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New Engine Design Gets Automakers' Motors Running


Scuderi engine sparks interest from Honda, Daimler, Peugeot.

The basic design of a gasoline engine hasn't really been revised in about 100 years.

The Scuderi Group may change that - and the entire auto industry.

Developing new technologies such as hybrids and electric cars will cost billions of dollars -and there's no guarantee that they'll be cost effective, even with rising gasoline prices.

The Scuderi engine is a new twist on the proven internal combustion engine, the Wall Street Journal reports. Building on existing engines could eliminate the cost of developing new technologies while boosting gas mileage.

The 4-stroke engine is simple enough that shade-tree mechanics are able to master it, but only about a third of the energy contained in a gallon as gasoline is converted into power to turn the car's wheels.

Here's how the 4-stroke engine works: 1) Down to receive the mixture of fuel and air; 2) up to create compression; 3) a spark ignites the mixture of air and fuel, sending the piston down in the power stroke; 4) the piston moves up to push out the exhaust and start a new cycle.

The Scuderi engine pairs cylinders: One handles intake and compression, while the other handles combustion and exhaust. A valve transfers the air-fuel mix to the combustion cylinder from the compression cylinder.

The late Carmelo Scuderi based the design on mathematical calculations for heat, friction and ignition to reduce engine resistance, increase compression, and burn fuel more efficiently.

So far, it's just a good idea competing with other new designs, including HCCI, a gasoline engine that, like a diesel, requires no spark plugs. But the Scuderi engine has caught the attention of automakers; several, including Honda (HMC), Daimler (DAI) and Peugeot Citroen, have signed non-disclosure statements and are reviewing the new technology.

At first glance, the high-speed valve that sends the air and fuel to the combustion cylinder from the fuel-air mixture cylinder seems to be the key. If it's reliable and more efficient than a traditional 4-stroke engine -- despite its greater complexity -- Mr. Scuderi will rank right up there with Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell and Bill Gates for coming up with a technology that changes everything.

Just remember the rotary engine. It promised fewer moving parts and therefore less maintenance. Sad to say, it was a bit of a gas hog - and unreliable, too.
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