Pinnacle Engines, a company focused on making ultra-efficient internal combusion engines, emerged from stealth operations last week with plans to commercialize its first engine by 2013.
Silicon Valley-based Pinnacle also announced it has raised $13.5 million in venture funding from NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners and Infield Capital.
The company says its new engine design enables significant reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions without increasing vehicle cost. The engine is based on a four-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture.
Pinnacle said it achieves 30%-50% better fuel economy in various drive cycle comparisons without the large cost penalty normally associated with dramatic fuel economy improvement. The performance of the Pinnacle Engines design has been verified by its development partner FEV, Inc.
The core of Pinnacle's technology resides in its unique engine architecture and its Cleeves Cycle. The Cleeves Cycle operates on the Otto cycle (constant volume combustion) or Diesel cycle (constant pressure combustion) depending on operating conditions. Pinnacle said dditional efficiency improvements will be realized through incorporation of variable valve timing, direct injection, turbocharging, and Pinnacle's own low-cost variable compression ratio mechanism.
Pinnacle says the engine design is scalable and is compatible with most fuels including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane and their biofuel replacements (e.g., ethanol).
Production is slated to commence in 1Q13. Pinnacle says plans for expansion into the global automotive market will be revealed later this year.