use in Europe for 'mileage'?

I'm no so sceptical (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412936)

This is a novel application of existing ideas. Some of this technology is in use on diesel engines (compression ignition, direct injection, timing direct injection to time ignition) and heat regeneration is in use in all power plants, and some major industrial processes, a lot of ovens and forges use exhaust to preheat combustion air and fuel.

Heat regeneration is already used in cars through exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technologies.

One of the larger losses in an engine is "pumping" or simply moving air through the engine for combustion, and exhaust out of the engine. In the article they call it "throttling losses"

The catalyst can be as simple as a coating on the injector nozzle as it enters the chamber, partial oxidizing does sound dodgy though.

They are also comparing to a rather small vehicle, the Prius, so I think their numbers are plausible, not too sure about this going mainstream at this kind of efficiency though. Automakers and oil companies will likely screw up the implementation, and lawmakers will regulate inefficiencies into existence, and the system will have to be proven safe and not a bomb on wheels, especially in the case of accidents.

Phil

Actually, that's why one should be skeptical (2, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413114)

Actually, that's exactly why one should be skeptical: at heart it's just a Diesel engine. Using a Diesel engine with gasoline isn't even a new idea, such engines already exist. So exactly what is the magic bullet there?

And improving oxidation doesn't do much, unless your engine ejects a large quantity of fuel unburned. What limits the efficiency of either the Otto or Diesel cycles (either theoretical or in actual cars) isn't their failing to burn most of the gasoline. So pre-oxidizing and catalysts to improve oxidation can't even begin to account for the claimed efficiency improvement.

Re:I'm sceptical (3, Informative)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413050)

It is right to be skeptical, but the theoretical efficiency of a typical Diesel is in the 50% range.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/thermo/diesel.html [gsu.edu]

This thing is not a Diesel engine, but it looks like it might be similar to one.

Re:I'm sceptical (2, Insightful)

knarf (34928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413180)

I.e., basically 2.4l per 100 km on the highway.

So? Both Volkswagen as well as Fiat have produced cars for years now which can do 100 km on less than 3 liter of diesel at that speed. Don't forget that the efficiency of a diesel stems partly from the high compression ratio and the absense of a throttle valve. It is certainly possible to create a petrol engine which can achieve this level of efficiency, even though the energy density of petrol is slightly lower than that of diesel. As to whether the system this article is about is snake oil or not I don't know but there is nothing impossible about driving 100 km on less than 3 liters of fuel. Or 2 for that matter.

Re:If you post before this (4, Insightful)

Socguy (933973) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412534)

No, they REPORT that they get 64 miles/gallon. Who verified this? Lots of startups make outrageous claims to suck in investors. Is this under optimal conditions? In the lab, the Prius gets amazing mileage too. How heavy is their prototype? That's one funky, aerodynamic looking car... why not use a standard automobile... you know, something that might actually be driven by you on your way to work.

Oh, but I'm sure when the technology never quite makes it to market, die hard conspiracy nuts will claim some Oil company bought the technology only to destroy it so they can sell more oil.

Re:If you post before this (2, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412770)

64 mpg isn't that amazing. My car manages about 65 miles per british gallon on diesel. 64 miles per american gallon on petrol is better than that, but within the realms of the possible.

Re:If you post before this (2, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412850)

Oh, but I'm sure when the technology never quite makes it to market, die hard conspiracy nuts will claim some Oil company bought the technology only to destroy it so they can sell more oil.

A lesser known fact is that most conspiracy nuts work for oil companies to discredit those who discover the real conspiracies. /ducks

Re:If you post before this (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412990)

An even lesser known fact is that most oil companies work for the conspiracy nuts to fund their conspiracy websites with blood money from Iraq. /geese

Re:If you post before this (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413056)

The VW Bluemotion outperforms the Prius .... it has a conventional engine, but it just loses all the weight possible, has a very efficient engine and is designed to be aerodynamic, and so it uses less fuel, and produces less CO2 than a hybrid ....

I suspect they are "cheating" in the same way ....

Re:If you post before this (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412626)

If you post before this ... then you haven't read the damn article!

