Bill Gates invests in OPOC engine

July 13, 2010 § 3 Comments

EcoMotors International of Troy, Michigan has secured $23.5million in investment from Microsoft’s Bill Gates and from Californian venture-capital firm Khosla Ventures. EcoMotors is developing an engine it calls OPOC – opposed piston, opposed cylinder – and which it claims is 50% more  efficient than a comparable traditional piston engine, as well as half the weight and size. With fewer than half as many moving components as well, it will also be cheap and easy to manufacture.

OPOC is the creation of Peter Hofbauer, formerly the head of powertrain development at the Volkswagen Group and now chief technical officer and chairman of EcoMotors. Hofbauer is working with the former vice president for North American engineering at GM, Don Runkle, now the CEO of EcoMotors.

The two-stroke engine’s trick is to give a power stroke in each cylinder for every revolution of the crankshaft, rather than every other revolution. Horizontally-opposed (‘boxer’-style) cylinders keep it compact and well-balanced, and power density could ultimately be four-fold compared to a conventional unit, claims the company. This allows for downsizing of the engine itself, and for fewer cylinders; it does not have separate cylinder heads, cams or valvetrains, and transmits power via electronic clutches. And it’ll run on almost anything – gasoline, petrol, diesel or ethanol.

It’s a highly-scalable concept, too, which can be used for anything from 15bhp engines for ride-on lawnmowers to 600bhp units for heavy machinery, and crucially, it can be built on existing powertrain production lines with little changes to the infrastructure (a key problem for other revolutionary concepts such as the Scuderi split-cycle engine). More details, including video of Peter Hofbauer explaining the engine, at the Ecomotors website.

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§ 3 Responses to Bill Gates invests in OPOC engine

  • As compared to the OPOC engine,
    the pattakon Opposed-piston-Pulling-Rod-Engine (OPRE engine) is:
    more compact,
    lighter,
    simpler,
    cheaper,
    is based on “built-in” scavenging pump of the piston type,
    has a wider rev range,
    is more vibration-free,
    provides additional time to the fuel to get prepared and burned more efficiently (and in-time),
    has better lubrication, etc,
    For more details (videos of the OPRE prototypes running on Diesel fuel, dimesnions, weight etc): http://www.pattakon.com/pattakonOPRE.htm

    Manousos Pattakos

  • John Bender says:

    Its a great engine but do you think Ford,Chry or GM will want such effecient engine in their cars. They all about engines that
    will fall apart like V8’s and 4 cyl.engines.
    If I could fit a OPOC in my PT Cruizer today,I would do it.
    These Hrbred cars are a joke.
    I have ideas abot the OPCO engine,but in a different firing way.

    I hope you can acomplish your goal with the OPCO engine.

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