by Larry Fromm
Vice President, Business and Strategy Development, Achates Power
We were honored to make the final three in the inaugural Emerging Innovation Award from Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), and even more pleased to be named first runner up. SAFE’s sole mission is to improve America’s energy security by combating oil dependence. The Emerging Innovation Award was created to recognize and inspire the emerging innovations that have the most potential to help achieve that goal.
As one of three finalists, we were invited to make a 10-minute “TED-style” presentation at the OPEC Oil Embargo +40 Summit in Washington D.C. on October 16. This was a pretty big deal as some of the other speakers included political and industry heavyweights Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, Leon Panetta, James Schlesinger, Dan Akerson, Fred Smith and Jeffrey Immelt.
As you’ll see when you watch the video above, my presentation was built upon three foundation statements:
1. As much as we would like to eliminate our dependence on oil, oil remains critical to our economy. So we have to find ways to use it more efficiently, particularly in the transportation sector. I used a direct quote from the SAFE website to make this point.
2. Because petroleum-based fuels are so cost effective and convenient, internal combustion engines will dominate for decades. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Report on the First Quadrennial Technology Review provided the direct quote to support this statement.
3. Therefore, the fastest and most cost-effective way to achieve our energy goals is to more rapidly introduce more efficient engines. Former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta provided this quote in his paper, The Case for Technology Neutral Public Policy in Fuel Economy Debate: Allowing Performance to Determine Solutions.
I then went on to describe the numerous benefits of the opposed-piston engine that Achates Power has developed: it is clean, durable, efficient and cost effective. It fits into existing vehicles and requires moderate capital expense for high-volume manufacturing.
When it comes to discussions about the best way to reduce petroleum consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, engines are often seen as a part of the problem when, in fact, more efficient engines are a key part of the solution. As SAFE and others have already recognized, the clean, fuel efficient and low cost Achates Power engine is vital to reducing our dependence on petroleum, improving our balance of trade, increasing our energy security and decreasing our carbon dioxide emissions.