Advanced engine technologies firm receives additional financial backing.
Vehicle electrification has been a leading story for the past few years, but it isn’t the only technology that is making news these days. EcoMotors, a Michigan company with backing by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures, is on a quest to develop “clean, efficient and lightweight propulsion systems” that could transform the auto industry more than vehicle electrification. The company recently secured additional funding and is on its way to realizing its quest to build a thoroughly modern engine.
EcoMotors International was formed to improve upon existing technologies to help bring us all to a greener world. That world could one day feature cars powered by advanced powertrains, delivering vehicles that are 15 to 50 percent more efficient. The engines being designed are smaller, lighter and less expensive than conventional combustion engines.
The company says that the “holy grail” of engine development is its power density. Its engineers want to take technology invented in the 19th century and bring it up to 21st century standards and requirements. Improving power density is important as that achievement alone yields an engine that puts out more power in a smaller and lighter footprint. Thus, the engines of tomorrow are likely to be smaller than the engines of today, but still yield more power and better fuel efficiency.
Opposed Piston Engines
Behind the quest is the technology itself, comprised of building an opposed piston opposed cylinder engine. Such a design could yield engines that would run on a variety of fuels including ethanol, diesel, natural gas and gasoline. Its direct gas exchange would offer the “emissions benefit of 4-cycle engines, the simplicity of 2-cycle engines…” and the power density of an opposed piston engine. Tying it all together is a computer and thermodynamics.
The engine under development is made of two opposing cylinders per module, with a crankshaft between each. Each cylinder moves in opposite or opposing directions. No cylinder head is required nor would you find valve-train components. Complex, yet simple, this design yields an engine that makes better use of power in a smaller and lighter footprint.
Series C Funding
EcoMotors has serious financial backing and just received an additional US$32.5 million Series C investment led by Braemer Energy Ventures. Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures once again contributed, underscoring the viability of the technology under development. Its partners share EcoMotors’ vision for cleaner technologies in an engine that has 60 percent fewer components and with the potential to reduce fuel use and emissions by up to 50 percent.
Source: EcoMotors International