The History of The Achates Engine

Meet Dr. James Lemke – a serial entrepreneur with a passion for science, engineering and education and a track record of using scientific and engineering breakthroughs to create new products and companies.
Dr. Lemke founded Achates Power in 2004 with an idea that will revolutionize the automotive industry.  His stroke of genius was recognition that advances in computer aided engineering and engine component technology enable the revitalization of the efficient opposed-piston engine.
Lemke realized that more efficient transportation solutions are required if we are to maximize the utility of the world’s finite petroleum supply, particularly in light of carbon dioxide and climate change concerns. Dr. Lemke started Achates Power with a group of engineers and scientists, and a focus on scientific and engineering fundamentals. As each technical challenge was overcome, skeptics turned into advocates.  Current measurements show a 30% fuel efficiency improvement compared to the industry’s best diesel engines and nearly double the fuel efficiency of a standard gasoline engine with everything else (power, torque, emissions, noise, cost…) held the same.


Here is the story of how “light reading” on a Mexican vacation turned into the concept and development of one of the most revolutionary engines of today – The Achates Power Engine.

8 thoughts on “The History of The Achates Engine

    • Thanks for the question!
      Since the efficiency advantages of our engine comes from the architecture and design and not the fuel, it provides an improvement in efficiency vs. conventional engines across all fuel types. We have already begun operating the engine on different fuel sources, as designs are ready for deployment we will describe those efforts.

  1. I think this is a terrific development. I think it must have many
    possibilities in both gas and diesel versions. I would think,
    because of its design, it would be a smooth running unit,
    almost viberation free. I can’t wait to hear about future
    developments and real world, every aplications.

  2. I would like to know how did you solve the issue of lubrication since one of the major emission problems for two stroke engines comes when mixing fuel and oil?
    Is there something different beside the almost perfect sweep of the exhaust gases and better combustion due to the excellent turbulence in the engines that allows better fuel / air mix that reduces emissions?
    Is there a specific lubrication system(e.g. electric oil pump)?
    Is the engine capable to use synthetic motor oil lubricants?
    How is comparable the wear and tear, and maintenance interval when compare with a HD 4 strokes diesel engine?
    Excellent design. I would like to see this engine for diesel passenger vehicles in a hybrid applications with turbocharger and all the goodies.

    • When fuel is mixed oil, the oiling system is called a total loss system – API does not use total loss system due to emission and durability concerns. The Achates OP engine has conventional lube system, the oil is recirculated in a closed system, has an oil sum, pressurized oil system etc.
      The engine oil requirement is defined by our customers, as well as the maintenance interval and durability targets – the requirement usually comes from current, state of the art 4-storke diesel engine for the same application. Our research engine (single and multi-cylinder) does use synthetic oil.

  3. Well, I think that you will now have a lot of enthusiasm, for your engine simply because of the problems at VW, where they have problems meeting the emissions regulations. Also, your horizontally opposed engine, should be relatively easy to adapt to multi fuel use, would it also be reversible? I would be so happy to have one of your engines in some kind of truck or bus. Thank you for your enterprise!

    • @Danny The use of glow plugs would be based on an as-needed, per application basis. We can engineer it either way, depending on customer requirements.

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