Is Bill Gates betting on the future of diesel?
In recent years new and emerging technologies and fuels have received immense sums of money and investment, all in hopes of powering our vehicles in a more efficient manner. Yet can the fuel of the future be not only be an established, but relatively ancient technology? Apparently Bill Gates, and Silicon Valley Investor Vinod Khosla think so. They’re betting big on newer, more efficient diesel engines. Khosla already holds a 47 percent stake in EcoMotors, and the two just bestowed a combined $23.5 million the company.
EcoMotors has developed what it calls an “opoc” diesel engine, which weighs about half as much as a traditional engine, and can be between 15-50 percent more fuel efficient. The engine is less expensive to manufacture, purchase and operate. Gates sees the technology as a potential solution for efficient mobility in the developing world. “The opoc engine can be an important step in providing affordable, low-emission transportation for the developing world. EcoMotors has developed a promising technology that could help reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions in a low-cost, globally relevant way.” The opoc engine was conceived by Prof. Peter Hofbauer, formerly head of powertrain development at Volkswagen, and a big player in the developing the automaker’s clean diesel technology.