We’ve heard rumors for years about engines capable of getting 100 miles to a gallon of fuel, but the reality is much closer than you might think. Josh “Mac” MacDowell says he not only has the engine, he has come up with an idea, strong enough the U.S. patent office has given him a patent for it. MacDowell is using a Stirling engine, coupled with thermopile technology to make it possible to drive a Hybrid electric car and never have to stop to charge it.
The Stirling engine was actually invented 200 years ago, in 1816. The engine is driven by the exchange of hot and cold air, much like nature drives a thunderstorm. The Stirling engine is capable of using roughly 50% of the energy it produces. An internal combustion engine, like the ones in our vehicles, uses about 14%.
MacDowell’s idea is so solid, Texas A & M University is completely behind him on the project. Dr. Mirley Balasubramanya, Professor & Dean College of Arts & Sciences, and Interim Chair of the Department of Sciences & Mathematics at A & M says when MacDowell showed him his theory and calculations he thought“this is a wonderful idea and why didn’t someone else think of this. MacDowell says for the same reason the Wright brothers didn’t book on Eastern Airlines…because someone had to do it first.
MacDowell obtained a Stirling engine from NASA. The space agency experimented with one in several vehicles during the late 70’s & early 80’s and got roughly 54 miles per gallon in a Dodge pickup. But gas At that time was about $1.00 a gallon, so there just wasn’t a need or desire to pursue the project. Where MacDowell has hit the nail square on the head is with his patent for using it in a Hybrid electric vehicle.
Within 6 months, MacDowell says he will have the Stirling engine he has in a Ford F-150 and will get at least 58 miles per gallon. He also has redesigned the Stirling engine to look more like a small four cylinder engine. This will allow him to put the engine in a smaller SUV, with an electric powerplant and achieve at least 100 miles per gallon. MacDowell is so confident he can do that, he is planning on putting the hybrid set up in that SUV, then starting on the east coast and driving to California. He is confident he can make that trip on less than 40 gallons of fuel.
MacDowell says he will put his vehicle together and document everything, then send his findings to A&M's Texas Transportation Institute then will be verified by the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio to verify the results. He says his design will revolutionize the hybrid automotive industry and make the hybrid the dominant vehicle. “I imagine in 20 years the only place you will see an internal combustion engine is on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle cause people like the way they sound!”, says MacDowell.
He gives two analogies to explain just how significant his design is. MacDowell says his design is to the Hybrid industry, what Diesel-electric locomotives were to steam engines. Or better explained MacDowell says…what turbine engines were to the reciprocating, prop airplane engines. Once MacDowell gets his results verified and he makes that cross country trip, on less than 40 gallons of fuel, MacDowell says the automotive industry may very well beat down his door.