The Brickley engine configuration is projected to improve fuel mileage 15-20%. CO2 emissions are cut as well by 15-20%. This accomplishment is made through reducing engine friction: turning energy normally lost in heat into useful work. With petroleum prices increasing and global warming on the rise, there is an urgent need for us to provide a more efficient, less polluting internal combustion engine.In his younger days, Mr. Brickley made this cool steam engine powered bicycle. Link
By changing how the pistons connect to each other and how they connect to the crankshaft, a great deal of friction can be eliminated. The configuration employs a combination of pinned linkages to determine the paths of the pistons to within a few thousandths of an inch of linearity, and thus basically eliminates the need for piston skirts. It connects the pistons efficiently to each other and to the crankshaft at a fraction of the losses incurred in a typical configuration. The top end of the engine remains basically the same and uses the technology available in current engines.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.