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Well sojourners,we know that the venerable reciporcating engine is in a high state of development and refinement-My questions are as follows

1. Is there anything else on the horizon,that is a viaable replacement for the standard internal combustion engine?

2.Has there been a promising replacement, that for one reason or the other,that has been nixed?-Kevin

  1. Yup. Visit

  2. those that have not succeeded have typically been “nixed” either because the nationwide infrastructure does not exist to support them or because of cost. It’s a major hurdle to come up with an alternative system that can be able to refuel fully anywhere in the country in 5 minutes at any time of day or night. Some, like steam, work but require too much work by the user to make them convenient.

Because of the ubiquetous support systems, because of convenience, because of cost efficiencies, and because of it’s abiity to operate well and instantly in any environment and under almost any conditions, there really is nothing to compare to the internal combustion engine yet.

There is no conspiracy, if thst’s germaine to your question.

There have been and are many. Right now the only one looking close to prime time are electrics and they are not really ready yet.

I encourage all new technologies. I suspect driving will be a lot different in 10-15 years. How I don’t know.

Of the many that have shown up on the radar, most have proven to have serious unresolved problems. For example turbo-jets (exhaust heat and low efficiency) compressed air (large storage containers and the need for energy to compress the air). In addition there are many many others that just don’t work and are scams or wishful thinking.

In the past we have had steam engines, electric, Sterling heat cycle engine and others.  As time and other technologies and energy issues change we may find others.

The ICE is going to be with us for a long time. It can still be refined to improve mpg efficency.

In the future, electric motors and batter;y technology will improve increasing range of the vehicles. Pure electric cars will be primarily for cities and commuters at first. As solar to electric power improves the electric cars will be able to go long distances without the need for a small gas motor to run a generator. Such as car would replace the hybrids we have now. More and more electric motor driven cars will replace ICE powered cars.

Hydrogen, fuel cell, diesel, and other fuel sources will come on line at some point as “mainstream” cars. So far, all are possible with no clear front runner to replace the ICE.

I don’t believe any option has been nixed that could not resurface if there is a technological breakthrough advance. The nix’ers of the past have been automotive companies and energy companies with vested interest in keeping ICE’s to reduce retooling costs and/or maintain the flow of the oil to continue to produce profits. The auto companies seem to understand that from now on to sell cars they have to be more flexible in what fuel powers them.

The oil companies may or may not understand that the future of oil as the primary fuel for moving the “wheels” of the world is not a “forever” thing. They will need to reinvent themselves based on the whatever the fuel of the future turns wins the battle to replace oil. The next fuel will have a better chance of replacing oil if the current energy companies can find a way to be the supplier of the new fuel.

Exxon/Mobil is more likely to support a fuel source for cars and trucks if they find a way to have cars and trucks come in to an Exxon station every 400 miles to “fuel” up. They are working on “quick charge” electric and hydrogen now as the best way for them to keep driver’s dependant on them.

Nope, no conspiracies-maybe what I really want to know is.howcome no external combustion engines have developed to a large degree,except for steam engines-Later-Kevin

I included diesel engines as internal combustion reciprocating engines in my response…since they are them.

I’d have to argue that here are no “nixers” beyond market forces and simple economics. Manufacturers don’t nix a technology in order to keep retooling costs down, rather the costs of development and retooling cause them to continue producing existing ICEs. It’s sort of the same, except the cause and effect are reversed.

I truely believe that all of these conglomerates, manufacturers and oil companies, make their decisions based on the market forces and the economics. I really don’t think it’s the other way around, at least as far as engine technologies are concerned.

The Wankel and the turbine engines have no pistons, reciprocating or otherwise.

Why is there pressure to dump a system and it is a system that by your own account has no piers? Do some people have a problem with success?

Do you think future technologies will be able to match the IC’s versitility in use,fueling,repair,ease of manufacturing? The IC is truely a success story

You dislike pistons? perhaps you like rotor apex tip seals better. The eary Wankels used by Mazda were disasters,gave the rotary engine a bad name.

“The eary Wankels used by Mazda were disasters,gave the rotary engine a bad name.”

Yea, but the later ones were great, although mileage was below par. I had one and loved it.

In the very short term…IC engines will be around. Probably for at least 2 more generations.

Electric cars as pointed out by MB are here and maybe our next widely used vehicle. Fuel Cell technology is still in it’s infancy, but it’s another viable option. The reason IC engines stayed around so long was because of cheap oil. Oil is not that cheap anymore…and supply will run out in 100 years or less. Not to mention the pollution they produce. These factors will FORCE use to switch to another technology.

If you want to see the first car that came equipped with a Wankel engine–the NSU RO 80–take a look at:

It was a very innovative car in many ways, in addition to its revolutionay engine.
IIRC, it won Car of The Year status from the European motoring press.

Well Mike,let me ask you this-can the petroleum burning ICE stay around even, if as some maintain that there"is an abundance of probiotic oil around"?-Kevin

What’s “probiotic oil”?

In my opinion, the ICE will be around a long time to come.
Right now battery technology to power a car for a considerable distance (defined as a few hundred miles) is nowhere in sight in spite of the claims made by vehicle manufacturers.

One vehicle that was tested and seemed to perform well was the Honda Clarity, the hydrogen powered car. Even the appearance was acceptable and I wouldn’t mind owning one other than the lack of hydrogen filling stations.

Top Gear test drove the Clarity but one thing they did not cover is this.
If hydrogen cars become the norm so to speak with quote, “the only emissions being water vapor” then you open up that alleged global warming question.
If countless millions of hydrogen powered cars are running around emitting “only water vapor” then it should be remembered that water vapor is the predominant greenhouse gas and water vapor causes the atmosphere to retain heat…

Well texases,if I have the name right,it is oil formed by nonbiological processes.See the work by Dr.Gold on this subject(seems the Soviets were firm adherernts to this thoery-)-Kevin

Oh, that stuff. I don’t think they’re right, but there is LOTS of heavy/tar/difficult to produce oil around, not to mention all the natural gas in ‘unnatural’ places (shale, coal, gas hydrates, etc). So there’s plenty of stuff to keep ICEs going for quite a while.

This is true,warm and humid.Some groups are really going to have a desire to reduce the population one day(it will be interesting to see who will be the serfs and who will be the elite) everyone will still need to get around,I think Utopia will elude us for awhile yet-Kevin

So there’s plenty of stuff to keep ICEs going for quite a while.

That is highly debatable. I don’t think anyone really knows. Some estimates say as few as 30 years…others say 300 years…All well respected scientists. But no matter what number you pick…the FACT remains…we are still burning oil over 1,000,000,000 times faster then it’s being made by decaying plants/algae and the sun. Not to mention the pollution.

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You’re assuming that the water vapor will put back into the atmosphere as a vapor. From everything I’ve read…two things contradict that…

  1. Most is no longer vapor by the time it comes out the tail-pipe (or the tail pipe equivalent)…it’s water.

  2. Some are closed systems that recapture the water to be used and converted back to Hydrogen and Oxygen elements.

  3. Water vapor at ground level on a cold days will NOT make it to the upper atmospheres. Although I’m not sure what our roads will be like when it’s -10 outside…One reason why companies are proposing the recapture method.