Gallery: Transonic Combustion’s Super-Efficient Gas Engine Gets 98 MPG


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.

+ Transonic Combustion

Via MIT Technology Review


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  1. zeppflyer November 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Like Greg said; In what sort of car body can this engine return 98mpg? Are we talking a Fiesta or a Crown Vic? Without that, it’s a pretty meaningless figure.

    Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t modern engines already adjust air intake independently of throttle to optimize efficiency under different load conditions? Are they comparing it’s intake to that of a 1954 Flat Head V8?

  2. Greg Sell October 10, 2012 at 3:35 am

    What vehicles will it suit, have a Toyota v8 petrol landcruiser and I live in Ausralia how can I get one to suit my vehicle.

  3. amoralonegro June 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    That is a very good point, but making a shift toward electric vehicles would still have the following advantages.

    1) In an extreme scenario, where combustion engines are banned for personal transportation (cars), the amount of combustion engine car owners who get dishonest emissions inspections will be eliminated.
    2) More citizens would be more involved in improving or inventing methods of harnessing various energy sources that are already in a kinetic form (wind, tide, solar/radiation, etc.) while leaving potential energy sources untapped and in their less harmful state (chemical/coal/petrol, nuclear, etc.). They might be able to also utilize private land and property to alleviate some of the stress on the power grid.
    3) The power grid offers the opportunity for the average citizen to better regulate and enforce energy efficient methods the main source of energy. This is of course assuming that the average citizen ever gets involved in preventing the grid from being exploited drastically by corporate powers.
    I cannot think of any other benefits of electric vehicles, but I am sure there are others. Electric vehicles are not 100% efficient either, but they are definitely better than the bulky combustion engines. I am not giving any more numbers just to keep it simple. Just stay a while near a busy road and listen to all the energy lost as noise on a combustion engine even with a good muffler. Look at how much is lost to vibration and heat. That is without even mentioning the fact that you need at least one catalytic converter to complete the combustion after the fuel mixture has left the chamber. Oh combustion engines, I really hope that the myth of the invention of the super-capacitors is true and is sold soon. I will be so happy to see you leave. We do not have to wait for these capacitors to arrive in order to ensure that we can live on earth for another 50 years though; there are very good designs out there already.

  4. Angeal May 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    What is the fuel? Gasoline and diesel are both liquids at atmospheric temperature and pressure. To obtain a supercritical state, you would have to increase both temperature and pressure. If a natural gas is used, then it would need only be under the correct pressure.

    In the case of the gas/diesel, it will require energy to both heat and compress it to a supercritical state. As for natural gas, it would require energy for the compression (although it can be stored compressed) but it would be a serious explosive hazard if ever punctured.

    There is a difference between fuel efficiant and energy efficient. If people want to make green choices, they need to be looking out for more energy efficient ways, not necessarily fuel efficient. Take electric cars. Energy can not be created nor destroyed. It merely changes from one form to another and so where do you think the energy comes from when you plug in an electric car? The pollution a car produces by burning gas is simply passed to the power station which now produces more pollutents to produce the extra electricity needed to charge up the car.

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