by Handsome Matt
I was researching alternatives to gasoline in order to present a few options for cleaner fuels when I remembered and read an interesting fact about internal combustion engines that caused me to give up on clean alternatives for gasoline and to focus on a more pressing issue: The engine design itself.
Here is the simple truth of gasoline engines, they lose about 70% of the power generated by the explosion of the gasoline. The EPA and Department of Energy state the actual amount of power used to move the vehicle or power accessories is only 15% of the energy released.
To be more bitter and cynical: When gas hits $3.00 a gallon, $2.00 is wasted away. It might as well be burned in the engine itself.
My belief is that resources can be used, if they’re used responsibly. It doesn’t matter whether we use fossil fuels or bio fuels, over 2/3 of the energy is wasted. This isn’t responsible in any way, shape, or form.
We could sit and argue back and forth about what fuel should be used, but we’re missing the point. We should be arguing about the fact that the engine design is in need of improvement.
Think about it…
Four or five hundred miles on one tank of gas, hybrids getting a thousand miles. That’s only by doubling our current efficiencies, if we tripled it, cars could cross most of the country on a thirty dollar tank of gas. Imagine only having to fill up once every other month.
Whether we lighten vehicles or not, add extra gears, enforce a 55 mph speed limit, hybridize our vehicles, or any other suggestion. We still aren’t addressing the gross inefficiency of the gasoline engine.
This then is the first challenge from Conservance to the world: Design a gasoline engine with an efficiency of 50% or higher that can hold five people, comfortably.