Everything's bigger in Texas. Even the engines inside the big pickup trucks. However, petrol heads have become more conscious about how much fuel they consume as prices continue to dance around uneasily. It's all about fuel efficiency in the twenty-first century. However, with gas guzzling cars, getting the most out of your tank had been difficult, until now. An engineer out of Texas has claimed to have developed an engine that would be able to do 100 miles per gallon.
Cars are currently able to reach 60 miles to the gallon if the driver shuts off everything else that potentially utilises the car's energy-producing fuel, and just drives. However, Josh MacDowell, the budding inventor, has said that using a Stirling engine and thermopile technology has shown some interesting results. He has tested a hybrid electric car that
charges the car while it drives. He is venturing forward with putting one of the engines into a Ford F-150 and securing 58 miles to the gallon. MacDowell says smaller SUVs will be able to achieve 100 miles to a gallon,
Stirling engines are 200 years old and are powered by the exchange of hot and cold air. The engines are apparently able to use 50% of the power they produce, whereas the engines we use in our cars can only utilise 14% of the energy they produce.
Nonetheless, taking MacDowell's claims at face value, Texas A&M University, San Antonio, have now invested into the project, and will be assisting him in obtaining a patent for the new engine design.
Macdowell spoke to KHOU and said: "I imagine in 20 years the only place you will see an internal combustion engine is on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle because people like the way they sound. He is so confident in his new creation that he is prepared to do a cross country trip on only 40 gallons of fuel, and is expecting to achieve. He says once he achieves that the automotive industry will be knocking on his door to try and get involved with the technology.
Will the Stirling engine be the future of the automotive engine? We'll keep an eye on the news for you, and track the progress of MacDowell and his seemingly revolutionary engine.