Unless you believe in supporting the media you enjoy, and therefore subscribe. Then you've had a good 10 or 15 minutes to read the article before it got Slashdotted.

Same old snake oil (1, Insightful)

Cmdr-Absurd (780125) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412370)

Same snake oil that was being pitched at county fairs in the 1970s.
Nothing to see here, please move along.

Re:Same old snake oil (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412498)

Same snake oil that was being pitched at county fairs in the 1970s. Nothing to see here, please move along.

Well, I don't understand how their scam is supposed to work if you're right. From the article

The company has demonstrated the technology in its own test engine, and says it is currently testing it with three automakers. One key question is the impact the high pressures and temperatures will have on how long the engine lasts, Rocke says. The company, which is supported by venture-capital investments from Venrock and Khosla Ventures, plans to manufacture its system itself, rather than licensing the technology. It plans to build its first factory in 2013, and to introduce the technology into production cars by 2014.

So pretty much I just have to sit back and wait for the major automakers to offer these cars? Sounds like the fresh country rube is insulated from the snake oil salesman by the car manufacturers who apparently are prepared to buy into it. On top of that, it looks like they're not looking to license this technology to these companies but instead build a plant to manufacture them. So, they're at quite a bit of risk and are probably pretty interested in seeing this thing through if they want a piece of the manufacturing action. If you're selling snake oil, you usually just want to be selling it and not heavily invested in it.

If you have a citation of high pressure transonic combustion in the 1970s, I'd love to read about it.

A lot of snake oil is sold to the investors (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412596)

The age where the country rube was the only mark of the snake oil salesmen... well, probably never even existed. A lot of snake oil is sold to the investor who wants to pay for that manufacturing, or subsidize the research or whatever. See the Phantom console, or several cars supposed to run on water or even urine, etc. And it's not even a new thing. If you go back as far as the middle ages or even antiquity, you'll find the likes of the alchemist who sold the promise of endless gold or eternal youth to whoever just invests in his research, or mis-haps like the South Sea Bubble where you were supposed to get endless riches if you just invest in someone's expedition there.

Basically "but they plan to built it" is no reassurance and never was. It can simply mean they have a rube with deeper pockets in mind.

Re:Same old snake oil (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412624)

I do agree that this has probably been known for some time and are now bringing out into the open, but I do not think they would come out with something like this where a car would be brought into the garage to change the injection system to get better gas mileage, and then you don't get your better gas mileage. I think it is sad that they are now bringing it out only being forced to by obama, saying we need better gas mileage for the gas we use....but it is still a trick to remain stuck using oil instead of moving to electric.

Re:Same old snake oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412638)

Looks like they are trying to get the engine to run on a very lean mixture.
The 50% efficiency increase will probably only be possible under very strict conditions if it's possible at all.

Re:Same old snake oil (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412644)

...of course the downside to supercharged fuel is the tendency of the car to explode upon the slightest impact... ...which is no downside, if you're in the movie business where everything explodes upon the slightest impact...

Re:Same old snake oil (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413062)

Bah, the technology is fine. They put it in our cop cars and they work fine. Good thing too, since I'm just a few days from retirement and I've got this new partner. Nope, no explosions here.

Re:Same old snake oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412706)

did you people even scan the article?

Efficient exotic: Transonic Combustion put its new fuel-injection technology into this sports car, which weighs about as much as a Toyota Prius hybrid and has similar aerodynamics. It’s not a hybrid, but it gets better gas mileage than a Prius.
Credit: Transonic Combustion

Re:Same old snake oil (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413086)

And now what people will do is take this technology and replace Hybrid technology and not actually be smart with it and use it with hybrid technology to get even better gains.

Re:Same old snake oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412782)

Yeah, "heating and pressurizing" gasoline to increase volatility wouldn't be any better than current propane cars. And an efficiency increas of 50% would imply that ordinary cars fail to burn 33% of their fuel, which is a ridiculous claim.

Running Very Lean Re:Same old snake oil (5, Interesting)

AJ Mexico (732501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412796)

It's been known for a long time that engines will run very efficiently if you run them very lean. In TFA, you will see that's what these guys are doing. The problem is that the engine then runs very hot, and the thing wears out in short order, or you have to make it out of unobtanium. They are also using unusually high pressures and temperatures. In the fine print, you will see they still have some work to do on verifying that the engines will last very long under this treatment.

