by John Koszewnik
Chief Technical Officer, Achates Power, Inc.
Not many engine companies publish their technical results. We do, and I’ll tell you why.
Having worked at Ford, Case New Holland and FEV, I’ve evaluated many new engine concepts from multiple engine companies and inventors. Each of these concepts used different technologies and highlighted different benchmarks to validate success. The claims were all extraordinary and very few of these manufacturers ever discussed their technical results in any real detail.
At Achates Power, we’re driven by data—so when we make a claim, we can back up that claim with demonstrated results from more than 2,500 hours of dynamometer testing. We also use the most meaningful benchmark as a comparison. Sometimes this is with publicly available data…and sometimes it’s based on benchmarking studies that we can’t publicly cite.
Before we publish anything, however, we carefully review our engineering methods and scientific models to ensure that they’re sound. We also work with external consulting firms—some of the biggest—to double check our work and have been given a clean bill of health. And, when we’re finally ready to publish our results, we look for peer-reviewed journals known for their high standards and subject matter expertise.
So far, we’ve published our technical data in every quarter of 2011, starting in January with a keynote paper delivered to the Symposium on International Automotive Technology. At that time, we demonstrated a drive-cycle average 13 percent fuel efficiency improvement over the benchmark. In June, we published a fuel efficiency improvement of 15.5 percent in a paper submitted to SAE. By September, in our presentation at SAE ComVEC and again at Der Arbeitzprozess des Verbrennungsmotors in Austria, that improvement increased to 19 percent. Just a few weeks ago, we announced a 20 percent fuel efficiency improvement (P.S. It’s now 21 percent after some further hardware and calibration revisions).
Having spent nearly 40 years in the industry, I’ve witnessed a lot of novel engine concepts from start-up companies. But, in June, I moved from Detroit to San Diego to join Achates Power. Achates is the first company I’ve seen that has demonstrated significant thermodynamic engine efficiency advantages while not encountering any major roadblocks in its effort to create a robust, cost-effective and commercially viable solution to sustainable transportation. I am confident this engine will go into production.
So, the next time you hear an engine company make a claim of improved fuel efficiency, ask to see the data. We’ll gladly show you ours.