Daily Mail Online reports on a new twist to the Stirling engine concept. Will the motor industry be overjoyed? Possibly not.
For thrifty motorists, squeezing an extra few miles out of each gallon of fuel can become an obsession. But some have been striving for a semi-mythical goal of achieving 100 miles per gallon of fuel from their vehicles.
Now an inventor in Texas claims to have built an engine that can reach this efficient milestone – using a design that is more than 200 years old.
Josh MacDowell, combined a Stirling engine – first created by a clergyman in Scotland 200 years ago – with thermopile technology that converts heat energy into electricity.
Mr MacDowell, from San Antonia, Texas, is currently testing his invention in a Hybrid electric car, allowing it to drive at highway speeds without the need for recharging.
He believes the engine would also be capable of letting an SUV achieve 100 miles to the gallon. He is now hoping to patent his design.
Internal combustion engines currently used in cars only use 14 per cent of the energy they produce, but Stirling’s engine design can use almost 50 per cent, making them much more efficient.
Speaking to KHOU, Mr MacDowell 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.’
Mr MacDowell’s concept has received scientific backing by researchers at Texas A&M University.
Dr Mirley Balasubramanya, a mathematical physicist at Texas A&M University, said: ‘This is a wonderful idea, why didn’t someone else think of this?’
KHOU TV news report and interview here.