So, yes, it will get great miles/gallon, but probably not very many miles/engine.

Re:Same old snake oil (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412828)

Fuel injection wasn't very widespread in the 1970s. The snake oil then was a carburator, not fuel injector. I knew a mechanic who actually got hold of the plans and built one; it increased his gasoline mileage slightly (it was supposed to triple it), but the car performed like a dog. It did NOT actually increase efficiency.

If an engine's efficiency is increased, not only will you get better mileage but better performance as well, although you can increase mileage without increasing efficiency (back in the old days it simply took a smaller carburator). There have been a LOT of engineering enhancements since the '70s. I had a '74 Pontiac with a four barrel carb, dual exhaust, milled heads on a 350 CI V8, it got 19 mpg tops on the highway (stick shift). That car was fast, would burn rubber in all gears. The car I'm driving now is an '02 Concorde. It's as roomy as the Pontiac, nearly as fast (automatic tranny, will burn rubber without a clutch to dump), but has a far smaller V6. At 50 mph I get 35 mpg, 28-30 at 68 mph (that's 100 kph for those of you in more civilized parts of the world; 1 km = .6 m iirc), and gets up to 20 mpg in the city, depending on traffic lights, etc.

THAT'S increased efficiencey. Today's automotive engineers are awesome.

Re:Same old snake oil (3, Funny)

dziban303 (540095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412914)

Stop being so cynical! It's clear to me and other freethinkers that this invention, coupled with Roger's Patent Home Fusion Contraptor, the Bloom device, and the Smithe Perpetual Motion Machine will lead us to energy independence! Free renewable power for one and all!

Re:Same old snake oil (4, Funny)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412964)

No no they don't propose using a different oil ... just preprocessing the gasoline ... I mean, who can imagine a car running one snake oil? How many snakes to the mile would that take?

Not just "similar" to a diesel (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412382)

It is a diesel.

When is the two-cycle version coming out?

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (0)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412440)

Eh, no. It doesn't use a spark plug for ignition, having preprocessed the fuel so that it self-ignites. That, however, does not make the fuel diesel fuel, as diesel is another refinery product altogether from gasoline.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (3, Informative)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412588)

Eh, no.

Eh, yes.

That, however, does not make the fuel diesel fuel, as diesel is another refinery product altogether from gasoline.

The fuel is named after the engine, not vice versa (i.e. it's a fuel to work in diesel engines). Diesel engines can use many different fuels.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412632)

You've got it backwards. Diesel engines aren't "Diesel" because they use diesel fuel, diesel fuel is "diesel" because it is the fuel used in standard Diesel engines. An engine in which fuel self-ignites without a spark plug is, by definition, a Diesel, whether or not it uses diesel fuel.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (1)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412840)

I always thought the definition of a Diesel engine was that it used the heat of compressing the chamber to ignite the spark. In this engine it sounds like they are heating the fuel before it goes into the chamber.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413100)

Yes, but that doesn't ignite the fuel outside the cylinder. It's preheated, but it's still the compression heat in the cylinder that causes combustion, making it a Diesel.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (1)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413200)

Are you sure? The article doesn't say how hot the preheated fuel gets, other than it is supercritical. I can't find properties tables to see where this lies.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413174)

Yes they are heating the fuel, but they're also heating the air charge simply by compressing it- I think they are using a combination of the two to achieve the temperatures needed for self ignition. The injection process will always have some cooling involved, since you have to have a pressure differential to get the fuel into the chamber, and as it goes into the chamber, it will lose some temperature.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (2, Informative)

Brackney (257949) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413028)

It would be better to have asked if the article describes a homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) or diffusion burn process. There's a huge difference between them in terms of emissions and thermal efficiency. In the traditional diesel cycle, fuel combusts along a locally "rich" flame front that propagates outwards from the kernel. Since it's locally rich, you get particulate and NOx formulation. In HCCI, you have a uniform (lean) distribution of fuel and air that combusts simultaneously with lower emissions and higher efficiency as a byproduct. Both are compression ignition processes, but one is far more efficient than the other. The trick with HCCI has always been air/fuel ratio and combustion timing control and the large number of variables that can affect both. Playing with inlet conditions including the equivalence ratio, EGR rate, intake temperature and pressure, and adding "exotic" diluents are all potential control options. This system may be using one or more of them to achieve HCCI.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413142)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Diesel [wikipedia.org]
Diesel is named after the inventor of the engine. The fuel was named after it was found to operate the engine well.

