Eventually, we’d like to think that everyone will be driving around in all-electric cars. But in the meantime, it’s important to develop efficient gas engine technology. That’s where a new system from Transonic Combustion comes in. The California-based startup has developed a fuel-injection system that can improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by 50%.
A standard engine using Transonic Combustion’s system gets 64 miles per gallon in highway driving–even more impressive than hybrids like the Prius, which gets only 48 miles per gallon. So why is the system so effective? According to MIT Technology Review, “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.” That means ignition can be timed so that it occurs at the piston’s optimal point–so minimal energy is wasted.
Transonic’s system also cuts down on “throttling losses”, which occur because air intake to an engine is partially closed during cruising. That in turn makes the engine work harder. But with Transonic’s engine, air intake remains open, leading to an impressive mileage of 98 mpg at a cruising speed of 50 mph.
Want a Transonic system of your own? The company is building its first factory in 2013, and production is expected to begin in 2014.