Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

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Thread: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

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    Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    By Danny King

    Bill Gates is buying a stake of EcoMotors International, illustrating the Microsoft chairman's confidence in the development of the company's so-called OPOC engine, whose design is said to boost fuel economy by as much as 50 percent while cutting engine weight in half.

    Gates, along with Silicon Valley-based venture-capital firm Khosla Ventures, invested a combined $23.5 million in the two-year-old company, said EcoMotors CEO and former General Motors executive Don Runkle in an interview with Green Car Advisor today. Runkle declined to disclose how much of the investment was from Gates or how big a stake Gates and Khosla will have in the Troy, Michigan-based company.

    The investment illustrates how much confidence, Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, has in EcoMotors' Opposed-Piston Opposed-Cylinder (OPOC) engine, which was originally conceived by company Chairman and former Volkswagen head of powertrain development Peter Hofbauer. Using two pistons per cylinder that move in opposite directions, the two-stroke OPOC, which can run on fuels ranging from conventional gasoline to diesel to ethanol, doesn't require a cylinder head or valve train and cuts piston travel distance in half.

    As a result, EcoMotors estimates that the OPOC engine is about half the weight and uses half the parts of a similarly-powered conventional engine, and may boost fuel economy by as much as 50 percent. For instance, EcoMotors' 300-pound EM 100 engine puts out 325 horsepower, or slightly more than one horsepower per pound. Additionally, because of its relatively small size, multiple OPOC motors can be paired and connected with an electronically-controlled clutch.

    "The OPOC engine can be an important step in providing affordable, low-emissions transportation for the developing world," Gates said in a statement released by EcoMotors today. "EcoMotors has developed a promising technology that could help reduce levels of greenhouse-gas emissions in a low-cost, globally relevant way."

    With the additional cash in hand, EcoMotors, whose president is former Ford Motor Co. executive John Coletti, has "a significant runway" to further develop the engine, which was used by European aerospace giant EADS in the diesel-hybrid-electric-powered helicopter it exhibited at the Berlin Air Show last month, according to Runkle.

    The company is talking to "a number" of potential customers in the automotive industry and expects to deploy its engines in production vehicles within "a few years," said Runkle.

    Full article:
    http://blogs.edmunds.com/greencaradv...ry-engine.html

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    The power-to-weight isn't that impressive, I'm more interested in the durability of whatever system links the crankshafts together.
    Last edited by Slideways; 07-12-2010 at 09:10 PM.

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    When Gates is done with it drivers will have to pull over to the side ever hundred clicks or so and restart it.

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    This sounds promising. Yet daily I wonder how Gates became mega-rich. But I'm too cheap to buy an Apple.
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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    It can run on diesel OR gasoline, is smaller than crap, and they're already producing over 300 horsepower with it? Interesting. I hope they use really good piston rings.

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    Don Runkle was a great engineer but a lousy business executive. He was also good at BS and apparently still is..........

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    Quote Originally Posted by 2648562 View Post
    It can run on diesel OR gasoline, is smaller than crap, and they're already producing over 300 horsepower with it? Interesting. I hope they use really good piston rings.
    It weights over 300-lbs. Engines that weight about 300-lbs that are capable of 300-hp aren't that hard to come by. Off the top of my head I could think of a couple of boosted 2.0L 4-cylinders that fit the bill. The LNF is around 300-hp and made 290hp with a Stage 2 kit, right? The 4.2L Atlas made 290-hp and it weighs in under 300-lbs. according to an engine builder.

    An LS3 makes 436-hp and I bet it weights about 425-lbs too.

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    OPOC?.. I guess I'm missing what the big deal is here. I have a few horizontally opposed cylinder engines sitting in the garage needing rebuilds. Nice low end torque, terrible on fuel. Very poor air/fuel mixture (swirl) going into a sideways cylinder like that. I thought those things were dinosaurs in the game..

    The only engine that's peaked my interest in recent years is the Carousel engine. About 5-6 years ago there was tons of info floating around the internet about it and then it disappeared. This small little circular motor (internal combustion) would put out the power of a good 350 yet was a fraction of the size. It seemed like 16-18 inches round maybe? 8-10 inches thick. The pistons fired and went up and down on this circular rollercoaster/cam thing spinning round and round. That thing was beyond kick ass...

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    Quote Originally Posted by FanOfDurant View Post
    OPOC?.. I guess I'm missing what the big deal is here. I have a few horizontally opposed cylinder engines sitting in the garage needing rebuilds.
    The big deal is that the pistons mote towards each other in each cylinder. I imagine that would create tremendous swirl because it should have the same effect as doubling piston speed. I would also imagine that timing becomes even more crucial, which would make this an ideal candidate for direct injection. I don't like the look of those connecting rods though, I wonder what the real thing looks like. I don't see how it could possibly be compact either.
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn2KD-Re8eo[/ame]

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    i drew something very similar to this in highschool...brings back some memories, only my version had 2 seperate but conected crankshafts, their version looks a bit more feasable.

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    What does Bill Gates know about cars? Heck, any given version of Windows only works right about 75% of the time.

    This engine design has major issues to work out, including cooling, lubrication, crankshaft balance, and cost of manufacture, given the need for strong, lightweight, heat-resistant materials. Those long (and opposed) connecting rods look like a lot of inertial mass, and a plethora of joints that look like even greater complexity and expense.

    Could it work? Yes, but the rotary engine has been in production a long time and has yet to overcome its drawbacks. Don't hold your breath on this one.
    Last edited by agent.theory; 07-13-2010 at 12:52 AM.

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    Quote Originally Posted by johnstarnes View Post
    This sounds promising. Yet daily I wonder how Gates became mega-rich. But I'm too cheap to buy an Apple.
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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    And another thing, GM will spend about 500 million to develop a new small-block V-8, and Hyundai spent about the same to develop its Tau V-8. What will this company get for 23 million? A piston?

    Seriously, this looks like another case of Silicon Valley arrogance.

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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    It has been a long time since I had so many occurrences of ignorance on this site.

    Yes, this is a different technology than the good old pushrod v8, but that doesn't mean we have to knock it down before it has been given a chance!

    That said, I can't wait to get my hands on a GMT-800 with a 350 again... !
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    Re: Bill Gates Buys Stake in EcoMotors, Producer of Potentially Revolutionary Engine

    Quote Originally Posted by Mustapha Mond View Post
    When Gates is done with it drivers will have to pull over to the side ever hundred clicks or so and restart it.
    And the car will only follow directions from a Bill Gates sat nav

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