Phil

Fuel does not a diesel make (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412748)

Compression ignition is the hallmark of a diesel engine. Some of Rudolph Diesel's initial work used coal dust as a fuel (!), injected by a blast of compressed air. I can imagine he ran into problems with wear, ash buildup, and fuel delivery.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412958)

There are two meanings for diesel, the fuel and the process of burning the fuel. When your gasoline engine knocks from improper timing or not enough octane, it's said to be "dieseling". If it has no spark plug, then it's a gasoline diesel rather than a fuel oil diesel.

Oops, correction: (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413000)

Kerosine, not fuel oil. Diesel engines run on kerosine, and kerosine for motor fuel is called "diesel" because that's what kind engine it burns in. The fuel is named for the engine, not the other way around.

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (4, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412482)

Yep, sounds exactly what it is.

Transonic's injection system varies from direct injection in two ways: it uses supercritical fluids and doesn't require a spark to ignite the fuel. The supercritical fluid mixes quickly with air when it's injected into the cylinder.

Not sure what is considered 'super critical' but diesel fuel under 180 MPa/26,000 psi is pretty super critical to me.

Once the fuel is injected into the piston, the heat and pressure are enough to cause the fuel to combust without a spark (similar to what happens in diesel engines), which also helps provide fast, uniform combustion. Ignition can be timed to happen just when the piston is reaching the optimal point, so it can convert as much of the energy in the gasoline into mechanical movement as possible, without wasting energy by heating up the combustion chamber walls, as happens in conventional technologies. The company has developed proprietary software that lets the system adjust the injection precisely depending on the load put on the engine.

So it sounds exactly like a diesel engine or VW's TSI gasoline engine. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not just "similar" to a diesel (1)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412804)

Not sure what is considered 'super critical' but diesel fuel under 180 MPa/26,000 psi is pretty super critical to me.

Supercritical is when a substance is above its critical point where the liquid and gas phase lose their distinction. This requires both high pressure and high temperature. So fuel at 180 MPa may not be supercritical. It depends on its temperature.

It's probably just lab figures but (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412384)

That sounds damned impressive.

Re:It's probably just lab figures but (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412834)

I think I'd like to invest in them. If you want, we could put all our money together and stake a more substantial claim in them. I'd be willing to collect.

Those "up to" words again. (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412386)

I hate "up to". Anything that claims an improvement of "up to" something is a essentially misleading. You won't get a real world improvement anywhere close.

Congratulations. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412400)

You've just invented direct injection, again.

Re:Congratulations. (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412450)

They have added a new twist: They're vaporizing and cracking the fuel before injection. What's being injected is not a liquid fuel mist. It's a hot gas.

Let me have doubts... (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412402)

Let me have some doubts about anything that boasts more than 10% economy. All those fuel saving devices are usually scams.

I'd like it to be real, but please, have some critical thought before posting a story like this...

No, didn't RTFA.

Re:Let me have doubts... (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413058)

This isn't a fuel saving device, this is a different engine, with enough different about it, that I believe that there is potential. On the other hand, it is mostly a variant on a Diesel cycle engine (note, I did not say Diesel fuel)- direct injection, with gasoline and no spark.

Yeah . . . riiiiight !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412408)

Call it what it is

contradicts itself (0)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412418)

The article starts out saying it can increase efficiency up to 50%. Later it says efficiency can be improved on the order of 20%. Which is it. Hate to say it but this is a classic red-flag.

Does not contradict itself (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412474)

From the article:

> If it works as promised, the new technology would improve fuel economy by
> far more than these other options, some of which can improve efficiency on
> the order of 20 percent.

Thus the 20% number refers to other technologies (which not to say that the article may not be hype for other reasons).

