Company: Achates Power
Achates Power was founded in 2004 with the idea of re-engineering the opposed-piston, two-stroke engine, a design that has been used in ships and submarines, aircraft, trucks, and other vehicles for more than 100 years.
Such engines fell out of favor with the adoption of stricter tailpipe emission standards during the 1970s. But Achates founder James Lemke, an adjunct engineering professor at UC San Diego, saw advantages in the design. Lemke figured that using advanced cylinder bore manufacturing techniques and materials, new fuel injection technology, synthetic oils, and other engineering advances would significantly increase fuel efficiency, reduce greenhouse gases, and cut the overall cost of a diesel-powered engine.
Achates has a video that helps explain how the opposed-piston design operates more efficiently. Because there is no cylinder head, high-pressure gasket, or valve train, the engine weighs about one-third less than a conventional diesel engine. Because it requires less machining and assembly, the design also is less expensive and easier to manufacture.