Automotive Power Systems
           Sun        ■        Photosynthesis        ■      Cellulosic bio fuel       ■       Ethanol from algae        ■       Efficient engines      ■      Hybrid drives       ■     Affordable       ■      Performance        ■      Fun 

Higher efficiency engines and alternative fuels are both needed for mitigating global climate change.  When evaluating the pros and cons of an alternative fuel it is essential to consider the “full-fuel-cycle” not simply the emissions from the tail pipe. 

Michael Wang at Argonne National Laboratory has developed a computer model for evaluating the net greenhouse gas emissions for various fuel and engine combinations.  His models, and analysis conducted by other researchers show us that developing the perfect battery may not be as big a breakthrough as developing the perfect microbe.  Producing ethanol from corn is highly inefficient.  By some estimates, for every unit of energy put into the brewing process only 1.3 units of fuel come out.  In contrast, if microbes are used to break down switch grass (or other forms of biomass) it is possible to produce from 10 to 36 units of energy for every unit of energy input.  As an added benefit, switch grass can be grown on land currently not suitable for food crops. 

The adjustable compression ratio of the Envera variable compression ratio engine enables engine efficiency to be optimized on the fly for fuels having different octane levels. 

Liquid fuels are ideal for automobiles because a lot of energy can be contained in a relatively cheap fuel tank – that can be refueled quickly.  Ethanol can be blended with gasoline, permitting an evolutionary transition from petroleum based transportation to ethanol based transportation.  Similarly, bio-diesel can be blended with conventional diesel.  Over time the percentage of petroleum in the fuel will be reduced, and the percentage of renewable fuel will be increased.  

Envera (Environmental era) is an automotive technology innovator, founded in 2000, focused on developing high efficiency engines and power systems.