Re:Does not contradict itself (2, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412816)

Note to self: You're an ass. OK, now that that's over, I skimmed the article at work and totally missed that part of the sentence. I wish I could mod myself to -1 right now...

This would seem like a great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412426)

"This puts it into a supercritical state that allows for very fast and clean combustion, which in turn decreases the amount of fuel needed to propel a vehicle."

Because as we know 33% of petrol that you put into a car passes straight through the engine and into the exhaust, and.. oh wait

Doesn't solve the oil problem (0, Troll)

sandertje (1748324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412428)

Even if it greatly reduces fuel usage, this still won't solve the energy problem the world faces. New combustion engines aren't the future; renewable energy is.

Re:Doesn't solve the oil problem (2, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412682)

In all fairness though, the renewable plans for transportation do include combustion engines.

The world seems to be aiming at two or three concepts:

1. Biofuels. Same old engine, sustainable fuel.
2. Electric engines. Sustainable electricity, new fuel tank, and (for cars at least) new engine.
3. Fuel cells. New fuel, new tank, and (for cars at least) new engine. Still in research stage it seems.

It seems that option 1 is the easiest to implement, because most of the existing infrastructure will be needed.
In the end, it'll be a transition, and it looks like we're developing all 2-3 in parallel.

Re:Doesn't solve the oil problem (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413098)

Ehh. Only option one is a combustion engine.

Number 2 and 3 are the same. Fuel Cells are electrical generators that can use a liquid power source. Batteries are electrical power storage mediums. They are both electric cars, and so is the Chevy volt (it just has a petrol generator on it).

And bio-fuels are well a bad idea. They are in essence very very low efficiency solar power. Their only benefit is that they fit in (almost perfectly) into our current fossil fuel based transportation system.

The versatility of a combustion engine, and the power density and portability of petrol/diesel will last for a VERY long time. Bio fuels CAN NOT SCALE! The ideas behind them will be scrapped but they will remain a very minor player.

Re:Doesn't solve the oil problem (2, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412688)

The technology (assuming it works, which is a big if at this point) may be applicable to renewable fuels as well, particularly if those biomass-based gasoline/diesel analogs ever work out.

The thing is, you're never going to really get away from some kind of combustible fuel for some methods of transportation. Yeah, trains can be electrified, everyday commuter cars equipped with batteries, and large enough ships equipped with nuclear power... but large trucks, construction equipment, "traveling" cars used for longer distances, smaller seagoing vessels, and pretty much any aircraft larger than a Cherokee or 172 will still need something combustible, whether it's something like biodiesel, or ethanol, or algae-based. Weight and volume restrictions pretty much require something with a high energy density (and the weight reduction with consumption benefits aircraft); you won't find those with fuel cells or batteries or cryogenic hydrogen tanks.

There are several promising biomass-based fuels in development; Embry-Riddle will soon be testing a sorghum-derived fuel with better performance than regular avgas, and without the lead. Combine this with more efficient IC engines, and you'll not only reduce emissions output (carbon, toxins, particulates) but also reduce the dependency on foreign energy.

Re:Doesn't solve the oil problem (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412712)

New combustion engines aren't the future; renewable energy is.

Like biodiesel/biofuel, which gets leaps and bounds closer to break-even as fuel efficiency increases?

Re:Doesn't solve the oil problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412776)

Sustainable POPulation is.

50% efficient car engines? Now that's news! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412432)

"50% Efficiency Boost"
"promises increased efficiency of up to 50%. "

Please, /., learn the difference between "50% efficiency" and "a 50% increase in efficiency". I come here to get away from the slapdash treatment of science in the mainstream press.

Re:50% efficient car engines? Now that's news! (2, Informative)

Brian Feldman (350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412708)

"50% Efficiency Boost"
"promises increased efficiency of up to 50%. "

Please, /., learn the difference between "50% efficiency" and "a 50% increase in efficiency". I come here to get away from the slapdash treatment of science in the mainstream press.

What the fuck are you talking about? The "X times more than is not the same as X times as many" fallacy does not apply here.

Re:50% efficient car engines? Now that's news! (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413140)

Example:

The theoretical maximum efficiency of a given engine cycle may be N. This is the perfect no-losses engine.

