Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Jimmie asks: Hey Eric, what do you think of opposed diesel engines now under development by Achates power and to be tested later this year in California by Tyson Foods and WalMart in Peterbilt tractor trailers? Could this be the “engine of the future” as they claim?
My reply: If these engines can deliver on their emissions promise – or even half of them – it could, indeed, be revolutionary. Salvationary, actually. The greatest threat to diesels – heavy duty and passenger vehicle – is Uncle’s regulatory regime. Their high efficiency is negated by their (as Uncle defines them) high emissions. These aren’t actually high – in terms of meaningfully harmful stuff. But that is neither here nor there as regards the compliance issues.
Which brings up the big issue – as I see it: The recent conflation of harmful emissions (at least in volume) with not-harmful byproducts, specifically carbon dioxide. Which is now considered an “emission” – and subject to regulation.
The problem is that any combustion engine, regardless of type, emits C02 as a function of combustion. The only way to “clean up” C02 is to burn less fuel. This regulation of C02 as an “emission” is the means by which all internal combustion-powered vehicles are to be (ultimately) taken off the road.
But I am hopeful there will be pushback – in time for it to make a difference – and before it’s too late.
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