When Bill Gates puts his money on something, the world pays attention. The latest being his joint investment of $23.5 million with Vinod Khosla in EcoMotors International and their Opoc technology. The Opoc engine, is an “opposed piston opposed cylinder” engine setup that is said to use 50 percent less parts and provides 50 percent more fuel efficiency. EcoMotors have said that they will use the funding for the testing and construction of demonstration units of the Opoc engine.
The Opoc engine works by the use of two opposing cylinders which contain two pistons each. The crankshaft is housed in between the opposing cylinders and is turned by the rods connected to the pistons. This system works without cylinder heads and valve trains while employing a 2-stroke like system which guarantees quick torque.
Apparently using their EM100 diesel model, which has a cylinder bore size of 100mm and weighs 134 kilogrammes, it is capable of producing a power figure of 325hp at 3500rpm along with an incredible 900Nm of torque. Another plus point would be the fact that this could use any form of fuel be it petrol, diesel or ethanol.
What has interested the two investors more than anything is the practicality of the design, which allows flexibility in its uses along with it being less expensive to manufacture, purchase, and operate. This could lead to various applications in different parts of the world where expensive electric or hybrid cars are just not practical.