DailyDirt: Internal Combustion Ain't Dead Yet

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Recently, we've been talking about whether or not tools ever die out. One tool that seems to be evolving a bit faster these days is the good ol' horseless carriage -- and specifically the internal combustion engines that power them. While hybrids and pure electric vehicles seem to be growing, gas/diesel engines aren't down for the count just yet. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2011 @ 6:12pm

    LiquidPiston Registration Wall

    LiquidPiston is starting off with the wrong attitude already. If you want to watch an animation of their engine you have to register an account and then sign-in. Seems like they're going to be the types more interested locking things up than promoting them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Angry Puppy (profile), 10 Feb 2011 @ 9:26pm

      Re: LiquidPiston Registration Wall

      Yes, I get that vibe too, but maybe they are simply trying to build up a mailing list. There's no charge, however, it's a bad design if popularizing a technology is the goal. When I worked as a marketing director for a technology company I made sure product information was as easily obtainable as possible, even writing articles for newspapers and letting the reporters put their names to my work (it's a more common practice then you would think). Of greater concern is that it looks like they have patented or have applied to patent the snot out of everything they have designed. I almost hope the technology is not useful because with all that patenting effort it's unlikely the technology will ever be used in significant quantity.

      FYI: The video requiring registration is at http://www.liquidpiston.com/technologycycle/tid/technologycycle/tid/5.html

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Feb 2011 @ 10:51pm

        Re: Re: LiquidPiston Registration Wall

        Well it will after 28 years or so, most advances today that are the high tech are from the 80's really.

        I saw the other day a guy trying to patent a furnace base on a design from last century(no that is not a joke). He made some modifications to bring it to the 21th century and was applying for a patent.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), 11 Feb 2011 @ 2:59am

    just a bad bet

    Fossil fuels are a finite resource, so improving technology around that fuel isn't the best bet. It simply doesn't matter how well you improve the engine if the fuel it runs on is used up.

    Electricity or hydrogen are much better ways to focus on the future. The only people that don't want to see that are the ones that need oil to maintain their wealth.

    Companies like Tesla Motors are proving that electric cars are a reality and even the big guys are testing electric cars in developing markets. Betting on oil and internal combustion is a lot like the RIAA and MPAA betting on the internet going away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Michael Ho (profile), 11 Feb 2011 @ 5:31pm

      Re: just a bad bet


      But what if renewable biofuels (eg algae-produced petrochemicals) become cheap and scalable? We'll be happy we continued to work on ICEs (Internal Combustion Engines) to squeeze every last drop of energy out of liquid hydrocarbons if biofuels actually pan out.

      And hydrocarbons are a decent way to *store* energy for future use -- look at how long fossil fuels have waited around underground just waiting for humans to burn it in cars.... :P

      As you say, fossil fuels are not a great long term solution, but that doesn't necessarily mean ICEs aren't.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 12 Feb 2011 @ 6:28am

    Long Distance Versus Short Distance

    It doesn't matter very much how you get to the nearest freeway entrance, because that's a short distance (say, a mile) at low speed (say, 30 mph), or two minutes, barring congestion. What does matter is how you go a long distance (35 miles) at high speed (70 mph), or half an hour. Freeways sometimes incorporate electric railroads. It's no great difficulty to fence off the median, build tracks, and string electric wires overhead. When the conditions are right, the railroad can carry automobile transporter cars, and these work with any automobile of a reasonable size. If the automobile has a battery, the transporter car can recharge it, of course, but the transporter car can carry conventional automobiles as well, and save the fuel these would otherwise use. Now, if your destination is a congested location, such as a city center, where it would be difficult to find a parking place, it often makes sense to park your car at a train station and ride the train into town.

    I developed the matter in a little more detail here:


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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