Start-up Transonic Combustion, Inc., has raised a C-round of equity funding. Existing investors Venrock, Khosla Ventures, Rustic Canyon Partners and Saints Capital all increased their support of Transonic in the round.
Transonic Combustion is developing an advanced lean combustion process and associated gasoline fuel injection system which it projects will enable practical 100 mpg cars. The patented combustion process remains stable well above a 200:1 air/fuel ratio and can support vehicle cruise power at a 100:1 air/fuel ratio.
Transonic says that its technology achieves ultra-high efficiency by operating conventional reciprocating piston gasoline engines at ultra-high compression ratios and incorporating very precise ignition timing and carefully minimized waste heat generation.
Transonic says that its TSCi fuel injection system has demonstrated extraordinary fuel economy and lower emissions, while also running gasoline effectively within diesel architectures.
A key aspect of the technology is a new type of fuel injector, which can be supplemented by advanced thermal management, EGR, electronic valves, and advanced combustion chamber geometries.
Along with operating conventional engines with high efficiency on gasoline, this technology can utilize fuels on the basis of their chemical heat capacity largely independent of their octane or cetane ratings, according to Transonic. Thus, economical, highly functional mixtures of renewable plant products can be utilized which are not practical in either spark ignition or conventional compression ignition engines.
To date, testing on several different engine platforms with multiple customers and multiple fuels has regularly achieved air-to-fuel ratios in excess of 80:1 at cruise conditions, with engine-out NOx at just 50% of comparable standard engines. These promising results have led to significant engagement with leading global automotive and engine makers.
Transonic says it will use the capital from the round to further advance its patented technology, expand its technical team and facilities, and continue collaborating with global automotive manufacturers.
(At the Career Center at the recent SAE 2009 World Congress in Detroit, Transonic was recruiting a doctoral-level combustion scientist to develop and verify chemical kinetic models of combustion processes and to work interactively with the engineering team to identify chemical species and reaction mechanisms likely to influence key operating parameters.)
In addition to investor backing, Transonic has secured support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and plans to expand its presence into Southeast Michigan.