Now, let's say that the current best-performing engine may run at an efficiency of 41% of the theoretical maximum (number chosen for illustrative purposes only; I don't know what the real value would be). The new design may run at an efficiency of 50% of theoretical maximum, which is about 20% better than the current one. That's a lot different than saying the new engine is 50% better than the old one, which would implies a new efficiency of 62% or so of theoretical.

Of course, if we set theoretical maximum as a percentage (ofcomplete energy conversion), it gets more complicated, and may even be below 50% itself.

Not that impressive (1)

JiffyPop (318506) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412448)

That is a lot of effort to make a diesel engine run on gasoline... I'd guess the 50% improvement includes increasing the cylinder compression ratio and excludes the fuel pre-treatment. This won't displace gasoline direct-injection systems in the market.

oh boy! (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412454)

just in time. my mr. fusion is out of beer.

magnets? (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412466)

Also, if you put rare earth magnets on your fuel lines, it streamlines the molecules as they go into the engine.

Re:magnets? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412832)

Yeah, I remember on Mythbusters (OK, not the most scientific source, but still), they evaluated stuff like this and (GASP!) found that none of them work. At the end, the remarked it would be hard to see huge increases in fuel efficiency when >98% of the fuel is already burned anyway. Go figure.

Re:magnets? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412884)

Also, if you put rare earth magnets on your fuel lines, it streamlines the molecules as they go into the engine

They were proven to slow down the flow and cluster the explosive molecules around the magnet, slowing the combustion down.

(the magnet trick is snakeoil.)

Don't overlook other areas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412500)

For instance, what about doing this to cigarettes? Compress the tobacco, and heat it.

STOP! THIEF !! 'E TOOK MY IP !!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412542)

The world has been unable to stop the open sharing of intellectual property on computer networks. It simply does not want to face the fact that it is so easy to share content. All efforts to police such activities are futile. The only way to keep digital files from being freely shared around the world is to prevent them from being sold in the first place.

Not digitizing the contents of magazines is the best way to protect their contents. Once vinyl recording was transferred to a digital format, the rest was history. The music industry was toast. The best copy protection for music now is live performance. In other words, if you want to protect something, don't digitize it. Yes, I guess this advice is a bit late.

So, what do we do now? If you talk to network administrators--the ones who look at the big, big picture--they'll tell you that the exchange of bootleg music and movies is chewing up more and more bandwidth every year. All of this in the face of various RIAA and MPAA (MAFIA) lawsuits. New laws and onerous ideas aren't helping.

At least the movie industry can up the ante. I don't care if you have a digital version at home or not, you're not going to get a copy of Avatar in IMAX--at least not one with the full impact of the big screen. So the industry has gone gah gah for 3D, hoping that the public will play along. So far it's working.

The music industry has no such plan B. Older media is even more clueless. Their plan B is to embrace the digital medium and see what happens. Here's will happen: 90 percent of the metro daily newspapers will stop printing. And their online counterparts will never make money. Ninety percent of all print magazines will either go out of business, consolidate, or go fully online, barely eking out a living

Print media cannot catch up with the fast-paced online world. Publications pay too much for Website design that is antiquated from the outset. They still think that it's viable to maintain layers and layers of management. There has never been a proper model for effectively advertising on the Internet in a magazine format. It's been one big experiment since CNet developed the functional banner ad in the mid-1990s.

Here's what newspapers and magazines should have done, beginning around 1998, when the writing was first on the wall. (Isn't hindsight great?)

1. Get ready to sell all real property--especially large office buildings.

2. Establish an online publication in direct competition with your print edition. Offer distinct and different content in each. Use open source software and hire a team of experts (two smart guys) to maintain and develop the software.

3. Never put the print publication online.

4. Get ready to fire everyone and shutter the print publication. Keep the best employees (as in content producers) and move them to the online publication.

5. Cut up middle managers. Sell property. Increase the writing staff to improve the product. Make everyone work from home over a VPN.

6. Pump up the print publication and get ready to sell or shutter it at a moment's notice if things begin to slide.

7. Establish and move all the online people into virtual offices and work-from-home environments. Sell everything. Go 100 percent virtual with eveything outsourced and backed up.

