Unlike some innovative engine designs perpetually hyped as the engine of the future, EcoMotors’ OPOC engine seems to be making real headway. They have reached an agreement with Navistar to build a 2 module turbo diesel version for Class 8 trucks, designed to produce about 480 hp, it could deliver as much as 45% better fuel efficiency than the standard heavy duty diesel engines currently used.
The two stroke OPOC engine looks like a really versatile package. With 2 cylinders and 4 pistons in each module, there’s no cylinder head or valve train. The modules can be joined to increase the number of cylinders, raising power levels to whatever the application requires and a clutch between modules means you can power modules up and down as needed. With the addition of an electrically controlled turbocharger, which can be spun up before engine start, even more power is available. You have to think a small version of this would be a nice fit for a touring or adventure motorcycle.
The OPOC engine is smaller and lighter than a 4 stroke but has low emissions, plus fewer parts mean less friction for greater efficiency. The opposed pistons decrease stroke allowing higher rpm. With the opposed pistons, the pushing and pulling of opposing rods balance forces, making possible a low stress, lightweight crankshaft.
The engine can also be converted to gasoline or alcohol fuel.
This is a very cool technology and it doesn’t need some battery breakthrough to be truly useful, it uses the fuel infrastructure already in place and it’s built using conventional materials and processes. I see this as an engine with a real future and it’s already looking like the first commercial application is on the way. I like it.
The first video below shows the joined modules running either paired or alone. The second video has a nice Q&A session with lots of explanations. Worth watching.