Man builds 100mpg engine using 200-year-old technology

stirling hybrid engine stirlingmotor macdowell
KENS
Josh “Mac” MacDowell of San Antonio Texas had a brilliant idea. He took a Stirling engine, a type of engine developed 200 years ago, and added some 21st-century technology to it. The result is a hybrid electric car so efficient that you never have to stop to recharge, reports Houston’s KHOU11.

The centerpiece of MacDowell’s innovation is the Stirling engine, which was created in 1816. The closed-cycle air engine uses the expansion of hot air and the compression of cold air to generate the power needed to drive an engine. Unlike steam engines which utilize a similar principal, the Stirling engine has an internal regenerative heat exchanger that keeps the hot and cold air at the correct temperature. This recycling feature boosts the engine’s efficiency to a whopping 50 percent. For comparison, a standard internal combustion engine operates only at 14 percent efficiency.

Though mechanically sound, the Stirling engine never caught on in the 1800s, with most businesses choosing to use steam engines for their industrial applications. NASA even experimented with the engine in the early 1980’s, and was able to achieve 54 miles per gallon, but the Space Agency never went any further with the technology. MacDowell borrowed one of these Stirling engines from NASA and began experimenting with it to see if he could use the regenerative engine with 21st-century automotive know-how.

MacDowell coupled the engine with existing hybrid technology, creating a system that will deliver 58 miles per gallon to a Ford F-150 and at least 100 miles per gallon in a smaller SUV. In his model, the Stirling engine runs at a fixed RPM generating electricity that is used to charge the batteries, which drive motors that propel the vehicle.

Using this thermopile technology, a Stirling-powered vehicle can drive at highway speeds without having to recharge. MacDowell also redesigned the Stirling engine to have the dimensions and appearance of a standard four-cylinder engine, making it compatible with existing automobiles. His idea was so brilliant that Texas A&M University became involved in the project, providing MacDowell with technical expertise and a testing environment to aid in the development of the engine.

To showcase his original engine, MacDowell intends to drive an SUV across the country on less than 40 gallons of gasoline. He also plans to submit his laboratory findings to the Texas Transportation Institute, which will verify his 100 miles per gallon claims. Once proven and tested, MacDowell believes his idea will revolutionize the hybrid engine industry leading to the eventual end of the internal combustion engine. Stay tuned.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

6 flying cars that you might actually be able to own (and fly) in your lifetime

Just like cellphones used to be only for the rich, soon taking a personal flying machine to work is going to be a part of everyday life. Here are six pieces of tech making that possible.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime brings more perks than just free two-day shipping. Subscribers get access to a huge library of TV shows to stream at no extra cost. Here are our favorite TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime.
Cars

Diesel isn't evil! The best diesel cars on the market do it right

When done right, a diesel engine remains an excellent option for buyers who want to save gas. Modern diesel engines are smoother, peppier, and more efficient than ever before. Here are our current favorites.
Cars

How to watch Formula 1 online

There are plenty of Formula 1 races every year, many of which take place in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Check out our brief guide on how to watch Formula 1 online, if you're looking to keep up on the action.
Smart Home

Kroger supermarket chain tests driverless grocery deliveries in Arizona

Kroger and autonomous delivery innovator Nuro began a pilot program in Scottdale, Arizona, for grocery home deliveries with Prius cars to test the self-driving concept. The first tests do not use the purpose-built Nuro vehicle.
Cars

Whistleblower says a drug-peddling Mexican cartel thrives in Tesla’s Gigafactory

A former Tesla employee says the firm covered up links between some of its workers and a Mexican drug cartel, spied on its employees by wiretapping their phones, and failed to report a $37 million theft. Tesla denies the claims.
Cars

Redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester crossover starts at $25K, hits showrooms in fall

The 2019 Subaru Forester hits showrooms this fall with more tech than ever, including a system that uses facial recognition to detect driver fatigue. Pricing starts at $25,270, but goes up to $34,295 for the top Touring model.
Cars

Lack of domestic battery production could short German automakers’ EV plans

As automakers ramp up efforts to produce more electric and hybrid vehicles, this has increased the demand for battery production. However, analysts fear some companies could struggle with this demand, specifically German car companies.
Cars

Nvidia ‘more than happy to help’ if Tesla’s self-driving chip doesn’t pan out

After Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the intention to use an in-house Autopilot chip, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang responded to an analyst's question, saying that if the Tesla chip doesn't work out, he'd be more than happy to help.
Cars

A bit of patchwork can have you back on the road

Flat tires often come at the worst possible time. Whether you're fixing a flat tire or replacing it, our step-by-step how-to guide will help you get your car back on the road with time to spare.
Cars

Bugatti’s new Divo will be light, nimble, and sharp as a scalpel

Bugatti doesn't introduce a new model very often. When it does, the whole industry sits up and takes notice. Named Divo, the firm's next car will arrive in August as a light, nimble model inspired by race cars built in the 1920s.
News

Saudi Arabia could save billions by financing a would-be Tesla killer

Anonymous sources have revealed Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund could invest $1 billion into Lucid Motors, an 11-year-old company that aims to take down Tesla. Elon Musk hopes the same fund will help him privatize Tesla.
Cars

Aston Martin will revive James Bond’s DB5 at a price only Goldfinger can afford

Aston Martin will build 25 new versions of the DB5 from the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, complete with gadgets. These "continuation cars" will cost millions of dollars, but won't be road legal.