A. With a single layer of editorial control, establish a virtual office environment with telecommuting, teleconferencing, and a VPN ring for the employees who can work from anywhere in the world.

Z. Now run both the print and your online publication that way! And sell off the print version if it cannot be sustained as a stand alone property. Now you can go 100 percent online.

Of course there's more to it than this. And the idea of having no office and no management layers is something most American businesspeople just cannot cope with. You'd think media folks who spend most of their days hunkered over a computer could handle it, but they all seem to still yearn for that noisy newsroom of 1930s movies. That's just a relic of the past. "Copy boy!"

It may take a generation or two, but the virtual publication outlined above will be the only model that works. I shake my head as I see more and more office buildings go up.

Good luck filling them with anything but musty air.

Re:STOP! THIEF !! 'E TOOK MY IP !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412676)

Contrary to the deceitful puppet act they like to put up in front of audiences, the Open Source movement has not in the least forgotten the concept of "stealing":
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=stealing+gpl+code
  Results 1 - 10 of about 37,500 for stealing gpl code

Is it still.... after.... (1)

zerospeaks (1467571) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412550)

Is it still 50% more efficient, after you add in the energy required to "heat and pressurize and treat" the fuel? All of that must be factored into the efficiency of an energy producing engine. If it is indeed true that they have gotten 50% more efficiency, then that would put the internal combustion engine (which has an average of 14% efficiency) to 21% efficiency. Wind turbines are 33%. I am still amazed at the overwhelming use of the internal combustion engine. The only reason why is because for so long oil was so cheap the engines could afford to be inefficient. Well, those days are over my friends.

"...vice president of business development" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412556)

So is this guy an actual scientist, or someone just fishing for VC?

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412572)

New in the News....gas companies announce a 50% INCREASE in gas prices....

NEGATED!

NEXT!

As a former mechanic, I have a few questions (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412578)

How much are replacement injectors using this technology going to cost? How much are other various parts going to cost (wiring harness that connects to the injectors, etc.)? How big will the heating and pressurizing mechanism be? (although based on the pic in TFA, it looks like it may piggy back right on the injector...which would raise the cost to replace them by a LOT) How much would that cost to replace? Would it be available only through the OEM company, or will other companies be able to build their own?

All things to think about.

you left out "how often to replace/clean" (0)

r00t (33219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412732)

I can totally see this working great until it just fails. It's putting high temperature high pressure fuel through a tiny hole. Either you clog the hole with deposits, or you erode it out.

Not a Diesel (3, Informative)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412656)

People keep saying this is a diesel engine, but it is not. In a diesel engine, the air in the chamber is heated by compresssion up to something hot enough to ignite the fuel. In this design they are heating the fuel and pressurizing it before they inject it into the chamber, so that it turns to vapor as soon as it is injected into the chamber. Someone seemed to be making fun of the term 'supercritical' but that is the word for vapor that has completely transformed from a liquid and has excess internal energy. This is very different from spraying the gas with an atomizer.

Re:Not a Diesel (2, Informative)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412888)

Actually, I have the definition of supercritical wrong. I had confounded it with superheated. Supercritical is a substance that is above its critical point, where the liquid and gas phases combine.

Re:Not a Diesel (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413126)

Actually, I have the definition of supercritical wrong. I had confounded it with superheated. Supercritical is a substance that is above its critical point, where the liquid and gas phases combine.

Supercritical temp for toluene is only about 600 degrees F... not a heck of a lot hotter than a kitchen oven. I wonder how hot this thing gets. Your typo may inadvertently be correct. I'm curious how this technology handles different gasoline mixes over time and location. For example, in some states, "old gas magically turns into varnish" but that never happens in Wisconsin, probably because we get a different mix.

Admittedly I've never heard a good explanation of why, if some brands/mixes of gas magically turns into varnish merely by being stored, genuine hardware store varnish costs a heck of a lot more per gallon than gas.

I am a secret Beta Tester..... (2, Funny)

oldmeddler (1614805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412672)

...for Transonic. I also installed an HHO system and a 100 mpg carburetor that I built from some 1932 plans along with a tornado action swirl generator in the intake. My mileage and horsepower have improved so much that the car will run 87 mph in 1st gear at idle and gets over 257 mpg. It runs on Burger King bio-diesel.

Re:I am a secret Beta Tester..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412750)

It's too bad your car is stuck in first gear, you'll never get your Delorean up to 88 miles per hour then.

Who does the pre-heating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31412724)

If the fuel goes in pre-heated and pre-compressed, who does all this work? Does the 50% take that into account?

1974 called - they want their hoax back. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412730)

During the first oil crisis, we heard the exact same claims. "Heating the fuel ahead of time gives more miles per gallon". Sure - and more detonation, which is what you get when you ignite ALL the fuel at once. So to suppress detonation, you have to go to higher octane - and higher octane fuels contain more energy, which translates to more mpg. The difference between regular and premium on my car is 5% (yes, I keep track of my mpg on every fill-up - I can tell the difference between the seasons, or when I've made the mistake of filling up at a place that sells gasohol - 10% drop right there ...), so if premium is less than 5% more expensive, I buy it.

doesn't require a spark to ignite the fuel.

Welcome to the world of the diesel cycle, which has always been more efficient.

also treats the gasoline with a catalyst that 'activates' it, partially oxidizing it to enhance combustion

Snake-oil alert.

Fascinating... (4, Funny)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412758)

Does the exhaust also smell like bullshit?

Like totally bogus, man (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412886)

Go to Google books and look up a book "Internal combustion", circa 1910.

In there you'll find the basic equations of IC engine efficiency.

Clue: They haven't changed a bit since then.

It all depends on the Carnot cycle, which is basically immutable. A proper gas-air mixture burns at a certain well-defined temperature, and then with expansion, generates a certain amount of work. There's nothing you can do in the way of injection that makes any difference.

You can come up with minor tweaks, like stratified charge, external mixing, heating, cooling, intercooling, ( all well explored in the 1910 book ).

Cool, but... (1)

KiwiGod (724799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412928)

If this is actually an efficient option, then great. It would be even better if people would just adopt on a mass scale some of the existing efficient technologies... no, I'm not talking about hybrids. Small turbo diesels, for instance. If the majority of the country stopped worrying about having the biggest damn SUV on the road to attack all those off-road obstacles in yuppie suburbia, we'd have be a great start in the right direction.

NOx and emissions? (2, Interesting)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412968)

With the increased temperature of ignition, how does this perform with respect to emissions? Since the atmosphere is mostly Nitrogen, and with higher combustion temperature, the greater the NOx. I scanned TFA, but there doesn't seem to be anything on how this technology performs WRT combustion byproducts (by this, I mean beyond CO2 and H20).

This reminds me of articles in Popular Science during the 70's touting columnist (and notable mechanic) Smokey Yunick and his super efficient engine that also used pre-heating of the intake charge, but I think the technology of fuel injection hadn't moved far enough to get to this level of direct injection.

No Thanks (1)

TooMad (967091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31412994)

The system itself is expensive on top of that you need a catalyst. They fail to mention how much the catalyst costs, or how it is added to the gas. Do I have to carry around bottles of the catalyst and add it each time I fill the tank or is there a secondary tank? How long does the catalyst last? If it is a secondary tank then that's just one more thing to break down. It all sounds counter-productive since if you can afford the upfront costs and whatever the additional ongoing costs are you can afford to spend 50% more on gas.

Sounds like something else... (4, Interesting)

sackvillian (1476885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31413044)

This article [technologyreview.com] describes a very similar process from a New York company that uses supercritical diesel fuel -- and they report much more sensible efficiency gains of up to 10%. They've only tested in a lab setting so far though.

I found the article because I was looking for the supercritical points of gasoline, which is a complex mixture of many different hydrocarbons, making the critical points very tricky to estimate. Turns out they are 720K and 60Mpa, from the article above. Their system achieves temperatures this high (almost 400 degrees higher than normal fuel system operations) using exhaust heat. Given that higher temperatures mean improved efficiency, I'd buy the 10% they propose -- though I remain very skeptical abut the 50% proposed in this article.

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